Self-Represented Litigants Program Guidelines

INTRODUCTION

Our courts and legal service programs are struggling to meet the increasing needs of self-represented litigants (SRL). This demand threatens the fair administration of justice across our state. To ensure equal access and justice for all, LBF is providing funding for nonprofit organizations to develop innovative solutions to assist and empower individuals to gain meaningful access to our courts. These initiatives may include efforts such as self-help centers, pro se clinics, unbundled legal services, mediation programs, and much more.

 

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Considering how multifaceted SRL issues are, we seek requests for funding from organizations who may self-assess their ability to address the SRL issue; have knowledge on the demographics of the SRL population in their region; researched other similar programs available; understand their current and future stakeholders; know who their leaders are; understand their local courts support of this initiative; and receive the necessary approval from their partnerships throughout the process.

In addition to these needs, there are required steps for the organization to launch the program. If it is a Self-Help Desk model where SRLs come and receive legal information, then this will require locating and equipping the actual workspace; recruiting and training staff, as well as volunteers; developing policies and procedures; arranging for referrals; developing websites and telephone services; developing forms; and educating the public about the services available through brochures and more. If the request for funding focuses on more innovative techniques, it will need to incorporate the core values and vision necessary to continue the statewide infrastructure currently in place.

The means for which we must address SRL issues are on the cutting edge of our legal service delivery models. We request submissions that are forward thinking, but also include local courts and partners. As a requirement of this funding opportunity, proposals must detail matching offers from other entities. The match may be in actual funds or in-kind services. Submissions incorporating local Judicial District Courts will be prioritized. Additionally, efforts incorporating LBF’s Civil Legal Aid Statewide Service Matrix for increasing Pro Bono Coordinator and Direct Attorney Representation opportunities within the SRL initiative are encouraged. Overall, LBF SRL Funding requests must focus on strengthening our state’s SRL infrastructure through open-communication and uniformity of application.

 

DUTIES, COLLABORATIONS, AND DELIVERABLES

Grants will be awarded to 501(c)(3) agencies developing SRL service models for either their geographical service area or statewide initiatives. Courts interested in providing these services may also partner with the state bar and local legal aid service providers to establish programming. Requests from these agencies should include information on the pursuit of collaborative efforts, which are necessary to establish a strong infrastructure of services for SRLs throughout our state. Through this collaborative effort with existing resources and partnerships, we require that recipients develop and make their materials accessible to all through online resources and more. Finally, our grant requires the incorporation of education components for all stakeholders, leaders, staff, litigants, the bar, courts, and the community-at-large.

 

REQUIRED DOCUMENT CHECKLIST

  • IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter with designation as Public or Private Charity
  • Current Board of Directors with all contact information
  • Recent Audit Report with Management Letter
  • Recent Form 990 filed with IRS

 

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

All organizations awarded funds must continually maintain records on all work performed relating to this agreement and submit performance outcomes periodically. All records related to funds received pursuant to this Agreement must be available for inspection, audit, and evaluation by LBF or by any other entity in such form and manner as may be required.

The Louisiana Bar Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity organized under the state of Louisiana.