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American Bar Association

Overview of Committee

The Legal Services Delivery Committee (previously known as the Legal Services Project) was established in 1996 as a new Section project focused on developing strong, ongoing local partnerships between firms and legal services programs.  It has been an effective part of Section activities, coordinating its annual Intensive Private Bar Fundraising Training Program and overseeing the distribution of the Justice Assistance Grants.



Please alert the Legal Services/Legal Aid Programs in your area of the February 21, 2014 application deadline for the Section of Litigation's:



Each year the Litigation Section funds the Fundraising Training Program on the effective implementation of Private Bar, Capital or Endowment campaigns at Section Annual Conference for up to 9 legal services programs (up to two staff members and a private bar attorney).  Results and success rate of past attendees is quite remarkable - money well spent!  Please encourage attorneys that would benefit from this year's actionable, substantive training with one of their private bar attorneys to apply by January 30th.


2014 Fundraising Announcement [PDF] and Application [DOC].

Selections will be made and announced in February.


Justice Assistance Grant applications are due for this year's grants of up to $5,000 funded by the Section to support fund-raising initiatives of legal services and other organizations whose primary purpose is to secure access to justice for low income families and individuals.  Preference is given to applications for discrete fund-raising projects with positive long-term impact on the program's ability to raise funds from the private bar.  Please encourage programs that you feel would benefit to apply by the January 30th deadline.


2014 Justice Assistance Fund Announcement [PDF] and Application [DOC].

Selections will be made and announced in February.


The Section has a great track record of reserve grant funding for programs that developed strong, lasting results - great ROI. Funds for both the SAC Training and the Justice Assistance Grants are a great way for members of the Litigation Section to be linked to and involved in the programs in the area. 



Private Bar Fundraising Training Grants Awarded

Take a look at the grantees:




Justice Assistance Fund Grants Awarded

Take a look at the grantees:





In 2002, Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc. (MALS) applied for a Section of Litigation Justice Assistance Fund Grant for assistance in developing an aggressive, effective resource development strategy to turn around underachieving fundraising efforts.  With the grant support, we hired fundraising consultant, Dennis Dorgan, to work with us to assess our resources and incorporate them into a strategic plan.


Additionally, the Litigation Section’s Legal Services Delivery Project (now the Legal Services Delivery Committee) provided a modest grant to help defray the costs of the Basic Private Bar Fundraising training at Section Annual Conference (SAC) in 2003.  MALS’ Development Director and a volunteer attended and brought back strategies that enabled us to execute a more focused and effective plan.


Two notable elements of the plan included securing a challenge grant from the local Community Foundation to jump start the fundraising plan and promoting the concept of Cy Pres.  Both strategies worked!  MALS has seen a 300% increase in fundraising revenues and during a four-year period our Cy Pres awards exceeded $500,000.


In April 2012, MALS’ Board President and I were selected to attend the Litigation Section- sponsored Advanced Private Bar training during SAC in Washington, DC. This enabled us to begin enhancing and marketing MALS’ brand to expand resource development efforts in the areas of endowments, planned giving, corporations, foundations and the general public.

Our success can be attributed to the overwhelming support of the Litigation Section of the ABA.  For this we are eternally grateful.


By Harrison D. McIver III, Esq.
Executive Director/CEO
Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc.

Committee 2010-2011 Activities & Initiatives

The Legal Service Project Committee has several initiatives focused on the following areas:  (a) networking; (b) membership and member benefits; (c) training programs.


  • Create Floating Advisory Board comprising up to ten leaders from legal services organizations. The purpose of the board is to identify the pressing issues that legal services programs face and to develop solutions.
  • The Board would meet in person or by telephone twice a year, with the intention of meeting during scheduled Section conferences.

Membership Drive

  • During the 2008-2009 bar year, the Project submitted a Membership Sponsorship Proposal.  Our goal this year is to follow up on that proposal and implement it if approved.  To that end, if the proposal is approved, the Committee will begin contacting firms to discuss willingness to sponsor ABA memberships for up to three legal services attorneys.
  • During the 2008-2009 bar year, the Project submitted a CLE Partnership proposal. Our goal this year is to follow up on that proposal and implement it if approved.  If approved, the Committee plans to discuss whether firms are prepared or willing to present CLE via diverse technological mediums
  • On a bi-annual basis distribute pamphlets and other literature identifying the benefits of becoming an active member of the ABA.

Training/Fundraising Programs

  • Administer the Legal Services Project fundraising grant program, which will require announcing the program and calling for petitions; having a membership panel review petitions, and, then actually announcing and awarding the grants.  Follow up data is collected from the grantees, as well.
  • Administer the annual fundraising training program, which will require much the same effort as the grant program, described above.  This will be the second year which the current sub-committee leadership has carried out this training.
  • Network with other committees (such as Access to Justice) to conduct a CLE at the Annual ABA Meeting.
  • Develop our sub-committee web.

Gold Sponsorship Program

  • Create and submit a proposal for Gold Sponsorship Program.  The purpose of the program is to create opportunities for “needy” legal services programs to apply to participating law firms to sponsor projects which the applicants have identified as addressing pressing needs.
  • Implement Program if approved.


Civil Right to Counsel Video

Learn more about the latest developments on the civil right to counsel movement and how you can get involved. Watch now.

Legal Services Delivery Committee Leadership


Lauren Waller Smith

Edward Mullins