61 FR 14258, Apr. 1, 1996, unless otherwise noted.
This part is designed to improve the delivery of legal assistance to eligible clients through the use of a competitive system to award grants and contracts for the delivery of legal services. The purposes of such a competitive system are to:
(a) Encourage the effective and economical delivery of high quality legal services to eligible clients that is consistent with the Corporation's Performance Criteria and the American Bar Association's Standards for Providers of Civil Legal Services to the Poor through an integrated system of legal services providers;
(b) Provide opportunities for qualified attorneys and entities to compete for grants and contracts to deliver high quality legal services to eligible clients;
(c) Encourage ongoing improvement of performance by recipients in providing high quality legal services to eligible clients;
(d) Preserve local control over resource allocation and program priorities; and
(e) Minimize disruptions in the delivery of legal services to eligible clients within a service area during a transition to a new provider.
(a) Qualified applicants are those persons, groups or entities described in section 1634.5(a) of this part who are eligible to submit notices of intent to compete and applications to participate in a competitive bidding process as described in this part.
(b) Review panel means a group of individuals who are not Corporation staff but who are engaged by the Corporation to review applications and make recommendations regarding awards of grants or contracts for the delivery of legal assistance to eligible clients. A majority of review panel members shall be lawyers who are supportive of the purposes of the LSC Act and experienced in and knowledgeable about the delivery of legal assistance to low-income persons, and eligible clients or representatives of low-income community groups. The remaining members of the review panel shall be persons who are supportive of the purposes of the LSC Act and have an interest in and knowledge of the delivery of quality legal services to the poor. No person may serve on a review panel for an applicant with whom the person has a financial interest or ethical conflict; nor may the person have been a board member of or employed by that applicant in the past five years.
(c) Service area is the area defined by the Corporation to be served by grants or contracts to be awarded on the basis of a competitive bidding process. A service area is defined geographically and may consist of all or part of the area served by a current recipient, or it may include an area larger than the area served by a current recipient.
(d) Subpopulation of eligible clients includes Native Americans and migrant farm workers and may include other groups of eligible clients that, because they have special legal problems or face special difficulties of access to legal services, might better be addressed by a separate delivery system to serve that client group effectively.
(a) After the effective date of this part, all grants and contracts for legal assistance awarded by the Corporation under Section 1006(a)(1)(A) of the LSC Act shall be subject to the competitive bidding process described in this part. No grant or contract for the delivery of legal assistance shall be awarded by the Corporation for any period after the effective date of this part, unless the recipient of that grant has been selected on the basis of the competitive bidding process described in this part.
(b) The Corporation shall determine the service areas to be covered by grants or contracts and shall determine whether the population to be served will consist of all eligible clients within the service area or a specific subpopulation of eligible clients within one or more service areas.
(c) The use of the competitive bidding process to award grant(s) or contract(s) shall not constitute a termination or denial of refunding of financial assistance to a current recipient pursuant to parts 1606 and 1625 of this chapter.
(d) Wherever possible, the Corporation shall award no more than one grant or contract to provide legal assistance to eligible clients or a subpopulation of eligible clients within a service area. The Corporation may award more than one grant or contract to provide legal assistance to eligible clients or a subpopulation of eligible clients within a service area only when the Corporation determines that it is necessary to award more than one such grant or contract in order to ensure that all eligible clients within the service area will have access to a full range of high quality legal services in accordance with the LSC Act or other applicable law.
(e) In no event may the Corporation award a grant or contract for a term longer than five years. The amount of funding provided annually under each such grant or contract is subject to changes in congressional appropriations or restrictions on the use of those funds by the Corporation. A reduction in a recipient's annual funding required as a result of a change in the law or a reduction in funding appropriated to the Corporation shall not be considered a termination or denial of refunding under parts 1606 or 1625 of this chapter.
(a) The Corporation shall give public notice that it intends to award a grant or contract for a service area on the basis of a competitive bidding process, shall take appropriate steps to announce the availability of such a grant or contract in the periodicals of State and local bar associations, and shall publish a notice of the Request For Proposals (RFP) in at least one daily newspaper of general circulation in the area to be served under the grant or contract. In addition, the Corporation shall notify current recipients, other bar associations, and other interested groups within the service area of the availability of the grant or contract and shall conduct such other outreach as the Corporation determines to be appropriate to ensure that interested parties are given an opportunity to participate in the competitive bidding process.
(b) The Corporation shall issue an RFP which shall include information regarding: who may apply, application procedures, the selection process, selection criteria, the service areas that will be the subject of the competitive bidding process, the amount of funding available for the service area, if known, applicable timetables and deadlines, and the LSC Act, regulations, guidelines and instructions and any other applicable federal law. The RFP may also include any other information that the Corporation determines to be appropriate.
(c) The Corporation shall make a copy of the RFP available to any person, group or entity that requests a copy in accordance with procedures established by the Corporation.
(a) The following persons, groups and entities are qualified applicants who may submit a notice of intent to compete and an application to participate in the competitive bidding process:
(1) Current recipients;
(2) Other non-profit organizations that have as a purpose the furnishing of legal assistance to eligible clients;
(3) Private attorneys, groups of attorneys or law firms (except that no private law firm that expends 50 percent or more of its resources and time litigating issues in the broad interests of a majority of the public may be awarded a grant or contract under the LSC Act);
(4) State or local governments;
(5) Substate regional planning and coordination agencies which are composed of substate areas and whose governing boards are controlled by locally elected officials.
(b) All persons, groups and entities listed in paragraph (a) of this section must have a governing or policy body consistent with the requirements of part 1607 of this chapter or other law that sets out requirements for recipients' governing bodies, unless such governing body requirements are inconsistent with applicable law.
(c) Applications may be submitted jointly by more than one qualified applicant so long as the application delineates the respective roles and responsibilities of each qualified applicant.
(a) In order to participate in the competitive bidding process, an applicant must submit a notice of intent to compete on or before the date designated by the Corporation in the RFP. The Corporation may extend the date if necessary to take account of special circumstances or to permit the Corporation to solicit additional notices of intent to compete.
(b) At the time of the filing of the notice of intent to compete, each applicant must provide the Corporation with the following information as well as any additional information that the Corporation determines is appropriate:
(1) Names and resumes of principals and key staff;
(2) Names and resumes of current and proposed governing board or policy body members and their appointing organizations;
(3) Initial description of area proposed to be served by the applicant and the services to be provided.
(a) The Corporation shall set a date for receipt of applications and shall announce the date in the RFP. The date shall afford applicants adequate opportunity, after filing the notice of intent to compete, to complete the application process. The Corporation may extend the application date if necessary to take account of special circumstances.
(b) The application shall be submitted in a form to be determined by the Corporation.
(c) A completed application shall include all of the information requested by the RFP. It may also include any additional information needed to fully address the selection criteria, and any other information requested by the Corporation. Incomplete applications will not be considered for awards by the Corporation.
(d) The Corporation shall establish a procedure to provide notification to applicants of receipt of the application.
(a) After receipt of all applications for a particular service area, Corporation staff shall:
(1) Review each application and any additional information that the Corporation has regarding each applicant, including for any applicant that is or includes a current or former recipient, past monitoring and compliance reports, performance evaluations and other pertinent records for the past six years;
(2) Request from an applicant and review any additional information that the Corporation determines is appropriate to evaluate the application fully;
(3) Conduct one or more on-site visits to an applicant if the Corporation determines that such visits are appropriate to evaluate the application fully;
(4) Summarize in writing information regarding the applicant that is not contained in the application if appropriate for the review process; and
(5) Convene a review panel unless there is only one applicant for a particular service area and the Corporation determines that use of a review panel is not appropriate. The review panel shall:
(i) Review the applications and the summaries prepared by the Corporation staff. The review panel may request other information identified by the Corporation as necessary to evaluate the applications fully; and
(ii) Make a written recommendation to the Corporation regarding the award of grants or contracts from the Corporation for a particular service area.
(6) After considering the recommendation made by the review panel, if a review panel was convened, make a staff recommendation to the President. The staff recommendation shall include the recommendation of the review panel and, if the staff recommendation differs from that of the review panel, an explanation of the basis for the difference in the recommendations.
(b) After reviewing the written recommendations, the President shall select the applicants to be awarded grants or contracts from the Corporation and the Corporation shall notify each applicant in writing of the President's decision regarding each applicant's application.
(c) In the event that there are no applicants for a service area or that the Corporation determines that no applicant meets the criteria and therefore determines not to award a grant or contract for a particular service area, the Corporation shall take all practical steps to ensure the continued provision of legal assistance in that service area. The Corporation shall have discretion to determine how legal assistance is to be provided to the service area, including, but not limited to, enlarging the service area of a neighboring recipient, putting a current recipient on month-to-month funding or entering into a short term, interim grant or contract with another qualified provider for the provision of legal assistance in the service area until the completion of a competitive bidding process within a reasonable period of time.
(a) The criteria to be used to select among qualified applicants shall include the following:
(1) Whether the applicant has a full understanding of the basic legal needs of the eligible clients in the area to be served;
(2) The quality, feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the applicant's legal services delivery and delivery approach in relation to the Corporation's Performance Criteria and the American Bar Association's Standards for Providers of Civil Legal Services to the Poor, as evidenced by, among other things, the applicant's experience with the delivery of the type of legal assistance contemplated under the proposal;
(3) Whether the applicant's governing or policy body meets or will meet all applicable requirements of the LSC Act, regulations, guidelines, instructions and any other requirements of law in accordance with a time schedule set out by the Corporation;
(4) The applicant's capacity to comply with all other applicable provisions of the LSC Act, rules, regulations, guidelines and instructions, as well as with ethical requirements and any other requirements imposed by law. Evidence of the applicant's capacity to comply with this criterion may include, among other things, the applicant's compliance experience with the Corporation or other funding sources or regulatory agencies, including but not limited to Federal or State agencies, bar associations or foundations, courts, IOLTA programs, and private foundations;
(5) The reputations of the applicant's principals and key staff;
(6) The applicant's knowledge of the various components of the legal services delivery system in the State and its willingness to coordinate with the various components as appropriate to assure the availability of a full range of legal assistance, including:
(i) its capacity to cooperate with State and local bar associations, private attorneys and pro bono programs to increase the involvement of private attorneys in the delivery of legal assistance and the availability of pro bono legal services to eligible clients; and
(ii) its knowledge of and willingness to cooperate with other legal services providers, community groups, public interest organizations and human services providers in the service area;
(7) The applicant's capacity to develop and increase non-Corporation resources;
(8) The applicant's capacity to ensure continuity in client services and representation of eligible clients with pending matters; and
(9) The applicant does not have known or potential conflicts of interest, institutional or otherwise, with the client community and demonstrates a capacity to protect against such conflicts.
(b) In selecting recipients of awards for grants or contracts under this part, the Corporation shall not grant any preference to current or previous recipients of funds from the Corporation.
(a) When the competitive bidding process results in the award of a grant or contract to an applicant, other than the current recipient, to serve the area currently served by that recipient, the Corporation -
(1) may provide, if the law permits, continued funding to the current recipient, for a period of time and at a level to be determined by the Corporation after consultation with the recipient, to ensure the prompt and orderly completion of or withdrawal from pending cases or matters or the transfer of such cases or matters to the new recipient or to other appropriate legal service providers in a manner consistent with the rules of ethics or professional responsibility for the jurisdiction in which those services are being provided; and
(2) shall ensure, after consultation with the recipient, the appropriate disposition of real and personal property purchased by the current recipient in whole or in part with Corporation funds consistent with the Corporation's policies.
(b) Awards of grants or contracts for legal assistance to any applicant that is not a current recipient may, in the Corporation's discretion, provide for incremental increases in funding up to the annualized level of the grant or contract award in order to ensure that the applicant has the capacity to utilize Corporation funds in an effective and economical manner.
In the event that a recipient is unable or unwilling to continue to perform the duties required under the terms of its grant or contract, the Corporation shall take all practical steps to ensure the continued provision of legal assistance in that service area. The Corporation shall have discretion to determine how legal assistance is to be provided to the service area, including, but not limited to, enlarging the service area of a neighboring recipient, putting a current recipient on month-to-month funding or entering into a short term, interim grant or contract with another qualified provider for the provision of legal assistance in the service area until the completion of a competitive bidding process within a reasonable period of time.