Supporting the Nation's Judicial System & the Public it Serves

Guidance for Evaluations of Allied Legal Professional Programs

The National Center for State Courts has released an evaluation framework for Allied Legal Professional Programs. In response to increases in the number of self-represented litigants, several states have moved forward on plans to create an additional tier of legal service providers, who are authorized to give limited legal assistance at a lower price than attorneys. 

These “allied legal professionals” (ALPs) go by several different names, including Non-lawyer Legal Service Providers, Licensed Paralegal Practitioners, Legal Paraprofessionals, Legal Document Preparers, Limited License Legal Technicians, or Limited License Practitioners.  With a generous grant from the State Justice Institute (SJI-20-P-021), the NCSC has issued a new report that highlights factors that states should consider as they design new ALP programs as well as guidance on designing an evaluation plan to assess their effectiveness. 

The evaluation framework employs a “balanced scorecard” approach to ensure that evaluation measures take into account perspectives of important stakeholders, including courts, ALP clients, and the ALPs themselves.  All of the evaluation measures address the same underlying primary question: to what extent do ALPs improve access to justice?  The report is available here.  The NCSC project team is also available to provide technical assistance to courts designing new ALP programs or planning an evaluation strategy.