How Colorado Legal Services (CLS) Screens Cases and Decides Which Cases to Accept and Refer to Attorneys
The Screening Process
CLS screens all applicants for financial eligibility per funder requirements. Eligibility criteria include both income and asset limits. Clients’ incomes must fall within 125% of poverty; in some limited circumstances CLS can accept incomes within 200% of poverty. [45 CFR 1611]
Seniors over 60 years of age do not have to meet financial eligibility guidelines if CLS has a contract for providing services to seniors in the county where a senior lives or where the legal problem is located.
All applicants must be citizens or have legal residence, except for victims of certain crimes including domestic violence and human trafficking. [45 CFR 1626]
CLS has adopted these case priorities:
- Support for families and children
- Preserve the home
- Maintain and enhance economic stability
- Assure safety, stability and health
- Assist populations with special vulnerabilities
Each CLS office has established its case criteria within the above priorities.
CLS is prohibited by Legal Services Corporation rules and regulations from assisting with certain types of cases including class action suits, public housing drug related evictions, fee generating cases, redistricting, matters related to efforts to reform a welfare system, and cases related to assisted suicide, euthanasia, and mercy killing.
Referring a Case to a Pro Bono Attorney
Attorneys may be asked to:
- Advise a client
- Provide limited services such as negotiating with a landlord or drafting an agreement
- Provide full representation throughout a case
- Assist clients at clinics on specific topics, such as:
The type and amount of pro bono work requested may depend upon:
- The client’s ability to handle matters without an attorney’s help
- The complexity of the legal matter
- The risk to the client if assistance is not provided
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