Focus on client outcomes, says new report on legal aid data

A new report released Wednesday calls for civil legal aid to rethink how it uses data and tracks impact.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Jason Tashea
ABA Journal
June 20, 2018

Tags: Research/Data

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) at Fordham Law School


Relying on interviews with experts in the field, the new report lays out how legal aid organizations can create and leverage existing and new datasets to better understand the needs of clients. The report also suggested ways to improve their work and better explain legal aid’s value to others, like philanthropic funders.

One recommendation is to use “big goals” and client measures to signify outcomes. The report said that legal aid has, historically, tracked the “level of staffing, nature of services performed, number of instances of service provided, and number of people served.” However, the authors argued, that these numbers are not inspiring to those outside of the legal aid bar, and thus can make it hard to communicate the individual and social value of legal aid representation.