chapter  5
30 Pages

The Policy-Making Process in the Legal Services Program

ByEarl Johnson

This chapter considers the development of national standards and goals during the first 20 months of the office of economic opportunity legal services program. The Legal Services Program represented not the first—but probably the most pronounced—departure from the theory that antipoverty programming had to be determined entirely at the local level. The preparation of the guidelines for the Legal Services Program was to be the single most important policy-making event. The Guidelines provision was redrafted to remove any ambiguity about the requirement that representatives of the poor must be included on the policy-making boards of local Legal Services projects. Policy for the legal assistance program must be formulated with the participation of the “residents of the areas and members of the groups served”. Sometimes policy was made deliberately in response to some particular incident such as Judicare.