Extending the Reach of Legal Aid: Report on the Pilot Phase of the Legal Health Check-Up Project

This report evaluates the pilot phase of a "legal health check-up" project spearheaded by Halton Community Legal Services (a community legal clinic in Georgetown, Ontario, and a consulting community organizer. The basic goal of the project was to increase the number of clients served by the CLC by developing partnerships with peer groups, health providers and other "trusted intermediaries" in the community. Project staff developed a comprehensive checklist designed to help people recognize the legal components of everyday problems, and trained the trusted intermediaries to use the checklist with their clients and to engage in warm referrals to the CLC if problems were detected.

The researcher evaluating the project found that the pilot phase was, overall, successful. It resulted in an increase of referrals to the CLC by about one third. The trusted intermediaries involved in the pilot report reported that the checklist not only helped in uncovering specific problems, but also helped open conversations with their clients to help bring unacknowledged problems into light. The researcher concluded that the legal health checklist developed for this project was an effective tool to conduct outreach, provide legal information (through intermediaries) and encourage follow-up.

There is also a short summary of the report available here.