Program Management Resources

Retro Telephone

Operational Aspects of Running a Hotline

To maintain quality and efficiency, a legal hotline needs written policies for staff to follow in running the program. If you are looking to develop procedures, no need to start from scratch. This site has manuals, procedure guides and articles produced by CERA, and many other legal hotlines to help you plan and launch your legal hotline.

Managing Staff and Volunteers

Access webinars on a variety of staff training topics including telephone skills, ethics, issue spotting, intake procedures. You can ask new staff members to watch the webinars as part of their orientation. This section also has articles on hiring, managing, and evaluating staff and utilizing volunteers.

Ethical Considerations in Legal Hotline Operations

The heart of any hotline is the interaction between a client who needs legal help and the attorney who can provide it. It is fundamentally no different than any other transaction between lawyer and client. Although the setting in which the service is provided differs from the traditional office environment it is important  that the traditional values are still fully honored. "Hotline services providing legal advice and information must advance the core professional values of the legal profession, including competence, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and the independence of professional judgment."- ABA Standards for the Operation of a Telephone Legal Hotline.

Measuring Efforts

Before implementing any evaluation procedure it is important to define what is to be measured. Some possible questions the evaluation should answer: Is the hotline being operated in an efficient and cost-effective manner? Are clients’ legal problems that can be solved being solved by the hotline? Are the clients receiving some benefit from the hotline in addition to the actual outcome? (Such as greater understanding of the issue, opportunity to be heard, help in preventing future problems) Each program may have additional goals of its own. The tools used in evaluating each program or part of a program should be designed for the purpose.

Reaching the Right Clients

Even if your call volume is high, maximizing resources to provide services to socially and economically vulnerable clients, including minority, non-English speaking, disabled, and rural clients is a challenge. Look here for articles, webinars, and samples of outreach materials used to target hard to reach clients.