CLIENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
45 CFR 1621
(Revised May 27, 1998)
(Revised September 15, 2010)
(Revised March 24, 2014)
The purpose of the Client Grievance Procedure is to assure that clients and others have the opportunity to express dissatisfaction with quality or manner of legal assistance rendered by LSNM, or with a decision by LSNM regarding representation of a client. It is further intended to help ensure an effective remedy in the resolution of complaints. The disclosure of client secrets or confidences contrary to applicable rules of ethics and opinions regarding ethical rules is not allowed or required.
I. COMPLAINTS ABOUT DENIAL OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE
If a person disagrees with a decision by LSNM that a) a person is financially ineligible for LSNM services, b) assistance is prohibited by LSNM priorities established pursuant to LSC Regulations, or c) assistance is prohibited by the LSC Act or Regulations, then that person may register a complaint and request review of that decision as follows:
1. Complaints must be made within thirty (30) days of LSNM’s decision.
2. Complaints may be oral or written, and accomplished by mail, in person, by teleconference or through some other reasonable alternative, and should be directed to:
Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota
P.O. Box 838 Moorhead, MN 56561-0838
Phone: (218) 233-8585
1-800-450-8585 (toll free)
FAX: (218) 233-8586
3. The complaint need not be in any particular form, but should specifically identify the problem in detail, fully describing, as appropriate, the client’s legal issue, financial circumstances, and reasons for dissatisfaction.
4. Prompt consideration of each complaint shall be made (within 5 business days) by the Director of the Director’s designee.
5. A conference (in person or by phone) with the LSNM Director may be arranged, if desired by the complainant.
6. If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision, the complainant may appeal in writing to the President of the Board of Directors, Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota, P.O. Box 838, Moorhead, MN 56561-0838.
7. A conference with the President of the Board of Directors may also be arranged by contacting 1-800-450-8585, if desired by the complainant.
8. The decision of the President shall constitute final action of LSNM.
II. COMPLAINTS ABOUT MANNER OR QUALITY OF ASSISTANCE
If a person is dissatisfied with the manner or quality of legal assistance rendered by LSNM or any of its panel attorneys, then a complaint may be registered as follows:
1. Steps 1 through 5 above shall be followed.
2. If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, then a complaint may be submitted to the Appeals and Grievance Committee of the Board of Directors, Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota, P.O. Box 838, Moorhead, MN 56561-0838.
3. Prompt consideration of each complaint shall be made by the Committee (within 30 days).
4. The complainant shall have the opportunity to appear personally before the Committee and to be accompanied by another person. Upon request, LSNM will transcribe a brief written statement, dictated by the complainant, for inclusion in LSNM’s complaint file.
5. The Appeals and Grievance Committee shall consist of two (2) attorney members and one (1) client member of the Board, all of whom shall be appointed by the President of the Board.
6. LSNM shall maintain a separate file containing every complaint including a statement of its disposition and any written statements submitted by the complainant.
LSNM shall advise potential clients at the time of intake, or in subsequent correspondence, how to make a complaint on any of the bases set forth above.