Harvard Defenders, Harvard Mediation Program, Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project, and the Tenant Advocacy Project will provide this information via the SPO Administrator.
Beginning of the Year
E-mail the following documents to Lee Mestre with a cc: to the supervising attorney.
Deadline: October 15
1. Officer Roles and Contact Information
- Include a detailed description of the duties of each officer. For example, one vice-president might be primarily in charge of training, another in charge of membership recruiting, etc.
All SPOs must have a president or chair and a financial officer, or specifically designated person(s) who performs financial functions. Because of the HLS budget process, individuals who serve as financial officers must hold this office throughout the entire school year (through June 30), even after the organization elects new officers.
2. Mission Statement
This document may be simple or elaborate, but it must contain the following information:
- The objectives the group hopes to advance,
- Specific goals the group hopes to accomplish, and
- Which students or community groups the organization expects to serve or attract
- Feel free to include any additional relevant information regarding communications, membership selection, elections, or operating procedures.
When writing the mission statement, framers should keep in mind that future members will need to refer to this statement and available funding and resources may impact the scope of the organization’s mission. Any significant changes to the nature of work must be approved by OCP.
3. Legal Practice Project Descriptions and Agreements
For project-based SPOs only. Descriptions must include:
- Type of work being performed and deliverable (if applicable)
- Client(s) and how they are being solicited,
- Where the work is being performed,
- Time frames and dates,
- Names of collaborating organizations,
- Number of students on each project,
- Any specific skills required (language, coursework) of students, and
- Name of the supervising attorney(s).
Each project or client requires a retainer letter, memorandum of understanding, or a Terms and Conditions of Legal Service form setting forth the nature of the representation.
Every student approved for work with an SPO should recognize and work within the limits of their competence; ask for help from a supervisor when necessary; accurately represent their role as a student; and ensure they are supervised appropriately for any legal task they perform.
4. Student Membership List
The list must include:
- Student first name and last name,
- Class year,
- HLS Email address, and
- Must distinguish between students involved in practice (by project if applicable) and general membership. A list of email addresses, without names, is not sufficient.
We will use this list to enroll students in the mandatory ethics online tutorial. Students only need to complete this one time.
SPO Student Membership List (sample)
5. Consent from SPO Supervising Attorney and Affiliated Clinic
Before submitting your documents, you must review them with your supervising attorney and then copy them on the email to OCP. You must also review the Policies and Professional Responsibility section.
If your SPO is affiliated with an HLS clinic, you should work together to organize opportunities for student involvement in the respective area. Please share resources and avoid duplication of efforts involving speakers, conferences, requests for outside funding, and legal service to clients.
As a student proving legal services, you must inform your supervising attorney of all legal issues at all stages of engagement. You may not practice law without the supervision of a licensed attorney. Doing so may jeopardize your future bar licensure.
Supervising attorneys have no legal responsibility for student organization debts. You should keep your supervising attorney updated on the activities of the organization throughout the year.
The supervising attorney must be actively engaged in the design and approval of the organization’s project(s) each semester and discuss the need being addressed by the legal service, the goals of the project, and the specific types of tasks the students will perform.
End of the Year
Before submitting the following documents, review them with your supervising attorney and determine in advance whether outgoing or incoming leadership is responsible for the reports. Failure to submit a year-end legal service report and pro bono hours may result in a loss of funding.
E-mail the documents to Lee Mestre with a cc: to the supervising attorney.
Deadline: May 1
1. Year-end Report of Legal Activities and Membership
Each group must submit a year-end report of its legal service activities. This is required for students to receive pro bono credit and must be approved by the supervising attorney. When reporting time, do NOT include time for undergoing training, transportation, social or career events, conferences, or recruitment. Leadership can count hours related to the legal work of the organization such as providing training and administratively managing clients, projects, and volunteers.
2. Transfer of Knowledge and Access
Have a close-out and transfer discussion with the incoming board. Make sure to:
- Save all documents in your group’s shared drive/O365/Teams
- Share information on mission, role responsibilities, resources and contact lists, calendars and timelines, previous events and programming
- Work with your supervising attorney and administrator on closing out all expenses and on plans for the next budget year. Unused funds are not carried over to the next fiscal year with the exception of some gift funds. SPO budgets are held individually or within each affiliated clinic, not DOS.
- Work with ITS on transferring administration of HLS websites, list-servs, and email accounts, etc.
- Website – Your SPO websites are on the clinics.law.harvard.edu platform using WordPress. To transfer admin access in Word Press, please contact Courtney Majocha with a cc to Lee Mestre. Courtney is a great resource and see WordPress Student User Guide.
- Listservs – Almost all of the SPOS have a listserv via the HLS listserv platform. Take a look at all of the lists before requesting a new one. To request a new list or to assign administrative permissions to your current list, submit an incident to the HLS HelpDesk https://hls.service-now.com/sp/ and put Lee Mestre in the “Watch List” who can chime in to approve your access request.
- Email –Each SPO has a group email account in order to access things that require a harvard.edu domain. The student leaders have access to this email account in O365 via their clinical account. You can access these shared mailboxes through the OWA instructions listed here
https://hls.service-now.com/sp?id=kb_article&sysparm_article=KB0010233. To give access to this group email address to new leaders, submit an incident to the HLS HelpDesk https://hls.service-now.com/sp/ and put Lee Mestre in the “Watch List” who can chime in to approve your access request.
- Zoom accounts and Webinar license – Each SPO has a group Zoom account. The login at https://harvard.zoom.us/ is tied to the SPO group email address. Please share the password and encourage the new leadership to change the password.
If you use other platforms like mailchimp or Google, please make sure to transfer access to those as well.