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Randomized Evaluation in Legal Assistance: What Difference Does Representation (Offer and Actual Use) Make?

By: D. James Greiner, Cassandra Wolos Pattanayak

Particularly with respect to low-income clients in civil cases, how much of a difference does legal representation make? In 2007, we initiated discussions with various legal services providers to generate interest in a series of randomized trials that we hoped would provide gold-standard answers to the question of how much of a difference both an offer of and actual use of legal representation make.

The randomized evaluation determined that an offer of Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) representation had no statistically significant effect on the probability that a claimant would prevail, but that the offer did delay the adjudicatory process. The unexpected results of the HLAB study prompted us to reexamine the literature purporting to assess quantitatively how much of a difference legal representation makes in civil cases.

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Uploaded on: Jun 19, 2017
Last Updated: Jun 20, 2017
Year Published: 2012
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