Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of legal services to low-income communities.
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Welcome to Legal Services!

Welcome to one of the most fulfilling, frustrating, and challenging jobs on the planet.

Welcome to a tradition of fighting for the rights of poor people and their communities.

Welcome to a tradition of building strong communities by helping:

• preserve, produce, and protect rights to, affordable, habitable, accessible housing

• create access to health care, child care, food and income support programs

• lessen and eliminate violence, neglect and abuse in families

• rescue people from and prevent homelessness

• protect consumers from rip-offs, particularly vulnerable elders, immigrants, and persons with limited English language skills

• create jobs, prevent unemployment, and remove barriers to productive employment

• facilitate the integration of immigrants, people of color, and people with disabilities into the labor force and society at large

• enable students to get a quality education

Whether attorney, paralegal, advocate, secretary, manager, pro bono coordinator, executive director or administrator - you have chosen well. The work is challenging and meaningful. You are working for the greater good. But the work is not easy and has few extrinsic rewards. We are not held up as the “best and the brightest” - even though we know we must be. The pay is not great. With few exceptions, we are not in the public eye; we aren’t depicted on TV or in film. Many people think that lawyers for poor people is an oxymoron - “you mean,” they ask “there are lawyers for poor people???” Yes, and paralegals, advocates, secretaries and other good folks who choose to do this work.

Best of all, you’re not alone. You’re part of a dedicated, creative group of people across the country, indeed the world, who are committed to justice for low-income people and eager to help you. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Our purpose is to orient you to the larger legal services community, guide you through the inevitable slings and arrows, and generally get you off to a great start. We plan to introduce you to important information and resources that will make you more productive sooner.

Obviously, we don’t believe in the “sink or swim” orientation model; nor do we wish to bore or overwhelm you. We encourage you to come back often, choose those sections that are helpful to you, and do it at a pace that suits you.

We will be adding sections as quickly as we can.

We encourage your feedback on how we can make this orientation more useful.

Again, welcome aboard.


Asked 'N Answered

Avoiding Burnout

Learning About
Your Community 

 Legal Services
Phrase Book 

Living Well on....Peanuts

Orientation Checklist


Vision & Community:
Keys to Thriving
in Legal Services