The Resource for Great Programs and Collaborative Justice Partners form legal services consulting partnership

Apr 30, 2019 | News

ORLANDO, Fla. –Two leaders in legal services consulting, The Resource for Great Programs (The Resource) and Collaborative Justice Partners, have joined forces to offer civil legal aid organizations and funders across North America a powerful combination of data analytics and in-depth insights about legal services program operations.

Ken Smith, who founded The Resource in 1984 and has pioneered the application of analytics to legal services organizations and Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) programs, said the partnership offers clients of both organizations complementary capabilities neither could provide independently.

“I’m really excited about it,” Smith said. “Ericka Garcia and Jennifer Wimberly of Collaborative Justice Partners offer a perspective I’ve never been able to offer before, being former legal aid lawyers who have also served in high-level executive roles in one of the nation’s leading civil justice funding organizations.”

Garcia and Wimberly each served as civil legal aid attorneys before joining the staff of The Florida Bar Foundation, where Wimberly led a grants program that distributed $15 million annually to about 30 legal aid organizations and Garcia launched a statewide pro bono partnerships program that rapidly gained nationwide attention for its innovative initiatives.

“They have a lot of insights as to what information legal aid managers and advocates need about their clients, the communities they serve, and the issues out there in the client community, and, importantly, how all of that lines up with the consulting services that we’re currently providing,” Smith said. “That means we can more effectively align our services with what our clients need. I think it really helps from the perspective of our customers. It produces a product that is infinitely richer and more meaningful.”

Garcia and Wimberly formed Collaborative Justice Partners in 2018 to offer grants management, strategic support of pro bono and other collaborative projects, and consulting on the development of stronger justice networks and systems. During its first year in operation, Collaborative Justice Partners was hired to manage projects in Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont and Virginia.

“Ericka is proving to be a really masterful project manager,” Smith said. “She is great at organizing our clients and organizing ourselves to get the work done on time. And Jenn has such an in-depth understanding of how a high-functioning funding organization makes good decisions about grant proposals and then evaluates the programs and projects that are funded to make sure they are producing powerful results for their clients.”

“Meanwhile, I bring the analytical perspective, asking what kinds of metrics will add value to the insights we can offer to our clients. Its’ the idea of synergy. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

The Resource has served clients across the United States and Canada for more than 35 years. Among its most impactful work has been in the area of IOLTA revenue enhancement, through which Smith has used his systems approach to help states increase their IOLTA revenue by as much as a factor of eight. He has also pioneered the creation of outcome measures that show the economic and societal impacts of civil legal aid programs and funders, which helps his clients leverage more private funds and strengthen government support.

Garcia said The Resource offers clients the benefit of tried-and-true processes, measures, analytic methods and tools developed over many years of serving legal services programs and funders, including three-plus decades of working with The Florida Bar Foundation, where Wimberly and Garcia were once on the client side of the equation.

“Ken has an unbelievable amount of knowledge and experience and really has a lot of systems in place,” Garcia said. “We have learned so much from the systems he’s created.”

Together, The Resource and Collaborative Justice Partners are focused on providing services primarily in the areas of:

  • Economic Impact Analysis
  • Legal Needs Assessments
  • Program & Project Evaluation
  • IOLTA Revenue Enhancement
  • Grantmaking systems improvement and out-sourced grant application and grantee report processing for funding organizations

“We really couldn’t have asked for a better partnership,” Wimberly said. “We believe so much in collaboration that we made it the first word in our name, and we see this as the perfect collaboration because each of us brings so much to the table. Together, we can really help our clients to problem-solve and move their ideas forward.”

About The Resource for Great Programs

The Resource for Great Programs is a national consulting firm focusing exclusively on meeting the needs of legal aid providers, IOLTA programs, Access to Justice Commissions, and other civil justice groups for affordable studies that provide practical insights on topics having great impact on their missions.

Ken Smith, President and Founder
The Resource for Great Programs
(231) 947-3280
ken@greatprograms.org

About Collaborative Justice Partners

The mission of Collaborative Justice Partners is to create collaborative relationships and break down barriers to promote social, racial, and economic justice to uplift communities. Collaborative Justice Partners envisions a world where organizations that serve vulnerable individuals achieve their greatest success through accessible, creative, and collaborative solutions.

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