Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development
organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of
legal services to low-income communities.
I N S T I T U T E
Benchmark Institute provides ongoing education to the public interest
community through its Core Programs in Legal Skills (Client, Lawyer, Legal
Secretary/Assistant, Paralegal) and Leadership. In partnership with
substantive law experts, Benchmark delivers substantive law workshops in
family law, housing and public benefits.
Benchmark also provides consulting services and training on organizational
development issues including governing boards, management, strategic planning
and diversity. Our Justice and Diversity Training Series features customized
trainings for Advocates, Judges, Law Students, Leaders, and Organizations.
Founded in 1989, Benchmark is the
in the United States whose mission focuses solely on training and development
for the entire public interest legal community. To date, Benchmark has served over
10,000 people and hundreds of legal services and public interest organizations in
the United States and abroad.
Benchmark Institute is an educational institution which develops and
delivers training to public interest lawyers, paralegals, clients and other
service providers whose work requires legal knowledge. Benchmark is dedicated
to empowering people through excellence in innovative education, training and
We are committed to:
making a difference in the quality and quantity of services in the public
fostering change to meet the needs
of an increasingly diverse
building a community that values
caring, competence and
Board of Directors
San Francisco, CA
Mary J. Lines
Colorado Springs, CO
Los Angeles, CA
French, President, practiced law with the Legal Aid Foundation of
Los Angeles and taught at Loyola Law School before turning to training
as a fulltime career. She worked in the Legal Services Corporation,
Office of Program Support in the late 1970's designing, developing and
providing training to legal services people across the country. She
served as director of the Western Center on Law & Poverty Regional
Training Center for three years before founding Benchmark Institute in
Vice President, held supervisory and management positions in local
government for over twenty years. A Benchmark founder, she has shared
her management expertise with nonprofit organizations for several
years doing training and facilitating program-wide retreats. She has
extensive experience in developing teams through training and in the
workplace. She has worked with boards of directors, commissions and
numerous community groups.
Culturally diverse faculties are drawn from legal services and public
interest law firms across the country. Faculty members combine subject
matter expertise and expert advocacy or leadership skills with
outstanding teaching ability. Powerful role models during the training,
many continue their relationships with participants serving as mentors
and Organizational Development Services
Benchmark Institute provides Core Skills Programs in Legal Skills and
Leadership, Substantive Law Training and Organizational Development
Core Skills Programs: Legal Skills and Leadership
The Core Skill Programs are rooted in the idea that people must have
certain skills and knowledge to be competent in their work. The Core
Programs provide a basic training plan for achieving an acceptable level
Substantive Law Training
In partnership with substantive law experts, Benchmark has designed
substantive law training in Family, Housing and Public Benefits. These
trainings are the beginning of Core Programs in these substantive areas.
Organizational Development Services
Public interest organizations that put their values into action with
their own staff very likely provide quality client service as well.
Benchmark believes that helping these organizations become proficient in
leadership and interpersonal skills also helps improve service to clients.
that end, we provide consulting services that strengthen the
organization. These services include training design and facilitation in
areas such as communication, team building, valuing diversity, and strategic
planning. We also facilitate retreats for governing boards and staff.