Intake Procedures and Conflict Checks
At no time during the initial intake of prospective clients may anyone other than a student-attorney or attorney in the clinic provide legal advice or opinions regarding a taxpayer’s possible course of action. As a general rule, only after a case is accepted and all relevant facts are gathered should advice be given, and then only by the student attorney assigned to the case or his or her supervisor. A student attorney handling intake should limit his or her conversation with a taxpayer to gathering the basic information needed to complete the intake form and performing the initial conflicts check.
However, a student attorney handling intake may provide advice to taxpayer with respect to time sensitive matters such as pending levies and expiring statutory notices. Taxpayers may be advised to call the IRS directly if time is of the essence, prior to when the taxpayer’s case is accepted. For example, in situations involving an expiring statutory notice of deficiency, it is appropriate to talk the taxpayer through how to petition the Tax Court. In addition, a student attorney should normally inform clients to file delinquent tax returns. If any student attorney handling intake is uncertain whether to furnish advice or information to a taxpayer, the student attorney should consult with one of the Clinic Directors.
After the intake telephone conversation a conflict check should be conducted. This is done by completing the Basic Intake and Conflict Routing Form and e-mailing it to the GSU Clinical Managerial Administrative Specialist, with a copy to the Clinic Director. In addition, the taxpayer should be asked whether any relative or former spouse has ever been served by the clinic, and this should be indicated on the form if the taxpayer gives an affirmative response. You will be informed if a conflict is discovered. No confidential information should be gathered once a conflict is identified.