Because the Office of Public Advocacy has staff GALs in only four locations in the state, the agency retains contractors to provide local representation for children and adults in other areas of the state. In addition, staff GALs in regional offices at times have legal conflicts and a GAL outside of the office is required to provide conflict free representation. Contract GALs are paid by OPA as part of a pre-arranged contract or, in some areas, on a case-by-case basis (sometimes called "court-appointed" work). All contractors are screened, retained, and trained by OPA before being assigned cases. Contractors are not employees of the agency, are not supervised by OPA staff, and are not provided benefits or office space. OPA does provide oversight, provide legal advice and representation if needed, and receive and respond to complaints about contractors.
While contractors are not OPA employees they are required to follow the guidelines set out by the agency. Contractor guidelines for contact with children are different than those of staff GALs to reflect the time, difficulty, and expense involved in traveling in rural areas of the state. Guidelines (pdf)
OPA divides the state into three regional areas for the selection process for contract GALs.
Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak, Bethel, Dillingham, Cordova, Valdez, Glen Allen, Nome and Kotzebue areas are handled by the Anchorage Regional office.
The southeast Alaska region is handled by the Juneau office and the Barrow and
Fairbanks area is handled from the Fairbanks office.
Every two years, OPA requests bids for contracts for both attorneys and GALs. Request for Proposals (RFPs) notification will be posted on the OPA website and at the State of Alaska's Online Public Notices site.
If a contract GAL is needed in a particular area outside of the normal RFP cycle, the regional office will recruit, screen, and retain a contract GAL. If you are interested in becoming a contract GAL, please send a cover letter and resume to the supervising attorney in the regional office in your area. If there are no current openings, your resume will be held and considered for future openings or you can apply when RFPs are open.