MTSAs are legal documents. A lawyer is very helpful in the MTSA process. Their role is to ensure that what is in the MTSA is legally sound—meaning that it is consistent and clearly lays out the roles and responsibilities of each service partner, and the specifics of the service to be received.

It is important to get a lawyer involved at the right time. Too early and you may spend time and resources spinning your wheels on legal details when you haven’t even set policy directions with your service partner. Too late and you may find problems with your MTSA after everyone has already agreed to the terms.

This blog post will explore a couple of scenarios to help shed some light on when to involve a lawyer.

Scenario 1

Your MTSA has been in place for a long time and you have a great relationship with your service partner. The groundwork was done a long time ago. You’re happy with your agreement, but it’s time to renew it. You and your service partner only want minor changes—for example, changes to the meeting schedule, or an update to rates that everyone agrees upon.

In this case, bringing a lawyer into the process earlier may be a good idea. A lawyer’s job will be to go through the final wording with a fine-toothed comb before both parties sign the document. They are doing a final check and updating any provisions if legal best practice has changed.

Scenario 2

You have a lot of ground work to do. Maybe one of the following applies to your situation:

  • Starting a new MTSA
  • Making major changes to an existing MTSA
  • Planning large capital investments
  • Changing how the service is provided
  • Changing the service itself

Pathways Guide

Pathways to Service Delivery Guide

If one of these applies to your situation, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before you involve a lawyer. A lawyer’s role is not usually to get into deeper policy questions, or to help with setting a vision. These types of activities happen before a lawyer is consulted. If you get a lawyer involved too early, you may spend a lot of time (and money) negotiating the details when the broader goals have not even been set.

We recommend figuring out those important service delivery questions first by working with your service partner. The resources on this website were created to help you navigate the world of MTSAs. The Pathways to Service Delivery Guide is a great place to start.

Once you have a broad idea of the MTSA process (after reading the guide), you can use the MTSA Handbooks and Checklists to answer the major service delivery questions that you and your service partner need to agree on. It may be helpful to complete a checklist based on your community needs before meeting with your service partner so that you know what your goals are.

Once you’ve agreed on the components of your MTSA, a lawyer can help you draft your MTSA. They will also take care of the standard details such as the following:

  • Schedules
  • Assignment
  • Acknowledgement of Rights
  • Headings
  • Liability and Insurance
  • Governing Laws
  • Indemnity