Maine Pro Bono Legal Information, Resources and Assistance
Maine Pro Bono Summary: Maine Bar Foundation is a statewide nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted exclusively to law-related charitable work. The Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) coordinates the volunteer efforts of Maine attorneys and community members to help low-income people navigate the civil justice system. They provide free information, brief assistance and pro bono legal representation in civil legal matters to qualifying clients. The volunteers give low-income Mainers the tools and the know-how to be equal participants in the legal system. VLP is a joint project of Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the Maine Bar Foundation.
VLP typically assists with cases dealing with:
- Family law matters including divorce, child support and child custody
- Consumer law matters including personal bankruptcy and foreclosure
- Benefits matters including Social Security and unemployment compensation
- Personal injury, real estate and tax law
VLP provides help in three ways:
Legal Hotline: a trained volunteer will conduct an intake interview over the telephone to gather important information about the legal problem and determine the eligibility for VLP services. During this call, the VLP volunteer will consult with a staff supervisor to decide the best way to assist.
Family Law Helpline: VLP clients with family law problems (divorce, child custody, child support, etc.) may receive legal advice and assistance with their case from a volunteer lawyer or law student over the telephone. Phone appointments are scheduled on either Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:00 or Friday afternoons from 1:00-4:00.
Courthouse Assistance Projects (CHAPs): Attorney volunteers provide help with family law matters at the District Courts in Portland, Biddeford and Lewiston.
Maine Pro Bono Contacts:
M. Calien Lewis, Executive Director
Maine Bar Foundation
Director,The Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP)
Pro Bono Awards:
In 1984, the Bar Foundation established its annual achievement award, later named for Justice Howard H. Dana, Jr. The award is granted in recognition of an individual's outstanding contributions to the development and implementation of private bar projects which enhance civil legal assistance to the indigent.
Additional Information Links:
Maine civil legal services providers
Directory of Law School Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs