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Money raised by the Muskie Fund for Legal Services supports six non-profit legal services providers which provide legal services to Maine's low-income and elderly residents.
CUMBERLAND LEGAL AID CLINIC
The University of Maine School of Law provides clinical education and public service through the Cumberland Legal Clinic. The Clinic provides free legal representation to low-income individuals with legal cases in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, and Androscoggin counties, and to incarcerated individuals throughout Maine. Clients are represented by third year law students who are specially licensed by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and U.S. District Court. The Clinic provides approximately half of each graduating class at the Law School with the opportunity to represent poor Mainers in court, benefiting hundreds of residents who would otherwise have been unable to obtain legal counsel.
IMMIGRANT LEGAL ADVOCACY PROJECT
ILAP is Maine's only nonprofit provider of immigration and related legal aid. ILAP's mission is to advocate for and to improve the status and well-being of Maine's low-income noncitizens and their families by providing affordable legal services, and by educating and working with service providers, policy makers, and the public concerning legal issues unique to noncitizens. Founded in 1993 as a purely pro bono project, since 2000 ILAP has been an independent, staffed legal aid agency serving Mainers statewide. Annually, more than 2,000 individuals, originating from over 100 countries, benefit from ILAP's free and low-fee immigration services. Among these are education and outreach, consultations and referrals, extended pro se assistance, full representation and systemic advocacy. ILAP specializes in asylum, protection of noncitizen survivors of domestic violence, family unification, permanent residency, citizenship, and removal defense.
LEGAL SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY
Established in 1974, LSE's mission is to provide free, high quality legal services to Maine's socially and economically needy citizen's age 60 and over. Thousands of Maine seniors rely on LSE for representation, assistance and information on a broad range of legal problems and questions, including physical abuse and financial exploitation, nursing home eligibility and other long term care issues, consumer fraud, evictions, debt collection, powers of attorney, public benefits programs, Medicare, MaineCare and other health coverage matters. LSE has offices in Augusta, Bangor, Lewiston, Scarborough, and Presque Isle and provides state-wide service through its toll-free Helpline and its website.
MAINE EQUAL JUSTICE PARTNERS
Maine Equal Justice Partners' mission is to advance and protect public policies that assist Maine people to gain social and economic justice. In order to carry out its mission, MEJP focuses its work on issues that affect people's daily lives - access to adequate health care, food assistance, income supports, housing issues, fair working conditions, and higher education and training opportunities. MEJP represents those in economic need in class action lawsuits, in front of governmental agencies and through advocacy at the administrative and legislative levels. MEJP's work is on behalf of and informed by its primary client, the Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods (MAIN), a statewide coalition of low-income individuals and groups.
PINE TREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE INC.
Pine Tree Legal Assistance provides high quality legal assistance to low income people in Maine, ensuring that state and federal laws affecting poor people are enforced while also addressing the long-range barriers to justice affecting low income Mainers. Pine Tree prioritizes cases that help individuals and families meet their basic human needs, such as access to adequate shelter, food, income, education, and support programs. For every $1 Pine Tree spends, an average of $2.50 is returned to vulnerable Mainers in the form of income or savings.
MAINE VOLUNTEER LAWYERS PROJECT
The Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project has opened the doors of justice for low-income people through the collaborative efforts of community and attorney volunteers since 1983. A joint project of the Maine Bar Foundation and Pine Tree Legal Assistance, VLP operates a volunteer-staffed statewide hotline providing information and assistance to thousands of people with civil legal problems every year, focusing on the areas of family and consumer law and income maintenance. Self-represented clients get advice and coaching through family law cases from attorneys and law students volunteering on VLP's Family Law Helpline. Hundreds of VLP clients are referred annually to private attorneys throughout the state for full pro bono representation and hundreds more receive limited representation through the Domestic Violence Pro Bono Panel. Nationally recognized for its innovative use of volunteers from the broader community as well as the legal profession, VLP has provided free legal services worth well over $30 million to nearly 200,000 low-income Mainers over the past 25 years.