Providing Legal Assistance to Maine Families
_ Every day, legal aid organizations supported by the Campaign for Justice serve children, young adults, parents, and grandparents, who cannot otherwise afford lawyers. Legal services providers (relying on their own legal professionals and pro bono volunteer lawyers) represent their clients in the courts, before government agencies, and wherever laws affecting them are shaped and applied.
Lifeline. Help. Hope. These are simple words that Mainers with low incomes use to describe what it feels like to have an attorney on their side in otherwise daunting circumstances. The Campaign helps the boy who sits next to our son in class, the elderly woman at our place of worship, the guy who works on our lawn, the young couple holding down multiple jobs and seeking to find the way out of poverty by learning new skills. It gives hope to the mom of our daughter’s soccer teammate, an elderly widower with whom our parents went to school, the relative of our secretary, the disabled young man who works in the sandwich shop.
Why do lawyers across the State join together in supporting the Campaign year after year? Because that support is essential to provide access to justice to more than 25,000 Maine people every year – a number that does not include hundreds of thousands helped tangibly when generally applicable legal changes are made through class actions and other impact litigation and advocacy. With the Campaign now in its anniversary 10th year, help and hope have been realized in over 150,000 cases impacting nearly one quarter million adults and children. Here are just a few of the situations that the gifts of the legal community have resolved successfully:
These stories are multiplied thousands of times over each year in all sixteen counties in Maine. The ability to have a lawyer at their side was the difference between successful resolution and hopelessness.
For all the reasons we care about the law, love the practice of law, and depend upon the integrity of the justice system for our own livelihood, we need to stretch to our highest capacity each year to support these Maine adults and children. They are the need for which the Campaign exists: they live and work in our community, desperate for help and hope. Supporting the Campaign puts one of us at their sides when they need it most. Reaching the goal of $450,000 in 2013 will help to prevent further erosion of access to justice and move us in the direction of a sustainable legal aid program.
Please consider an increase for the 10th Anniversary Challenge.