Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for VLP services?
VLP provides help to low-income Maine residents or low-income people living in other states who have civil legal problems handled in Maine Courts. VLP clients must have a household income that falls within guidelines established by our federal and state funders and have a legal problem which VLP handles. Typically, VLP clients must have a household income below 200% of federal poverty guidelines. Determining income eligibility is quite complex - please don't assume you are not eligible without talking to VLP.
You also must be a United States citizen or a qualified non-citizen to get help from VLP. We cannot help people who are currently in prison.
What kinds of cases does VLP handle?
What happens when I call VLP’s intake line?
When you call our toll free 1-800-442-4293 number during the designated intake hours for your specific legal issue, you will be asked to specify whether you have called us before and to identify what type of legal problem you have. You will then be placed in the appropriate cue with other callers and will be told what number caller you are in the cue. So long as you stay on the phone, your spot in the cue will be reserved and your call will be taken by an interviewer as soon as possible.
What questions will I be asked during the intake interview?
How does VLP decide which cases to refer for a free lawyer?
I have been given an appointment on the family law helpline. What does this involve?
My case has been selected for referral to a volunteer lawyer. What happens next?
I thought your services were free; why is my attorney asking me to pay?
I am not eligible for VLP help. What do I do now?
If I need to make a complaint, what do I do?
Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project Grievance Policy
If you have a complaint: If you have a complaint about the VLP, you should write to or talk this over with the VLP Director. She can be reached at P.O. Box 547, Portland, Maine 04112 or by phone to 1-207-828-2317, x1270. If you are still not satisfied, write to the Executive Director, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, P.O. Box 547, Portland, Maine 04112. Give the details as you see them. If there is an emergency, call the Executive Director at 1-207-774-4653.
If you still cannot work things out, ask that the facts be reviewed by the Board of Directors. The Executive Director must tell the President of the Board of your request. If you were denied services and you thought this unfair, the President can decide the question or send it to the committee if you like. If the complaint is something else, the President will ask the Grievance Committee to review your case.
Grievance Committee: The Committee will ask you to write or tell about your problem as you see it. You can ask another person to help you do this, if you like. If you ask, the VLP will type up a short statement in your own words to put in the file. The VLP keeps a file on each complaint. If you make a written statement, it will be kept - along with the decision in the matter.
You have a right to be heard. Don't be afraid to use that right.If you have a complaint