Pine Tree Legal is a free legal resource for low-income people in Maine.
We provide legal help in many ways: we offer trainings and clinics, self-help materials, advice and in some cases, full legal representation. Visit this website anytime to access fillable court forms, self-help tools and materials. Our online Find Legal Help tool will lead you to helpful information and resources for your situation. Get our telephone and walk-in hours here. Our phone hours can be busy, but we speak with as many people as possible given our resources.
If you come to our office, ask for a translator right away. We will provide one free of charge.
You can also call us at 207-774-8211. Press “2.” Then press:
1 for Spanish
2 for Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese)
3 for French
4 for Arabic
5 for Somali
6 for Portuguese (Brazilain)
7 for Vietnamese
Please leave a message letting us know where you are in the state, what kind of issue you have, and how we can reach you. A staff member will call you back within 5-7 business days.
By federal rules most Pine Tree services are limited to people with household incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (and below 125% after deductions, such as housing costs). Some of our programs allow higher incomes. View our income guidelines here. If you don’t qualify for our help, we will tell you right away.
Each year, we are contacted by over 50,000 people! Unfortunately, we have only enough staff to offer one-on-one help to less than 1 out of every 5 people who contact us.
These are the types of cases we help with:
In most cases, Pine Tree does not accept family law cases. If you need help with a divorce or parental rights and responsibilities case, contact the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Pine Tree does not take criminal cases or traffic violations. Go here to find out how to get legal help.
We continually assess the most pressing legal problems facing low-income Mainers. Our Pine Tree Board of Directors regularly reviews this list. The cases currently receiving our top priority:
The type of service we provide depends largely on the type of legal problem.
We have a grievance procedure. Here are the steps for you to follow.
Step 1: If you have a complaint about Pine Tree, ask to speak with the Directing Attorney of your local PTLA office.
Step 2: If you are still not satisfied, write to:Executive Director Pine Tree Legal Assistance P.O. Box 547 Portland, Maine 04112
Give the details as you see them. In an emergency, call the Executive Director at 207-774-4753.
Step 3: If you still cannot work things out, ask for a review by the Board of Directors. The Executive Director must tell the President of the Board of your request. If you were denied services unfairly, the President can decide the question. Or he can send it to the Grievance Committee, if you prefer. If you are complaining about something else, the Grievance Committee will review your case.
Step 4: The Committee will ask you to write or tell about your complaint. You can ask another person to help you, if you like. If you ask, Pine Tree will type up a short statement in your own words.
Record Keeping Policy
Pine Tree keeps a file on each complaint. If you make a written statement, we will keep it. It will go in the file with the decision on your complaint.
Go here to download a printer-friendly copy of this policy. Or ask your PTLA contact to give or mail you this form after filling in the name of the local office’s Directing Attorney.
September 2015, partially updated July 2016