PINE TREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE INC

More Fairness, Less Poverty

Portland, ME   |  http://ptla.org

Mission

PTLA is a statewide, non-profit organization committed to providing high quality, free, civil legal assistance to low-income people in Maine. Our mission is to ensure that state and federal laws affecting poor people are enforced while also addressing the systemic barriers to justice that low-income Mainers face. We are committed to ensuring that all Mainers have access to justice.

Ruling year info

1966

Principal Officer

Ms. Nan Heald

Main address

P.O. Box 547

Portland, ME 04112 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

01-0279387

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

Public Interest Law/Litigation (I83)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Although individuals involved in the criminal justice system are entitled to court-appointed counsel if they cannot afford an attorney, no such right exists for families with low incomes who are coping with serious civil legal needs. Instead, those individuals must rely on nonprofit legal aid providers or proceed without representation. With roughly 30% of Maine’s total population living below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, the need for legal aid in Maine is great. According to Justice for All: A Report of the Justice Action Group, a 2007 report on justice in Maine, households with low incomes will experience, on average, between one and two problems a year that require some legal intervention. Unfortunately, most of these individuals are unable to afford legal assistance. The report also estimates that roughly 75% of people in the civil justice system are not represented by counsel and that lack of representation will affect the quality of justice those individuals receive.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Civil Legal Aid

We believe that there should be fairness, justice and equality for all, and, that if we can instill more fairness in our society, there will be less poverty. Pine Tree Legal Assistance’s mission is to ensure that state and federal laws affecting poor people are upheld, while also addressing the systemic barriers to justice faced by Mainers with low incomes. To achieve this end, Pine Tree provides free civil legal assistance in cases where it can make a difference in one’s ability to meet one’s basic human needs or in enforcing one’s basic human rights, including access to housing, food, income, safety, education, and healthcare.

Our priorities are: the preservation of housing and related housing needs; maintaining, enhancing and protecting income and economic stability; promoting safety, health, and well-being; improving outcomes for Maine children and youth; enforcing workplace opportunities, income and legal protections for low-wage workers; meeting the legal needs of populations with other vulnerabilities; and improving the delivery of legal services and justice for low - income Mainers statewide.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

We believe that an injustice against a child can last a lifetime. We are committed to addressing the most pressing needs of vulnerable youth in Maine to ensure their safety, wellbeing, and access to a meaningful education.

In 2004, Pine Tree Legal Assistance created KIDS LEGAL, a specialty unit within Pine Tree that is exclusively focused on addressing the unique needs of low-income children and youth in Maine. KIDS LEGAL is Maine’s first and only children’s rights project. KIDS LEGAL provides direct representation to children, youth, and parents or caregivers on their behalf. We also provide consultations and trainings in Maine about the rights of children and youth.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Women to Watch 2010

MaineBiz

Howard Dana Jr Award 2009

Maine Bar Foundation

Founders Award 2010

Coastal Enterprises

Scolnik Award 2010

Maine Civil Liberties Union

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Pine Tree served more than 1.5 million people in 2020 through direct legal aid, outreach, and it's websites.

Number of clients participating in educational programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020 Pine Tree served 3,848 people through community education activities including consultations, meetings, presentations, and trainings.

Number of requests for advocate products or information, including downloads or page views of online material

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Pine Tree’s websites were utilized by 1,663,691 users in 2020, accessing Pine Tree’s websites for a total of 3,015,743 page views.

Number of clients served through individual cases

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020 Pine Tree served 15,643 people through individual cases, including 9,521 adults and 6,120 children.

Number of full representation cases resolved in favor of the client.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020 1,428 cases were resolved in favor of the client after full legal representation.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Pine Tree is committed to reducing the impact of poverty in Maine while upholding our nation's vision of liberty and justice for all. To achieve this vision, we provide free high-quality civil legal assistance to people in Maine with low incomes in cases where it can make a difference in meeting basic human needs or enforcing basic human rights. Our mission is to ensure that state and federal laws affecting poor people are enforced while also addressing the systemic barriers to justice that low-income Mainers face.

More specifically, Pine Tree's goals are as follow:
• Maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic security;
• Preserving housing and related needs;
• Promoting the safety, stability, and well-being of low-income Mainers;
• Improving outcomes for children;
• Meeting the legal needs of populations with special vulnerabilities; and
• Improving the delivery of legal services and access to justice.

Pine Tree has three effective strategies for increasing access to justice. The first strategy is to maintain an extensive network of free resources that are accessible to Mainers throughout the state. To this end, Pine Tree manages four websites: ptla.org, kidslegal.org, statesidelegal.org, and helpmelaw.org. These websites offer the public both general legal information and more specialized legal resources that make individuals more capable of advocating for their own rights. Interactive forms and modules on these sites allow website visitors to access individualized information from wherever they are located geographically, which is a clear benefit in a rural state such as Maine.

Pine Tree's second strategy is to provide direct services to individuals and families through high quality and personalized legal assistance. With six neighborhood offices, Pine Tree is accessible to low-income Mainers throughout the state, regardless of geography, language, or disability. Pine Tree prioritizes cases that help clients secure basic human needs, including access to housing, food, income, safety, education, and well-being. Pine Tree also has several innovative projects that focus on specific legal issues or targeted populations; these programs include a Native American Unit, a children's law project, a fair housing unit, and a foreclosure prevention program.

Finally, Pine Tree is dedicated to community education about legal issues and solutions. Pine Tree conducts regular outreach to the public, service providers, and special client populations, including migrant farmworkers who come to Maine for seasonal work, homeless individuals and families, current and veteran service members, and Native Americans. Much of this outreach is conducted in person, but Pine Tree is on the cutting edge of new technologies, such as live video-conference, that can connect individuals in rural areas to relevant and personalized legal information and advice. Through the combination of these strategies, Pine Tree is making great strides towards its goal of providing justice for all.

Pine Tree has been helping Mainers with low incomes access justice since 1967. Pine Tree is one of Maine's largest firms, employing 31 attorneys in a network of six local offices and providing representation and assistance in all 41 of Maine's District Courts. As the state's oldest and largest statewide legal aid provider, Pine Tree is uniquely situated to continue to address the civil legal needs of residents of Maine. Pine Tree's attorneys average 17 years of legal experience and 14 years of experience at Pine Tree, which represents a cadre of unparalleled expertise in and dedication to the pursuit of justice for all. Pine Tree handles more full representation cases than any other civil legal aid provider in Maine, and over 96% of cases that involve representation at a court or administrative hearing are closed with a favorable outcome for the client. Pine Tree also specializes in a wide breadth of casework, which means the organization is well-situated to advocate for the rights of low-income Mainers for years to come.

In 2019, Pine Tree Legal Assistance worked on 6,878 cases, providing direct legal assistance on a wide range of legal issues. The following data highlight some of Pine Tree’s most significant outcomes. In 2019, Pine Tree’s advocacy:
• Saved Maine consumers $$504,830 in unlawful and excessive debt by enforcing consumer protections.
• Prevented homelessness for 217 families (a total of 532 people) though eviction dismissals alone. Many of those involved subsidized housing, an important stabilizer for many low income and vulnerable families. If a tenant with a housing subsidy is evicted, the tenant may become ineligible for other subsidized housing programs for up to five years. Losing access to this subsidy can drastically affect a tenant’s ability to afford housing in the future and poses particular hardships for the elderly and families with children. Pine Tree preserved $19,507 in monthly housing subsidies in 2019. The annual value of these subsidies is $234,084.
• Resulted in 397 new protection orders for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence.
• Secured educational services for 101 low income children, helped 35 children return to school, and kept 27 children in school.
• The total direct financial benefit to our clients, as a result of our advocacy in 2019 is $4,246,237.

Pine Tree's advocacy catalyzes systemic changes that increase equality. In 2010, Pine Tree's uncovered abuses in the handling of foreclosure proceedings that prompted a nationwide halt in those cases by several national servicers. Earlier program victories struck down Maine's vagrancy statute, established the right to court-appointed counsel in cases involving more than six months of jail time, abolished debtors' prison, defended the right to home school one's children, and established the eligibility of military families to receive welfare benefits when a parent is deployed.

That said, justice continues to elude many of our state's low-income families. According to a 2007 report by Maine's Justice Action Group, households with low incomes experience an average of one to two legal problems a year. Pine Tree, which is often both the first and last resort for low-income Mainers facing legal problems, can only serve one fifth of eligible families. Program limitations, changing laws, and challenging economic pressures (such as recent rises in foreclosures and debt issues), ensure that there will always be individuals who could benefit from legal assistance.

Financials

PINE TREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE INC
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

PINE TREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE INC

Board of directors
as of 4/7/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dan Emery

Attorney

Russell Anderson

William Black

Travis Brennan

Maine State Bar Association appointee

William Devoe

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Dan Emery

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Hope Hilton

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Marcus Jaynes

Maine State Bar Association appointee

William Knowles

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Richard Ladd

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Elinor Miller

Lawrence Reichard

Clifford Ruprecht

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Stacy Stitham

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Alyssa Boelcskevy

Elizabeth Butler

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Audrey Braccio

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Caitlin DiMillo

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Constant Kabuyenge

Wendy Harlan

Maine State Bar Association appointee

N. Joel Moser

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Jeff Stanley

Allison Quimby

Daniel Wathen

Maine State Bar Association appointee

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes