The Maine Homeless Legal Project (MHLP), a program of the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), is a legal resource for Preble Street clients. MHLP provides clients who have little or no income with access to volunteer attorneys who can answer legal questions, give legal advice, or suggest other legal resources. The volunteer law firm changes each month and is identified by the Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Preble Street caseworkers are encouraged to use this resource for clients when a legal need arises. Appointments are currently held via Zoom and scheduled at a mutually convenient time for attorneys, clients, and caseworkers. Please note that MHLP volunteers can give legal advice on civil matters only and do not counsel clients on criminal cases.
Maine Homeless Legal Project Referral ProcessPlease note that the referring caseworker is expected to attend all appointments, including screening, with their client. We have found that clients whose caseworkers participate have a better chance of following through on the attorney’s recommendations and seeing their issues resolved. It is expected that during appointments, caseworkers will actively engage with the client and the attorney to clarify information and assist with follow-up instructions.
- Screening After filling out the yellow highlighted areas of the client intake form, the caseworker or staff member working directly with the client should contact the Preble Street Advocacy Director (email@example.com) who will conduct a brief screening of each referral and request clarification if needed.
- Referral Once the screening has been completed, the Advocacy Director will send an introductory email to the pro bono contact for the month, copying VLP and the Preble Street caseworker working with the client.Once an attorney has been assigned, the pro bono contact will notify the caseworker. The caseworker will coordinate the necessary Zoom appointments with the client, staff member, and attorney. The attorney should send a follow-up email with suggested next steps or the outcome of the legal consultation.
Other Legal ResourcesIf the matter is related to family issues (e.g., divorce, child custody, etc.) VLP CourtHouse Assistance Project (CHAP) for Family Law is directly available to your client. Volunteer Family Law Attorneys provide free 30 minute consultations to people in need of assistance with divorce, child custody, and related matters. Multiple appointments are available as needed. CHAP clinics now operate remotely on Wednesday through Friday afternoons, with statewide referrals. If a Preble Street client has a family-related issue, please email this clinic directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Volunteer Lawyers Project has additional legal clinics including:
- Small Claims Clinic: Zoom consultations on the first and third Monday of each month 1-3pm
- Family Law Helpline: Attorneys make calls to clients who have asked the VLP for help and have gone through the intake to identify their legal issues; Wednesdays 5:30-8:30pm
- Workers’ Rights Clinic: 30 minute Zoom consultations on Thursdays 5-7pm
- Protection From Abuse/Harassment Panel: At mutually convenient times, attorneys provide Zoom or telephone consultations to help clients prepare for hearings; attorneys may choose to represent clients during the hearing
In addition, Maine Free Legal Answers, a project of the American Bar Association, is a virtual legal advice clinic where pro bono attorneys provide advice to clients regarding a wide range of civil matters.If you have any questions about the services listed above, please contact the Preble Street Advocacy Director at email@example.com.