January 2001, pg. 8. REPLY AND REJOINDER.

Maine Bar Journal


January 2001, pg. 8.


Maine Bar JournalJanuary 2001REPLY AND REJOINDERJAG History Should Include PENQUIS Law ProjectI read with interest Justice Coffin's history of the Justice Action Group in the October issue of the Maine Bar Journal. It is both impressive and inspiring to note the resourcefulness that the legal services community has used to improve access to justice for all citizens. I was surprised, however, to note that the Penquis Law Project, a public interest family law practice located in Bangor, was not mentioned. Up until a few months ago, I worked with the Law Project, representing clients in domestic relations proceedings throughout Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties.

The Law Project opened in 1994 with one attorney and a part-time secretary. Since then, the practice has grown, and presently employs three attorneys. All of the Law Project's clients are screened and, when appropriate, referred to another provider of legal services. In this way, the Law Project truly complements, rather than duplicates, the work of other legal services organizations. Hundreds of low- and moderateincome clients who otherwise would be left to navigate the legal system pro se have received legal counsel and representation from Law Project attorneys.

The Penquis Law Project is co-located with, and sponsored in part by, the Penquis Community Action Program, a non-profit social service agency serving Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. The Board of Directors at Penquis Community Action noted the need for increased access to civil legal assistance in the communities it serves, and acted by investing start up resources to launch the Law Project. Since then, the Law Project has been supported by a wide range of organizations including the Maine Women's Fund, the Maine Bar Foundation, the United Way of Eastern Maine, Maine's Department of Public Safety, the U. S. Dept. of Justice...

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