Augusta, ME | The Maine Justice Foundation is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the Access to Justice Tax Credit Program. In an effort to encourage lawyers to provide services to underserved areas of our State, the Legislature enacted the Access to Justice Tax Credit Program. Starting in 2022, the program authorized five lawyers who practice in underserved areas. Now in its second year, the program is authorizing five additional eligible attorneys to receive a $6000 tax credit in 2023. Attorneys can continue to claim this credit for up to five years provided they maintain eligibility.
36 M.R.S. Section 5219-ZZ provides that the Maine Supreme Court or its designee shall certify up to five qualified attorneys annually for participation in the Access to Justice Tax Credit program. The Court has designated the Maine Justice Foundation to administer the program and established a Standing Committee to assist and advise the Foundation in the process. The Standing Committee includes representatives of the Maine Justice Foundation, the Maine State Bar Association, and the Maine Trial Lawyers Association.
The Foundation accepted applications from eligible attorneys from June 1- 15, 2023 and received submissions from eligible applicants statewide representing Penobscot, Kennebec, Knox, Hancock and York Counties. The Foundation has recertified the 2022 applicants for their second year representing applicants from Penobscot, Hancock, Waldo, Aroostook, Somerset, Androscoggin, and Cumberland Counties.
To be eligible for selection, the recipient attorney has committed to practicing law in an underserved area for at least 5 years, are rostered by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services to accept court appointments to represent clients in an underserved area and agree to perform pro bono legal services in an underserved area. Once eligibility was determined, the five successful recipients of the tax credit were made by random selection.
The new attorneys selected through this process for 2023 include Britany Sawyer of Arundel, Shamara Bailey of Patten, Lynn Madison of Rockland, Stephen Smith of Augusta, and Cheryl Saniuk-Heinig of Rockland. The attorneys who have been recertified are Cassandra Rogers and Benjamin Everett of Presque Isle, Taylor Kilgore of Turner, Gregory LeClerc of Standish, and Ryan Rutledge of Skowhegan.
The Maine Justice Foundation, founded in 1983 as the Maine Bar Foundation, is the state’s leading funder of civil legal aid for poor and vulnerable Mainers. Find us online and support access to justice through donations to various funds at www.justicemaine.org.
FMI: Contact Michelle G. Draeger, Executive Director: 207-620-1351, email@example.com.