Augusta ME – The Maine Justice Foundation is pleased to announce that applications for the 2023 Access to Justice Tax Credit Program will open on June 1, 2023. The Foundation will accept applications from eligible attorneys from June 1- 15, 2023. Please visit https://www.grantinterface.com/sl/SUzDEJ to apply.
In an effort to encourage lawyers to provide services to underserved areas of our State, the Legislature enacted this program in 2022. 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.
Now in its second year, the program will authorize up to five additional eligible attorneys to receive a $6000 tax credit in 2023 and in each year thereafter through 2027. To be eligible, attorneys must commit to practicing law in an underserved area for at least five years, must be rostered by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services to accept court appointments to represent clients in an underserved area, and must agree to perform pro bono legal services in an underserved area.
In 2022, the Foundation received submissions from eligible applicants statewide representing Penobscot, Hancock, Waldo, Aroostook, Somerset, Androscoggin, and Cumberland Counties. The attorneys selected through this process include Cassandra Rogers and Benjamin Everett of Presque Isle, Taylor Kilgore of Turner, Gregory LeClerc of Standish, and Ryan Rutledge of Skowhegan. These attorneys can continue to claim this credit for up to five years provided they maintain their eligibility. This benefit will be expanded for up to five additional eligible attorneys each year through 2027. “This is one more tool in the toolbox of addressing access to justice for Mainers in need,” states Michelle Draeger, Executive Director of the Maine Justice Foundation. “This benefit will assist and encourage attorneys in underserved areas to help their neighbors in need to access justice through quality legal representation. We are honored to administer this program and look forward to working with the Court to report on the positive benefits associated with it to the Legislature. We can collectively solve access to justice issues in our state but only if we employ multiple creative and win-win solutions such as this tax credit,” says Draeger.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.