Maine Legal Aid Organizations Brace for Surge in Demand

As the pandemic continues, civil legal aid organizations are bracing for a surge in demand that they expect will extend beyond the end of the public health crisis. More people will need legal advice on evictions, divorces, protection from abuse orders and other civil matters. Fewer people will be able to afford it.

This year, volunteer lawyers have already answered more than 350 questions on Free Legal Answers Maine, a website where low-income people can get free legal advice on civil matters like child custody and tenant rights. The site is on track to soon outpace its traffic from last year – 479 questions in all of 2019 – due to increased demand related to the coronavirus.

The Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, which maintains the site, allowed a reporter to review sample questions, but it did not share any identifying information or the legal advice provided to users, including the parent with shared custody.

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