October 2, 2009

8:00 AM ..Registration

I. Morning Plenary Sessions

8:30 AM....Welcome: ..Dean Peter Pitegoff, University of Maine School of Law

“Achieving the Elusive Great Society: Why We Must
Re-Awaken The War On Poverty”

8:45 AM ..1. Keynote: Civil Legal Aid and the Continuing War on Poverty

Introduction of Peter Edelman (Harold Pachios)

9:00 AM....Prof. Peter Edelman, Georgetown University Law Center windows media player

The history of targeted legal services over the past four decades holds important lessons for today’s strategies to expand justice.  Professor Peter Edelman will look back at the economic and social circumstances leading up to the War on Poverty and creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson.  He will articulate the initial vision for the role of civil legal aid in the War on Poverty and the challenges of implementation.  Finally, he will link this history to the best practices currently in upstream intervention and other initiatives at the state and federal level to extend access to justice for all people in need.

10:00 AM Break

10:15 AM .2. Four Decades of Civil Legal Aid in Maine:
........................Past Accomplishments and Present Day Challenges windows media player


Moderator:Hon. Howard Dana, Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Verrill Dana
Panelists:.  Hon. Susan Calkins, Maine Supreme Judicial Court
...................Christine Hastedt, Maine Equal Justice Partners
...................Nan Heald, Pine Tree Legal Assistance
...................Robert Mittel, Mittel Asen LLC

Focus: This panel will feature the insights of five individuals who have been leaders in shaping and implementing a broad vision of civil legal aid in Maine, from the late 1960s through to the present day.  They will review many of the significant ways that legal aid organizations have expanded social and economic justice for low-income and underserved populations in Maine through impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and work with public and private agencies and the courts.  The panelists will also discuss the current obstacles facing Maine's legal aid organizations and the impact on the client populations they serve. 

11:15 AM B. Bringing Racial and Cultural Equity to Access to Justice Initiatives windows media player
-Power Point Presentation

Referenced Articles:
1. Six Practices for Connecting with Clients Across Culture: Habit Four, Working with Interpreters and Others Mindful Approaches

2. Five Habits for Cross-Cultural Lawyering

Camille Holmes Wood,  National Legal Aid and Defender Association
Prof. Susan Bryant, City University of New York School of Law

Focus:  The presenters, who each bring extensive experience writing and speaking about the importance of cross-cultural competence and racial equity in the delivery of legal assistance, will outline steps that public and private agencies, courts, attorneys, and others can take ensure that access to justice initiatives reach and benefit racial and cultural minority communities and individuals.

12:15 PM .Lunch (provided)

1:15 PM ...II.  Afternoon Workshops: Increasing Access to Justice in Maine Through Upstream Intervention

A. Medical-Legal Partnerships: A New Role for Legal Aid in Health Care Delivery

 Sara Meerse, KIDS Legal
Panelists: Ric Hanley, Spring Harbor Hospital
..................Samantha Morton, Boston Medical-Legal Partnership
..................Dr. Christopher Stenberg, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital

This panel will examine the innovation of medical-legal partnerships, through which health care providers identify potential legal problems facing patients (such as housing,  government benefits, domestic violence, and school-related issues) and collaborate with legal aid organizations to address the problems.  Using the highly-successful partnership between KIDS Legal and the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital as a model, the panel will discuss the benefits and challenges of such programs, examine other types of medical-legal partnerships underway elsewhere, and consider how Maine could offer similar programs in mental health, rural practice, and other settings.

B. Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing
Carla Dickstein, Coastal Enterprises Inc.
Panelists: Hon. Andre G. Janelle, Maine District Court
      ..         Hon. Libby Mitchell, Maine Senate
.................Gregory Payne, Avesta Housing
.................Chet Randall, Pine Tree Legal Assistance

The workshop looks at how to create and preserve affordable housing in order to address a basic societal need and also provide an “upstream solution” to legal proceedings related to evictions, homelessness, and foreclosures.  Specifically the workshop addresses development of affordable rental housing and efforts to prevent predatory lending practices and foreclosures, which strip homeowners of both their homes and assets.  Both examples involve coalition building and policy initiatives to achieve solutions at a greater scale than what can be done on the ground solely through practice.

C. Building Economic Security for Maine’s Low-Wage Workforce

Moderator: Christopher (Kit) St. John, Maine Center for Economic Policy
 Tracy Allen, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Maine
.................Christine Hastedt, Maine Equal Justice Partners
.................Geoff Houghton, The Liberal Cup
.................Eric Nelson, Pine Tree Legal Assistance

Many of the legal problems confronting low-income Mainers can be traced to the fact that a large number of working families lack economic security.  In many instances, programs targeting low-wage workers can be a highly effective means to avert such insecurity.  This panel will examine ways to address and prevent the legal problems that often face the working poor such as access to housing, food, health care, and other basic needs.  These approaches include employer best practices and outreach to low-wage workers to educate them regarding their rights in the workplace and the availability of additional resources.

3:00 PM.....III. Concluding Remarks
Speaker: Associate Justice Jon Levy, Maine Supreme Judicial Court
windows media player

3:30 PM ....Conclusion

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Thank you to
our Sponsors

Corporate Sponsors



Symposium Sponsors and Patrons

Avesta Housing

Bernstein Shur

Coastal Enterprises

Disability Rights Center

Drummond Woodsum

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

Legal Services for the Elderly

Maine Equal Justice Partners

Maine Initiatives

Maine State Bar Association

Maine Bar Foundation

Maine Judicial Branch

National Association of Social Workers-
Maine Chapter


Toole, Carlin & Powers

University of Maine School of Law

Individual Patrons

Roger Putnam