ResourcesCovid-19

April 30, 2020 by Arlo Hennessey

I have more questions. Where can I get free, high-quality legal information about my rights?

Free legal resources. For free legal advice from experienced lawyers in Maine, you can go online to Free Legal Answers, which is an online legal clinic for people who have lower incomes. Go to maine.freelegalanswers.org and fill out a brief eligibility survey, and provide your email. Write in your questions with some context for the lawyer; you can upload documents, and ask follow up questions. You will need to provide information about you and your employer, but this is kept confidential. When a volunteer lawyer answers your question, you will be notified by email. 

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are interested in asking about a referral for legal representation please email the Volunteer Lawyers Project at intake@vlp.org or call 1-800-442-4293 on Mondays from 1-3:30pm. Interpretation is available by phone. If leaving an email, please leave your name, legal question, and a good phone number for an intake interviewer to return your call.

The Southern Maine Workers’ Center is a member-led organization building a movement to improve the lives, working conditions, and terms of employment for working class and poor people in Maine. Our Worker Support Hotline can help workers understand their legal rights and provide support for workers who want to organize. 

Hotline phone:  (207) 888-1010
Hotline email: workersupport@maineworkers.org 
Website: www.maineworkers.org 
Office phone: 207-200-7692
General email: info@maineworkers.org

Johnson, Webbert & Young has been a leader in employment, labor, civil rights, aviation, and ethics law for over 25 years. The firm focuses on complex and important cases, including class actions, employment discrimination and harassment, wage and hour, professional licensing, malpractice, and serious personal injury claims.  If you believe you have been a victim of illegal discrimination or other unfair practices by your employer, call (207) 623-5110 or fill out the online contact form at www.johnsonwebbert.com.  

Hiring a lawyer. The Maine State Bar Association runs a referral service that can help you find a qualified attorney, which you can reach at 1-800-860-1460. There is a $25 charge for a half-hour consultation. For discrimination cases, the Maine Human Rights Commission maintains an online list of employment attorneys. You may also be able to find an attorney in the yellow pages or online by searching for lawyers who specialize in “employment law” or “worker’s rights,” or one of the specialized areas of law discussed above.  Retaining an attorney. Whether or not a lawyer will take your case will often depend on the strength of your claims and how difficult it will be to prove them. One reason for this is that many employment attorneys work on what is called a “contingent fee” agreement. Under this type of an agreement, an attorney is paid a percentage of (usually 33% or 40%) of any settlement or award from a successful claim. If the claim is not successful, the attorney will not be paid anything. An attorney that works under this business model is likely to decide whether to take your case by balancing the risks of losing against the potential to win money damages. Sometimes, attorneys are able to take cases that involve even relatively low damages if the claims are strong enough, because the law often requires an employer to pay your lawyer for time spent on your case if you win.

DISCLAIMER: This FAQ Sheet is intended to provide accurate, general background information regarding legal rights relating to employment in Maine. It is not legal advice. Because laws and legal procedures are subject to differing interpretations and frequent change, particularly in an emergency, the authors cannot ensure the information is current or be responsible for how the information is used. Do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney or the appropriate agency about your rights in your particular situation.