Crisis situations are usually sudden, unexpected, alarming,
and can be life-threatening.
Just as emergency room staff work to trigae health crises, our intake team are the first responders for Mainers facing civil legal problems that threaten their health, families, and livelihoods.
Our compassionate advocates are committed to
providing the best care, on our clients’ worst days.
During intake hours, we listen to learn about the callers’ concerns and needs. After a detailed intake conversation, callers get an answer to know if Pine Tree can represent them or provide individualized legal advice, and if not, they get a referral or other information.
A difficult percentage of callers cry at some point during their calls. Some people are crying because they have to be in court in a few days and they do not know what is going to happen to them and their families. Some people cry tears of relief when we say we can take their case, while others cry when we give the unfortunate news that we cannot help them. That can happen for a variety of reasons, including that they have a legal issue we cannot address. But sometimes, it happens because our staff is fully booked and cannot take on another case.
In 32% of the 7,582 cases we handled during 2022, we had to provide a more limited degree of legal service than the client wanted.
This does not include the callers whose cases we had to decline entirely.
Answering phone call after phone call with compassion and stamina is challenging work. This work requires detailed knowledge of the law to identify issues so that clients can receive advice and guidance and Pine Tree can prioritize cases for transfer. It requires extensive communication skills so that information can be exchanged efficiently and effectively with the people calling in who bring with them varied experiences, understanding, and expectations. It requires deep compassion for all humans and commitment to access to justice. And then, as all of those skills are being balanced, intake is our first check on compliance issues like conflicts and eligibility.
We are beyond fortunate to have such a talented, hard-working and deeply dedicated intake team at Pine Tree doing this work for us and bringing these skills to our callers.
We simply could not do this work without you.
Your support to vulnerable Mainers provides endless access to justice.