Client Stories

Justice doesn’t happen by itself - particularly for people who can’t afford a lawyer. To transform justice from an ideal to a reality for low-income Mainers, VLP provides a wide range of legal services around our state. Since 1983 VLP has assisted thousands of low-income Mainers; these stories provide a window into that service.


Karen is a licensed practical nurse who was wrongfully accused of abuse. She was so surprised by the charges and her employer’s summary investigation that she was unable to effectively stand up for herself and fight her termination. Karen appealed to the Nursing Board but while she waited for her case to be heard. She had no income and had to seek help from a local church to pay her rent.

Terrified of losing her nursing license or even facing criminal charges, Karen described her situation as a “humiliating nightmare.” When Karen called VLP she spoke with a hotline volunteer who is also a registered nurse. The volunteer gave Karen practical advice for working with the Nursing Board which allowed her to preserve her legal options but also gave Karen the compassion and encouragement she needed to persevere with her case.

A VLP attorney took Karen’s case, representing her in appeals both to the Nursing Board and the Department of Labor which had denied her unemployment benefits. With the help of her VLP attorney, Karen was granted unemployment benefits and had all charges dismissed by the Nursing Board. Karen is now back doing the work she loves.


Kori was 26 years old and the mother of two young children when she was
diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. The children’s biological father had a
history of child abuse and Kori wanted to prevent him from getting custody. She
needed legal help to establish her mother as the children’s guardian, over the
father’s objections. When Kori became too ill to attend the trial, her VLP attorney
captured Kori’s compelling testimony with a video disposition. The video
convinced the Court to grant the guardianship to Kori’s mother. When Kori’s VLP
attorney went to Kori’s house to report the good news, Kori – too ill to speak –
responded with a smile. She died six days later. Her VLP attorney believes that she
held on until she knew that her children’s future was secure.
Kori’s husband Steve wrote to VLP:
“I would like to thank your organization for all the work you did on her
behalf. I know the result of the case gave Kori great relief and I’m sure made her passing easier. She will be greatly missed but having her children around will help me to keep her memory alive. I will always be grateful to you.”


“We would like to thank you for your unending and generous support in
fighting this fraudulent student loan. I tried for years to fight this by myself
with no luck. My lawyer said without your support we would never have
had a fighting chance. This has finally been resolved and we cannot thank
you enough.”


“I wanted to thank you for your time in my case. I realize that the odds were against me, although I truly felt I had good cause. I would also like you to know that your closing remarks in your letter to me gave me even more strength to go on with my fight. You wrote ‘I applaud your determination to fight for your rights.’ That is exactly what I did. I received a letter today in the mail from The Department of Labor and they granted me unemployment.”