Community Service

Our Commitment to Community

We strongly encourage community service and leadership. Our attorneys and consultants are active in the community and have a strong record of public service – from serving on the boards of more than 80 civic, educational, and charitable organizations to serving on town councils and boards and volunteering for over 100 organizations that serve a variety of important needs in our local communities in Maine and New Hampshire.  Our Community Service Committee organizes service projects for the firm to participate in throughout the year.  Past services projects have benefited Preble Street Resource Center, Maine Needs, Habitat for Humanity, and Partners for World Health, to name just a few.

Pro Bono Legal Services

We are dedicated to providing impactful pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations and are proud to have been recognized for our work. Examples of such recognition include:

  • In July of 2023, 15 Drummond Woodsum attorneys provided pro bono legal services over the course of 5 Protection from Abuse hearing dates in the Lewiston District Court. This means that 15-20 individuals seeking protection orders who would not have had legal representation had the assistance of our attorneys. The vast majority of these cases resulted in an agreed-upon protection order obtained in large part due to the negotiation skills and legal advice provided by our colleagues.
  • In February of 2023, several Manchester Drummond Woodsum attorneys participated in a “dial a lawyer” event organized by the NH Bar Association.  For several hours that evening, DW attorneys answered questions from people covering a range of topics.  It was a great opportunity to give back and also spend time with colleagues.  The NH Bar Association organizes these LawLine events monthly and Drummond Woodsum was happy to help.
  • In 2020, fourteen attorneys donated 306 pro bono hours through projects such as the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project and the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project.
  • In 2011, the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) recognized us for “Most VLP Cases Accepted by a Law Firm.”
  • In 1995, 2010, and 2011, the Maine Bar Foundation awarded Drummond Woodsum the large firm Pro Bono Publico Award.
  • We received the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) award for “excellence in providing pro bono representation to asylum seekers and other noncitizens.” in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
  • In 2010, we received the American Bar Association’s Francis Perkins Award in recognition of our efforts on behalf of the VLP.
  • Nine attorneys have been recognized by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court as “Katahdin Counsel.” The Katahdin Counsel Program honors Maine lawyers who in the past year have provided at least 50 hours of legal assistance to individuals who do not have the means to pay for it. The program was created by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to shine a light on the critical role that pro bono legal services play in maintaining a well-functioning civil justice system.

Examples of notable pro bono representations include:

  • Attorneys Melissa Hewey, Kaighn Smith, Michael-Corey Hinton, and Esther Labrado represent a Passamaquoddy Tribal elder in a suit in Passamaquoddy Tribal Court arising out of a non-tribal member’s claims involving Passamaquoddy tribal lands. The issues in the case implicate tribal law and core principles of federal Indian law. This dispute was initially brought in state court and included claims against the Passamaquoddy Tribe, but was dismissed due to lack of state court jurisdiction because the issues involved internal tribal matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the tribal court. The pending litigation is just one example of our firm’s work on issues of tribal law and federal Indian law.
  • Attorneys Dee Barton and Chris Stevenson assisted with the formation of the New Mainers Assistance Project, a Yarmouth, Maine nonprofit corporation focused on helping immigrant families placed on a temporary basis in local communities in Maine to make those communities their homes. Our attorneys successfully sought Federal tax-exempt nonprofit status for the New Mainers Assistance Project, so that the organization can now take tax-deductible donations from the public, which are used to support their work of helping New Mainers find permanent housing, transportation, and other resources in their local communities.
  • Attorneys from Drummond Woodsum provide pro bono legal representation to individuals seeking protection from abuse orders (aka, restraining orders) in the Lewiston District Court. This assistance both supports the individuals who are seeking the protection orders and provides much needed backup coverage for the student lawyers from the Cumberland County Legal Aid Clinic who customarily handle the hearings in Lewiston. In 2023, twelve Drummond Woodsum attorneys will be covering four days of hearings.
  • Attorneys Melissa Hewey, Bruce Smith, Kaighn Smith, and Jeana McCormick obtained an injunction on behalf of Deering High School student Allan Monga and the Portland Public Schools requiring the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) to let Allan participate in the national Poetry Out Loud competition on the grounds that denying him violated Allan’s right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. Allan won Maine’s Poetry Out Loud contest but, because he had not yet achieved the status of permanent resident, the NEA sought to prevent him from advancing to the national competition.  The Poetry Out Loud contest rules said only citizens and permanent legal immigrants could participate. Monga had a work authorization card and a Social Security number but not a green card. As a result of the lawsuit, Allan was able to participate, and the National Endowment for the Arts widened the eligibility rules for the poetry recital contest.
  • Attorneys Jamie Kilbreth and David Kallin successfully represented Maine Equal Justice, pro bono, to secure the expansion of MaineCare, the Medicaid program in Maine.  The legal fight spanned 1.5 years and included extensive litigation including an appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. As a result of the lawsuit, Maine submitted the expansion plan application and received nearly $9 million in federal funds in 2018, and nearly $500 million in federal funds in 2019.

Charitable Giving

We are committed to advancing the mission of community organizations by maintaining a strong record of charitable giving. Examples of significant contributions include:

  • In 2020, we announced a $50,000 multi-year gift to the University of Maine School of Law and the Wabanaki Center at the University of Maine, Orono, designed to increase awareness of law as a career among Native American college undergraduates in Maine and assist in funding the law school’s PreLaw Undergraduate Scholars Program.   As a firm that represents Tribal Nations clients in Maine and throughout the United States, this is a matter of considerable importance to us and our clients.
  • In 2020, we stepped forward to become one of 21 Founders of the Racial Justice Fund launched by the Maine Justice Foundation. The 21 Founders represent a wide range of Maine companies, law firms, and professional service providers who are committed to racial equity and have made financial gifts in the amount of $10,000 each to create the Fund. The Racial Justice Fund will support education and advocacy aimed at achieving racial justice, equity and eliminating racism. The goal of the Fund is to support Black, Indigenous, and people of color and to forge social, systemic, and economic solutions to combat racism in our culture, organizations, and systems in Maine. Twelve community leaders were selected to serve on the Advisory Committee and among them is Drummond Woodsum attorney Michael-Corey (Corey) Hinton.
  • We are regularly one of the top 50 in total giving to the United Way of Greater Portland and are the most generous supporters of the United Way among Maine law firms.
  • Three of our attorneys have served as Chair of the Campaign For Justice annual fundraising effort.  The Campaign for Justice assists adults and children in Maine who do not have access to justice in civil legal matters by raising support for legal aid for six organizations. Our record of yearly participation is close to 100% and we have regularly been recognized as number one among all law firms in Maine in total contributions.
  • In 2015, we gave $50,000 to the endowment campaign for Pine Tree Legal Assistance. Pine Tree combats elder abuse, helps Mainers secure adequate, safe housing, provides access to education, works for equal opportunity employment, and advocates for the needy in the Legislature.
  • In 1998, we helped to establish the Coffin Fellows Program, which funds fellowships for two attorneys who work full-time representing indigent clients in domestic relations matters.