The Maine Supreme Judicial Court's Katahdin Counsel Recognition
The Katahdin Counsel Recognition Program was created by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, in response to a proposal by the Justice Action Group, to focus the public's attention on the critical role that pro bono publico plays in maintaining a vibrant civil justice system.
Maine lawyers are among the most generous in the nation in donating their time to pro bono representation for people who cannot afford an attorney and by donating money to support legal aid. The purpose of the Katahdin Counsel Recognition Program is twofold. First, to establish an annual process for recognizing and honoring the pro bono work of Maine's lawyers. Second, to encourage more lawyers to provide such services for Maine's low-income residents to help to meet their growing unmet legal needs.
As Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley stated in her 2011 announcement of the Katahdin Counsel Recognition Program, "The bottom line is this: Maine lawyers need simply to certify when they have personally completed 50 or more pro bono hours in a year. They will then receive the acknowledgement and gratitude of the Supreme Judicial Court, and the right to use the designation "Katahdin Counsel" on their letterhead and publications. We anticipate that the identification of an attorney as receiving the Katahdin Counsel designation will bring better recognition and public attention to the good work of Maine lawyers."
A Commission has been established by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to oversee the program and ensure that it is responsive to the needs of the Maine Bar. The Katahdin Counsel Recognition Program is voluntary and based on self-reporting. The reporting year runs from July 1 to June 30. Recognition events will be held each year in October during Pro Bono Week.