Time Commitment

The total time required to review training videos and materials is approximately 8 hours.  It generally takes 5 to 10 hours to represent a student at a school reentry hearing or manifestation determination. 

How it works

  • Attorneys who agree to consider a pro bono school exclusion case referral are provided with comprehensive training materials and added to Pine Tree’s volunteer panel.
  • Pine Tree staff intake cases from call center and community advocates and screen for potential pro bono referrals.
  • Once a case is identified for referral, Pine Tree contacts an attorney on the panel, typically from the same region of the state.
  • If the volunteer is able to accept the case, the volunteer is matched with a mentor at Pine Tree, Disability Rights Maine, or CLAC.
  • Pine Tree sends case documents to the volunteer and referral paperwork to volunteer and the client.
  • The volunteer provides limited representation to the client at a school reentry hearing or manifestation determination.
  • Pine Tree tracks the volunteer time and case outcome.  The volunteer is asked to complete a brief case closing report.


  • Students face suspension and expulsion in Maine at alarmingly high rates. School exclusion has harmful and often irreparable consequences for students.
  • Partnering organizations alone cannot meet the need for legal representation in school exclusion cases in Maine. Both individually and collectively, volunteers make an immense impact by advocating for Maine’s most marginalized students.
  • Volunteers provide limited scope representation, often completing the case in less than 10 hours.
  • As with all pro bono referrals, Pine Tree offers malpractice insurance and other resources for volunteer attorneys accepting these cases.
  • The partner organizations in the project are committed to being resources for volunteers as they embark into the world of education law.