We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We honor those who are serving or have served our country. Stateside Legal was created to strengthen recognition and enforcement of their legal rights and protections and to help “establish justice” on their behalf.
Because the legal system is complicated, the average American may not know about important legal rights and protections. Sometimes, this lack of knowledge is deliberately used by others for unfair advantage. That can be especially true for service members and veterans. We want to give everyone tools to know what the law requires and how to enforce their rights.
Prior to the creation of Stateside Legal, no single website provided ‘one stop’ shopping for veterans, servicemembers and the general public looking to understand the complex systems of laws and benefits unique to those with military service. This website was specifically designed to accomplish three goals:
- To provide the public with legal information and resources important to the rights and benefits of individuals with military service, as well as their families and caregivers;
- To provide the public with a national directory (searchable by state or zip code) of free and low-cost legal service providers, state agencies, law school clinics and other resources that can help enforce legal rights and benefits; and
- To provide specialized information and resources for advocates and attorneys who want to help veterans, servicemembers and their families.
Note: Programs listed in the provider directory may not be able to accept specific cases because of resource limitations, but they may be able to suggest other resources that could help
We encourage visitors to use these tools and to let us know how they can be improved via the feedback form.
This website is owned and operated by Pine Tree Legal Assistance. Pine Tree has been in operation since 1967, providing free legal services to low-income Maine residents. It is a recognized nonprofit organization in Maine with 501(c) (3) status from the Internal Revenue Service and the highest possible Platinum rating from Guide Star, an information service tracking nonprofit performance and accountability.
Maine has a strong tradition of military service and, as a result, more than ten percent of Pine Tree Legal clients are veterans or servicemembers. In 2008, Maine’s Second District Congressman Michael Michaud asked us for help in doing more to support the legal needs of Maine veterans. While our staff were experts in providing high quality civil legal services to low-income families, we had to learn more about the federal laws and programs created for those with military service. Thousands of websites (including some of dubious quality) included some mention of legal issues, but no single website provided information on all of the important legal rights and programs for veterans, servicemembers and their families. Pine Tree already had a national reputation for the quality of its local websites (www.ptla.org and www.kidslegal.org) and that made it possible for us to seek funding to build a new national clearinghouse website specific to the legal needs of military and veteran families.
In 2009, we received a grant from the Legal Services Corporation to create the website, with support from colleagues at the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership. A team of volunteer advisors helped select the name “Stateside Legal” for the site and agreed to work with us on content development and other issues. The site was launched in November 2010 at the White House.
Pine Tree Legal Assistance staff have primary responsibility for content development, updates and programming. However, other volunteers and organizations have contributed content, including private attorneys, members of the Judge Advocate General [JAG] Corps, military legal assistance attorneys, and Veteran Service Officers. Members of the Stateside Legal Advisory Board also volunteer time and expertise to ensure website content is useful and accurate
Website Advisory Board
Stateside Legal is lucky to have a number of servicemembers, former servicemembers, academics, and advocates on our Website Advisory Board. Learn more about our Website Advisory Board members.
Support Access to Legal Information and Resources for Military and Veteran Families
To maintain this website and its content, and to monitor important legal developments that should be addressed in the future, requires significant ongoing support. We need your help to keep these resources available to the public each year. Please review our "How to Donate" page for more information on ways to contribute to this effort.