BANGOR, Maine — A local lawyer has been named president of the Pine Tree Legal Assistance board of directors. Robert Lingley, 66, of Bangor has served on Pine Tree’s board since 2006 and as vice president for the past two years, according to a press release issued last month.
Pine Tree is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides free legal assistance to low-income Mainers. Founded in 1967, it is Maine’s oldest and largest legal aid provider. It has six offices around the state.
Lingley was in private practice in Dover-Foxcroft and Bangor for 36 years before joining Rudman & Winchell, a Bangor law firm, in 2004. His practice focuses on real estate law, estate planning, trust, elder law and bankruptcy. Lingley works three days a week in his office in downtown Bangor.
“Doing this kind of [volunteer] work is almost ingrained in me,” he said last week. “I was raised to treat people with respect and to treat them the way I want to be treated. Also, when we become lawyers, we take an oath to provide service to people [who can’t afford to pay for legal services]. I’ve always taken that seriously.”
Lingley was born in Winthrop, Mass., and grew up in Weymouth, Mass. He said he “discovered” Maine when he attended and graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick. After graduating from Boston University Law School and spending two years in the U.S. Army, Lingley set up a law practice in Dover-Foxcroft in 1972. He moved the practice to Bangor in the mid-1980s.
He has been an active volunteer for the Volunteer Lawyers Project, a joint project of the Maine Bar Foundation and Pine Tree. Lingley is a founder of the Charlotte White Center, a nonprofit agency that is devoted to assisting adults and children with intellectual, behavioral and physical disabilities and issues related to old age.
Lingley also has served on the boards of Community Health and Counseling Services and The Salvation Army, both in Bangor, and the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono.
Pine Tree is governed by a 28-member board made up of lawyers and low-income representatives. The board is responsible for overseeing program management, strategic planning and setting the program’s priorities.
One of the biggest challenges facing the organization during his tenure, according to Lingley, is funding. While federal money for legal services has increased over the past few years, it has not made up for the significant drop in state funds during the same time period, he said.
Pine Tree also has several major grants for which funding is scheduled to end next year. Lingley said he is hopeful that money will be found to maintain the level of services Pine Tree has provided over the past few years.