When Elisha B. Pratt resigned as vice president of Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1848 to start Union Mutual Life Insurance Company, he could never have foreseen the journey on which his new company was embarking. A century and a half later, that company, now known as UNUM, is the world leader in disability insurance and among the world leaders in special risk insurance, with more than 8,000 employees and operations in the United States, Canada, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, the Pacific Rim, Latin America, and Europe.

UNUM’s success as a member of our corporate community in Maine is universally recognized. It is being honored tonight for its leadership in a less visible arena: corporate promotion of volunteerism to increase access to justice by Maine people, and direct support of legal service programs. Among the many ways in which UNUM has supported this cause, the following efforts deserve special mention:

  • Providing the critical matching funds for establishment of the Legal Services fir the Elderly “hotline” serving needy elderly Mainers with legal problems;
  • Regular staffing of a case referral system at the Volunteer Lawyers Project, helping to match low-income individuals with private lawyers around the State who are willing to take their cases on a pro bono basis;
  • Establishment of the Volunteer Service Grant program, whereby UNUM employees, retirees, and directors who donate time to nonprofit organizations can seek matching funds from the UNUM Foundation for every hour of service contributed. This program has benefited legal service efforts in Maine and elsewhere;
  • The “loan” of in-house experts in computer technology and other areas to strengthen program infrastructure within Maine’s legal service providers;
  • Its entire Legal Department’s decision to devote the UNUM “Day of Sharing” in July of 1998 to VLP-related work, encouraging statewide support of pro bono work by the private bar.

UNUM’s commitment of corporate resources to public involvement at all levels of operation and in both financial and human terms, has resulted in a stronger, more successful business enterprise. It also has had an immeasurable and lasting impact on the daily lives of low-income Mainers with serious legal problems.

Muskie Fund for Legal Services | P.O. Box 547, Portland, Maine 04112 | (207) 400-3279