In September of 1981, Neil Shankman opened the first legal clinic in the State of Maine. The firm was dedicated to serving consumers who made too much money to qualify for legal aid, but too little money to afford a highbrow law firm. With our original offices located in Bangor, Lewiston and South Portland, the firm emphasized the concept of affordability, accessibility, and approachability. We advertised our low hourly rates and prepaid legal services plans. Offices were located in or around major shopping areas. There were extended hours. There was an emphasis on the latest technology, expanded use of paralegals, and streamlined office procedures so that overall costs were kept to a minimum. The concept was well received by the media and the general public.
Over the years, the firm has evolved. Our locations changed. Our hourly rates increased. Our name changed to Shankman & Associates Legal Center. However, the overall concept has stayed the same. We are still dedicated to serving individuals and small businesses in need of legal services at an affordable rate. We offer an extensive fee schedule for review by potential clients. We continue to have multiple locations in order to make ourselves accessible to our clients. We continue to rely on a well-trained, highly experienced support staff who make it easier for clients to have access to information whenever it is needed. We give a written fee estimate to every client at their first meeting. Every client is given a free initial telephone consultation so that we can identify the nature of the issues that will need to be addressed, provide some initial guidance, and offer a preliminary estimate of anticipated legal fees.
While Shankman & Associates Legal Center remains a broadly based general practice of law, the bulk of our practice focuses on six areas: (1) Family Law, including divorce, paternity, child support, custody, alimony/spousal support and protection from abuse/restraining orders; (2) Bankruptcy, including Chapter 7 or 13, liquidation, reorganization, wage earner plans and IRS defense; (3) Landlord-Tenant Law, including evictions, staff training, lease preparation, discrimination claims, abandoned property, project acquisitions, subsidized housing, and collections; (4) Personal Injury / Disability / Comp, including car accidents, Workers’ Compensation, slip and fall incidents, Social Security Disability, and products liability issues; (5) Elder Law, including estate planning, wills and probate; (6) Foreclosure Defense.
Neil S. Shankman
Neil Shankman was born and raised in the jungles of suburban New York. He escaped at an early age and then went to college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. With his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Government and Psychology, he proceeded to seek knowledge and wisdom at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Shankman graduated from law school with grades that he has described as “genetically inappropriate”. With dreams of raising a family and making a living, Neil began the long march back to the east coast, where he landed in Lewiston, Maine.
Neil has been a member of the Maine Bar since September of 1977. After four years as a lobbyist for Pine Tree Legal Assistance (statewide legal aid organization), he developed and opened the first legal clinic in the State of Maine.
During the course of the last thirty years, Neil has continued to maintain his interest in trial work, particularly in the areas of divorce/family matters and personal injury litigation. He has developed one of the largest bankruptcy practices in the State of Maine and he continues to focus on landlord/tenant matters, both in Court and as General Counsel to Maine Real Estate Managers Association. He has authored three books on property management law in Maine. He served as State Chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for over twenty years and serves on the Board of Directors of “Kids First” which is dedicated to helping parents through the process of divorce without ever forgetting that “it is your divorce, not theirs.”
After over twenty-five years living in Yarmouth, Maine with his family, he relocated to Topsham in October of 2008 where he managed to find a house built in 1797 that requires almost as much maintenance and repairs as he does. He spends his spare time skiing, sailing, bicycling and enjoying life with his wonderful wife. He is the father of three successful and reasonably sane adult children and the proud grandfather of two young boys.
Rebecca V. Brochu
Rebecca Brochu was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended the University of Connecticut where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1993 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Political Science. She then attended Western New England University School of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate, along with the Excellence for the Future Award: Divorce & the Family.
Upon graduation she relocated to Maine and then spent two years practicing law with Penquis C.A.P. Law Project. In 1999 Becky became a member of Shankman & Associates and is now a partner in the firm. She specializes in bankruptcy and domestic relations law.
She has also built a very strong reputation amongst her peers, Magistrates, and Judges for her work as a Guardian ad Litem and as an advocate for her clients.
She is a member of the MSBA, as well as a member of the Bath-Brunswick Bar Association where she previously served as both Vice President and President for several years. In 2001 Attorney Brochu was recognized by the Maine State Bar Association as the attorney with the most pro bono service hours. She is currently State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Becky resides in Topsham with her husband, Stephen, and their wonderful daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, gardening and reading.
Aubrey A. Russell
Aubrey Russell was born and raised in Minot, Maine. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maine – Orono with a Sociology degree that included a concentration in Crime, Law and Deviance. She went on to graduate cum laude from the University of Maine School of Law in Portland in 2007. While in law school, Aubrey was the Case Note/Comment Editor for the Ocean and Coastal Law Journal, served on the Conduct Committee, and was a Member of the Women’s Law Association. She also completed the Pro Bono Legal Services Program and clerked for Judge John Beliveau at the Lewiston District Court.
Aubrey joined Shankman & Associates in 2008 and is now a partner in the firm. She concentrates her practice in family law and landlord/tenant matters. She provides fair housing training to our clients, appears regularly before the Maine Human Rights Commission, and is co-author with Neil S. Shankman of Maine Landlord-Tenant Relations: Process & Procedures and Maine Landlord-Tenant Statutes and Commentaries.
Aubrey assisted in establishing the Maine Alliance for Drug Treatment Courts, and was on their Board of Directors from 2008 to 2015.
In November 2011, Aubrey was recognized for Excellence as one of New England’s Outstanding Young Lawyers in Family Law. She has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Start every year from 2011 to 2015. She is also admitted to practice law in the State of Vermont.
She lives in Minot with her three children. She enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering in the community, coaching, camping, and playing softball.
Jeanne Sund graduated from The University of Southern Maine earning Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Criminology. She graduated from the University Of Maine School of Law, cum laude, and earned a Certificate of Recognition for providing over eighty hours of pro bono legal service.
While in law school, Jeanne worked as a summer intern at Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Augusta. During her time there, she assisted in the representation of clients in landlord/tenant matters and housing discrimination issues at the Maine Human Rights Commission. At the end of her internship, she became a law clerk with Reben, Benjamin and March where she assisted in the representation of clients in the fields of Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability, Personal Injury, and Employment Discrimination. Jeanne also served as a student attorney where she represented individuals with family, juvenile and criminal law issues.
Jeanne joined Shankman & Associates in March of 2015. She is admitted to practice law in both the State and Federal Courts of Maine. Since admission, she has represented clients in a wide range of Family Law matters and Criminal defense matters, as well as foreclosure proceedings, Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability, and Personal Injury litigation.
Originally from Stockholm, Maine, Jeanne now resides in Topsham, Maine with her fiancé. She enjoys cooking, gardening, tackling home improvement projects, and spending time with her family, friends and three dogs.
Melanie Portas recently joined Shankman & Associates. She was born and raised in North Attleboro, Massachusetts and received her B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and her J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law in 1999. Upon graduation, her practice focused on criminal defense, child protective cases, and Guardian ad Litem work.
She was an Assistant District Attorney for Androscoggin County for over twelve years, where she was responsible for the prosecution of juveniles in criminal matters ranging from misdemeanors to Class A felonies. She subsequently worked in a highly regarded local law firm where she practiced in various counties throughout Southern, Western and Central Maine in the district and superior courts and focused on parental rights & responsibilities, divorce and criminal defense.
Melanie has always been committed to the community. She was involved with the initiation of several collaboratives for the benefit and development of youth services including the Juvenile Justice Collaborative, Androscoggin Collaborative, Project Unite, and Restorative Justice Collaborative. Melanie was presented with the “Giving Voice” award from Tri-County Mental Health Services in October 2015 in recognition of her long-standing work with youth and families.
Melanie is admitted to the Maine Bar and is a member of the Androscoggin County Bar and Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is a rostered Guardian ad Litem.
Melanie currently resides in Cumberland County with her husband and two wonderful children. She spends her spare time outdoors or at her children’s many sporting events.
Our Three Locations
472 Main Street
Lewiston, Maine 04240
2 Melcher Place
Topsham, Maine 04086
305 Main Street
Yarmouth, Maine 04096
472 Main St
Lewiston, ME 04240
2 Melcher Pl
Topsham ME 04086
305 Main St
Yarmouth, ME 04096,
DISCLAIMER: This website is not, nor is it intended to be, “legal advice”. While a great deal of care has been taken to provide accurate, current and unambiguous information, it should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding a particular issue.