PORTLAND — Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, is the recipient of the 2010 Justice Louis Scolnik Award.

The annual award, established in 1989 and presented by the Maine Civil Liberties Union Foundation, honors members of Maine’s legal community “who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the protection of civil liberties,” according to a media release from the foundation.

The award is named for Scolnik, a former Maine Supreme Court Justice.

Heald will receive the award on Thursday, May 6, at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport. A reception for event sponsors is scheduled for 6 p.m., with a ceremony to follow at 7 p.m. The featured speaker will be Mary Beth Tinker, one of the plaintiffs in a landmark students’ rights case in Iowa.

Heald has worked for Pine Tree since 1985, and she became executive director in 1990. The agency is the oldest and largest legal aid provider in Maine for low-income and elderly residents.

“Nan Heald’s commitment to justice and improving legal access for all Mainers is extraordinary,” Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, said in a written statement. “We honor Heald for her work to improve Maine’s civil justice system, expanding access to justice for everyone.”

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