Monthly Archives: October 2008

Legal Aid trains nursing home ombudsmen

Maryland Legal Aid’s Long Term Care Legal Assistance Project gave a three-hour presentation October 22 to new state long-term care ombudsmen at a four-day training in Baltimore. The ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home residents across the state.

“We have an informal partnership with them,” explained Harbour Partesotti, supervising attorney of the statewide Legal Aid project and a presenter at the training. “Some cases are better resolved by ombudsmen because they have unique relationships with the facilities. We refer those cases to them. They then refer cases to us when they hit a wall and need a legal remedy. We support each other in carrying out our shared goal of ensuring nursing home residents’ rights throughout the State.”

The training, conducted by Partesotti and LTCAP staff attorney Anne Haffner, focused on residents’ rights (both state and federal), admissions contracts, abuse and neglect reporting requirements and involuntary discharge (“a very important topic with potentially dire consequences for this vulnerable population,” Partesotti noted).

Legal Aid launches Holiday Giving Program

Want to brighten the holidays for an abused or neglected child? Donate to this year’s Holiday Giving Program, sponsored by the Baltimore Child Advocacy Unit. “Our unit represents approximately 5,000 abused and neglected children each year,” said paralegal Sandra Harrison. “We work with children ranging from newborns to 21-year-olds who have been removed from their parents care and placed where they can receive the love and support they need to begin healing.”

Each year, the unit identifies children who are with caregivers where there is no money to celebrate the holidays. Over the past five years the staff has facilitated sponsorship of hundreds of children to provide them with a memorable holiday.

“All children grow excited in anticipation of the holidays,” Sandra said. “We are committed that no child we represent will be left to deal with the hard realization that there will not be anything for them this year.” This year’s goal is to sponsor 145 children in partnership with the Baltimore County office–and the unit needs your support.

Two options are available. The first is a financial donation, which will be used to provide gifts (toys and clothing) for children and food for the whole family. The second is to sponsor a family or individual child. If you’d like to sponsor a child or family, contact Meira Shapiro at (410) 951-7641. To make a financial donation, write a check payable to the Legal Aid Bureau, write Donna’s Place on the memo line and mail it to Legal Aid, 500 E. Lexington St., Baltimore, MD 21202, attention Meira Shapiro. Your generosity will brighten the holidays for many abused and neglected children this year. If you have any questions, contact Meira.

Chief Judge urges managing partners to support Legal Aid

Andrew J. Graham (left), Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Philip M. Andrews

Andrew J. Graham (left), Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Philip M. Andrews

The second annual Managing Partners Breakfast brought together more than 20 managing partners of major Baltimore firms to hear from Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell (center) about why they should continue to support Legal Aid. “We are dealing with a justice system with many components,” Bell said. “If one doesn’t work, the whole system won’t work in providing fair access to justice. Those who can’t pay for a lawyer need the services of Legal Aid so they can get access to justice. When the system doesn’t deliver justice, it has a negative impact on the public. Without the trust and confidence of the citizens we serve, the court can exert very little power.” Andrew J. Graham (left) and Philip M. Andrews (right) of Kramon & Graham, co-chairs of the Equal Justice Council (the private-bar fundraising arm of Legal Aid) also addressed the group. The event was hosted by Ober Kaler at its downtown Baltimore office. Also on hand for the Oct. 8 event: Rignal Baldwin (Brassel, Baldwin, Kagan & May, P.A.), Herbert Better (Zuckerman Spaeder LLP), C. Christopher Brown (Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP), Jessica duHoffman (Miles & Stockbridge P.C.), Julie Dymowski (Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP), Jervis Finney (Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver), Andrew Freeman (Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP), John Frisch (Miles & Stockbridge P.C.), Michael Hendler (Adelberg, Rudow, Dorf & Hendler, LLC), Decatur Miller (DLA Piper LLP), Benjamin Rosenberg (Rosenberg Martin Greenberg), Sanford Schreiber (Blades & Rosenfeld, P.A.), Steven Silverman (Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White), Raymond Truitt (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP), John Wolf (Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver), and Linda Woolf (Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann, LLP).

Public defender joins Legal Aid board

Sheila J. Sullivan, the district public defender for Southern Maryland, is restricted by her job from handling “typical types” of pro bono cases. But that doesn’t hold back Sullivan from volunteering to help organizations as diverse as community outreach programs, mentoring programs and, most recently, Legal Aid, where she was appointed to the board of directors for a three-year term, The Daily Record reports today.

Warren S. Oliveri, president of Legal Aid’s board, said her background is a good fit. “We fully expect that having Sheila on the board will give us the opportunity to devise new justice strategies with our partners in the criminal defense community,” to serve clients’ “holistic” needs, Oliveri said.

Read the article here.

Custody web tool gets ink

The new Child Custody and Visitation Interview website, unveiled last week, was the featured in The Daily Record (“Web tool walks users through forms for custody and visitation,” Sept. 30.). “What it does is walk [the user] through a simple set of questions,” Manager of IT Applications Dave Demski. “We have made it about as simple as it can be, but still useful.”

Read the article here.