Monthly Archives: December 2008

Legal Aid raises record amount for abused children

Maryland Legal Aid’s Child Advocacy Unit in Baltimore (which represents abused and neglected children in the foster care system) raised a record amount of money this year–$5,125, nearly $1,000 more than last year–for its Holiday Giving Program, reported Legal Aid social worker Meira Shapiro. “We bought $40 gift food cards for 121 children in 50-some families,” said Shapiro, who managed the program. “We also bought additional things as needed to supplement families sponsored by Legal Aid employees, as well as giving gift food cards to families with last- minute emergencies.”

Sun series on medical debt collection quotes Legal Aid expert

Legal Aid Housing/Consumer Law Unit senior attorney Louise Carwell

Legal Aid Housing/Consumer Law Unit senior attorney Louise Carwell

Part two of a front-page Baltimore Sun series on bad hospital debt collection practices included a comment by Baltimore Housing/Consumer Law Unit senior attorney  Louise Carwell. “Most people don’t know their rights,” said Carwell about a client who was illegally sued by the University of Maryland Medical Center for a hospital bill that should have been paid by Medicaid. “There’s lots of judgments entered that need not be entered. Those bills can be really significant down the line. It totallay messes up their credit.”

Legal Aid meets BBB standards

Maryland Legal Aid has met the Better Business Bureau’s 20 standards for charitable accountability, showing donors who obtain the report that we are working to maintain donor confidence and are open and accountable. “We had to supply information dealing with our communication vehicles such as the annual report, our financial statements, fundraising activities and information, board policy and governance, mission, and compensation of key staff,” explained Legal Aid Director of Resource Development Susan Shubin.

Legal Aid launches latest legal advice column

Northeastern Maryland office (Bel Air) chief attorney Jeanette Cole launched a Q&A legal advice column, Ask Legal Aid, in Loaves & Fishes, a newspaper published bimonthly in Cecil County for homeless folks. This month’s column focuses on landlord/tenant issues. The newspaper is distributed throughout Maryland.

Dorsey awarded 2008 Marbury award by MLSC

dorseymlsc08Lou Dorsey, a paralegal in Legal Aid’s Upper Shore office (Easton), was awarded the 2008 William L. Marbury Award at the Maryland Legal Services Corporation’s annual awards reception last night in Baltimore. “A heartfelt thank you to you all,” said Dorsey, who was given the award by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell and MLSC chair F. Vernon Boozer. “I’ve always loved the law … I’m proud to play a small role in helping low-income Marylanders get access to justice.” The award recognizes a non-attorney who has demonstrated outstanding service in Maryland representing the rights and legal needs of the poor. “In his 12 years with Legal Aid, Mr. Dorsey has demonstrated excellence in client communication and support of other staff,” Boozer said. In the photo (left to right): MLSC executive director Susan Erlichman, Bell, Dorsey, Boozer.

In addition, former Legal Aid assistant director of advocacy Dan Hatcher was awarded the Benjamin L. Cardin Distinguished Service Award. Hatcher is now an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Legal Aid lands new housing grants

The John J. Leidy Foundation, Inc. in Towson awarded Maryland Legal Aid $5,000 to continue foreclosure prevention work in Baltimore City. “We thank the foundation for helping to enable the Legal Aid Bureau to respond to the foreclosure and predatory lending crisis by assisting low-income homeowners and their communities with legal services to help them to resolve these situations,” wrote Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph in a letter to the foundation. “Legal Aid wants to be at the forefront of responding to this crisis, but we couldn’t do it without your help.”

In addition, The Fund for Change awarded Legal Aid $20,000 in support of its Saving Affordable Housing for At-Risk Families and Seniors Program. “Our staff will provide outreach and information to tenants in the properties and meet with tenants to determine their interests regarding the housing,” Joseph wrote to the fund’s executive director. “We work with tenants in properties that are deteriorating or at risk of losing subsidies, to help them advocate maintaining subsidized, decent and safe housing. Our program will take place in Baltimore City and address family instability caused by poor housing or homelessness.”