Category Archives: awards

Annapolis Housing Authority to honor Legal Aid

anitabailey_smallThe Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis will honor Maryland Legal Aid chief attorney Anita Bailey (left) and her staff at the Anne Arundel Co. office later this month with its Martha Wood Leadership Award.

“Your advocacy on behalf of clients . . . [is] only superseded by your willingness to work in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis to insure that the constitutional rights of your clients are protected and respected,” wrote HACA chief of staff Joseph S. Johnson.

The award will be given by Mayor Joshua C. Cohen at the regular meeting of the Annapolis City Council at City Hall.


Womens Law Center to celebrate 40 years

Tomorrow the Women’s Law Center will celebrate four decades of advocating for women’s rights, the Daily Record reported today. The organization, founded in 1972, will honor a leader who played a pivotal role at the center in each decade.

Reena Shah

For the first decade of the 21st century, the honorees are two law school associations that support the WLC. Representing the University of Maryland Carey School of Law is Reena Shah, director of the Human Rights Project at Maryland Legal Aid.

“I saw that women of my generation thought that equal rights had been achieved,” said Shah, who graduated from the University of Maryland law school in 2007.  “I saw a sense of indifference, and I didn’t buy that. There are always forces in society and women are always such targets in terms of how different forces can come in and take their autonomy.”

For more information on tomorrow evening’s event at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, click here.

Legal Aid’s Mike Jeffers is Balto. Co. “Lawyer of the Year”

Stan Gann, Jr. (left), Mike Jeffers

Maryland Legal Aid staff attorney Mike Jeffers, who works in the Baltimore Co. (Towson) office, was named Attorney of the Year by the Baltimore County Bar Association. From remarks by Towson attorney (and BCBA pro bono committee chair) Stanford Gann, Jr., who presented the award to Jeffers last week at a meeting of the BCBA: “In addition to serving as one of [Legal Aid executive director] Wilhelm Joseph‘s army of legal service providers at Legal Aid for the past 12 years, Mike served with distinction as a past chair of the Pro Bono Committee, serving admirably for a two-year term. . . . In addition to being a fierce proponent of legal services for those less fortunate and of pro bono causes, Mike is one of the most decent people you will ever know. When I had the pleasure of calling him to let him know he won the award, his instant response was modesty pointing out that he believed others were much more deserving. Well, I’m here to tell you Mike that this year, you are the most deserving person for the award and you exemplify everything that this award means–service to those in need, volunteering for the legal profession and your community, and answering the call.”

MLSC announces 2012 legal services awards

The Maryland Legal Services Corporation announced its 2012 legal services awardees, to be honored at MLSC’s annual awards reception, Celebrating Thirty Years, Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  at the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel.

Herbert S. Garten will receive the Robert M. Bell Medal for Access to Justice, named for the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Peter A. Holland of the Holland Law Firm will receive the Arthur W. Machen, Jr. Award for his significant contributions in the area of consumer law.  The Benjamin L. Cardin Distinguished Service Award will go to Brenda Bratton Blom, professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and Lisae C. Jordan, acting executive director of Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award for a non-attorney who has demonstrated outstanding service representing the rights and legal needs of low-income persons will be presented to John Wheeler, an intake specialist and paralegal at the Maryland Disability Law Center for the past 30 years. The Maryland Office of the Attorney General has been named as this year’s recipient of the Herbert S. Garten Public Citizen Award for its long-standing leadership in access to justice initiatives.

MLSC was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1982 to receive and distribute funds to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal assistance to low-income persons. From its inception, MLSC has made grants totaling over $164 million to help provide services in nearly 2 million legal matters for Maryland’s families in areas of family, housing, consumer, employment, health care and other civil legal matters.

Equal Justice Council honors Ben Civiletti

Ben Civiletti (left), Wilhelm Joseph, Chief Judge Robert M. Bell (right)

Former U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti (and retired partner and past chair at Venable) was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Equal Justice Council, the private-bar fundraising arm of Maryland Legal Aid.

“I’ve known Ben longer than anyone in this room,” said EJC co-chair Benjamin Rosenberg to a group of 35 partners from large Baltimore firms. “I was a summer clerk in 1968 and Ben wasn’t even a partner yet at Venable — but he was the leader of his peers and senior lawyers. In 1977, he went to Washington, and I became a partner. It felt like being a member of the Colts and Unitas had just left!”

Accepting the award, Civiletti, 77, said Maryland is fortunate to have leaders such as Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Legal Aid executive director Wilhelm Joseph and the EJC.

“They help people who need our help desperately,” Civiletti told the lawyers. “They stepped up when others stepped down. Ask yourself this question: Could we have any semblance to equal justice in Maryland without Legal Aid?”

To read the entire Daily Record article (behind a pay wall), click here.

Pro bono solo donates his fee award

Towson solo attorney Danial V. Schmitt donated $3,000 to three civil legal programs–money from attorney fees he’d received in the settlement of a landlord/tenant dispute he’d handled pro bono.

Ann Lembo, chief attorney in Maryland Legal Aid’s Baltimore County office, said this was the first time a lawyer donated attorneys’ fees back to the organization in a pro bono case,” the Daily Record reported today. The other organizations getting donations are the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and the Maryland Disability Law Center.

“This is the first [donation back], and we are very happy,” Lembo said. “We are just really surprised Dan did that and donated the funds to us as well as a couple other legal organizations. And he got a great result for the client, too.”

Schmitt represented a woman in a case against her landlord, the article continued. A sewage backup in the house she was renting damaged her clothing, personal possessions and electronics. She filed suit initially on her own, seeking $5,800 for property damage and failure to return her security deposit.

“It was just such an outrageous situation,” Lembo said. “We thought she needed help, and we would have loved to be able to help her, but we are just swamped with calls.”

“Dan always does a great job for his clients,” Lembo added. “He always treats them with the utmost respect. In this case, he really went above and beyond for a pro bono client. We are really happy to have his help.”

To read the article (behind a pay wall), click here.

Weinberg Foundation staff picks Legal Aid for grant

A staff member at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation selected Maryland Legal Aid as a recipient of a $10,000 grant, The Baltimore Sun reported earlier this week. It’s one of a unique block of grants that turns 16 eligible Weinberg employees into grant makers by allowing them to give $10,000 to the nonprofit of their choice.

Marci Hunn, program director for workforce redevelopment, has worked five years for the Owings Mills-based foundation, which annually provides millions in grants to nonprofits that serve the economically disadvantaged,” the article said. “This marks the fourth year she has been eligible for the give-away program and her enthusiasm has not waned, she said.

“‘I am thrilled by it each time,'” Hunn said.

“In the past, she has chosen nonprofits that deal with jobs training. But this year, the mother of a newborn and a pre-schooler looked for an organization that assists children. She chose Maryland Legal Aid and asked that her grant be directed to Donna’s Place at the agency’s Baltimore city location. The space provides the agency’s youngest clients, who most often are in foster care, with toys, computers, books, puzzles, paper and crayons and other things to help them relax and learn, according to its website. For several weeks in the summer, staff devote three mornings to reading to the children and creating a craft project.

“‘We can choose any group within our guidelines,’ Hunn said. ‘When I looked around, I found so many gaps for children in foster care and really wanted to do something for them. Small things can really make a difference for these children. Donna’s Place is a sweet opportunity for these kids and gives them a respite from worry.'”

To read the article, click here.