Category Archives: pro bono

Legal Aid to host Pro Bono Day in Frederick

MDLab_Logo_2Color_CMYKPro Bono Day–a free legal clinic–will be held January 24,  from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Midwestern Maryland office of Legal Aid, 22 S. Market Street in Frederick.

Volunteer attorneys will provide individual  free legal consultations in  the areas of family law, landlord/tenant, wills & advance directives, bankruptcy, workers compensation, foreclosures, business law, employment, real estate, tax law, Social Security disability, consumer, immigration, criminal, expungements, government benefits, and serious traffic and MVA issues.

There is no charge to attend and registration is not required. Bring any relevant documents with you. For more information call 301-694-7414 or email chief attorney Nina Shore at nshore@mdlab.org.

Pro Bono Day is sponsored by the Bar Association of Frederick County in partnership with Maryland Legal Aid. It is funded in part by a grant from the Bar Association of Frederick County Justice for All Fund, a component fund of the Community Foundation of Frederick County.

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Free legal help at Legal Aid

The Baltimore Sun reported on two recent Pro Bono Day legal clinics held in Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

“Legal Aid paired with the Baltimore County Bar Association and Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service to host the recent pro bono day in Randallstown,” wrote Sun reporter Yvonne Wenger.  “[Legal Aid’s Yoanna] Moisides said she wants to find more partners in the legal community to increase the number of events. So far, pro bono days are offered twice a year in Baltimore and Baltimore County; occasionally, the events have been held elsewhere.”

“It’s just incredible to see the need that exists,” Moisides said. A second free clinic was held in Baltimore on Saturday at Legal Aid’s downtown office.

To read Saturday’s article, click here.

Pro bono attorneys take the fright out of legal questions

BALTIMORE – ¬Legal issues can be scary enough, but the fear factor often is heightened by the potential cost. This Saturday in Baltimore, volunteer attorneys are standing by to offer advice for free. It’s Pro Bono Day at Maryland Legal Aid.

Coordinator Yoanna Moisides says experts will answer questions and make referrals on issues ranging from divorce and custody to housing, and criminal and consumer law.

Sometimes, information offers peace of mind, she says, as in the case of a man who came to a previous clinic worried about a debt from years ago.

“He was able to find out at the clinic that in fact, the debt-collection company that was contacting him was using several illegal methods.”

To read the entire Public News Service article or to hear the radio segment, click here.

Legal Aid sponsors 2 pro bono events

Two Pro Bono Days–free legal clinics–will be sponsored by Maryland Legal Aid later this month. The first is Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Randallstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, 8604 Liberty Road in Randallstown.

The second is Saturday, Oct. 27, at Maryland Legal Aid’s downtown Baltimore office, 500 E. Lexington Street. Volunteer attorneys will be on hand to provide individual free consultations in the areas of divorce and custody, landlord/tenant, wills & advance directives, bankruptcy, expungements, government benefits, criminal and consumer law.

The Baltimore County event is sponsored by Maryland Legal Aid and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. The city event is sponsored by Maryland Legal Aid, Legal Services for the Elderly, the Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, and the Young Lawyers Division of the Bar Association of Baltimore City.

The events are free and no registration is required. Bring any relevant documents with you. For more information (and for private lawyers to volunteer), call 443/451-2810

Courts flooded with poorer Americans representing themselves

The Associated Press reports that “a crush” of people are representing themselves in the nation’s civil courts because they can’t afford a lawyer–and that the American Bar Assoc. is urging lawyers to offer free legal services to those who can’t afford a lawyer.

“The increase in self-represented parties stems from a recession that has left fewer people able to afford lawyers and created new waves of foreclosure, debt collection and bankruptcy cases, judges and lawyers say. Judges say self-represented people are slowing down court dockets because they typically don’t know what legal points to argue or what motions to file,” the article said.

“There’s a crisis in this country,” said John Levi, board chairman of Washington, D.C.-based Legal Services Corp., the nation’s largest funder of civil legal aid for the poor. “Courthouses are being filled with people just showing up, trying to figure out what their rights are. If you’re a low-income person and you have a legal need, it is not easy to get it addressed.”

To read the article, 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.

Legal advice is free in Hagerstown today

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Legal advice at a price all families can afford? It’s free! Maryland Legal Aid is holding a Pro Bono Day in Hagerstown today, where volunteer attorneys will provide answers and guidance on legal issues ranging from business law to child custody to Social Security disability.

Katie Cox is a paralegal who will attend the event. She says many problems can be solved without going to court.

“A lot of times, people need some information about whether they even have a claim. Some things can be resolved in mediation. We’re actually going to have a mediation service there.”

Cox says demand has been highest lately for family law. About one-third of 148 people who showed up at a similar event in Frederick earlier this week asked questions about divorce and domestic issues. Today’s offering is the first time Legal Aid has done a Pro Bono Day in Washington County.

Maryland Legal Aid takes cases based on issue area and income level, focusing on people in the greatest need. Even middle-income families may find it difficult to afford professional legal services, however. Cox says sorting out the details can help.

“This is a good starting step for a lot of people. You can come, get some advice, figure out what direction you need to head in, and you’ll also be able to get some other resources.”

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service will also be on hand to connect people with private attorneys who offer free services.

Registration is not required. Pro Bono Day is scheduled between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Department of Social Services, 122 N. Potomac St. Cox advises bringing related documents along.

To hear an audio version of this Public News Service story, click here.