Tag Archives: Maryland Legal Aid

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.

Attorney General Doug Gansler presents Legal Aid with $3.6 million from national foreclosure settlement

wilhelmgansler011013_smallMaryland Attorney General Doug Gansler presented Legal Aid with a check for $3.6 million at a press conference yesterday in the Baltimore office. The money originated from the $26 billion National Mortgage Settlement. Five other legal aid programs also received checks: Civil Justice ($1.4 million), the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service ($930,000), the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center ($600,000), the Pro Bono Resource Center ($565,000) and the Public Justice Center ($510,000).

“The people being recognized today do God’s work,” Gansler (right in photo, along with Legal Aid executive director Wilhelm Joseph and Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development Carol Gilbert, left) said at the press conference yesterday. “This money will help more than 10,000 families keep their homes, not be victims of predatory lending and get thrown out of their homes. People need housing counselors and lawyers to navigate the deal, so we’re giving more than $7 million to these six organizations.”

“This is a very important occasion and I see lots of smiles,” Joseph said. “Usually, people in this lobby aren’t smiling, because they have very serious legal issues. We appreciate the attorney general for his leadership in a national role in forging the national foreclosure settlement. Because of him, Maryland ended up with a substantial settlement.”

Legal aid benefits all Marylanders

From an op-ed in today’s Baltimore Sun by Maryland Legal Aid board member Erek Barron:

This just in: Maryland civil legal service programs not only benefit the poor but also save the state millions per year. Legal assistance to low-income Marylanders is a significant economic boost to the state and benefits more than just those receiving aid, according to a report just released by the Maryland Judiciary’s Access to Justice Commission.

Legal services mean a lot more than just helping people without means get access to the courts. For example, these services help low-income residents receive the government benefits to which they are entitled; prevent homelessness by avoiding eviction; and help protect against domestic violence.

In 2012, Maryland legal service programs preserved or found housing for almost 1,000 individuals and helped obtain 2,825 civil protective orders for clients. But the economic impact of legal services for the poor went far beyond the families helped, creating $190 million in total economic impact, including $12.6 million in economic stimulus to the state, $3.7 million in state expenditures saved, and $882,096 in tax revenue.

Economic impact studies in a number of other states have reported similar results, potentially changing the way these services will be viewed going forward. For example, a 2011 study of Virginia legal aid programs found a $5.27 return for every dollar invested. Another study, released last month, found that legal aid programs in Ohio netted a $109 million total economic impact to the state. The provision of civil legal services for the indigent can no longer be seen simply as a “feel good” initiative but also as an important economic tool.

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

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.

Legal Aid demands greater access to migrant workers

watermelon_smallThe Voice of America interviewed Maryland Legal Aid staffers Nora Rivero and Nathaniel Norton for a story about the problems they face reaching out to migrant farmworkers.

“Norton and Rivero say farm owners systematically intimidate them from doing their outreach to migrant workers,” said VOA reporter Mana Rabiee. “One farmer brandished a baseball bat at Rivero, they say, adding that another grower and his son threatened to shoot Norton.

“'[They] got out of their trucks and came up to the window started yelling very angry,’ Norton said. ‘One of the things the grower was yelling was, “You could be thieves. I’ve got the right to shoot people on my property.”

“Across the United States, outreach workers who deal with migrant farmworkers have similar stories of intimidation by growers. They say it’s designed to keep activists away from the poor farmworkers the activists hope to help.”

To see the segment and read the entire article, click here.

Legal Aid helps solve Howard Co. rental dispute involving Rottweiler

Metropolitan Maryland office staff attorney Sara Wilkinson

Metropolitan Maryland office staff attorney Sara Wilkinson

Maryland Legal Aid helped Hazel Sanders,  70 years old and disabled,  and her Rottweiler service dog obtain an affordable apartment after the management company agreed to drop objections based on the Maryland Court of Appeals decision earlier this year defining pit bulls as inherently dangerous, the Baltimore Sun reported today.

“Sanders reached agreement in mediation last week through the Howard County Office of Human Rights, where she had filed a complaint against Equity Management II for refusing to make an exception to its no-pets policy for a service dog, as federal law requires,” the article said.

Sara C. Wilkinson, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Bureau Inc., who represented Sanders, said the issue of the Court of Appeals case never came up in the four- to five-hour mediation session last Thursday at the Howard County Office of Human Rights, in Columbia,” the report said.

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

Legal Aid honored by Annapolis Housing Authority

Last night, the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis board of directors adopted three “Resolutions of Appreciation” recognizing Maryland Legal Aid staff attorneys Margaret Leonard and Amy Siegel, and Anne Arundel office chief attorney Anita Bailey, individually, and the Anne Arundel County office of Maryland Legal Aid in general, for its “dedicated advocacy and legal services on behalf of the residents of the public housing community”. . . and to “express their sincere appreciation . . .for its commitment and services to the betterment of the lives of the citizens of the City of Annapolis.”

Leonard, Siegel and Bailey were presented with signed and sealed certificates of appreciation by HACA’s executive director Vince Leggett, and HACA’s Board Chairman, Carl Snowden (also the Director of Civil Rights for Maryland’s Office of the Attorney General).

“In presenting the certificates, Mr. Snowden noted that while many might assume that the relationship between HACA and Legal Aid was primarily adversarial, he acknowledged that, to the contrary, HACA enjoys a cooperative relationship with Legal Aid and that Legal Aid has made HACA a better organization through their advocacy in making sure that HACA adheres to federal regulations and other laws in the administration of their programs,” Bailey  said. “To say the least, we were very honored by this recognition.”