Pro 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Maryland 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.”
Posted in access to justice, foreclosure, fundraising
Tagged Carol Gilbert, Civil Justice, Doug Gansler, Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development, Maryland Legal Aid, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, Pro Bono Resource Center. Public Justice Center, St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Wilhelm Joseph
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).
The 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.
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.