Tag Archives: Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

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 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

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.

Baltimore Pro Bono Day at Legal Aid

Discuss your civil legal problems one-on-one with volunteer attorneys at a free legal clinic. Types of issues include:
•    Divorce, custody & child support
•    Landlord-tenant
•    Wills & advance directives
•    Bankruptcy
•    Record expungements
•    Government benefits
•    Consumer issues
•    Foreclosure
•    Community & Nonprofit Organizations

Saturday, October 29, 2011
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Legal Aid
500 East Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Sponsored by:
Bar Association of Baltimore City

In partnership with:
Maryland Legal Aid, Legal Services for the Elderly, Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, Inc., and Young Lawyers’ Division of the Bar Association of Baltimore City

Bring any relevant documents with you.  This event is free and no registration is required.  For more information, call 410-539-5936 ext. 102 or email info@baltimorebar.org.

If you are interested in a free foreclosure legal consultation at the event, contact the Pro Bono Resource Center at 1-800-396-1274 to pre-register and learn how to prepare for the legal consult.

Towson Pro Bono Day helps nearly 100 people

Saturday’s Pro Bono Day in Towson, sponsored by the Baltimore Co. Bar Association, helped nearly 100 people with their civil legal problems. It was the first such event sponsored by the bar association.

“It went unbelievably well,” said Stanford Gann Jr., of Levin & Gann P.A., a vice-chair of the committee that put the event together. “People were lining up at 9 a.m. to get in. We saw everyone who came and got incredible feedback from them.”

Thirteen private attorneys volunteered (out of 17 total, including lawyers from Maryland Legal Aid). “Without fail, everyone said it was extremely rewarding and worth giving up a Saturday,” Gann said. “We got a real sense that we were helping people. Everyone got a detailed appraisal of their situation, advice on what to do or what to file. There were no glazed eyes.”

Some comments from participants:

  • “Given options. I started with crying and ended with a laugh. Thank you.”
  • “Eased my worries made things a lot clearer, so I know what I’m entitled to. Load off my mind. Thanks.”
  • “The lawyer explained legal terms that were complicated to me. This positively helps people living paycheck to paycheck.”
  • “Very informative, pleasant to talk with the person. Didn’t feel rushed. Nice one‐on-one conversation.”

Gann said that while it was the first Pro Bono Day for Baltimore County, it won’t be the last. “We’ll be doing this annually, at least to start,” he said.

The pro bono lawyers: Mark Scurti, Hassan Barnes, Stephen Nolan, Lee Baylin, Sean Elavia, Jasmine Elavia, Jim Nolan, Laurie Ruth, Ann Lembo, Don Zarumba, Kim Magee, Jerry Payton,  Stanford Gann, Jr., and Josie Yuzuik.

In addition, Doris Barnes of the BCBA, Yoanna Moisides of Legal Aid, Lawrence Burton of the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service,  Yvette Foreman of the Baltimore Co. Office of Community Conservation, and Scott Stevens of the Baltimore Co. Law Library were on hand to make the event run smoothly.

Bar Association of Baltimore City hosts 5th annual Pro Bono Day

The Bar Association of Baltimore City (BABC) will host its fifth Pro Bono Day on Saturday, Oct.  29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Maryland Legal Aid’s downtown Baltimore office, 500 East Lexington St.  About 170 Maryland residents with civil legal problems attended the clinic last spring for one-on-one consultations with volunteer lawyers.

Organizers of this event, which also include Legal Aid, Legal Services for the Elderly, Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, Inc., and Young Lawyers’ Division of the Bar Association of Baltimore City expect more people to take advantage of the free legal help.

Participants with specific legal problems can discuss their options one-on-one with volunteer lawyers on a wide range of subjects including divorce, child support, and custody; housing and landlord/tenant issues; wills and advance directives; and consumer debt and bankruptcy.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For more information, call the BABC at 410-539-5936 ext. 102.