Tag Archives: pro bono

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 Aid hosts Pro Bono Day in Hagerstown July 19

Maryland Legal Aid’s Midwestern Maryland office will host a Pro Bono Day on July 19, the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reported this week.

“From 4 to 8 p.m., volunteer attorneys will be at the Department of Social Services, 122 N. Potomac St., to provide answers and advice on issues including family law, landlord-tenant disputes, foreclosures, business law, Social Security disability and other topics, said Katie Cox, a paralegal with Midwestern Maryland office of the Legal Aid Bureau Inc.,” the article said.

“There is no charge to attend and no registration is required.

“Pro bono is short for the Latin ‘pro bono publicus,’ or ‘for the public good,’ according to Black’s Law Dictionary. It often refers to work done by attorneys on a volunteer basis.

“’I’ve seen the greatest need is for family law,’ said Cox, a category that can include divorce, domestic relationships, child support and child custody. However, with a lackluster economy, Cox said many low-income individuals and families are also in need of advice on debt collection, bankruptcy and foreclosure, she said.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Free legal clinic in Frederick

Pro Bono Day–a free legal clinic–will be held  Monday, July 9, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Midwestern Maryland office of Maryland Legal Aid in Frederick.

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

The event is sponsored by the Bar Association of Frederick County in partnership with Legal Aid.

There is no charge to attend and registration is not required. Bring any relevant documents with you.  For more information call 301-694-7414.

Location: Maryland Legal Aid, Inc.
22 South Market Street, Suite 11
Frederick , Maryland 21701

Hundreds line up for free civil legal help in Frederick

Pro Bono Day in Frederick attracted hundreds of people for help with their civil legal problems, the Frederick News-Post reported last week.

“The Frederick County Legal Aid Bureau recently offered free legal advice to anyone in need” the article said. “It was standing-room-only when the event kicked off Thursday afternoon.

“More than 40 lawyers and legal assistants offered 20-minute sessions to those looking for legal advice,” the article continued.

“Scheduling short sessions allows more people to receive services, but if a person requires more attention, Legal Aid finds a way to meet the need, said Nina Shore, Maryland Legal Aid’s chief attorney.

“Advice about foreclosures, bankruptcy and housing topped this year’s lists of legal counsel requests, according to Shore, who said the event would not be possible without volunteers.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Talk to an attorney for free

Marylanders can talk to an attorney for free on Thursday in Frederick – no charge, no registration and no strings attached – and a packed house is expected, the Public News Service reported.

Katie Cox, a Maryland Legal Aid paralegal who is coordinating the event, says demand for help is often a reflection of the economy.

“I’d say the thing we see most often is family law cases – people going through divorces or custody. We also see now an increase in unemployment cases.”

Volunteer attorneys will deal with questions about landlord/tenant issues, wills and advance directives, bankruptcy, workers’ compensation, immigration, Social Security disability and serious traffic offenses, Cox says. Many problems, she adds, can be resolved outside the courtroom.

“When someone comes in, they might not necessarily need a lawyer. It might not be a legal problem, but they’re still not sure about what to do. We can refer them to the proper agencies.”

Those who attend, Cox says, should bring documents related to their questions.

Maryland Legal Aid and the Bar Association of Frederick County’s Pro Bono and Access to Legal Services Committee are sponsoring the clinic. More than 100 people showed up at a similar event in July.

The clinic will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. at Maryland Legal Aid, 22 S. Market St.

To hear an audio version, click here.