I am proud to say that I just attended my first in person Court of Appeals Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Service meeting last Wednesday on June 16 as the newly appointed public member.
This was a joint meeting with the local and regional pro bono committee chairs of Maryland. All of the chairs described the pro bono activity sponsored by their committees. Dan Andrews, the AABA Pro Bono Committee Co-chair, was there to report on Anne Arundel County’s pro bono projects. He concentrated on the “Ask a Lawyer in the Library” program that has gotten underway this year. This meeting was a great source of inspiration for new ideas for the pro bono committee in Anne Arundel.
Another source of ideas for local committees can be found in the new Best Practices Manual for Local Pro Bono Committees written by Claire A. Smearman and edited by Sharon E. Goldsmith of the PBRC who staff the Standing Committee. Each meeting attendee received a copy of the new manual.
The standing committee is established by Maryland Rule 16-901. Maryland Rule 16-902 calls for the creation of local pro bono committees. The rule outlines the composition of the local committee and requires the creation of a local plan. I am not aware of the existence of any local committee in Anne Arundel County other than the bar committee chaired by Dan Andrews and Elizabeth Leight. I hope to obtain more information about the local committee and the local plan through my participation on the statewide committee.