National Pro Bono Week Celebration in the AACPLL

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On Tuesday, October 26, the law library celebrated National Pro Bono Week by hosting an appreciation lunch for the attorneys who volunteer for the “Ask a Lawyer” programs.  The AABA provided the food and we provided the appreciation certificates.  I hope that these volunteer attorneys  know how much their donation of time is appreciated.

Through the “Ask a Lawyer” programs, 36 attorneys have provided 181 hours to 378 clients.  Services have been offered at the Annual Anne Arundel County Homeless Resource Day,  in the Law Library and at the Brooklyn Park Branch and the Russett Branch at Maryland City of the Anne Arundel County Public Library.

John Gardner, AABA President, presented the attendees with certificates of thanks for their volunteer time with the Ask a Lawyer programs.  John also mentioned that Andy Vernick of Wharton, Levin, Ehrmantraut and Klein is Anne Arundel County’s Pro Bono Resource Center Pro Bono Star.  He will be recognized as the Anne Arundel County Honoree at the PBRC 20th Anniversary Benefit Gala on November 13.  Andy was chosen because of his work with the Asbury United Methodist Church located across the street from his office.  He offered his pro bono service to members of the church on a whim and has been busy providing his legal services on an average of 5 hours per week since.

It is hoped that beginning with these programs and the recognition of one of Anne Arundel County’s Pro Bono stars that interest in pro bono service will increase for Anne Arundel County attorneys.

Cliff  O’Connor has already shown interest in expanding the program by agreeing to coordinate the  “Ask a Lawyer in the Public Library”  program.  Through his commitment the program will be offered on a regular basis in 2011 at the North County Area library of the Anne Arundel County Public Library.  The first is scheduled for January 19, 2011.  Then, beginning on March 16, the service will be offered on every 3rd Wednesday through June.  There may be a summer break but the program will definitely resume in September and continue through December.

By Joan Bellistri

Law Library Director for the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

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