lawlibrary Pro Bono

Celebrate Pro Bono 2012: Anne Arundel County Attorneys and MVLS

Celebrate Pro Bono by volunteering to provide pro bono service.  Pro bono programs are in need of more Anne Arundel County attorneys to handle cases in the county.    The number of attorneys providing pro bono service is increasing.  Based on statistics collected for the report Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers, Year 2010 issued November 9, 2011, Anne Arundel County has moved from last to 20th place in the number of attorneys who have provided 50 hours or more of pro bono service. It is clear that Anne Arundel County attorneys can do more and can continue this trend.

Anne Arundel does not have its  own pro bono referral service but by partnering with the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) there is a way for Anne Arundel attorneys to be matched with clients in need of pro bono representation.  The Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service reports that many cases needing representation in Anne Arundel county are taken by attorneys from other counties.  It is easy to add your name to the MVLS roster. Just visit the volunteer page on the MVLS website and simply fill out the online form.   The MVLS supports its volunteers with malpractice insurance, mentors, free training, use of their offices to meet with clients and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.

The types of cases placed by MVLS include administration of small estates,  adult guardianship, bankruptcy (Chapter 7 only), child custody, collections, consumer disputes, criminal record expungement, deed changes, denial of public benefits, divorce, foreclosure, landlord/tenant, living wills, name changes, power of attorney, school suspensions, tax disputes, and wills.

MVLS also administers a  family law reduced-fee program called Judicare.  According to the MVLS website “Judicare has funding to pay attorneys up to $1,600 per client representation.  Attorneys are paid at the rate of $80 per hour for the first 20 hours of representation in a contested domestic matter.  The attorney must then provide the next five hours pro bono.  For matters that require additional time for resolution, attorneys are eligible for an additional ten hours of paid representation at $80 per hour. In return, “Judicare attorneys are asked to accept one pro bono domestic case for every Judicare case referred.  The pro bono domestic matters are generally uncontested or less complicated than Judicare cases.  Attorneys must have at least three years of family law experience to participate in this project.”

Volunteering is easy with the help of MVLS.  Anne Arundel County attorneys are encouraged to take advantage of the service provided.

By Joan Bellistri

Law Library Director for the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

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