Oftentimes attorneys are reluctant to take a pro bono case because the case involves issues that they do not deal with on a regular basis. This problem can be easily remedied through the many free training opportunities offered by pro bono providers. The Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) as the statewide coordinator of pro bono for Maryland can not only match an attorney with the right pro bono activity but also the training and support needed to provide the pro bono service. PBRC offers training on a variety of topics in number of locations around the state. On the PBRC website now there is an announcement about a family law training in Easton and a special education training held in Baltimore City. PBRC offers training via webcasts as well. Free and discounted slots for a selection of MSBA Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Courses are offered through the PBRC and Maryland State Bar Association. These training opportunities are free but attorneys are required to provide pro bono service in return. More details on all of these training options can be found on the “general information page:” http://www.probonomd.org/general-info.
The PBRC highlights four pro bono projects that involve special training and opportunities on their website. They are the Veterans’ Benefits Pro Bono Project, the Pro Bono Family Mediation Project, the Consumer Protection Project, and the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project.
As part of their National Pro Bono Week campaign to increase pro bono participation by Anne Arundel attorneys, the Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee encouraged involvement in the Foreclosure Prevention Project. It is hoped that with more Anne Arundel attorneys participating in the project that a Foreclosure Workshop could be scheduled in the county. We know the need is there. Anne Arundel County had the 5th largest number of foreclosures in the state as reported in the Department of Housing and Community Development report, Property Foreclosures in Maryland Third Quarter 2012. PBRC extended a special invitation to attend a live training on November 2: A Practical Guide for Representing Homeowners at Foreclosure Mediation. Special arrangements can be made for viewing the prerequisite webinar for the class: The New Foreclosure Prevention 101 – A Beginner’s Guide. Details on the training and the program can be found here: http://www.probonomd.org/foreclosure-prevention-training.
It is hoped that the more attorneys are aware of the pro bono opportunities, training and support provided by such organizations as the PBRC that the numbers of Anne Arundel County attorneys providing 50 or more hours of pro bono service will increase.