The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland’s 25th Anniversary Honorees include Joan Bellistri, Director of the Law Library, as a Partner Honoree. Over the course of her 35-year career at the Law Library, Joanie has dedicated herself to increasing access to legal information and services for the significant and growing self-represented litigant population. This includes outreach such as the library’s weekly Ask a Lawyer in the Library program, which Joanie launched in 2009, the collection of self-help and plain English reference and research materials in the library’s collection, and ongoing reference and research services to the members of the public who walk daily through the library’s doors.
In addition, Joanie’s commitment to providing access to justice services extends beyond the walls of the Law Library. From 2008 to 2011, Joanie was a member of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission and served on the Self-Represented Litigant Committee, the Self Help Center Advisory Sub-Committee, and the Limited Scope Representation Sub-Committee. She worked with the Department of Social Services to develop a legal component for Anne Arundel County’s Homeless Resource Day in 2009 and has coordinated the pro bono legal services for the Annual Homeless Resource Day since then. In addition, Joanie chaired the Anne Arundel County Bar’s Local Pro Bono Committee from its revival in 2011 until July 2015.
Congratulations Joanie on this well-deserved recognition!