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Access to Justice lawlibrary Pro Bono

Celebrate Pro Bono in Anne Arundel

As we celebrate Pro Bono this week, it is a good time to recognize those attorneys who have donated their time helping those in need of legal assistance by volunteering for the Lawyer in the Library program.

Last year 11 attorneys helped 143 people by providing 86 hours of legal advice. Issues included landlord and tenant; wills and estates; consumer problems; and HOA neighbor disputes. Steve Migdal, last year’s recipient of the AABA President’s Award, was responsible for more than half of those hours. We would like to send a special thank you to all of the Lawyers in the Library:

Joe Gormley

William Moomau

Jessica Corace

Richard Ronay

Jennifer Jones

John Lynch

Carole Brown

Saul McCormick

Leonard Englander

Jack Paltell

Steve Migdal

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Access to Justice Pro Bono

Pro Bono in Anne Arundel

Celebrate Pro Bono by volunteering to take a case or offer legal advice to those in need. See the following list of opportunities for Anne Arundel County attorneys:

Lawyer in the Library (virtual)Volunteer at a free non-family, civil clinic for a two-hour session via Zoom.  Provide brief advice to pro se litigants on general legal issues.  This is a great way to help members of the community in a concrete, manageable way.  During each session, you could speak with a litigant and provide brief advice about issues related to small claims, landlord/tenant, simple wills, and other legal issues.  Contact Joan Bellistri at joan.bellistri@mdcourts.gov, for more information. 

Family Law Skills and Study Group:  Join this study group/skills-honing group and learn more about practicing family law in Anne Arundel County.  Take a pro bono family law case and meet with the group to learn more, exchange ideas, and share your experiences.  You can gain knowledge and experience while helping underserved litigants in Anne Arundel County. Contact Tasnima Apol at tapol@apollaw.org to learn more.

YWCA Legal Services:  Intimate partner protective order petition cases in Anne Arundel County, serving in both the District and Circuit Courts: Volunteer in the legal department or as an advocate. Contact: Davida Bortmes, Esq. at dbortmes@ywcaaac.org or 410-626-7800.

Maryland Court Help Center: Provide assistance with civil issues via chat and phone. Lawyers answer questions on a full range of civil case types handled by both Circuit and District courts. Legal issues include:

  • Landlord and Tenant Matters
  • Family Law Matters (divorce, custody, child support, and guardianship)
  • Small and Large Claims
  • Expungement and Shielding of Records
  • Consumer Matters (car repossessions, debt collection, and credit card cases)
  • Return of Property (replevin and detinue)
  • Domestic Violence/Peace Orders
  • Foreclosure

Contact: Tattiana Goluskin @ cgoluskin@mdcla.org

MVLS – Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service is Anne Arundel County’s Pro Bono Referral Service: https://mvlslaw.org/volunteer/#

Volunteers are supported with malpractice insurance, mentors, free training, use of MVLS offices to meet with clients, and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.

Maryland Free Legal Answers – (Pro Bono in your PJs): Provide legal advice via email to low income Marylanders.

Sign-up here:https://maryland.freelegalanswers.org/

PBRC – Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland is Maryland’s clearinghouse for and source of many pro bono opportunities: https://probonomd.org/volunteers/

​​​Not sure what is best for you? The Maryland Call to Action will match you with a Pro Bono Opportunity:  https://probonomd.org/call-to-action/  

The Joint COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force, the Maryland Attorney General, Maryland Judiciary, Maryland State Bar Association and Maryland Access to Justice Commission joined forces to deliver an urgent call to action for pro bono. They urge every attorney in Maryland to take at least one pro bono case or provide a designated number of pro bono service hours over the next year to help in the areas with the most acute need, namely housing, consumer, public benefits or family law.

If you have questions or additional ideas about pro bono projects that you would like to see developed, please contact the law library at 410-222-1387 or AALawLibrarian@mdcourts.gov.

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Access to Justice lawlibrary Maryland Law

Online Legal Information Resources

In an August 31, 2022 Press Release, the American Association of Law Libraries announced that the AALL Advancing Access to Justice Special Committee has developed a new resource, the Online Legal Information Resources (OLIR, “for information professionals—law librarians, legal information professionals, and public librarians—and members of the public to easily locate online primary legal materials.”

“The new Online Legal Information Resources (OLIR) includes information for U.S. states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the U.S. Federal Government, and Canada. The OLIR includes links to session laws, statutory codes, registers, administrative codes, and court opinions. To help users easily identify reliable online sources, the OLIR contains information about whether the legal materials are official, authentic, preserved, and copyrighted. The OLIR also includes contact information for state and local public law libraries, covering whether services to incarcerated people are provided.”

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Access to Justice lawlibrary

The Justice Gap: The Report

The Legal Services Corporation has released its report, The Justice Gap: The Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-income Americans. “LSC defines the justice gap as the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs.”

Statistics from the report show that “[l]ow-income Americans did not receive any or enough legal help for 92% of their civil legal problems.” Read the report to understand the full impact on the lives of so many Americans who cannot afford legal representation. “With the resources currently available, LSC-funded organizations are able to provide legal help for one-half of the legal problems brought to their doors.”

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Access to Justice lawlibrary Pro Bono

June is Pride Month

Rainbow flag by Markus Spiske is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Read about Pride Month at the Library of Congress. There you can find a calendar of events for 2022, information about the history and traditions associated with Pride Month and a great list of resources.

Local events include the Annapolis Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday, June 4 and a series of special events at the Anne Arundel County Public Library.

On a legal note Free State Justice provides legal services to low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Maryland residents.