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lawlibrary Legal Technology Self Represented

Getting Organized for Court: The Maryland Justice Passport is Here

Woman looking down at her phone and grinning

It is tough navigating the court system. There are fees, deadlines, jargon, forms, paperwork, hearings, and many other details to remember. What is a lawyer-less litigant to do? 

To help SRLs (self-represented litigants) keep themselves organized and get help navigating the legal process, Civil Justice and the Maryland Judiciary, with A2J Tech, have partnered to create the Maryland Justice Passport, a free online tool that allows participants to scan and upload their documents, share those documents with legal service providers, set up timelines and reminders, learn about legal topics, and connect with legal aid organizations. Litigants can use the Passport as an app on their smartphone or at the website. 

Interested litigants can sign-up online, and can receive help with the process here at the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library.

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lawlibrary Pro Bono

Lawyer in the Library: November 2021 Wrap-Up

Steve Migdal and Jack Paltell

This month, attorneys Steve Migdal and Jack Paltell, provided seven hours of brief legal advice to eleven people on issues such as medical record privacy, changing a deed, contracts and consumer complaints.

Ask a Lawyer in the Library” is held every Wednesday of the month from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and on the third Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (except for the last two weeks in December). You can talk with a volunteer lawyer for at least 20 minutes about your civil, non-family legal problem for free.

This program is sponsored by Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, and the Anne Arundel Bar Association.  It is hosted by the Anne Arundel County Public Library.

Register online here or call the law library for help. Once you have registered, you will be sent a link to an intake sheet. Instructions for meeting with the attorney will be sent once the intake is competed. 

Contact the library if you have questions: (phone) 410-222-1387 or (email) AALawLibrarian@mdcourts.gov

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lawlibrary

Law Library closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday

The Law Library, the Family Court Help Center,  and the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County are closed today November 25, 2021 and tomorrow, November 26, 2021 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The Law Library will reopen on Monday, November 29, 2021. Except on Court Holidays, the Library is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

This article, Congress Establishes Thanksgiving, at the National Archives website describes how Thanksgiving became a holiday.

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lawlibrary

What’s New … Microsoft Manuals

The law library has added updated Microsoft manuals to the collection.  Although it is easy to find answers to many Microsoft application problems with a simple Google search, it is also nice to have a manual on hand so that you can go through the problem with the instructions on your desk especially for those without two screens or a large screen.  These manuals also answer the questions you did not know to ask, allowing you to expand your knowledge to make better use of these applications.

Microsoft Word 2016 : step by step / by Joan Lambert. (REF MS Z52.5.M52 L35 2015)

Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 : step by step / Joan Lambert. (REF MS T385 .L339 2015)

Mastering Microsoft Teams : end user guide to practical usage, collaboration, and governance / Melissa Hubbard, Matthew J. Bailey. (REF MS HF5548.4.M5265 H83 2018)

Microsoft SharePoint 2016 : step by step / Olga Londer, Penelope Coventry. (REF MS TK5105.875.I6 L6643 2016)

Excel 2016 bible / written by John Walkenbach. (REF MS HF5548.4.M523 W344896 2016)

Access 2016 bible / Michael Alexander, Dick Kusleika. (REF MS QA76.9.D3 A493 2016)

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lawlibrary

AACPLL Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021

The Anne Arundel County Public Law Library has published its FY2021 Annual Report. The report provides a picture of library use, programs, resources, services, staff and finances. The strategic plan with goals and actions taken is included.

The effects of COVID on library services and how the library responded to the challenges, including how the library downsized and moved last fall, are detailed.

Reports from previous years can be found here.

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Holiday lawlibrary

Law Library Closed for Veterans Day

The Law Library and the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court are closed today, November 11, 2021 in observance of Veterans Day.  The law library and court will reopen on Friday, November 12. Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I.  In 1954, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars. Read more here.

Except on Court Holidays, the law Library is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. A list of Court Holidays is available on the Circuit Court’s website here.

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lawlibrary Self Represented

Where to Find Legal Information on Neighbor Law (and Related Topics)

Patrons who attend our Lawyer in the Library program frequently ask how to handle conflicts with their neighbors. This is such a common concern that there are countless sources on relevant law, or lack thereof, governing overhanging tree branches, fence placement, etc. For example, look at the number of search hits on Westlaw after entering some relevant keywords in Figure 1.

Westlaw search results for query "adv: (fence! boundar! tree harass! noise) & dispute!" filtered to "Secondary Sources," showing more than 10,000 results.
Figure 1: Westlaw search results showing sources on neighbor law

Below, I have collected print and electronic secondary sources available through the library that cover neighbor law for attorneys and laypersons. We also have a page on mediation resources, which may be a preferable first step in resolving many of these conflicts.

On the shelf and online through the Maryland Judiciary network:

On Lexis Advance:

On Westlaw:

Possible further reading:

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lawlibrary Pro Bono

Lawyer in the Library: October 2021 Wrap-Up

October is Celebrate Pro Bono month. The ABA theme this year is “Moving Forward in a Post-Pandemic World.”  Although the ABA designates a week, October 24 through October 30, Maryland recognizes pro bono throughout the month.

In keeping with the theme, Lawyer in the Library was offered remotely as it has since May of 2020 using Zoom. Four attorneys working from home or office provided more than eight hours of pro bono service to 16 clients.

Many thanks to Jack Paltell, Steve Migdal (AABA Pro Bono Award recipient), Leonard Englander and Carole Brown for their time this month.

Issues this month included estates and wills; landlord and tenant; debt; and employment. The law library supports the work of the program attorneys by sending background information to program participants and the attorney. Most often links to information found on the law library FAQ page are sent. The landlord\tenant page and the wills and estates page are good examples.

Ask a Lawyer in the Library” is held every Wednesday of the month from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and on the third Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (except for the last two weeks in December). You can talk with a volunteer lawyer for at least 20 minutes about your civil, non-family legal problem for free.

Register online here or call the law library for help. Once you have registered, you will be sent a link to an intake sheet. Instructions for meeting with the attorney will be sent once the intake is competed. 

Contact the library if you have questions: (phone) 410-222-1387 or (email) AALawLibrarian@mdcourts.gov

Categories
lawlibrary Pro Bono

Maryland Pro Bono Report for FY2020

The Administrative Office of the Courts published the Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers FY2020 September 2021.

The report’s introduction states that the purposes of this summary report are: 1. to identify and evaluate the status of pro bono service engaged in by Maryland lawyers; 2. to assess whether a target goal of 50 hours of pro bono service for lawyers in the full practice of law was achieved; 3. to determine the level of financial contribution to legal services organizations by Maryland Attorneys; and 4. and to identify areas that need to be improved for promoting pro bono services.

The report is the first to reflect a fiscal year rather than a calendar year. The last report covered January 2018 to June 2019 so that the reporting period could align with the Attorney Information System (AIS) fiscal year reporting schedule. The change in the reporting period and a change in address from business to primary will affect direct comparisons but it is still interesting to see the change over time.

The report provides data on pro bono service in Maryland counties. How does Anne Arundel County compare? Not so good – Anne Arundel County is still at the bottom in providing pro bono service.

Percentage of Lawyers with Any Pro Bono Hours by County (Figure 2 on page 10 of the report.) Statewide, 38.5% of attorneys provide some pro bono. In Anne Arundel it is 35.7%. Only one other county has a lower percentage.

Percentage of Full-Time Lawyers in Maryland ≥ 50 Hours of Pro Bono Service by Jurisdiction (Table 8 on page 13 of the report) Statewide, 15.6% of attorneys provide 50 or more hours. In Anne Arundel County, it is 13.9% There are two counties with a lower percentage.

Percentage of Full-Time Lawyers in Maryland with No Hours of Pro Bono Service by Jurisdiction (Table 8 on page 13 of the report) Statewide, 55.1% of attorneys provided no pro bono. In Anne Arundel County, 60% reported no pro bono hours. There is one county with a higher percentage.

Percentage of Full-Time Lawyers in Maryland with <50 Hours of Pro Bono Service by Jurisdiction (Table 8 on page 13 of the report) Statewide, 29.3% of attorneys provided less than 50 hours. In Anne Arundel County, 26.2% reported less than 50 pro bono hours. There were two counties with a lower percentage.

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lawlibrary

What’s New … in Family Law 

A stack showing the spines of the listed new books.

The law library has added a number of recently published books to its shelves for both family law attorneys and others interested in family law. A list of them follows, with links to their more detailed records in our catalog.

The complete QDRO handbook: dividing ERISA, military, and civil service pensions and collecting child support from employee benefit plans
4th edition  
KF3512 .C37 2019 
Patricia Shewmaker and James R. Lewis 
[Chicago, Illinois]: American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, [2019] 

The family law practitioner’s guide to social securit
2nd edition  
Lydia S. Terrill 
KF3649 .S73 2020 
Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association, Family Law Section, [2020] 

Forms, checklists, and procedures for the family lawyer  
Mark A. Chinn 
KF505 .C478 2021 
Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association, Family Law Section, [2021] 

Litigating parental alienation: evaluating and presenting an effective case in court  
Ashish Joshi 
KF540 .L58 2021 
[Chicago, Illinois]: ABA, American Bar Association, Family Law Section, [2021] 

The military divorce handbook: a practical guide to representing military personnel and their families Third edition 
Mark E. Sullivan 
KF535 .S85 2019 
Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, [2019] 

Parent-child reunification: a guide to legal and forensic strategies 
Stanley S. Clawar 
KF547 .C57 2020 
[Chicago, Illinois]: American Bar Association, Family Law Section, [2020] 

Top challenges in Maryland family law
KFM1294.A75 B4 2021 
Eau Claire, WI NBI [2021]