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lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

Lawyer in the (virtual) Library

After a break of more than two months, the law library was able to again offer the opportunity to the public to speak to an attorney about their civil legal issues. This is normally an-in person program, but with the courts having to close to the public due to the pandemic – not to mention that face-to-face meetings are not a good idea no matter what at this time – the law library had to find another way to provide the service. Many thanks to attorney, Joe Gormley of Gormley Jarashow Bowman for volunteering to be the first online “lawyer in the library.”

Joe Gormley, the Lawyer in the Library, with librarian, Joan Bellistri, on Skype.

Skype for Business worked out well. It allowed for easy access via phone or an online link. Today, all chose the phone option. All of the four slots were filled. (We are starting with fewer time slots so that we can get used to the new format. It seems when online, the transition takes a little longer between appointments.)

This remote program is now scheduled through July. The program, as before, will be held every Wednesday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. The next session will be on June 3, 2020. The monthly programs that were held in-person at the Anne Arundel County North County Regional Library on the third Wednesday and at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday are on the schedule, too, from 3:30 pm until 6:45 pm. (The hours are a little different to accommodate the new format.)

Sessions are now by appointment. Register online here or call the law library at 410-222-1387. Once registered, a link to an online intake and agreement will be sent via email. Meeting information is sent the day of the program. Anyone without computer access, can schedule an appointment as well as fill out the intake with the assistance of library staff by phone.

The Ask a Lawyer In the Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Local Pro Bono Committee and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Every Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., you can talk with a volunteer attorney for up to 20 minutes. In addition to the weekly program, the Ask A Lawyer In The Library program that was held monthly at two Anne Arundel County Public Library branches: Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday and Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday, in the evening, will continue online as well. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

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lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

The Lawyer in the Library is back – remotely

The Lawyer in the Library program is now available remotely by phone or video conference. The Lawyer in the Library is a civil legal self-help program where you can speak to an attorney for up to 20 minutes. The program is coordinated by the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library and sponsored by the Local Pro Bono Committee and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

Issues that may be addressed include:

  • Debt and bankruptcy
  • Landlord/Tenant questions
  • Real estate
  • Employment and wage claim issues
  • Contracts, warranties and/or consumer disputes
  • Wills, estate planning, probate, living wills

To prepare for your session:

  • Write a list of specific questions for the attorney.
  • Make sure that you have any paperwork and information related to the case on hand.
  • Organize any paperwork from most recent on the top to oldest at the bottom.
  • Identify all deadlines.
  • Prepare a timeline of the legal issue.

Lawyer in the Library is offered every Wednesday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm and from 3:30 pm – 6:45 pm on the third Wednesday and last Tuesday of the month. Register here: http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library

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lawlibrary Maryland Law Self Represented

Life Planning & Power of Attorney

Information on power of attorney, health care power of attorney (health care directives) and standby guardianship for children (delegation of parental authority) can now be found here, all in one place, on the Maryland Judiciary’s website.

The page states:

This page provides some standard legal forms to help you prepare for death, incapacity, or unavailability. These documents are complicated and can have serious consequences. Consider consulting with a lawyer before you sign any paperwork.

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lawlibrary Legal Technology Maryland Law Self Represented

Maryland Law Help App

With the limited access to the courts now, and the law libraries and walk-in self- help centers housed there, it is the perfect time to download the new and improved Maryland Law Help App.

New features listed on the Maryland Law Help webpage include:

  • An improved user interface including more photos and contrasting colors to improve readability and ease-of-use.
  • New categories to aid in finding what you need quicker, including: Maryland Law, Legal Help, Find Your Court, Language Access, Accessibility, and Mediation.
  • Print or share PDF documents, including Tip Sheets and court forms, directly from your phone.
  • Find the nearest courthouses, law library, or self-help center on the new interactive maps.

This APP is your direct link to the Maryland People’s Law Library and the remote Maryland Courts Self-Help Center.

The app is available for iOS and Android.

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lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

Legal Help during Coronavirus/COVID-19

The Access to Justice Commission has added a number of legal information one-pagers to their COVID-19 Resource Page. Topics include

  • Find free remote legal help
  • Understand changes in court procedure
  • COVID – Landlord/ Tenant & Evictions
  • COVID – Utilities & Other Essential Services
  • COVID – Unemployment
  • COVID – Immigration
  • COVID – Domestic Violence​
  • COVID – Emergency Open Enrollment for Health Insurance and Medical Assistance
  • COVID – Medicaid Renewal Deadlines Extended
  • COVID – Stimulus Checks to Individuals
  • COVID – Unemployment Insurance
  • COVID – SNAP/TCA/TDAP Benefits

The Self Litigation Litigation Network (SRLN) has been hosting problem solving calls for who provide service to the unrepresented or the SRL. One concern is the availability of certain forms such as power of attorney, health care directives and standby guardianship for children. In Maryland these forms can be found online:

Maryland Legal Service providers are continuing to provide services and intake remotely:

Updated 4/28/2020

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lawlibrary Maryland Law Self Represented

Maryland People’s Law Library COVID-19 Update

The Maryland People’s Law Library has added a link to a special page for a COVID-19 Update.

Resources there include:

And a link to find out accessibility of Maryland Court Law Libraries.

The Maryland People’s Law Library is always a great source for information on Maryland law written for the non-lawyer.

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lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

Maryland Access to Justice Commission COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE

The Maryland Access to Justice Commission is coordinating information among Maryland Legal Service providers and the courts. Their resource page states:

As a Marylander who may be facing a civil legal issue during this unprecedented time, you may have many questions about the status of your case because the courts have closed to the public or you may be confused about your rights.  The Maryland Access to Justice Commission, in partnership with the Maryland State Bar Association, has put together this COVID-19 Resource Page, pulling resources from a multitude of sources to make it easier for you to navigate the civil justice system during this time of emergency.  On this A2JC Resource Page, you will not only find links to different orders, but an explanation of what that could mean to you in non-legal language that you can understand. As the federal and state governments continue to take action on the behalf of U.S. and Maryland residents, we will continue to add helpful resources that will help you understand your rights under new COVID-related laws and post timely updates on court procedures impacted by COVID. 

The Maryland Bar Association has posted the answers to questions asked of the Judiciary here.

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lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

AACPLL Self-Help Services: Lawyer in the Library

Ask A Lawyer in The Library is a Civil Non-Family Law Self-Help Program held in the law library every Wednesday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Sign up at 10:45 a.m. for lottery to determine time slots.) Participants can talk with a volunteer lawyer for up to 20 minutes about civil, non-family legal problem for free! No appointment is necessary. Just check-in at the law library’s information desk.

This program is also held off-site twice a month in the evening: at the Glen Burnie Regional Library on the the third Wednesday of the month and at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday of the month. The start time for these programs is 4:30 p.m. with sign up at 4:15 p.m. for lottery to determine time slots.

Please call to confirm dates as library availability for the program is affected by elections and holidays: 410-222-1387.

Issues that may be addressed include:

  • Debt and bankruptcy
  • Landlord/Tenant questions
  • Real estate
  • Employment and wage claim issues
  • Contracts, warranties and/or consumer disputes
  • Wills, estate planning, probate, living wills

Preparation for your session:

  • Write a list of specific questions for the attorney.
  • Bring any paperwork and information related to the case.
  • Organize any paperwork from most recent on the top to oldest at the bottom.
  • Identify all deadlines.
  • Prepare a timeline of the legal issue.

The attorney you meet with may not have expertise in the area of law you need. They will make every effort, through the resources in the library, to answer your questions correctly.

Family law issues are best addressed by the Family Law Self Help Center

The Lawyer in the Law Library Program is a limited legal advice service and should not be considered a substitute for representation. If you need an attorney to represent you contact the Anne Arundel Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service or call 410-222-6859. 

Sponsored by
The Anne Arundel Local Pro Bono Committee
and the
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

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lawlibrary Self Represented

Open to the Public: How Law Libraries Are Serving Self-Represented Litigants Across the Country

Maryland Court Law Libraries serve a wide variety of customers from judges and attorneys to students and those dealing with a legal issue without an attorney. How law libraries across the country serve these self-represented litigants (SRLs) was the subject of a recent survey by the AALL GLL (Government Law Libraries SIS of the American Association of Law Libraries) and the SRLN Law Librarian’s Working Group through a research grant from LexisNexis.

For an introduction check out this video:

https://spark.adobe.com/video/L2eo5ukn344Jvn344Jv

You can dig into the details of the survey with the Story Map. Law libraries serve the SRL through the collections, technology, reference, referrals and partnerships.

If you find the AACPLL on the map you will see that we fit within all the criteria for an intermediate law library:

  • Basic levels
  • Guides and Pathfinders
  • Law Library Website
  • Email (AskLawLibrarian)
  • Interpreter Services
  • Referral Systems/Triage
  • E-Filing
  • Limited English Language Resources
  • More Court Forms (Online forms with document assembly and guided interviews)
  • Public Librarian Partnerships (training opportunities for public librarians)
  • Partnerships with Others in the Legal Community
  • Self-Help Center in the Law Library or Lawyer in the Library Program
  • Support for External Self-Help Centers as Available

The Anne Arundel County Public Law Library would be excited to move to the advanced level, a library with a staff attorney to provide brief legal advice, but for now will continue to provide the best service that we can to all in need.

……….

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lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

Celebrate Pro Bono: FREE Legal Fair and Expungement Clinic

FREE Legal Fair and Expungement Clinic

Saturday, October 26, 2019
10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Boys and Girls Club at Freetown Village
7820 Darrell Henry
Pasadena, MD 21122

Volunteers needed! 

 Hosted by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – Rho Eta Zeta Chapter and the North Arundel County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

SIGN UP to VOLUNTEER: https://tinyurl.com/ProBono2019  

Please contact Ginina Stevenson @ 410-315-8051
OR Joan Bellistri: 410-222-1387 or
joan.bellistri@mdcourts.gov for information.