Law Library News

Batgirl is a Librarian

Posted by Joan Bellistri on March 27, 2018

Loved reading that Batgirl is a librarian in AALL’s KnowItAALL on 3/19/2018 citing of CITYLAB’s article: The Latest Supervillain Attacking Batgirl’s Gotham City: Gentrification by KRISTON CAPPS on MAR 19, 2018

Obviously, this is my favorite part of the interview:

…. It also ties into her history of being a librarian. She’s a human computer, a human catalog.

That’s right—so why does Barbara Gordon need a library science degree?

We wanted to bring that back to her character. She’s historically always been a librarian. This character goes back to the early ‘60s. One of the things that is so cool about librarians is that they’re really involved in their communities. It’s not just that you’re dealing with books and research. You’re also helping out folks who may not have any other resource for computers, how to deal with stuff like taxes, small-business stuff. Libraries are really a community resource. I wanted her to be thinking about other ways she could be helping to build up her community, other than being just a crime fighter.

Couldn’t say it better myself.  I might have to start reading Batgirl comics.


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Recognizing Anne Arundel County Pro Bono Volunteers!

Posted by Joan Bellistri on March 20, 2018

The Law Library hosted the 7th Annual Pro Bono Recognition Lunch on Thursday, March 8, 2018. This event recognizes and celebrates the attorneys who provide pro bono legal service in Anne Arundel County. Joan Bellistri, Law Librarian and Liaison, Court of Appeals’ Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, and the Hon. Ronald Silkworth, Circuit Court Judicial member of the Anne Arundel Local Pro Bono Committee, provided opening introductions. Judge Silkworth emphasized the importance of pro bono and or reporting the hours each year.  Joan Bellistri mentioned that the Local Pro Bono Committee has an “APP” or Pro Bono Hours Tracker to help attorneys keep track of their pro bono work.  Administrative Judge, Hon. Laura Kiessling, thanked the volunteers for their service and introduced special guest, Judge Clayton Greene, Jr. of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Judge Greene’s remarks were thought provoking as he addressed the need for legal representation for those who cannot afford it and  thanked those pro bono attorneys in attendance for their service.

Those being honored included Court Facilitators and attorney volunteers from the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, the Law Library’s Ask a Lawyer in the Library program and Foreclosure Clinic and the annual Anne Arundel County Homeless Resource Day.

Check out our Program 2018  to see the full list of volunteer attorneys and facilitators.

We had a great turnout for the event, and we would like to thank the following judges and magistrates from the Court of Appeals, Court of Special Appeals and the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County for joining us.

J. Greene

  • Hon. Clayton Greene, Jr.                          
  • Hon. Timothy E. Meredith                           
  • Hon. Laura S. Kiessling
  • Hon. Alison L. Asti
  • Hon. Mark Crooks
  • Hon. Glenn L. Klavans
  • Hon. Stacy W. McCormack
  • Hon. William C Mulford, II
  • Hon. Ronald A. Silkworth
  • Hon. Michael Wachs
  • Hon. Cathleen M. Vitale
  • Hon. Sandra F. Howell
  • Hon. Charles J. Muskin
  • Hon. Timothy P. Thurtle

Attendees were honored, too,  having AABA President, Steve Wrobel and AABA Executive Director, Fran Czjaka representing the bar association. Also, we would like to thank Nancy Faulkner from Court Administration; and Kim Klein, Liz Stephens and Sarah Adams from Case Management for attending the Recognition Lunch. It was great to see Bonnie Sullivan, Susan Francis and Amy Hennen from Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. MVLS’ support of Anne Arundel County programs is much appreciated as well as the great photos that Bonnie took of the event.. Special recognition and thanks must also be given to the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office, the Anne Arundel Bar Association and the James C. Cawood Inns of Court for funding the lunch provided by Main and Market.

Last, but not least, thank you to the Anne Arundel Local Pro Bono Committee for its leadership in providing pro bono service to Anne Arundel County!  Chair, Tasnima Apol, Joan Bellistri, Anita Bailey, Nancy Faulkner, Kim Klein, Lisa Sarro,and Hon. Ronald Silkworth, all members of the committee, were present at the event.

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AACPLL Welcomes New Staff: Introducing …..

Posted by Joan Bellistri on March 1, 2018

The AACPLL is happy to announce that the law library is now fully staffed.  The Blog will pick up again now that the workload can be shared.

ice_cream_printBrianne Phillips is a new librarian and acquired her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland in December of 2017. Before library school she earned a BA in English literature, and a double minor in creative writing and classical studies. Her current educational pursuit is learning to speak and read in Spanish. With experience working in both public and academic libraries in Maryland, Brianne is looking forward to serving both circuit court visitors and staff in their pursuit of information and the overarching goal of supporting the democratic values of our nation. She also enjoys the close proximity of her new workplace to the multiple ice cream shops in historic Annapolis. Her favorite flavor (currently) is caramel bananas foster.

audio booksJean Stephens came to the law library in February to help people looking for answers to legal questions. In a prior life, she managed the K-12 marketing program for audiobook publisher, Recorded Books, LLC, in addition to operating her own online book-selling business. She graduated from St. John’s College and did post-graduate work in literature and journalism at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University. A reader and a writer, Jean is still giving in to the lure of academics at recent seminars on Racine’s. (Fortunately, her husband Charlie lightens things up with an occasional infusion of Me TV or a doo-wop rendition of an old standard!.) Very impressed at the enormous print and online resources of the library, and the human expertise of the lawyers and staff, Jean is enjoying the chance to learn how to support this vibrant community. Britannicus and Sapolsky’s Evolution of the Mind

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AACPLL Blog Holiday Break

Posted by Joan Bellistri on December 19, 2017

The blog will resume after the holidays when we will be welcoming new staff.  Until then  — enjoy the holiday season and have a happy new year!

Book tree 2017

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Pro Bono Celebration: Lawyer in the Library

Posted by Joan Bellistri on November 13, 2017

Like every month, the Lawyer in the Library program was offered in the Anne Arundel County Public Library and in two branches of the Anne Arundel County Public Library. This month 10 attorneys provided almost 19 hours to help 31 clients with issues such as garnishment, foreclosure, contracts and real estate.

The Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is a civil, non-family law, self-help program sponsored by The Anne Arundel Bar Association 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. No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required at the law library’s information desk. Sign-up begins at 10:45 a.m., and time slots are determined by a lottery.  On the 3rd Wednesday of the month the MVLS Brief Limited Advice Foreclosure Clinic is hosted by the library.  Participants are encouraged to register for the clinic by calling 410-547-6537, but pre-registration is not required. The Ask a Lawyer program is also held monthly in the evening at two Anne Arundel County Public Library locations – at the Glen Burnie Regional Library on the 3rd Wednesday of the month and at the  Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday of the month. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

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Pro Bono Celebration: Homeless Resource Day

Posted by Joan Bellistri on November 10, 2017

CPB SmallerThe Anne Arundel County Pro Bono Celebration ended with the county’s Annual Homeless Resource Day on October 28, 2017 where those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless can access benefits, medical care, substance use resources and mental health counseling as well as a variety of social services which can ultimately lead to housing and self-sufficiency.  This year 384 guests were served with an array of service provided by 61 different organizations

Legal services were provided volunteer attorneys, Legal Aid, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), and the Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP).

The pro bono attorneys were Ginina Stevenson, Myriem Seabron, Eric Crowder, Nickola Sybblis, and Patrice Clark of Iliff, Meredith, Wildberger & Brennan.  Jonathan Church of the Office the State’s Attorney was also on hand to help wherever needed.  And again this year, there was a large contingent of attorneys from the Annapolis Office of Legal Aid: Margaret Leonard, Amy Seigel, Kathleen Hughes, Anita Bailey and Lisa Sarro with Tammy Watts, paralegal.

IMG_1611-COLLAGE (2)

As always, the number one issue was expungement.  This year Amy Petkovsek and Bobbie Steyer brought Legal Aid’s portable expungement clinic.  Thirty six guests were assisted with expungement.

With the changes to the expungement law on October 1, we are especially grateful for access to the MVLS webinar on expungment presented by Matthew Stubenberg.

Laurie Culkin and Maxine Roberts at the MVLS table were able to provide guests with information about MVLS services and had 8 family law intakes for representation.

IMG_1610-COLLAGE partners

Swapna Veluri of HPRP with volunteer attorneys Jeremy Anderson, Martha Voorhees and Kate Bunker were on hand to provide assistance to veterans.  This year there were only 17 guests who were veterans.

Legal services are coordinated by the Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee with member Joan Bellistri, Director of the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library.

To see the full legal statistics, check out the wiki page.

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Pro Bono Celebration: Free Legal Fair and Expungement Clinic

Posted by Joan Bellistri on November 9, 2017

CPB SmallerOn October 14, 2017 the Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee partnered with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Rho Eta Zeta Chapter and the Anne Arundel County NAACP for a Free Legal Fair and Expungement Clinic at the Boys and Girls Club at Freetown Village.  Ginina Stevenson coordinated the event and also provided legal assistance.  Other pro bono attorneys included Margaret Leonard, Amber Perrelli, Anita Bailey and Lisa Sarro, all of Legal Aid; Nickola Sybblis; and Shawn Gaither of the Public Defender’s Office.

Thirteen people were helped with legal issues including expungement (the #1 question), family law, criminal and housing.  It was a bit challenging once it was discovered that the Maryland Judiciary’s Casesearch was out for the weekend making it so attorneys could not review criminal records online.  Legal Aid was able to provide intake so that the cases could be reviewed later in the office and the clients advised then.


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Celebrate Pro Bono: Free Legal Fair and Expungement Clinic

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 13, 2017

CPB SmallerA Free Legal Fair and Expungement Clinic will be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club at Freetown Village. (7820 Darrell Henry, Pasadena, Maryland 21122) The Fair will be held in partnership with AACO NAACP and the AACO Local Pro Bono Committee. It is a Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – Rho Eta Zeta Chapter Event.

More information on expungement can be found on the library’s expungment wiki page. Here you can find links to the law, information pages and even videos. There are listings of other expungement clinics held in the area as well.


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National Pro Bono Celebration has begun

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 10, 2017

pro bono banner

Maryland and Anne Arundel County have expanded the week-long celebration to the whole month of October.  On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service held its Annual Awards Ceremony.  So nice to be in the room with so many who donate their time to help those in need of legal assistance.  The words of Chief Judge Barbera were inspiring as she highlighted the good that pro bono work provides to those in danger of losing their home or seeing their children.  Tom Mulinazzi whose firm, the Mulinazzi Law Office, was awarded the Law Firm of the Year for pro bono, put it nicely by saying that pro bono work is “an opportunity to be a hero.”

The next night, Thursday, October 5, the Anne Arundel Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Award was presented at the joint dinner of the James C. Cawood, Jr. Inns of Court and the AABA.  Steve Wrobel, AABA President, presented the award with Tasnima Apol, Chair of the Anne Arundel County Pro Bono Committee to Carole Brown, an attorney in a solo practice.  Carole’s nomination read as follows.

Since 2014, Carole has generously donated her time to take pro bono cases to represent numerous victims of domestic violence for the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Carole greets every client with a smile and is kind, compassionate, and caring. Clients feel at ease and are comfortable with Carole’s easy manner. Whenever asked to help, Carole enthusiastically accepts difficult cases in which parties take extreme positions and emotions run high. Carole sets the example in Anne Arundel County of a zealous advocate who is committed to her clients’ best interests.

In addition, Carole has been a flexible volunteer for all of the Lawyer in the Library programs whether in the courthouse, Eastport or Glen Burnie.  Congratulations and thank you to Carole!

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Court Holiday – Library Closed

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 9, 2017

The Law Library is closed today, Monday, October 9, 2017, for the Columbus Day holiday.  The Law Library will reopen tomorrow, Tuesday, October 10, 2017.  A list of Court Holidays is available on the Circuit Court’s website at http://www.circuitcourt.org/court-holidays. Except on Court Holidays, the Library is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

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