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lawlibrary Libraries Pro Bono

Celebrate Pro Bono: Anne Arundel Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Award 2021

The Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee celebrated Pro Bono on October 13, 2021 with a virtual recognition event. In the past recognition events included an annual luncheon and the Inn of Court and Bar’s Joint dinner. This year the luncheon was virtual but still members of the Committee, bar and bench gathered on Zoom to see Steven R. Migdal receive the award from AABA President John Doud.

The AABA President’s Pro Bono Award recognizes an outstanding attorney who contributes to the community by providing pro bono service.  John Doud presented the award to Steve Migdal saying that without Steve Migdal, the Lawyer in the Library program may have ceased to exist. Steve signed up for more hours than anyone and was still always ready to step in at the last minute to fill in when an attorney was needed. Steve provided 28.75 hours of service – 40% of all program hours in FY21 and helped 61 people or half of all assisted by the program. You could almost say that the remote program has become the Steve Migdal in the Library Program. With so many facing new legal problems in a very difficult time, the availability of an attorney to provide legal advice was much appreciated by all.

Steve accepted the award and said that he certainly did not volunteer for the award as he did not even know about it but for the same reasons that he became an attorney. He wanted something challenging and he wanted to help people and he enjoys it. Steve said that during this time of COVID, volunteering for the Lawyer in the Library Program let me connect with people in a meaningful way. Whether providing legal advice, practical advice or just a sympathetic ear to someone who is overwhelmed, the real reward is the joy of social responsibility using my abilities to serve the community.

The Lawyer in the Library Program is a limited legal advice program held weekly every Wednesday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm and monthly on the third Wednesday from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.  The program is a joint effort of the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library, the Anne Arundel County Public Library, and the Anne Arundel Pro Bono Committee.  The program is sponsored by the Anne Arundel Bar Association and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

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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 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 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

Ask a Lawyer in the Library: Wrap-up for April

PIKTO_COLLAGE_2018_04

Susan Mays, Dana Paul, Katelyn Maloney, Carole Brown, Brian Lyman, Cliff O’Connor, Frank Lozupone, Mike Ragland, and Jack Paltell were the Lawyers in the Library for April. The program was held each Wednesday in the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library and at the Glen Burnie Regional Library on the third Wednesday and at the Eastport Annapolis Neck Community Library on the last Tuesday.

These volunteer attorneys provided 14 hours of free legal advice to 25 people on issues such as wills, contracts, landlord/tenant, foreclosure and employment.

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 at least 20 minutes. No appointment is necessary, but sign-up is required in the library. Sign-up begins 15 minutes before the program start time. Time slots are determined by a lottery. In addition to the weekly program, the Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is 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. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

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lawlibrary Pro Bono

Ask A Lawyer Wrap-Up 2018

 

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Attorneys provided assistance with issues such as landlord/tenant, wills, power of attorney, judgments, reals estate and contracts.

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. In addition to the weekly program, the Ask A Lawyer In The Library program is 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. For more information, please see http://circuitcourt.org/legal-help/lawyer-in-the-library.

 

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lawlibrary Pro Bono

Recognizing Anne Arundel County Pro Bono Volunteers!

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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lawlibrary Pro Bono

National Pro Bono Celebration has begun

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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lawlibrary Pro Bono Self Represented

Ask a Lawyer In the Library – Wednesday (and Tuesday) Wrap-Up

On Tuesday evening, September 26, three attorneys were available in the Eastport Annapolis-Neck Community Library for the Lawyer in the Library Program to provide free Legal Advice. Carole Brown, John Lynch of McNamee Hosea, and Jerry Williams of Patel and Williams were the Lawyers in the Library. And on Wednesday Paul Farmer of Gormley Jarashow Bowman was the Lawyer in the Law Library.

 

Six people people took part in the program and were able to speak with the attorneys to request assistance with issues such as foreclosure, buying a house, understanding a settlement agreement, and appeal of an arbitration.

Do you know that legal help is available from the Maryland Courts Self Help Center from 8:30 am until 8:00 pm during the week, Monday through Friday? This is a virtual service via phone (410-260-1392) or online chat.

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.