In 2004, Maryland attorneys gave over 1.5 million
hours in volunteer pro bono publico (free) legal services to help the
state’s indigent population with its legal needs. In addition, attorneys
in Maryland personally donated over $2.8 million in cash contributions
to support legal services. Overall, 63.2 percent of Maryland’s in-state,
full-time lawyers donated time to help those in need by volunteering for
pro bono service.
The 2004 Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers
report, submitted by the Maryland Court of Appeals by the Administrative
Office of the Courts, (
http://www.courts.state.md.us/probono/index.html reflects a
comprehensive poll of Maryland’s 31,226 lawyers to determine the extent
of the indigent’s need for legal services. In 2002, the Court began
requiring Maryland attorneys to report their pro bono hours so it could
assess volunteer legal services for the poor and direct resources to
areas with the greatest need.
The 2004 report, which constitutes the third attorney reporting cycle,
indicates the number of attorneys donating their time to help the
indigent through pro bono service continues to rise and the overall
participation of full-time lawyers in the state is excellent. Every
year, Maryland attorneys are increasing their support of civil legal
services to Maryland’s poor.
Overall, the report proves that attorneys actively volunteer for, and
financially support, legal services in their local communities. However,
it also presents challenges to Maryland’s Judiciary and pro bono groups
targeting areas of need, enhancing services for the poor and expanding
attorney pro bono opportunities. The greatest need for civil legal
services for Maryland’s poor once again falls in family law, a law
practice area lacking a sufficient number of attorneys to handle the
need. The Maryland State Bar Association encourages all attorneys in
Maryland to volunteer to help the indigent with their legal needs.
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