Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin

December, 2004

MLSC Announces 2004 Legal Services Award Winners
~New Robert M. Bell Medal for Access to Justice Unveiled~
By Janet Stidman Eveleth

Standing (left to right): Joseph F. Vallario, Jr., Jervis S. Finney, Robert J. Rhudy,
the Honorable Robert M. Bell, Samuel I. Rosenberg, Brian E. Frosh. Seated (left to right):
Patricia A. Campbell, Pauline H. Menes, Peter A. Holland, Susan M. Erlichman

On December 6, Maryland’s legal community gathered at the Maryland Legal Services Corporation’s (MLSC) annual awards reception to honor its 2004 legal services award winners. Over 200 attorneys and judges attended this event, held at the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, to applaud the award recipients for their extraordinary efforts in supporting civil legal services to Maryland’s poor.

The highlight of this year’s awards program was the unveiling of the new Robert M. Bell Medal for Access to Justice Award. The Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, was honored with the first “Medal for Access to Justice Award,” which will carry his name in the future. MLSC’s Board created this medal to honor members of the bench or bar who have displayed an extraordinary commitment to furthering access to justice for the poor. Long recognized for his commitment and dedication to equal access to justice, Bell is a most worthy recipient of this innovative honor.

“MLSC, Maryland’s legal services providers and, most importantly, the low-income clients they serve benefit beyond measure from Judge Bell’s multi-faceted support of access to justice for all Marylanders and his strong commitment to equal justice under law,” announced F. Vernon Boozer, Chair of MLSC’s Board. “Maryland is privileged to have him as its Chief Judge, and MLSC is privileged to create this award in his honor and have him as its first recipient.” Future awards will be presented only when warranted and known as the Robert M. Bell Medal for Access to Justice.

“This extraordinary honor took me completely by surprise,” exclaims Chief Judge Bell. “It is indeed a most prestigious award, and I am humbled by its creation. I will accept the award on behalf of all those in the Judiciary who strive to make justice available to all, regardless of income level.”

Another awards highlight came with the MLSC Herbert S. Garten Public Citizen Award. This year, this special honor was given to Maryland’s Office of the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly for their overwhelming support of the increase in filing fee surcharges to provide a stable source of revenue to help meet the legal needs of Maryland’s low-income residents.

“MLSC awards honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the delivery of legal services in Maryland,” states MLSC Executive Director Susan Erlichman. Other MLSC Award Recipients:

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Arthur W. Machen, Jr. Award: Robert J. Rhudy, MLSC former executive director.

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Benjamin L. Cardin Distinguished Service Award: Anne B. Gallagher, (posthumously) formerly with Lee, Leahy & McCaig, L.L.C.

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William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award: Patricia A. Campbell, victim advocate of Heartly House.

Created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1982, MLSC raises funds from IOLTA and other sources and makes grants for the delivery of civil legal service to Maryland’s poor. This year, it has awarded grants totaling $8,868,825 to 29 legal services provider organizations, who in turn provide legal assistance to well over 109,400 people across Maryland.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: December, 2004

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