Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : November 2005

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Maryland Legal Services Corporation Announces 2005 Legal Services Awards

The Board of Directors of the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) has selected persons and organizations to receive its 2005 legal services awards. F. Vernon Boozer, Chairman of the MLSC Board, and Maryland Chief Judge Robert M. Bell will present the awards at the organization’s annual awards reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on December 5, 2005, at the Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel.

Susan C. Elgin, principal of Kaufman, Ries & Elgin, P.A., will receive the Arthur W. Machen, Jr. Award. This award is presented annually to an attorney in private practice who has rendered extraordinary service by providing civil legal services to the poor or by improving the civil legal services delivery system for such persons. Elgin is a private practitioner who has had a major role in shaping the development of family law in Maryland.

Hannah E.M. Lieberman will be honored as this year’s recipient of the MLSC Benjamin L. Cardin Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented annually to an outstanding public interest attorney regularly involved in providing civil legal services to the poor. Lieberman, recently appointed deputy executive director of the Legal Aid Bureau, came to Legal Aid as director of advocacy, overseeing the Bureau’s appellate practice, forming effective collaborations with other legal services organizations and providing mentoring and training.

This year’s William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award will be presented to Katherine T. Sanzone, executive director of the Bar Association of Baltimore City (BABC), and Levern Blackmon, paralegal with the Public Justice Center. Presented annually to a non-attorney who demonstrates outstanding service representing the rights and legal needs of low-income persons, this year’s co-recipients demonstrate both long-term and short-term successes. Executive director of BABC since 1987, Sanzone has brought enthusiasm, energy, passion and professionalism to the Bar’s public service projects. Blackmon has been associated with PJC since 1996 as a volunteer lay advocate, a full-time tenant advocate/case manager and most recently a paralegal with the prisoners’ project.

MLSC is presenting the Herbert S. Garten Public Citizen Award to Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP, an organization that has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to increase access to justice for the poor in Maryland. Whiteford, Taylor & Preston has been a leader in Maryland in its commitment to pro bono services with a partner serving as a full-time coordinator of pro bono activities.

MLSC will also honor Gold and Silver Honor Roll banks with Certificates of Appreciation at the reception. In conjunction with the Maryland State Bar Association, MLSC instituted a Financial Institution Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Honor Roll Program to increase funding available for civil legal aid, while at the same time rewarding Honor Roll members by encouraging attorneys to do business with Honor Roll participants by promoting Honor Roll members in a variety of forums. The program currently recognizes two levels of participation: Gold Membership, which recognizes financial institutions that pay an annual net yield (gross interest minus charges, if any) of at least 2 percent on IOLTA accounts, and Silver Membership, which recognizes financial institutions committed to pay an annual net yield of 1.5 percent to 1.99 percent on all IOLTA accounts.

Since 1982, MLSC has given more than $90 million in grants to help provide services in more than 1.3 million legal matters for Maryland’s families in areas of family, housing, consumer, employment, health care and other civil legal matters.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: November 2005

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