With the foreclosure and legal services funding crises looming, the legal services community was out in force on May 28 to attend the 11th Annual Maryland Partners for Justice Conference, presented by the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC). Over 300 attorneys, judges, legal services providers and elected officials gathered at this event to first listen to inspirational remarks from Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Court of Appeals of Maryland, then attend an eclectic array of break-out sessions offering insight on everything from the foreclosure crisis, identity theft and immigration to homeless veterans.
“This Conference is a great opportunity for legal services advocates to exchange ideas to address the critical legal services needs of the community,” declared the Chief Judge. He also commended “the huge number of volunteer lawyers for the Foreclosure Project and the partner organizations with PBRC at the center, for putting forth a tremendous effort to reach out to those in need of help.”
One of the highlights of the Conference was luncheon speaker Anthony G. Brown, Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor, who thanked all of the state’s attorneys and law firms for “the resources and support to provide pro bono service in the state.” The Lieutenant Governor also cited the outstanding effort of the 850+ Maryland attorneys who volunteered for the Foreclosure Project and shared their expertise to help Maryland families in these hard economic times. “Thank you for helping to protect the safety net for the most vulnerable families in the state.”
Other highlights included two energetic programs on Negotiating and Influencing with the “Power of Nice,” presented by expert negotiator Ronald M. Shapiro. The Conference sponsors included the Maryland State Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Section and the Maryland Legal Services Corporation.