The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) celebrated its 23rd anniversary this year, suggesting both our perseverance as a non-profit organization as well as the ever-growing need for pro bono legal services in Maryland.
Through partnerships with legal services providers, the Maryland State Bar Association, the private bar, various elected officials, faith-based groups, the state’s law schools, and with the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteer attorneys, PBRC has accomplished the following in 2013:
- Sponsored 36 live trainings and educated over 650 attorneys in an array of different subject areas. These volunteer attorneys were then connected with appropriate legal services providers and programs throughout the state to fulfill their pro bono commitments.
- Coordinated 33 courthouse clinics through PBRC’s Consumer Protection Project (CPP) in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County District Courts, pairing volunteer attorneys with some of the thousands of Marylanders being sued by debt buying companies. Seventy-eight percent of the cases in which debtors are represented by CPP volunteers have either been dismissed or are won on the merits.
- Hosted 18 Foreclosure Solutions Workshops from Allegany County to the Mid-Shore through the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project in an effort to help homeowners facing the devastating world of foreclosure connect with pro bono attorneys for free legal consultations.
- Hosted the 15th Annual Partners for Justice Conference in Baltimore. The Conference consisted of 18 panels exploring a variety of issues including workers’ rights, poverty in Maryland, advocating for homeless youth, and the advancement of a human right to housing. Nationally renowned civil rights attorney, Sherrilyn Ifill, delivered an articulate, sincere, and rousing keynote address regarding access to justice issues to the conference’s nearly 250 attendees.
- Honored seven pro bono attorneys and programs through the Pro Bono Service Awards held at the MSBA annual meeting in Ocean City.
- Honored the over 800 volunteer attorneys who donated their time and expertise to homeowners facing foreclosure at the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project Volunteer Recognition Reception at the State House in Annapolis. Governor Martin O’Malley, then-Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, and Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards all spoke of the project’s success and stressed its continued need.
- Co-sponsored the 2nd Annual Pro Bono Connection with the University of Baltimore School of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and the MSBA’s Young Lawyers Section. The Connection began with two simultaneous trainings, Defending Debt Buyer Lawsuits in State Court and Special Topics in LGBT Law, and was followed by a pro bono fair, which boasted over 20 legal services providers who informed attendees about how to get involved in pro bono across the state.
- Recognized by the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism with the Governor’s Service Award for the significant work PBRC does to contribute to the life and health of the state and its people. PBRC was the only legal-based organization to be honored for promoting access to justice.
Thank you for your continued support and generosity, which make these and a myriad of other efforts possible. We are proud of the work we do every day at PBRC and truly appreciate your commitment to realizing our mission of ensuring equal access to justice for all Marylanders.
Carey Moore is the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.