FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 1, 2006
CONTACT: Janet S. Eveleth, (410) 685-7878 or (800) 492-1964

MARYLAND ATTORNEYS DONATE 1.5 MILLION HOURS PLUS GIVE OVER $2.8 MILLION TO HELP STATE’S POOR
 

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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