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.
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
“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
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
“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:
Arthur W. Machen, Jr. Award: Robert J. Rhudy, MLSC former executive
Benjamin L. Cardin Distinguished Service Award: Anne B. Gallagher,
(posthumously) formerly with Lee, Leahy & McCaig, L.L.C.
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.