Modern society is confronted with negative news and sensationalism which floods the media everyday. We encounter these images through the Internet, television and radio. We get so swept up in these snapshots, it can be surprising to find there are still hard-working people in our communities doing good works. You need not look around the nation, or even as far as the next state, because we have those everyday champions right here in Maryland.
Recognizing these heroes is what the annual Maryland Pro Bono Service Awards are all about - taking a few moments each year to recognize the good works done by your sisters and brothers in the law. These services are provided out of an unerring sense of responsibility to give something back to the community.
There are numerous attorneys in Maryland giving their time and effort to pro bono services. The statistics for 2007 are not yet in, but looking back at the 2006 figures shows that over 60 percent of all full-time licensed attorneys in the state of Maryland do pro bono work of some kind.
The Pro Bono Service Awards recognize volunteers in a variety of categories. The Individual service awards recognize pro bono volunteers in solo practice, as well as those in small, medium or large law firms. The Judiciary award honors members of the bench who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to encourage, promote and help to facilitate pro bono work. The Awards also reward educators, elected officials and in-house counsel, as well as legal departments of government agencies.
In addition, three special awards are granted each year. The Lee A. Caplan Award is given to the solo or small firm practitioner who has provided exceptional continuous pro bono service over a period of years. The Alex Fee Memorial Award is sponsored by the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) of the Maryland State Bar Association, and is presented to an YLS member who exemplifies dedication to pro bono work. The recipient of the Herb S. Garten Special Projects Award is a program, firm (of any size) or an ad hoc group that initiated an extraordinary special project.
The nomination process is easy. You can call or e-mail the PBRC office for an application, or download it in a PDF format directly from our website. Just go to www.probonomd.org and click on the Awards Application link (just above the word “Celebrating”). The deadline for the application is April 2, 2008. Simply e-mail, fax or mail the nomination form to Jon Moseley, Pro Bono Resource Center, 520 W. Fayette St, Baltimore, MD 21201; Fax (410) 385-2616; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The recipients will be announced and the awards presented on June 14, 2008 at the Maryland State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Ocean City. The ceremony offers a simple yet effective way to publicly acknowledge pro bono work being done by colleagues from around the state.
Please help to promote the pro bono work being done in Maryland. Take a few moments to nominate someone you know who is doing work that deserves this award. It is a great way to say thank you.
Support pro bono work in your community. Add your resources to the fight. For more information on the legal service volunteer opportunities in Maryland, contact the PBRC at (410) 837-9379 or 800-396-1274, or e-mail email@example.com.
Jon Moseley is Director of Volunteer Services & Community Outreach for the ProBonoResourceCenter of Maryland.