Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : April 2009

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On March 7, Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) hosted its second annual Community Law Forum, wherein Anne Arundel County attorneys and judges converged on the Center for Applied Learning and Technology at AACC’s Arnold Campus to discuss civil, criminal and family legal issues with the public. More than 80 people attended the free forum, a joint presentation of the Anne Arundel County Bar Association and AACC’s Legal Studies Institute.

The daylong forum kicked off with an opening plenary session entitled “Do I Need a Lawyer?”. Attendees then had a field of 13 workshops from which to choose – including “Wills, Advance Directives and the Powers of Attorney: How to Stop Worrying and Plan for the Future” and “Will Power: A Guide to Opening and Administering Estates”, both of which drew crowds large enough to require moving them to larger rooms – to fill the three session slots which followed.

“The feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” said Karen Cook, Esq., Interim Director of the Legal Studies Institute, who hopes to continue the event in the future. “The forum serves a need in the community.”

Topics, which change from year to year, address the needs of Anne Arundel County citizens; this year’s forum saw the timely addition of the workshop “Hard Times: Foreclosure and Debt Workout in Today’s World”, intended to help send a knowledge base for those in attendance.

“We look for issues that are important to people in their everyday lives,” said Cook. “We want to give them the general information before they contact their attorney.”

In preparation for the forum, notices were sent out and posted in libraries, post offices and other community venues. The local cable television network also ran an advertisement for the forum.

“It is great that Anne Arundel Community College and Anne Arundel County Bar Association are encouraging adults to be accustomed to the law,” says Alice Chong, Chair of the MSBA Public Awareness Committee – a goal the Public Awareness Committee itself is striving for with its Law Day 2009 program on May 13 at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center in Baltimore.

Entitled “Law in Your Daily Life,” the conference is an all-day information session geared toward high school students, teachers and the general public, wherein participants are encouraged to engage in interactive sessions that examine the laws that affect their daily lives. The Law Day program offers attendees a choice of relevantly-themed workshops, including Internet crime, health care law, workplace rights and online networking sites, among other topics. A general presentation will follow the lunch break, as well as a panel question-and-answer session featuring presenters from the program’s workshops.

“Through Law Day, the MSBA is familiarizing young adults with the laws that are affecting them in their everyday life,” explains Chong.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: April 2009

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