Jacqueline Allen of Saul Ewing, LLP, has provided pro bono legal services for homeless individuals in Baltimore City for several years. Her commitment comes from her affiliation with the Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc. (HPRP), through which she has donated 120 hours of her time helping people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Allen now serves as the Secretary of its Board of Directors. From November 2008 to present, she provided desperately needed pro bono services in 27 criminal record expungement cases involving homeless people, a commitment that would have otherwise cost these clients well more than they could afford.
Chief Judge Robert M. Bell (right), Court of Appeals of Maryland, presents attorney Jacqueline Allen with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Marylandís Alex Fee Memorial Pro Bono Service Award in June at the MSBA Annual Meeting. The award is named for the late son of pro bono proponents Ed Fee (center) and Lisa Barkin (left), pictured here with their daughter, Katie.
Allen’s principal focus on criminal record expungements allows individuals with minor records a chance to start anew. Through HPRP’s expungement program, the requirements for expungement are to have no repeat offences of the same crime and to either be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the near future. The purpose of HPRP’s expungement program is to allow those with less-severe offenses to not have their criminal past prevent them from any future employment opportunities as many employers check the status before hiring. It similarly removes barriers to housing, preventing the perpetuation of a cycle of homelessness. Allen also recognized the psychological benefit of expunging criminal records.
In addition to helping the homeless on an individual basis, Allen has assisted in expanding the number of lawyers working in these cases by recruiting four additional attorneys from Saul Ewing’s Baltimore office to participate in HPRP’s volunteer expungement program. Thanks to Allen, the program is now part of Saul Ewing LLP’s Summer Associate Program. Last year, Allen supervised and trained the incoming class herself. By volunteering her time and devoting her energy towards helping develop and implement HPRP’s expungement program, Allen has become part of an effort to reduce crime rates and homelessness in Baltimore City.
In June, at the MSBA Annual Meeting in Ocean City, Maryland, Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Court of Appeals of Maryland, presented Jacqueline Allen with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland’s Alex Fee Memorial Pro Bono Service Award. The award is named after the late son of Ed Fee and Lisa Barkin in recognition of their strong support for pro bono legal contributions. The award recognizes young lawyers who have provided exceptional pro bono work for those who are less fortunate.
For more information on volunteer legal service opportunities in Maryland, contact Sharon E. Goldsmith at the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland at (410) 837-9379 or (800) 396-1274, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diana Rogers is the Marketing and Development Coordinator at the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.