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February 2014

In this issue:

Task Force Studying a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland

Chief Judge Clyburn and other senior judges on Access to Justice

Dates to Save

Interesting Links

Mid-winter newsletter from the Section on Delivery of Legal Services!

Have an idea for a story or announcement in a future newsletter? Email Dave.Pantzer@mdcourts.gov.

Task Force Studying a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland

You may have read MSBA President Michael Baxter's message in the February 2014 Bar Brief.  In it, he mentioned the task force studying the issue of a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland.  Baxter provided this historical background:

In 2003, in the case of Frase v. Barnhart, the Court of Appeals of Maryland declined to declare a constitutional right to counsel in civil cases. Ms. Frase, a single mother, proceeding pro se because she could not afford a lawyer, had lost a child custody case involving her son. Although the Court held in her favor on the custody issue, it declined to reach the issue of civil right to counsel. In 2009, the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, chaired by retired Court of Appeals Judge Irma Raker, recommended that in basic human need cases involving matters such as child custody, shelter and safety, low income Marylanders should have the right to counsel at public expense.

The Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland was established in October 2013 by the General Assembly of Maryland through the enactment of Senate Bill 262.

The Task Force will study a constellation of topics including whether low–income Marylanders should have the right to counsel at public expense in basic human needs cases, alternatives and implementation possibilities, as well as costs and resources. The Task Force will report back and provide recommendations.

The legislation authorizing the Task Force took effect on October 1, 2013. The Task Force is required to submit a report by October 1, 2014. The Task Force is staffed by the Maryland Access to Justice Commission.

The staff contact for the Task Force is Pamela Cardullo Ortiz, Esq., the Executive Director of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission. Follow the topic here: http://www.mdcourts.gov/mdatjc/taskforcecivilcounsel/index.html

Chief Judge Clyburn and other senior judges on Access to Justice

In October 2013, Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn of the District Court of Maryland and other senior judges participated in a panel discussion on “The Importance of Access to Justice to the Judiciary,” hosted by the Legal Services Corporation at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Pittsburgh courtroom.

In addition to Judge Clyburn, the panel featured Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, and Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Harvard Law School Dean and LSC Board Vice Chair Martha Minow moderated the panel. 

http://vimeo.com/78429972

Dates to Save

Get out your Day Timers and red markers, because the calendar is heating up!

February 25 - Bar Bad Bars: Protesting Liquor License Renewals
When: NEW DATE! Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Where: Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, 120 E. Baltimore St., Suite 1700, Baltimore, MD 21202
Co-sponsored by: Community Law Center, Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, and Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland

February 28 - 20th Annual University of Baltimore Students for Public Interest Auction
When: Friday, February 28, 6:30 p.m.
Where: John and Frances Angelos Law Center Moot Courtroom. 
Register now! We hope to see you there!

March 2014 - Coming Soon! Preventing Tax Sale Foreclosures in Baltimore City
When: Date & Time TBD
Where: Maryland Bar Center, 520 W. Fayette St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Co-Sponsored by: Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
Questions? Contact Louis Bracco at 443.703.3052 or lbracco@probonomd.org

March 21 – “All Access”– The Law Library Association of Maryland hosts national library conference on Access to Justice at UB Law
When: 8:30 – 5:00
Where: University of Baltimore School of Law
http://llamonline.org/lri2014/
Access to justice (A2J) is a core value of law librarians — and it is becoming more critical as professional legal assistance becomes more expensive and beyond the reach of even average, middle-class Americans. Law libraries are being inundated with these self-represented litigants and this trend will only continue to grow.
(MSBA members can attend at the LLAM member price.)

March 27 – Join in on the “March Madness” at MVLS’ annual benefit!
When: Thursday, March 27, 2014 from 6pm-9pm
Where: M&T Bank Stadium on the Southeast Club Level
http://www.mvlslaw.org/lawyers/events/benefit-2014/
Get your brackets ready! Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service will host a “March Madness” themed benefit on Thursday, March 27, 2014 from 6pm-9pm at M&T Bank Stadium on the Southeast Club Level. Attendees will watch the NCAA basketball games on multiple large screens, enjoy a sports fan menu of upscale stadium food, beer and wine, take a behind the-scenes tour of the stadium, play interactive basketball games, enjoy a photobooth with sports-themed props, and bid on sports memorabilia auction items.

March 27 - Introduction to Military Discharge Upgrades
When:
Thursday, March 27, 2014, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Where: Maryland Bar Center, 520 W. Fayette St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Co-sponsored by: Homeless Persons Representation Project and Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland

April 2 – MPILP's Annual Goods and Services Auction at the Westminster Hall
When: April 2, 2014
Where: Westminster Hall at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
http://www.law.umaryland.edu/students/life/orgs/mpilp/
The Maryland Public Interest Law Project, Inc. (MPILP) is a 501(c)(3) student-run organization which has for twenty years worked to increase awareness of and participation in public interest legal work. The MPILP Annual Goods and Services Auction will be held on April 2, 2014, in Westminster Hall at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

April 4 - Save the Date! Consumer Bankruptcy
When and Where: Time & Location TBD
Sponsored by: Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
Questions? Contact Kiah Pierre at 443.703.3046 or kpierre@probonomd.org

April 23-25 - Collaborative Law
When: April 23 – 25, 2014, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Where: The Judiciary Education and Conference Center, 2011 Commerce Park Drive, Annapolis, MD 21401
Co-sponsored by: Administrative Office of the Courts Department of Family Administration and Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland

April 26 – Pro Bono Day: Free Legal Advice
When: 9 AM – noon
Where: CCBC Randallstown Center
Baltimore County Bar Association, CCBC Legal Studies Program, Maryland Legal Aid, and Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service host a free legal clinic at CCBC Randallstown Center from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, call 410-321-8860.
Types of issues include: Bankruptcy, Consumer, Divorce, Custody & Child Support, Expungements, Government Benefits, Landlord-Tenant, Veterans Issues & Benefits, Wills & Advance Directives

May 15 - Save the Date! 2014 Maryland Partners for Justice Conference
When: Thursday, May 15, 2014, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Where: Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Co-sponsored by: Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland and the MSBA Section on Delivery of Legal Services
Questions? Contact Kiah Pierre at 443.703.3046 or kpierre@probonomd.org
This conference is unique within the State of Maryland, focusing on the delivery of legal services to the disadvantaged and underrepresented.

Interesting Links

Summit Report Outlines New Ways Technology Can Expand Access to Justice
http://www.lsc.gov/media/press-releases/summit-report-outlines-new-ways-technology-can-expand-access-justice
“The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) today released the report of a national summit on ways to use technology to provide all Americans some form of effective assistance with essential civil legal needs.”

A Civil Justice System with No Trials
http://lawyerist.com/civil-justice-system-trials/
“The steady erosion of the American trial is our dirty little secret. A majority of the American public might be surprised to learn that there is indisputable statistical evidence that the number of jury and non-jury trials in our country is, and has been, sharply declining, both in absolute and relative terms. . . . What do these trends portend for the future? They mean that, despite its historical importance and value, we are slowly but surely losing one of our most precious institutions—a trial by jury or even any trial at all.”

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