MSBA is actively seeking Program Proposals from the Maryland Legal Community to enrich our 2024 event. Submit Your Program Before the Priority Deadline: December 4, 2023.

The December/January Issue  

In this month’s issue of the A2J Dispatch, we reflect on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in the fight to make equal access to justice a reality for all Americans, we learn about key recommendations outlined in the 2023 ACE Task Force Report, we highlight MSBA Day and A2JC’s legislative priorities, we learn about recent A2J and justice tech trends, and we explore how technology, in general, has played an increasingly important role in promoting access to justice. Read all this and more here.


A2J Commission News

  • MSBA Day. MSBA Day takes place on January 24, 2023. MSBA Day is one of the many advocacy-related efforts on which MSBA and A2JC join forces. This year’s MSBA Day will feature these A2JC legislative priorities: Continuous State Funding for the Access to Counsel in Evictions Law and a General Increase in Civil Legal Aid Funding. See more information on MSBA Day here and 2023 Priorities here. 
  • ACE Task Force 2023 Report. A2JC Executive Director, Reena K. Shah, chairs the legislatively-mandated Access to Counsel in Evictions (ACE) Task Force. The Task Force delivered its 2023 Report to the Governor and General Assembly on December 30, 2022. Key recommendations include providing continuous support for state funding to fund the ACE law; uniformity in state courts regarding application of ACE law; and a centralized number for all information and services related to ACE. Read the full report here
  • Profile of Senator Jeff Waldstreicher. Keep a lookout in the next Maryland Bar Journal for an A2JC Profile of State Senator and A2JC Commissioner, Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher!
  • A2JC’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee. A2JC is pleased at the potential for more impact in the legislature this year by working in alignment with the A2JC DLS Committee, which will be advocating on broader justice-related policy issues. 


Tips from Maryland Judiciary’s Access to Justice Department

We are pleased to offer recurring content from the Maryland Judiciary’s Access to Justice Department as part of the A2J Dispatch. 

 Resources for the Self-Represented.  The Maryland Judiciary publishes an annual report summarizing court-based services for the self-represented as well as extensive program demographic data about the users of these services. Find a copy of the Fiscal Year 2022 report on the Judiciary’s website here.


Local A2J News

  • Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This month, the Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTPP), a partnership between Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and University of Baltimore School of Law, hosts a free training for licensed attorneys on the crime of human trafficking, common misconceptions, as well as information on the availability of criminal record relief under Maryland law and how these remedies help survivors to heal. For more information visit: 
  • Consumer Law.  Under current laws, debt collectors that have won in court can take the last dollar out of an individual’s bank account-leaving the person with nothing. Now, New bill that looks to help low-income individuals maintain dignity while in debt. HB 42, would allow an individual to protect $500 in their bank account from debt collectors. Read more about the issue and legislation here
  • A2J and the Legislative Session. Over a hundred bills were pre-filed ahead of the legislative session, including for example, a bill that would prohibit landlords from increasing a tenant’s rent solely because of a judgment entered against them in failure to pay rent case is just one of many bills that were pre-filed for 2023 Legislative Session. For a quick look at some of the other bills introduced earlier this month, click here.  

National A2J News

  • Right to Counsel Movement. Justice for Breakfast, you’ll hear from National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC) staff about the Coalition’s role in advancing the civil right to counsel as they debunk myths and explore the civil right to counsel landscape and significant developments that the NCCRC has led or supported. Learn more and RSVP for Happening Jan. 26 at 9am Here
  • A2J and Tech Trends. Access to Justice among Top Ten Tech Trends for 2023. Advocates note that remote litigation may be here to stay as individuals no longer have to leave their city or take leave from their job to appear in court. The evidence is in the data, for example in Maricopa County, Arizona failure-to-appear rates in eviction cases dropped from 40% in 2019 to 13% in 2021.