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The July/August Issue  

In this month’s issue of the A2J Dispatch, we share fond memories of A2JC volunteer Emily Myers, We explore state regulatory reforms that leverage nonlawyer professionals, we share more about the work of the Affordable Law Task Force (which is run by A2JC and the MSBA), we learn about the looming hunger cliff and the rise of food insecurity in Maryland, we take a look at Frontline’s eviction new documentary and we highlight many other notable local and national A2JC news stories.

A2J Commission News

  • In Memoriam – A2JC Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Myers, Rising 2L Maryland Carey School of Law, Former A2JC volunteer

Emily Myer A2JC Volunteer

It is with the heaviest heart and deepest regret that I share the difficult news of the sudden and untimely passing of one of A2JC’s volunteers. A2JC has for many years relied on volunteers to help power our work. I’ve had the opportunity to work with students, retirees and others in the prime of their career, who find A2JC by word of mouth or on the web and are willing to lend their time and talents for the cause of civil justice for all.

I started working with Emily at the start of June. She had a full time paid internship for the summer, but really wanted to volunteer with A2JC, even if just for a few hours a week. I love supporting students who have a passion for justice, but generally do not like bringing on volunteers for less than 8 hours a week because it is hard to rationalize the time it takes to manage them with the amount of work they could produce. However, Emily’s interview and reference check confirmed what was clear in her cover letter and application – that Emily was a very smart, talented and passionate individual and that A2JC shouldn’t miss out on working with her.

I knew Emily briefly – a bit over two months and never met her in person. But in that short time, the work she delivered made me amass a great deal of respect and appreciation for her talents. I could tell that she was destined to do great things in this profession and for this profession. Emily was one of those people, where I could explain an assignment and she would JUST. GET. IT.  She would not only deliver something that was thoughtful, well-written and clearly organized, but it was clear that she wasn’t just completing the assignment. She was issue spotting, thinking strategically and bringing solutions to the table to the larger context related to the assignment. This is rare. Indeed, I found her work and thoughtfulness to be on par or better than most seasoned professionals with whom I work. So, after just a few short assignments, I was convinced she could handle an entire project, rather than a one-off assignment.

Then, she missed one of our regular Thursday check-in meetings on July 28. I didn’t think much of it because she had indicated that her summer internship was demanding. I expected her to email me or that we would just catch up over the next week. Then, I got an email from one of her professors who served as her reference requesting a call to discuss Emily. Unfortunately and very sadly, the professor shared the news of her passing and the shock that her friends and professors in law school felt as they tried to absorb the inexplicable loss. The last time I spoke to Emily over Zoom was on Thursday, July 21 and she passed away on July 25. I still have not processed that she is gone. I am reflecting on the loss to A2JC, but also our legal community, knowing that she was someone who would have made a great impact. I have not been able to remove our weekly meetings from the calendar and may not for some time to keep her memory alive.

When she started working with me, I told Emily of my desire to start spotlighting our volunteers in the A2J Dispatch as a form of appreciation and recognition. I had asked her to draft a blog post about why she wanted to work with us, the access to justice issues she witnessed while working for the circuit courts and her thoughts on possible remedies to correct the hurdles faced by low-income litigants.

Click here to read what Emily wrote in her own words about how to help alleviate the burden on low-income litigants who are applying for fee waivers.

  • A2JC Data & Legal Technology Committee Seeks Additional Members: The lack of civil justice data is a barrier for access to justice. A2JC has been trying to solve this problem by developing first-of-their-kind civil justice data tools, including, most recently, the Housing Data Dashboard, to inform policy reform and evaluate program effectiveness. A2JC’s Data & Legal Technology Committee, formerly chaired by Commissioner Matthew Stubenberg and now by Dawn O’Croinin of the AG’s office, is seeking new members with an expertise in data collection and analysis or an expertise in legal technology. Please email Reena Shah at if interested in joining!
  • Affordable Law Task Force Set to Release Survey to Maryland Attorneys. There are many Marylanders who do not qualify for free legal services, but still cannot afford to hire an attorney at market rate. A2JC is partnering with MSBA to run the Affordable Law Task Force (ALTF), which is exploring existing innovations to serve modest means Marylanders, while learning from other states about their programs, interventions and best practices. In the next week or so, ALTF will release a survey to all Maryland attorneys aimed at ascertaining how attorneys are offering legal services to clients of modest means and what support they may need to bolster their work. Survey results will help inform the Task Force’s recommendations.

Local A2J News

National A2J News