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The June/July Issue

In this month’s A2J Dispatch, take a look at the different ways that financial hardship can impede access to social resources, representation, and public benefits/services for the Marylanders that need it most; we highlight the first episode of the limited edition Spark Series Insightful Voices podcasts; we explore the new laws on cannabis and what they mean for the expungement process; and we learn about how the right to counsel movement has gained traction in a number of jurisdictions across the country while also facing challenges attracting enough lawyers to meet demands. All this and more in this month’s issue of the A2JC Dispatch.

A2J Commission News

  • Join the A2JC’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee! The A2JC’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee welcomes new members! As you renew your MSBA membership, choose to join the Committee for free if you are interested in joining a community of MSBA members who are passionate about an accessible, equitable and fair justice system. The Committee will focus on networking and events; educational programming; advocacy; and content generation. The co-chairs for the Committee this year will be Meredith Girard from Mid Shore Pro Bono and Zafar Shah from Maryland Legal Aid. Please email reena@msba.org with any questions!
  • A2JC Panel at MSBA’s Legal Summit Discusses How to Build an Affordable Law Practice. Featuring private practioners who served on the MSBA and A2JC’s Affordable Law Task Force – Shuaa Tajammul, Jared Jaskot and Jane Santoni – and led by Task Force co-chair and moderator Sarah Coffey Bowes of Civil Justice, this MSBA panel focused on how to build an affordable law practice. Panelists discussed using legal technology, alternative fee structures, limited scope and fee-shifting as ways to build a financially sustainable practice while meeting a severe access to justice need.
  • New Limited Edition Spark Series Podcast Now Live! New Insightful Voices Podcast. In the first episode of the limited edition Spark Series Insightful Voices podcasts, Donna Hill Staton, one of the co-chairs of the MSBA’s 125th Thought Leadership Initiative and the Principal of the Decision Point Strategy Group, LLC, interviews the inimitable Hon. Andrea Leahy from the Appellate Court of Maryland to discuss the series of events and actions that “catalyzed the transformational shifts necessary for Maryland to have a diverse judiciary that “many of us may now take for granted” today. Listen here: https://www.msba.org/for-members/legal-lab/. Read more here: https://www.msba.org/spark-series-podcast-changemaker/
  • Attend A2JC’s Next Data & Legal Technology Committee Meeting! Join the A2JC’s Data & Legal Technology Committee’s next meeting on August 9 at 1pm. We will be joined by the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence (MSCFV). They will be discussing their Geographic Information System (GIS) program. MSCFV’s program has revolutionized the way domestic violence victims access vital resources, earning notable recognition, such as the prestigious Domestic Shelters Purple Ribbon Award. Looking ahead, MSCFV plans to expand its GIS applications to include various non-DV programs (in which we hope to include the legal) and are currently developing client-facing applications focusing on employment and housing to provide information directly to the consumer. If you’re interested in attending the talk, email reena@msba.org!

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.

  • How Can I Expunge My Criminal Record? A brochure published by Access to Justice of the Administrative Office of the Courts, is up-to-date with a new look and current content, including on expungement of cannabis-related charges. The brochure is available online in six languages at mdcourts.gov/accesstojustice/brochuresHow Can I Expunge My Criminal Record? is one of six brochures in a series on access to court records available for order at mdcourts.gov/form/court-brochures-order-form.

Local A2J News

National News

  • Technology and the Courtroom. In a recent episode of LSC’s Talk Justice Podcast, a panel of lawyers and judges share insights into what legal professionals need to know to incorporate the latest options for court proceedings into their practice and discuss how technology-driven advancements continue to play a central role in Texas courts.