DISTINGUISHED PRO BONO VOLUNTEER AWARD: CHARLES SCHEELER, ESQ. Mr. Scheeler eagerly accepted the very first vacatur case the MVLS Human Trafficking Prevention Project ever placed with a volunteer attorney. The case involved vacating 10 prostitution convictions for a survivor of human sex trafficking. Mr. Scheeler demonstrated great generosity with his time, dedicating 7 months to this labor-intensive case. He demonstrated sophistication in post-conviction law, and showed strong compassion and empathy in his representation of his client. Mr. Scheeler has also advocated to expand the current vacatur law to help more survivors.
NON-LEGAL OR ORGANIZATIONAL INVOLVEMENT AWARD: MARYLAND FAITH HEALTH NETWORK AS PART OF THE MARYLAND CITIZENS HEALTH INITIATIVE. The Maryland Faith Health Network (MFHN) has greatly expanded access to legal information and services over the past year. Understanding the impact that foreclosure, tax sale, and other housing instability has on the well-being of our communities, MFHN set about to connect these human needs with knowledge and resources. They sought funding from the Maryland Department of Health to create presentations focused on advanced health care directives, to be provided through churches and other places of worship. MFHN develops the connections and provides logistical support for these presentations, and MVLS provides staff attorneys to demystify estate planning. This project has created substantial connections between faith leaders, who are often the ones consulted during life crises, and free services that can aid the families with their legal needs. These efforts will continue to benefit our communities into the future.
RETIRED PRO BONO VOLUNTEER AWARD: ELVA TILLMAN, ESQ. Ms. Tillman has been volunteering with Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service since 1992. She has taken 39 cases, including 22 divorce cases, as well as custody, adult guardianship, name change, and estate planning matters. She has also participated in the community development project, assisting other community non-profit programs. Over her time volunteering at MVLS, Ms. Tillman has provided over 673 hours of pro bono service, and has proven herself to be reliable, gracious, and eager. Since her retirement from the Law Department for the City of Baltimore in early 2017, she has become a valuable addition to the Consumer Protection Project clinic. In 2017, she volunteered at 33 of the 52 clinics and assisted 72 clients. Each week, she shows up early to help set up, and stays late to help wrap up after the clinic ends. In addition, Ms. Tillman has volunteered with Pro Bono Resource Center’s Home Preservation Project.
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