By Patrick Tandy
Magistrate Joanie Raymond calls the timing of this year’s First Annual Maryland Lawyers’ Day of Service “fortuitous” since a key goal of her year as President of the Bar Association of Frederick County (BAFC) is community service.
“I like pro bono work, but I also feel like we have to give back more to our community,” says Raymond as she and more than a dozen other BAFC members work to beautify the grounds of the Alan P. Linton, Jr. Emergency Shelter in downtown Frederick on April 27, 2019.
The bar volunteers are planting flowers and shrubs, constructing a small shed, and pruning tree branches, among other jobs. Meanwhile, members of other local and specialty bar associations across Maryland, as well as the MSBA, are engaged in public service projects that benefit the state’s homeless populations, the focus of this year’s Day of Service.
“I like to do this kind of work,” says Janice Rockwell, a local employment and business law attorney and BAFC President-Elect. On any given night, the Linton Shelter hosts nearly 100 homeless men and women.
“When you are in a place that looks nice, it makes you feel better, so why shouldn’t homeless people enjoy that same feeling?” posits Rockwell. “Maybe if they have a pretty place to come to it will motivate them to feel better about themselves and do what they need to do.”
For the BAFC, this is no one-off event. About a decade ago, the association initiated a 5K run to benefit the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, which operates the Linton Shelter. And every August, BAFC raises funds for the Coalition’s school supply drive, which benefits the roughly 1,500 Frederick city children that it serves.
“It’s a really nice partnership that carries on throughout the year,” says Sara Ryan, PR/Development Manager for the Coalition whose other initiatives include homelessness prevention, food banks, healthcare programs, and more. “We’re just so grateful to BAFC – that’s not something we can express enough.”
Although Emily Cruikshank, law clerk to Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Julia Martz-Fisher, is a Montgomery County resident, she enjoys the accessibility of Frederick County’s smaller scale.
“I really like it out here,” says Cruikshank, who serves as Philanthropy Chair for the BAFC Young Lawyers Section. “It’s a lot smaller, so you’re able to feel like you’re having more of an impact on the community itself.”
BAFC also actively supports other Frederick-area organizations, such as the Salvation Army. “We have a lot of community partners who know that if they have a need they can call us,” notes Raymond.