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Maryland Fee Shifting Training 2017

The following video training was recorded in the Spring of 2017. It is a joint production of Civil Justice and the Maryland State Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Section Council. Neither Civil Justice nor the MSBA guarantee the current accuracy of these training materials. The training consists of six videos totaling approximately 107 minutes. The Powerpoint presentations for each video and some helpful exhibits can be viewed in links provided under the relevant video.

Part 1: Introduction

Joe Mack is the Executive Director of Civil Justice, Inc. After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law with Honors, Joe served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alan M. Wilner of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Joe spent the next several years as an associate of Venable LLP before starting his own law practice in 2009. Joe has served as lead counsel on numerous bench and jury trials in state and federal courts, many of which involved fee shifting claims. Joe joined Civil Justice in 2014 to continue his work providing legal services to communities in need, both directly and through providing education and support to other attorneys providing legal services to those communities.

  • To view the Powerpoint from this video, click here
  • To view an Amicus Brief filed by Civil Justice discussing fee shifting claims in Maryland, click here

Part 2A: Overview of Fee Shifting Statutes in Maryland

Amy Hennen is the Managing Attorney for Consumer and Housing Law at the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service. In that role, she leads MVLS’ foreclosure, tax sale, debt buyer defense, bankruptcy and other consumer law matters for low and fixed-income Marylanders. She mentors volunteer attorneys, provides direct client representation on a variety of legal issues and coordinates MVLS’ work with the private and public bars. Prior to joining MVLS, Amy was staff attorney at Legal Aid Bureau in Baltimore where she advised clients on general civil legal matters.

  • To view the Powerpoint from this video, click here.

Part 2B: Fee Shifting for Maryland Consumer Statutes

  • To view the Powerpoint from this video, click here.

Part 3: Selecting and Handling Quality Fee Shifting Cases from the Private Perspective

Jane Santoni has been litigating cases since she became a Maryland lawyer in 1986. Her practice focuses on consumer law cases involving fee shifting statues, and she has successfully tried and settled automobile fraud, mortgage fraud, warranty, illegal repossession, insurance denials and debt collection cases in state circuit, district, and appellate courts and in federal court. She has handled both individual and class cases. Her class cases to date have resulted in forgiveness of over $14,000,000 in debt. In 2015, Jane was awarded “Consumer Advocate of the Year” by the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

  • To view the Powerpoint from this video, click here.
  • To view a sample retainer agreement for a fee shifting case, click here.

Part 4: Fee Shifting from the Legal Services Perspective (and General Tips on Fee Petitions)

Deb Garnder is the Legal Director for the Public Justice Center, where she oversees the public interest litigation activities of the organization. Among her other responsibilities, she directs the PJC’s Appellate Advocacy Project, coordinates PJC’s effort to achieve a right to counsel under the Maryland constitution in civil matters involving basic human needs, and has coordinated the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel. Under Deb’s leadership, the PJC has successfully obtained important appellate rulings on fee-shifting in Maryland, including a case in which the Court of Appeals ruled that a judge committed reversible error by denying an award of attorneys’ fees to the PJC in a retaliatory eviction case without explanation. On remand, the same trail court that initial denied fees awarded the PJC over $50,000.00 in attorneys’ fees.

  • To view the Powerpoint from this video, click here.
  • To view some suggested language that the Public Justice Center uses in some retainer agreements for fee shifting cases, click here.
  • To view a sample fee petition filed by the Public Justice Center, which has been redacted in part to respect the client’s privacy, click here.

Part 5: From Individual Case to Class Action

Richard Gordon has more than 20 years of experience as a litigation and trial lawyer representing consumers, the poor and the underrepresented. Over the past 20 years, Richard has served as Lead Counsel in dozens of complex and class action cases on behalf of consumers, minorities, disable children, migrant workers and businesses. He has obtained multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of his clients and, in all, has recovered and returned several hundred million dollars to those in society who have been wronged, harmed or taken advantage of.

  • To view the Powerpoint from this video, click here.