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Minutes 04-25-2012

Page history last edited by Joan Bellistri 11 years, 9 months ago

Anne Arundel County Local Pro Bono Committee
Minutes of the Meeting of April 25, 2012

approved 09/26/2012
Law Library Conference Room


Attending: Hon. Pamela North,  Joan Bellistri, Anita Bailey, Lisa Sarro and Chris Poulsen. 


Approval of Minutes: Minutes 02-29-2012 and Minutes 03-28-2012 were approved with corrections.


Local Pro Bono Committee


               Plan Review - wiki collaboration

Now that the committee has been working for a year, the committee will review the Local Plan as written in 2004. Suggestions for plan revisions should be indicated on the wiki plan discussion page. Committee members will be able to edit the plan using different color type with initials and/of by using the comment feature.  Joanie will send the links with the minutes.


               Pro Bono Recruitment  - MVLS and PBRC 

Joanie has contacted Richard Chambers at MVLS and will report if there has been an increase in Anne Arundel County attorney volunteers at the next meeting.  Anita Bailey reported that the Legal Aid Bureau has formalized its relationship with MVLS for referrals and placement.  MVLS acts quickly to place cases referred by Legal Aid.  A method of following up on the cases is still needed.


 Programs and Projects  


           Family Law Self Help Center volunteers for 1/2 days

               The Committee will investigate finding volunteers to staff the Family Law Self Help Center on the days when it closes at 1:00.  Joanie suggested starting with Friday as there are often questions after the emergency hearings.  There was a concern that it might be difficult to find volunteers on Friday afternoons.


Anita Bailey suggested that the Committee investigate the Minnesota program of extended service.  Clients could be referred to private volunteer attorneys for 1/2 hour appointments by the Center.


We will try and discuss with the AABA Family Law Committee.


Homeless Day 2012

The 5th Annual Anne Arundel County Homeless Resource Day saw 654 individuals consisting of 2133 men, 212 women and 220 children.  There were 83 providers and 474 volunteers.  Services provided included 125 with social security, 100 social security card applications, 97 benefits, 250 medical triage (5 required an ambulance for transportation to the emergency room), 143 vision screenings, 145 podiatry visits, and 80 outreach.  There were 66 new housing applicants which is unusual.  

This year 13 attorneys served 80 clients by answering 89 legal questions.  Again this year, questions about criminal records and expungement were the most asked.  Family law questions, as in previous years, were a close second. Detailed statistics can be found on the statistics wiki page. This year the Local Pro Bono Committee worked to create a program where those who needed to file a petition for expungement would be able to get assistance in filling out the form with the waiver of costs and financial statement. HPRP Executive Director, Antonia Fasanelli and Danielle Cover, HPRP Director of Pro Bono Programs,came to Homeless Day to offer their expert assistance on the spot.  As a result, 2 clients were recommended for HPRP intake and 4 petitions with waivers were filed in the District Court on Monday.   Many did not have criminal records that would qualify for expungement.   Others were able to take advantage of Office of the Pubic Defender intake. There was a discussion about the need for legislation to allow more instances that allow for expungement.


The Homeless Resource has been nominated for the PBRC Herb Garten Special Project Award.


Chris Poulsen will email the pocket guides to Lisa Sarro and Joan Bellistri.


MSBA Elder Law Day Senior Center "Ask a Lawyer"

Elena Boisvert was unable to coordinate with the senior centers and decided against a volunteer recruitment.  Lisa Sarro mentioned that it can be difficult to get on the schedule at county senior centers. 


          Barrister Column to highlight “stars” and providers/opportunities

The next article should cover Homeless Resource Day.  Joanie will send the information to Fran.


          Guardians for unaccompanied children

Judge North reported on her lunch meeting concerning serving the needs of unaccompanied children.  Pro bono attorneys are needed to represent "unaccompanied" children who are in the country illegally without a parent.  Attorneys are needed to help with the process of getting the child a guardian.  With a guardian the child could qualify for a green card and eventually, citizenship.  This would be more of a Maryland family law case rather than immigration. There is also the possibility that there could be some compensation for handling these cases. The attorney  would like to make a presentation to the bench with the idea that such cases would be assigned to one judge.  So far, Montgomery and Baltimore counties have done so. A presentation may be made to the Committee as well.


Jessica Quincosa, Legal Aid attorney with the District Court Self Help Center, is aware of the program and has a positive impression of the program. 


Chris Poulsen reported that she recently found that there a 200 homeless children in Anne Arundel County schools, some who may benefit from such a program.



Next Meeting: May 23, 2012



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