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Anne Arundel County Pro Bono Action Plan - revision 2014

Page history last edited by Joan Bellistri 6 years, 8 months ago

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MARYLAND

PRO BONO ACTION PLAN

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The purpose of this Pro Bono Action Plan for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, is to promote pro bono legal services to meet the needs of persons of limited means in the county.  This plan assesses the county’s needs, describes the legal resources that currently exist to meet those needs, and sets forth an action plan for engaging lawyers throughout the county to address those unmet needs.  The Committee hopes that its plan will be enthusiastically accepted and supported by lawyers in the county and that, with their support, we will substantially increase access to the justice system for persons of limited means.

 

I.    COMMITTEE COMPOSITION

 

The Pro Bono Committee for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, hereinafter referred to as The Committee, was formed pursuant to Md. Rule 16-902. A roster of current members can be found here: http://aacpll.pbworks.com/w/page/44464630/Anne%20Arundel%20County%20Local%20Pro%20Bono%20Committee%3A%20Roster

 

II. NEEDS ASSESSMENT 

 

AACO LAB statistics: 

 

In 2003 there were two statewide surveys addressing the need for pro bono service.  There have been no formal needs assessments since. To update this information the poverty assessment, POVERTY AMIDST PLENTY IV: SURVIVING THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN (Fourth Edition, 2012)   (http://www.aacounty.org/Partnership/Resources/2012_AA_County_Needs_Assessment.pdf) conducted by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County can be used to update the 2003 survey results.  The Committee will investigate methods such as Survey Monkey to update the Needs Assessment.  Other tools include past surveys and the Pro Bono Standing Committee's, "Conducting a Legal Needs Assessment: A "How To" Guide for Local Pro Bono Committees."  see Assessment and Survey Tools

 

The results of two (2) surveys were used to assess the need for pro bono legal services in Anne Arundel County.  The first survey of legal services organizations was conducted by the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Service.  Surveys were distributed in early June of 2003 to 37 organizations statewide.  The Committee received the results of this survey in October of 2003.  18 organizations responded, submitting 145 surveys representing Baltimore City and the Counties throughout Maryland.  Surveys submitted for Anne Arundel County were represented by 11 organizations (see attached listing) with four (4) of these organizations’ responses including counties in addition to Anne Arundel. According to the  responses to this survey, the most important unmet legal needs in the county during 2002 were 1) contested family law/custody, divorce; 2) representation at IEP meetings, due process hearings, and mediation to ensure adequate services for students with disabilities; 3) non-English speakers small wage claims, workers comp, and health and safety enforcement for construction workers; 4) public benefits; 5) landlord/tenant/eviction defense and rent escrow actions;  6)employment-related issues, and 7) consumer finance/bankruptcy and other consumer issues.

 

The second survey was distributed by the Committee to twenty (20) non-legal Social/Human Services Agencies and tabulated by the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.  Eleven (11) responses were received and analyzed (see attached listing of responding organizations). The results identified the following as top legal issues mentioned most often by clients: (1) Child Support; (2) Consumer Finance/Bankruptcy/Collection/Loans; (3) Public and Subsidized Housing; and (4) Child Custody/Visitation.  The top three legal problems or areas identified by these Social/Human Services Agencies as not currently being met were 1) Child Support, 2) Child Custody/Visitation, and 3) Public and Subsidized Housing.  

 

III.   NATURE AND EXTENT OF EXISTING LEGAL RESOURCES

 

Anne Arundel County Directory of  Pro Bono and Reduce Fee Civil Legal Services:  http://aacpll.pbworks.com/w/page/69410664/Pro%20Bono%20(Free)%20and%20Reduced%20Fee%20Civil%20Legal%20Services

 

People's Law Library of Maryland Legal Services Directory:  http://www.peoples-law.org/directory

 

People's Law Library of Maryland Legal Clinic Calendar:  http://www.peoples-law.org/calendar 

 

IV.   GOALS AND PRIORITIES  

 

The Committee’s  Goals include the following: 1) to substantially increase the number of lawyers in the county participating in pro bono services that meet the most critical needs as identified through the needs assessment process of the Committee; 2) to continue and expand an on-going program that publicly acknowledges and promotes the efforts of Pro Bono legal service providers; 3) to establish an on-going working relationship between the Committee, the Anne Arundel Bar Association, and the institutional providers of legal services to county residents with limited means; and 4) increase access to information on pro bono services available to those needing services.

 

Based on the needs identified by both Legal Providers and the Social/Human Services Agencies, the Committee selected the following priorities for pro bono legal services to be addressed over the next three years: 1) family law cases including divorce, custody, child support modifications and protective orders; 2) consumer finance/bankruptcy and other consumer issues;  4) public and subsidized housing; 5) the representation of non-English speakers.

 

 

V.   MONITORING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PLAN IMPLEMENTATION

 

The Committee, in collaboration with the Anne Arundel Bar Association and the various providers of pro bono legal services will monitor and evaluate the plan on an ongoing basis.

 

VI. THE PLAN

 

A. Work with the Anne Arundel Bar Association and the courts to develop methods of providing referrals for those in need of pro bono services to the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and other legal service providers as appropriate.

 

B.  Utilize existing materials and develop and distribute to the public, information on how to obtain Pro Bono or reduced cost legal services to supplement existing resources such as the Peoples Law Library and use public institutions, libraries, and social/human services organizations as distribution points.

 

C.  Meet with the leadership of the Anne Arundel Bar Association to gather ideas and design a method of soliciting the Association’s members to provide Pro Bono services to County residents with limited means.  Possible methods include articles in the Barrister and email blasts to the membership.

 

D.  Utilize the services of the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and the Pro Bono Resource Center to match attorneys with cases involving attorney areas of expertise.

 

E. Encourage pro bono service through the Pro Bono Resource Center and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service that includes support services such as training and legal education opportunities, litigation expense resources, and malpractice insurance.


F. Develop methods of informing attorneys about the full array of services in addition to full representation that qualify as pro bono legal service such as screening and interviewing clients, limited legal advice clinics, legal research and writing, and serving as a mediator, arbitrator or neutral evaluator.

 

G. Keep statistics on hours of pro bono service provided for Committee sponsored programs to aid in attorney pro bono reporting.  Institute an annual campaign of informing the bar of the pro bono reporting requirements.

 

H. Conduct annual recognition events to publicly acknowledge and promote the efforts of Pro Bono legal service providers.

 

I.  Establish an open, continuous and effective working relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Committee and the institutional providers of legal services to the county’s residents with limited means, which include The Legal Aid Bureau, Office of the Public Defender, The Maryland Legal Services Corporation, the YWCA Domestic Violence Legal Services, and Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services.

 

J. The Committee, in collaboration with the Anne Arundel Bar Association and the various providers of pro bono legal services will monitor and evaluate the plan on an ongoing basis.

 

 

VII. TIMELINE FOR IMPLEMENTING AND EVALUATING PLAN ACTIVITIES

 

The Committee will meet at least every two months to monitor and evaluate the plan activities and make any changes or additions necessary to attain the goals of this plan.  This assessment will allow the Committee to identify any new projects, partnerships or initiatives needing to be undertaken to address unmet legal needs.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                 

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