WHAT WE DO

The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland addresses the inequality of access to the legal system by connecting volunteer lawyers to economically disadvantaged individuals, non-profit legal services providers, and communities for free legal counsel and representation.  We recruit, train, mentor and refer hundreds of volunteers to programs offering meaningful opportunities to prevent abuse, reunite families, avoid tax sale and home foreclosure, defend against consumer fraud, escape violence, obtain necessary disability and veterans’ benefits, and keep kids in school. Through our project incubation efforts, we also provide direct, service-based learning opportunities to positively impact at-risk individuals and neighborhoods, ultimately affecting close to 1,200 Marylanders annually through community education, brief legal advice clinics, direct case representation, and information and referral services.  PBRC facilitates systemic change by cultivating a strong pro bono culture and recommending and implementing statewide policies on pro bono practice.

OVER 80% OF ALL PEOPLE WHO NEED CIVIL LEGAL HELP IN MARYLAND CANNOT AFFORD IT.
PBRC WORKS TO CLOSE THAT JUSTICE GAP.

TRAINING FOR VOLUNTEER LAWYERS

PBRC coordinates live and online training programs for volunteer lawyers in a variety of substantive law areas in exchange for a pro bono commitment.

PROJECT INCUBATION

PBRC facilitates the incubation of new and innovative pro bono projects targeting the most acute legal needs of the community and engages volunteer lawyers in those efforts.

POLICY & ADVOCACY

PBRC convenes conferences to strategize ways to enhance the pro bono delivery system, monitors Maryland rules and pro bono policies, and advocates for equal access to the justice system.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES & SUPPORT

PBRC connects lawyers to meaningful pro bono opportunities based on their interests and geographical preferences.

PROVIDER SUPPORT

PBRC provides resources, support, and technical assistance to public interest legal advocates and promotes collaboration within the Maryland legal services community.

RECOGNITION

PBRC recognizes outstanding volunteer lawyers, firms and others for their dedication to the delivery of pro bono civil legal services to Maryland’s disadvantaged.

PUBLICATIONS

PBRC prepares and distributes resource guides for legal services providers, advocates, and the general public.

WHO WE ARE

PBRC is the only statewide non-profit clearinghouse for legal professionals dedicated to offering free civil legal help to the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of our community.  Our goal is to ensure that all Marylanders have equal access to the legal system regardless of their socio-economic condition.  As the designated pro bono arm of the Maryland State Bar Association, we play a unique role as the support, training and advocacy center for pro bono activities.  We build capacity within the bar and legal services community by providing technical assistance and support and promoting policies and practices which inspire a strong pro bono culture.  We actively respond to acute legal needs by incubating innovative pro bono service projects and coordinating education and service-based learning opportunities that target specific problems or populations, impacting thousands statewide.  Our ultimate mission is to open the doors of justice for all.

Our Story

The justice gap in the state is an unfortunate fact. More than 80%* of people and communities in poverty cannot afford a lawyer and as a result, lose their homes, children, jobs, health benefits and access to quality education. The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, Inc. (PBRC) was founded on January 16, 1990 as an independent non-profit to help close that justice gap by encouraging volunteer lawyers to offer free legal services involving basic human needs to disadvantaged individuals, families and communities.

The Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) established PBRC after recognizing that disparity and securing an agreement with the Court of Appeals of Maryland to launch a volunteer lawyer recruitment campaign in lieu of mandating pro bono work. The MSBA delegated the responsibility of implementing its pro bono plan to PBRC as its “pro bono arm.” The highly successful campaign resulted in thousands of potential volunteers being integrated into the community to offer essential legal help to those most in need. As the central pro bono coordinator and clearinghouse in the state, we have been the “go-to” organization for pro bono civil legal services ever since.

Our focus is on expanding the reach of free legal help in the state by recruiting, training, mentoring, and supporting volunteer lawyers who in turn work within their local communities and providers to represent the most vulnerable populations in our state such as the disabled, abused, homeless or working poor. We are also quite proud of our ability to “incubate” or create new project models that serve a particular emerging need in the community. These projects, which include clinics, hotlines, direct representation and mediation, offer lawyers short-term but meaningful ways to learn new areas of legal practice, gain practical, hands-on experience, and assist at-risk clients including seniors, veterans, defrauded consumers, and those at risk of losing their homes. PBRC has the unique role of facilitating partnerships and collaborating with entities to increase and enhance free or low-cost legal services, bridging the gaps in the current legal services delivery system.

Given its stature and history, PBRC further helps develop pro bono policy through its work with the courts and legislature. All of these initiatives necessitate strong collaboration. PBRC has also been instrumental in focusing on regions in the state where the resources are extremely scarce so that leveraging volunteers makes an even greater difference. The impact is tangible and vital to the economic and social stability of the clients and communities we serve. Thousands of lives have been improved because of these efforts.

In brief, PBRC has evolved from a recruitment arm of the state bar to a comprehensive pro bono clearinghouse of volunteer lawyers and resources, support center and innovator. The core focus of PBRC has not changed, however, as we strive to open the doors of justice to all. In brief, we change lives, build communities and preserve the integrity of our justice system.

*A 1988 legal needs study conducted by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation’s (MLSC) Advisory Council entitled “Action Plan for Maryland’s Poor” found that an appalling 80% of Maryland’s poor could not gain access to a lawyer in critical civil cases affecting basic human needs.

Our Staff
Sharon E. Goldsmith, Esq.,  Executive Director
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Sharon E. Goldsmith joined PBRC in 1990 as its founding director. Sharon manages the overall operation of PBRC, including strategic planning, media relations, program development, financial management, human resources, board development, project incubation, and leadership. She also works closely with the Court of Appeals on its Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services as well as with local pro bono committees and legal services providers to ensure the most effective and coordinated system of pro bono delivery exists statewide.

Annie Brinkmann Speedie,  Esq.,  Director of Programming
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Annie Brinkmann Speedie joined PBRC in 2011 and serves as the Director of Programming. Annie oversees PBRC’s extensive volunteer attorney recruitment, training, and support activities, and supervises PBRC’s Pro Bono Projects in the areas of foreclosure and tax sale prevention, consumer protection, family mediation, and assistance to unaccompanied children. She also manages the Litigation Fund, contributes to PBRC’s grant proposals and reporting requirements, researches policy, and provides support to the Pro Bono Coordinating Council.

Sydney Dunning, Esq.,  Consumer Protection Project Manager
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Sydney joined PBRC in 2016 and served as the Home Preservation Project Attorney. Sydney is responsible for assisting with recruitment, training, and mentoring of volunteer attorneys for Estate Planning Clinics, Foreclosure Clinics, and the Prince George’s County-based Tax Sale Prevention Project. Sydney now coordinates brief advice clinics in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County for low-income Marylanders in court, providing brief advice for a variety of consumer issues.

Dean Gavin Fleyzor, Esq.,  Tenant Volunteer Lawyer of the Day Program Manager
410-273-5200

Dean Fleyzor joined PBRC in 2016 and serves as the Tenant Volunteer Lawyer of the Day (TVLD) Program Manager. In this role, Dean recruits and coordinates training for volunteer attorneys who PBRC engages to provide one-on-one consultations and limited scope representation to tenants in Baltimore City Rent Court. Dean oversees the in-court legal services provided through the TVLD Program, which helps tenants understand their legal rights, assert applicable defenses, and connect with available resources for additional help in their cases.


Caitlin Goldblatt, Project Coordinator
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Caitlin joined PBRC in 2017 and serves as its Project Coordinator. In her role, she helps track grants, processes requests through our Litigation Fund, provides logistical support for the Consumer Protection Project, and assists the Tenant Volunteer Lawyer of the Day and Unaccompanied Children Pro Bono Projects



Elizabeth L. Grove,  Executive Assistant
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Elizabeth Grove joined PBRC in 2013 and serves as Sharon E. Goldsmith’s Executive Assistant. Elizabeth coordinates meetings and conference calls, manages communications, organizes files and record-keeping, responds to general inquiries, tracks donations, and assists with special events. She also works with the Standing Committee and Pro Bono Liaisons, and helps ensure that attorneys meet reporting requirements. Elizabeth also provides support to the staff and Board of Directors.

Margaret Henn, Esq.,  Director of Home Preservation Project
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Margaret Henn joined PBRC in 2013 and serves as the Director of the Home Preservation Project. Margaret is responsible for recruitment, training, and mentoring of volunteer attorneys for the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project, the Tax Sale Prevention Project and Project Household, which stabilizes homeownership for Baltimore City seniors. Margaret is also responsible for the coordination of brief advice events to assist distressed homeowners, in the areas of foreclosure prevention, tax sale, utility bill delinquency and estate planning.

Catherine D. Hulme, Esq., Unaccompanied Children Pro Bono Project Manager /
Directora del Proyecto Pro Bono para Menores No-Acompañados
443-465-4627
Catherine Hulme joined PBRC in 2015 and serves as the Unaccompanied Children Pro Bono Project Manager. Catherine is responsible for recruiting, training, and mentoring volunteer attorneys for the statewide Unaccompanied Children Pro Bono Project. Catherine is also responsible for coordinating the Project’s courthouse clinics where volunteer attorneys meet with unaccompanied children to identify legal arguments they can make in their deportation proceedings and provide information about obtaining pro bono representation.
Catherine Hulme se unió al PBRC en 2015 y sirve como la Directora del Proyecto Pro Bono para Menores No-Acompañados. Catherine es responsable de reclutar, entrenar y aconsejar a los abogados voluntarios que apoyan el Proyecto. Catherine también es responsable de coordinar las clínicas de corte del Proyecto en las cuales abogados voluntarios se reúnen con menores no-acompañados para identificar argumentos legales que puedan utilizar en sus procedimientos de deportación y para proveer información acerca de cómo encontrar representación pro bono.

Jaci Jones, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
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Jaci Jones joined PBRC in 2015 and serves as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator. Jaci coordinates all marketing efforts at PBRC for our events, trainings, and other activities. She also handles creating all graphic design, social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), CMS & SEO efforts, advertisements/articles for the press, and branding for PBRC. She is also the site administrator for Maryland Free Legal Answers and the staff liaison for the Annual Pro Bono Service Awards.


Shelly Jackson, Home Preservation Project Staff Attorney

Shelly joined PBRC in 2017 and serves as a staff attorney for the Home Preservation Project.  Shelly is responsible for community education, support to Baltimore City’s Project Household, and assisting with recruitment, training, and mentoring of volunteer attorneys who participate at estate planning clinics, foreclosure prevention clinics, and tax sale prevention clinics.  Shelly also supports the Courts of Appeals Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services and the State’s local pro bono committees in promoting and delivering pro bono legal services.


Spencer Larkin,  Unaccompanied Children Pro Bono Project Paralegal /
Asistente de Proyecto del Proyecto Pro Bono para Menores No-Acompañados
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Spencer Larkin joined PBRC in 2017 and serves as the Project Paralegal for the Unaccompanied Children Pro Bono Project. Spencer is responsible for the Project’s community outreach efforts, client registration, and client communications after Project clinics. He serves as the first point of contact for Spanish-speakers interested in volunteering as an interpreter. He also provides administrative support to the Project Manager.

Spencer Larkin se unió al PBRC en 2017 y sirve como el Asistente de Proyecto para el Proyecto Pro Bono para Menores No-Acompañados (UACP por sus siglas en inglés). Spencer es responsable de los esfuerzos de comunicación con la comunidad, el registro de clientes y la comunicación de seguimiento con clientes después de las clínicas. Spencer sirve como el primer punto de contacto para hispanohablantes interesados en hacer trabajo voluntario como intérprete. Él también provee apoyo administrativo a la Directora de Proyecto.


Kiah E. Pierre, Training & Records Manager
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Kiah Pierre joined PBRC in 2009 and serves as the Training & Records Manager. Kiah coordinates pro bono trainings for lawyers, refers trained lawyers to legal service providers, and tracks the status of their pro bono activity. She also manages volunteer records, contributes to PBRC’s grant reporting requirements, and is the staff liaison to the annual Maryland Partners for Justice Conference Planning Committee.


Linzey Powers, Development Director
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Linzey Powers joined PBRC in 2017 and serves as the Development Director. Linzey oversees PBRC’s fundraising efforts, building relationships with individuals, corporations, and foundations who share our vision of access to justice for all.

KiAndre Rist, Project Coordinator
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KiAndre Rist joined PBRC in 2015 and serves as the Home Preservation Project Coordinator. KiAndre acts as an organizer and first point of client contact for the Home Preservation Project which includes foreclosure, tax sale and Project Household activities. She manages client documents, client registrations, attorney registrations, and provides administrative and logistical support for Foreclosure Solution Workshops, Tax Prevention Clinics, and Project Household clinics.
Our Board

Executive Committee

  • Joseph J. “Joe” Dyer, Esq., President – Seyfarth Shaw, LLP
  • James R. Benjamin, Esq., Vice President – Pessin Katz Law, P.A.
  • Maria Ellena Chavez-Ruark, Esq., Treasurer – Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP
  • Ryan P. Nolan, Esq., Secretary – T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.
  • Victor L. Velazquez, CAE, Executive Vice President – Maryland State Bar Association
  • Gerard R. Vetter, Esq., Immediate Past President – Office of the United States Trustee

Board of Directors

  • G. David Dean, Esq. – Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, PA
  • Sima G. Fried, Esq. – Thomas & Libowitz, PA
  • Pamela S. Foresman, Esq. – Disability Rights Maryland
  • Michael J. Goecke, Esq. – Lerch Early & Brewer, Chtd.
  • David Scott “DS” Gray, Esq. – Venable, LLP
  • Kristin P. Herber, Esq. – Under Armour
  • Allen E. Honick, Esq. – Whiteford, Taylor & Preston
  • Catherine “Cate” Hopkin, Esq. – Tydings & Rosenberg, LLP
  • Michael R. Hudak, Esq. – YLS Chair – Office of the State’s Attorney, Baltimore City
  • Wilhelm H. Joseph, Jr., Esq. – Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.
  • Frederick L. Kobb, Esq. – Wright, Constable & Skeen, LLP
  • Melissa L. Mackiewicz, Esq. – DLA Piper LLP, US
  • Melanie Murray Mfume, Esq. – Law Office of Melanie Murray Mfume, LLC
  • Nicolas Orechwa, Esq. – Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings
  • David Pantzer, Esq. – DLS Chair – Simms Showers, LLP
  • Emily C. Rogers, Esq. – PBCC Chair – University of Baltimore School of Law, Career Development
  • Michael P. Sawicki, Esq. – Prometric, Inc.
  • Tracy L. Steedman, Esq. – Adelberg, Rudow, Dorf & Hendler, LLC
  • Hon. Keith R. Truffer – Maryland State Bar President-Elect – Circuit Court for Baltimore County
  • Brian T. Tucker, Esq. – Gallagher Evelius & Jones, LLP

 

Our Funders

Our funders and donors make the work of the Pro Bono Resource Center possible. We could not engage volunteers and impact lives without their generous support and continued dedication to justice for all.

CORPORATE PARTNERS:

BENEFACTOR:

ADVOCATE:

Saiontz & Kirk, P. A.
Seyfarth Shaw
Miles and Stockbridge
Bill and Sue Jones

ASSOCIATE:

Barron and Brown LLC
Pessin Katz
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP
Linowes Blocher
Herbert Garten

Media Sponsor:

PROGRAM SPONSORS:

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
Bar Association Insurance Trust Fund
Maryland Bar Foundation
Baltimore Bar Foundation

Our Employment Opportunities

OUR PROJECTS