Thursday, April 2

Office of People’s Counsel (OPC) has developed Information Sheets to answer questions on utility bills, bill payments, and service disconnections for each gas and electric utility, and single Information Sheets for water services and for phone and internet services.


Monday, March 30

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Court of Appeals and Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera for placing a hold on residential eviction cases and foreclosures statewide.


Monday, March 30

Governor Larry Hogan issues stay-at-home order for Marylanders to stop the spread of coronavirus. This means no one should leave their home unless to get food, travel to essential work, or other fundamental reasons. The order will take effect at 8 pm on 3/30/2020 and anyone who knowingly or willingly violates the order is guilty of a misdemeanor.


Tuesday, March 25 

Yesterday we gathered over 70 participants representing legal providers in Maryland (and across the country!) to discuss remote services and tech tools for continued support during COVID-19. A recording of this video call presentation can be found here. Email ljurovich@probonomd.org for the password. 


Monday, March 23 

At the Judiciary’s request, the Access to Justice Commission and MSBA compiled a list of questions and recommendations from the legal community regarding recent COVID-19 court orders. MSBA Covid19 FAQs. A third round of questions and recommendations will be sent to the Judiciary on Thursday, March 26 ,and will continue to be submitted weekly at the Judiciary’s request. Attorneys should continue to contact the MSBA with questions and concerns at feedback@msba.org. 


Thursday, March 19 

On March 18th, Chief Judge Barbara issued an Administrative Order suspending all residential foreclosures and evictions,  including tax sale foreclosures and evictions currently pending in District Court, in light of the COVID-19 emergency. Judge Barbara’s Order  is “effective immediately” and will be “revised as circumstances warrant.” Thank you, Chief Judge Barbera, for protecting Maryland’s most vulnerable residents.

Foreclosures (including tax sale foreclosures) and evictions are stayed during the state of emergency. https://www.courts.state.md.us/sites/default/files/admin-orders/20200318suspensionofforeclosuresevictions.pdf

On Wednesday, March 18, PBRC held its first remote service clinic, with seven people – mothers and children — calling in for immigration legal advice.  “Just because the court is not having hearings doesn’t mean their case is going away, so we thought it was important to keep having those services.”  — Cate Scenna, MILAP Project Director. https://thedailyrecord.com/2020/03/18/pro-bono-groups-transition-to-remote-services-amid-virus-outbreak/ 


Wednesday, March 18 

“Baltimore will also temporarily halt evictions, relax parking restrictions and delay its annual tax sale.” – Baltimore Sun (http://ow.ly/ieWH50yPipw

We are STILL helping those at risk of tax sale. Please fill out https://www.tfaforms.com/4689242 to request a phone consultation with a lawyer.

 


Tuesday, March 17

Message from the Executive Director

For thirty years the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland has served as the thought leader, coordinator, and clearinghouse for pro bono legal services throughout the state of Maryland. Today, amidst an almost unprecedented challenge to the health and well-being of all Marylanders, we remain steadfast in our mission to ensure equal access to civil legal services. With resolve to meet the challenge, technology to meet the need, and an incredible team to ensure the success of our mission, PBRC will continue to offer the vast array of training programs, clinics, and services upon which so many rely.

Your safety and health are our priority. All in person meetings and events are cancelled until May 1st. Our team is diligently adapting our processes to facilitate remote services which were traditionally offered in person. Volunteers will be an integral part of our adaptation. Our staff remains available and ready to assist from offsite locations, and dedicated to meeting the traditional issues facing legal services providers and our clients as well as the developing and unique needs of this pandemic.

Together with our partners, the MSBA, MLSC, the Judiciary, and the vast array of legal services providers in the state—we are here to help Marylanders in need weather this storm.

Together, we continue to connect lawyers with purpose and ensure the promise of equal access to justice.

Listed below are current updates to our programs. Stay tuned through our website and social media as changes occur.

Please stay well, and stay connected.

Thank you,

Sharon E. Goldsmith, Esq.

Executive Director


What We Are Doing For You and Our Community: 

Call to Action: PBRC was a signatory to a Call to Action letter sent to Gov. Larry Hogan, local executive officials, and the Maryland Judiciary calling for protective measures to prevent economic fallout following the State of Emergency. Among the measures is to stop all evictions across the state, increase access to unemployment compensation, and expand paid sick leave. 

Teleworking: Since last Thursday, March 12, we have closed the office temporarily, but staff have been working remotely and are fully equipped to receive and respond to phone calls and emails. To contact a team member, click here.  

Clinic services: PBRC operates both courthouse and community clinics. Given the court closures (only certain emergency cases are being heard), our clinics are being adapted to offer remote services as much as practicable. Chief Judge Barbera’s latest administrative order regarding state courthouse closures can be found here. (For a list of complete list of courthouse closings, click here.)


Project Updates: 

Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project (MILAP):

Immigration court has postponed certain dockets. More information can be found here. We will not be in court but will offer our triage and advice clinics utilizing video-chat technology to serve immigrants seeking legal help. If you would like to volunteer, click here or contact Cate Scenna at 443-465-4627 or cscenna@probonomd.org.

Information for immigrants who need help can be found here.

Home Preservation Project (HPP):

Tax sale: Tax sale season is upon us. We have had to cancel community clinics in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County but are doing our best to provide legal help to those on the tax sale list and at risk of losing their homes. Postcards are being mailed to impacted homeowners in Baltimore City inviting them to contact us for remote telephone appointments with our volunteer lawyers. Postcards will be mailed to Prince George’s County residents as soon as the list is published. If you would like to assist remotely, we can offer immediate online training and mentorship and add you to our pool of volunteers. If you have any questions, know of someone who may need help, or would like to volunteer, contact Allison Harris at 443-703-3050 or aharris@probonomd.org. 

Utilities shut offs prohibited: Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order that prohibits electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer’s service or charging any residential late fees. 

Courtroom Advocacy Project (CAP): 

Per Gov. Hogan’s Executive Order, evictions will not be allowed during the State of Emergency in some circumstances where a tenant has been affected by COVID-19. Baltimore City and some other counties have declared a complete moratorium on evictions while schools are closed. Please check your particular jurisdiction for further details. For the time being, pending debt collection cases in District Court are not being reviewed for judgment. Hearings and trials currently scheduled will be reset after April 3rdFor questions related to CAP, or if you are a tenant with a rent court case pending in Baltimore City District Court or a consumer with a pending case in Baltimore City District Court or Prince George’s County District Court, you may contact Sydney Dunning at sdunning@probonomd.org or 443-703-3049. 


Other Pro Bono Opportunities:

Join the digital world of volunteering: In this time of immense need and confusion, the stress on people is enormous. Please consider joining Maryland.FreeLegalAnswers.org to offer legal advice and counsel online to those in need. You can provide advice at your convenience, 24/7, and select which legal questions you wish to answer. It’s a fast and easy way to reach people and know they are not alone. To register, click here.

For the legal services provider community: Many of you have been doing remote service (using technology to allow volunteers in one location to help clients in another location) for some time OR are starting to do remote service now.  Please join us for a roundtable call next week to share some tips and techniques, and to discuss questions and solutions we each have, as a community. Tuesday, March 24 at 9 AM register here


Resources:

We commend the Maryland State Bar Association and the Access to Justice Commission for immediately communicating with the judiciary and updating membership on court closures, remote practices, and other helpful information. To keep posted, click here.

For accurate information on the COVID-19 and precautions to take, please visit:

2-1-1 211 Maryland is charged by state law to establish and maintain an information and referral service network available to all Maryland residents, offering the public efficient 24/7 guidance in accessing health, crisis, and social services.

Cdc.gov CDC is the nation’s health protection agency, working 24/7 to protect America from health and safety threats, both foreign and domestic.

Who.int WHO works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.

Maryland.gov A gateway to information and services within and around the State of Maryland.