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. Our first trial run is tomorrow, March 18If you would like to volunteer, 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.