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; supervises PBRC’s Pro Bono Projects; manages the Litigation Fund; researches policy; and provides support to the Pro Bono Coordinating Council.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Coral Springs, Florida, which is about an hour north of Miami.
What brought you to Maryland/Baltimore?
In December 2011 I was hired as PBRC’s Volunteer Services Coordinator and moved from DC to Baltimore shortly after realizing that commute just wasn’t for me!
Where did you go to school, and what was your focus?
For undergrad, I went to Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts. I played varsity lacrosse, majored in history, and learned all about sledding on borrowed dining hall trays. For law school, I attended The George Washington University Law School in DC.
What are your hobbies and interests?
Hanging out with my dog, Mabel, hiking, reading, and catching up on TV shows.
What were you doing prior to working at PBRC?
Before joining PBRC, I was a fellow for The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment which examined the federal government’s policies and actions related to the capture, detention, and treatment of suspected terrorists during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. During law school, I had always focused on public interest work, and my goal was to work for a legal nonprofit after graduation. The Volunteer Services Coordinator position at PBRC gave me the chance to be involved in a number of PBRC’s program from the start.
What do you do at PBRC?
I am the Director of Programming. I oversee PBRC’s volunteer attorney recruitment and support activities, and I supervise PBRC’s Pro Bono Projects: the Consumer Protection Project, the Home Preservation Project, the Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project, and the Tenant Volunteer Lawyer of the Day Program. One of my primary roles is connecting individual volunteer attorneys with pro bono opportunities across Maryland, so we joke that I’m a sort of pro bono Match.com. I also assist with strategic planning for the organization, grant proposals and reports, and provide support to the Pro Bono Coordinating Council, in which pro bono programs from around the state participate.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My undergrad thesis on Mary Woolley (president of Mount Holyoke College from 1900– 1937) and her activism is probably still the largest single project I have ever completed. In the end, I spent four semesters researching and going through original documents at the Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections. By my senior year, my friends knew to check the Archives if I was missing for too long.
What motivates you to do the work you do?
Seeing the life-changing impact that PBRC’s incredible volunteers and programs can have on Marylanders is what inspires me to keep working in legal services.
What has been your most meaningful experience with PBRC?
Since I joined PBRC, there has been so much growth among our staff and programs. We are a nimble and flexible non-profit, and we look critically at unmet needs to determine if there is something more or different we should be doing to increase access to justice. With seven years at PBRC behind me now, I have had the chance to help imagine and then see several new pro bono efforts come to life.
What do you appreciate about PBRC’s mission?
PBRC’s unique mix of volunteer engagement, technical assistance, and direct services activities means we work with the entire legal community to increase access to justice for low-income people. There’s never a dull moment!
Tell us something random about yourself!
To me, pizza is the perfect food; luckily, my husband is on board with having it for dinner at least once a week.