Daria Zane, Staff Attorney for the Courtroom Advocacy Project

Daria Zane came to PBRC in 2019. She works on the Courtroom Advocacy Project, PBRC’s limited-scope courthouse-based pro bono clinics for consumers and tenants in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. Daria is also an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Before joining PBRC, Daria spent over 15 years litigating criminal and civil matters, representing plaintiffs and defendants. Daria graduated from the George Washington University Law School.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, in Riverdale, which is near College Park. Though I have traveled a lot, including traveling to all 50 states, I have lived in Maryland my entire life.

Where did you go to school and what was your major/focus? I went to school locally, attending the University of Maryland, College Park, for undergrad, earning a B.S. in Business (Go Terps!). But, I always wanted to be a lawyer so when I graduated I immediately went on to the George Washington University Law School. I graduated with honors.

What brought you to Baltimore?
My first job out of law school, a temporary job that lasted a few months while awaiting the start of my judicial clerkship, was in Baltimore. And, then, years later, I returned to Baltimore when I began teaching at the University of Baltimore School of Law as an adjunct professor.  I’m still teaching there now.

What are your interests/hobbies? I love hiking and the outdoors and, I was fortunate to have been an attorney with the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division when I first began to practice, where I handled cases affecting natural resources and public lands, such as the national parks and forests. (see photo). I am currently on a quest to visit all the national parks. I am also an avid soccer player and fan and runner.

How did you connect with PBRC? When I was working at the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA), my office was on the same floor as PBRC’s offices and when I learned of volunteer opportunities, I signed up. I was fortunate when the opportunity arose to become part of PBRC’s staff.

What were you doing prior to working here? Immediately before PBRC, I worked at the MSBA as the Publications Attorney. I spent most of my career as an attorney with the Department of Justice, including as an Assistant United States Attorney in DC, handling civil and criminal matters. I also was a Special Master with the Court of Federal Claims for a few years and have worked at Whitman Walker Health, helping patients with legal matters. I am and have been an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law for a number of years.

What do you do at PBRC? I work on the Court Advocacy Project (CAP), which consists of court-based clinics where staff and volunteer attorneys provide limited-scope pro bono representation to tenants and consumers in matters brought in the District Court in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.

What is your proudest accomplishment? It is difficult to identify one matter as an outstanding accomplishment. I have been fortunate to be in a position to work to see that justice is done, including representing individuals that could not afford an attorney.

What quote has particular meaning to you? Because much of our work involves meeting and clients for the first time on their court date, where you cannot prepare in advance, I often keep in mind the saying, “blessed are the flexible” as a reminder to be prepared for the unexpected.

What has been your most meaningful experience with PBRC? Every day at PBRC providing pro bono advice and representation and working with volunteers is meaningful, knowing that you have ensured that your client received a just day in court and hopefully his or her life is a little better.

What do you appreciate about PBRC’s mission? I appreciate that PBRC serves so many and continually is seeking new ways to provide legal services to individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford them.

Tell us something random about yourself. Having not had the chance to play collegiate sports because of the lack of enforcement of Title IX, 15 years after graduating and while practicing law, I returned to school as a graduate student at Trinity University in Washington, D.C. and was a starter on my college  soccer team.

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