Kiah came to PBRC in 2009. Director of Training & Operations she coordinates trainings for lawyers and other advocates, refers volunteers to legal service providers, and tracks the status of their pro bono engagement. Born and raised in Maryland, Kiah has become an integral part of the legal services community.

Where did you grow up, and what brought you to Baltimore/Maryland?
I started out in Baltimore City, on the east side in Cedonia, but moved to Harford County when I was seven. I claim Bel Air, Maryland as my hometown, but I couldn’t wait to get out of the suburbs, and I followed my family tradition by going to Morgan State University for college. I’ve been in and around Baltimore ever since.

Where did you go to school and what was your major/focus?
I studied Telecommunications and Music at Morgan. I wanted to be a record producer like Diddy. I somehow got stuck in legal records management after college. I always joke that I wasn’t being specific enough in my prayers.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I love singing, but I never wanted to be a famous singer. I love to sing karaoke and my family has a gospel group called the LBs (Ellbees), which sounds like pounds, but are the last name initials of our great-grandparents. (Listen to Kiah, her sister, Kesla, and her cousin, Bryan Jeffrey singing "Total Praise" acapella. Kiah is the soprano!).

How did you connect with PBRC?
I had to take a job in DC after getting laid off from a firm that was downsizing. I remained friends with former colleagues on Facebook and used to complain about my train commute from Bel Air to DC and back every day. My friend and former colleague, now Honorable, Mark Scurti, served on the board for PBRC, noticed my frustrations, and told me about the position. I interviewed for the Data Coordinator position in the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project, and it was a perfect fit! That was 12 years ago!!

What do you do at PBRC?
I am the Director of Training & Operations. I coordinate trainings for lawyers and other advocates, as well as for internal staff, refer volunteers to legal service providers, and track their pro bono engagement. I also administer PBRC's customer relationship management system, contribute to PBRC’s grant reporting requirements, and manage the website. Finally, my most important and rewarding role at PBRC is coordinating our annual Partners for Justice Conference. I get to work very closely with some of the most brilliant legal services minds, in Maryland and beyond, put on a 16-18 panel event, drive the missions of all our programs, and unite the region’s legal services program staff with attorneys and advocates.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
Raising my brilliant 6-year-old is definitely my proudest accomplishment. However, professionally, it's executing the 2021 Partners for Justice Conference and the 2021 Veterans Legal Assistance Conference & Training virtually.  The pandemic brought about some real challenges with planning trainings and conferences, but I was able to use the skills and tools I had on hand to present them all virtually. Though I was certainly up for the challenge then, I am hoping we are able to meet in person for the conferences in 2022. Save the dates:
Partners for Justice Conference - Thursday, May 26, 2022 |  Veterans Legal Assistance Conference & Training - Friday, June 17, 2022

What has been your most meaningful experience with PBRC?
I don’t miss working on Saturdays all the time, but I really enjoyed my time working for the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project because I got to work at the Foreclosure Solutions Workshops. Just like at our other clinics, you get to see someone come into the event distressed and see them walk out with tears of joy and thank yous for everyone involved. Seeing the product of your work actually help provide hope to a person in need is the best thing about working in legal services and at PBRC.

What do you find unique or distinctive about PBRC and their mission within Maryland’s legal landscape?
PBRC is the only legal services organization in Maryland that recruit, train, and deploys attorneys to other programs. There isn’t one program that can solve the access to justice problem on its own. I’m glad that we can be a support service to other organizations that are all driven by the same core mission.

What message would you give to people thinking about volunteering or taking a training with PBRC?
"Jump in! The water is fine." Taking a training and a pro bono commitment is so easy! You can keep access to the training and materials for as long as the law is relevant. Your pro bono opportunity is covered with malpractice insurance and mentors to guide you every step of the way. This is the best way to do pro bono because you have all the support you need. You can do what you know or learn something completely new. Volunteers can safely gain the experience to start a new practice area. Most of all, this work is good for the soul. The personal reward in giving your highly valued legal service to someone in need is priceless. 

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