Mid-Shore Pro Bono joined the Oct. 23-29 National Celebration of Pro Bono by recognizing its volunteer attorneys for their work providing access to legal representation for civil matters and the public good. Mid-Shore Pro Bono includes a growing network of more than 150 volunteer lawyers ensuring access to the legal system and providing free or reduced-fee legal services for those who need legal help on the Eastern Shore.
The nonprofit hosted an Oct. 27 reception at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center in Easton, Md. to thank the legal service provider’s volunteer attorneys. The event was sponsored by MSPB Board of Directors President Timothy Abeska, Esq. and featured live music with Fog After Midnight.
Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director Meredith Lathbury Girard, Esq. made remarks at the reception thanking volunteer attorneys that help people through civil legal matters throughout Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
“Every year, Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s volunteer attorneys provide free legal services to more than 3,000 people on the Eastern Shore,” said Lathbury-Girard. “Volunteers are the heart and soul of how we help people get the legal assistance they need with their divorce, their life planning documents, their landlord/tenant matters, and more.
“In fiscal year 2022, our extraordinary volunteers provided more than 9,000 hours of free legal services—services worth $2.25 million,” continued Lathbury-Girard. “I cannot express enough what an amazing impact this work has on people and our community.”
Girard then shared several comments she has received over the past year, including one client remarking “Once I had an attorney through Mid-Shore Pro Bono, I stood taller and walked prouder because I knew there was someone in my corner.”
Mid-Shore Pro Bono recognized its top volunteer lawyers as ranked by the number of hours donated in legal services at the reception. Special recognition was also given to three volunteers as Volunteer of the Year in Family Law, Elder Law, and Housing and Consumer Debt.
Receiving special recognition were MSPB volunteer Andy Adkins, Esq. of the Law Office of Andrew Adkins in Easton, Md. as Volunteer of the Year for Family Law; Kayla Coursey, Esq. of Braden, Thompson, Poltrack & Mundy in Stevensville, Md. as Volunteer of the Year for Elder Law; and MSPB Board Member Anthony Rodriguez, Esq. of Church Hill, Md. as Volunteer of the Year for Housing & Consumer Debt.
“The people of the Eastern Shore are extremely fortunate to have the volunteer work of these dedicated attorneys,” said Laura Chafey, Esq., Legal Director at Mid-Shore Pro Bono. “And we are always looking for more attorneys to become volunteers with us and who share our passion for providing access to legal representation in civil matters for everyone, regardless of anyone’s ability to pay.”
Lathbury-Girard says the nonprofit relies on donations to support Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s free legal clinics, legal representation in court, community outreach, and volunteer attorney training and recruitment.
The National Celebration of Pro Bono is sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Center for Pro Bono Committee to recognize pro bono work as a professional responsibility and an individual ethical commitment of each lawyer. The ABA says the Committee launched the National Celebration of Pro Bono in 2009 because of the increasing need for pro bono services during harsh economic times and the unprecedented response of attorneys to meet this demand.
America’s legal organizations—including Mid-Shore Pro Bono—have since participated in the National Celebration of Pro Bono every October to draw attention to the need for pro bono participation, and to thank those who give their time year-round.