|Maryland Attorneys Donate 1+
Million Hours, Give $2+ Million To Help State’s Poor in 2002
(ANNAPOLIS, MD—January 21,
2004) Maryland attorneys donated over one million hours in volunteer pro
bono publico (free) legal services to help the state’s indigent population
with its legal needs in 2002. It is estimated that attorneys donated
over $150 million worth of legal services to help people with limited means.
In addition, attorneys in Maryland personally contributed $2,208,001 to
support legal services.# # # # #
The 2002 “Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers” report,
submitted by the Administrative Office of the Courts to the Maryland Court
of Appeals, reflects a comprehensive poll of Maryland lawyers to determine
the extent of the indigent’s need for legal services. In 2002, the
Court began requiring Maryland attorneys to report their pro bono hours
so it could assess volunteer legal services for the poor and direct resources
to areas with the greatest need. The Court adopted rules asking that lawyers
strive to render 50 hours of pro bono service annually. This report shows
that volunteer attorneys on a pro bono basis assist a vast number of people
with limited means and non-profit legal services organizations.
While the report proves that attorneys actively volunteer for, and financially
support, legal services in their local communities, it also highlights
the challenges that the Maryland Judiciary and pro bono organizations such
as the Pro Bono Resource Center face in targeting areas of need, enhancing
services for the poor and expanding attorney pro bono opportunities.
One of the biggest challenges lies
in Maryland attorneys’ preference to volunteer in their own practice area.
A recent judicial report summarizing Maryland attorney pro bono activity
indicates the greatest need for civil legal services for Maryland’s poor
falls in family law, an area of practice which lacks a sufficient number
of attorneys to handle the need.
A copy of the report can be downloaded from the Maryland Judiciary’s Pro
Bono webpage at http://www.courts.state.md.us/probono/index.html.
Contact for the Maryland State Bar Association is Janet S. Eveleth, who
can be reached at 410/685-7878.