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Mid Shore Pro Bono Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

May 20, 2015 10:37AM ● By Cate Reynolds

Megan Ryan, Antonia Cuffee, Judge Karen M. Jensen, Sandy Brown, Mandy Caulk, and Ann Karwacki Goodman, Esq.

Pro bono adverb being, involving, or doing professional and especially legal work donated especially for the public good

—Merriam-Webster

Mid-Shore Pro Bono, located in Easton, began as a pilot project in July 2005 when the Local Pro Bono Committees from Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties joined forces with each county’s Circuit Court. The goal was to create an organization “dedicated to providing free or reduced fee legal services to low income families on the Mid-Shore,” according to the website.

Mid-Shore is the first regional pro bono referral agency in Maryland and 10 years later it is still the only one located on the Eastern Shore.

Sandy Brown, executive director, started with the group in 2008. “I soon learned that the low income population, whether students or adults, need an advocate to obtain many services and resources that seem designated for the wealthy,” Brown says. “Education and legal services both seem like luxuries.”

The non-profit organization offers many services, including a weekly legal services clinic, where attorneys provide brief advice and information at the Easton office. They also offer a bankruptcy clinic, as well as help with foreclosures and consumer protection. Appointments are required to attend these clinics.

Mid-Shore only handles civil cases, such as consumer law, family law, property law, and wills and probate. Those in need legal representation must apply for referral to an attorney. Eligibility for referral is based on income and type of legal problem.

In January 2009, the organization restructured their program to better provide services and to be more accessible to the community, according to Brown.

Mid-Shore Pro Bono annually helps more than 1,000 clients. Brown and the organization hope to continue to provide legal services to the low income community, as well as expand their Civil Legal Services and Foreclosure Clinics.

“We rely wholly on the generosity and support of the local attorneys who sit on our panel,” she explains. “Without their selfless help and contribution of time, we would not be as successful as we are today.”

If you are interested in volunteering legal services for Mid-Shore Pro Bono, or are in need of such services, email the organization at info@midshoreprobono.org or visit their website at http://midshoreprobono.org.