Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Md. Attorneys Donate Time and Over $2.8 Million To Help State's Poor

The Maryland bar can be quite proud of its pro bono service record. Although the statistics in this article are from 2004, they evidence the kind of generosity and commitment that make lawyers everywhere look good.

In 2004, Maryland attorneys gave over 1.5 million hours in volunteer pro bono publico ("for the good of the public") legal services to help the state’s indigent population with its legal needs. In addition, attorneys in Maryland personally donated over $2.8 million in cash contributions to support legal services. Overall, 63.2 percent of Maryland’s in-state, full-time lawyers donated time to help those in need by volunteering for pro bono service.

The 2004 Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers report, submitted by the Maryland Court of Appeals by the Administrative Office of the Courts reflects a comprehensive poll of Maryland’s 31,226 lawyers to determine the extent of indigents' 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 2004 report, the third in a series, indicates the number of attorneys donating their time to help the indigent through pro bono service continues to rise. The greatest need for civil legal services for Maryland’s poor continues to be in the area of family law, a law practice area lacking a sufficient number of attorneys to handle the need.


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