Civil Justice co-sponsors "Building an Effective Limited Scope practice in Maryland" training on October 14, 2016

The Maryland Access to Justice Commission and the Maryland State Bar Association's Delivery of Legal Services Section planned a statewide conference for private, legal services and pro-bono attorneys called "Building an Effective 'Limited Scope' Practice in Maryland" on October 14, 2016 at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.  New court rules in the state now allow for limited appearances in court, making it possible to develop a limited scope practice in the state.  Experiences in other states suggest that having a limited scope practice is a win-win proposition, providing attorneys with a new financially viable business model and allowing many more moderate-income and working poor clients that otherwise could not afford an attorney, effecting access to justice.

Sample fee agreements, Scope of Engagement Checklists, Fact sheets, Toolkits, and other resources from the training can be found here on the MSBA's website.

The conference was sponsored by The Maryland State Bar Association's Delivery of Legal Services Section, The Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), Civil Justice, and the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland. 

Free Student Loan Discharge Clinics for ITT Tech Student, Sept 26 and Sept 29, 2016



Civil Justice, Inc. is hosting free student loan discharge clinics for ITT Tech students who were recently impacted by the school’s closure. The clinics will be held on Monday, September 26, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. at the Owings Mills Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, and Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. at the Glen Burnie Regional Library.

The clinics will focus on how to apply for a discharge of federal student loans taken out to attend ITT Tech, and also provide information to help students evaluate their options. Topics that will be covered during the clinic include: how transferring credits impacts eligibility for a closed school discharge; the steps in the loan discharge process; filling out the paperwork to apply for a closed school loan discharge; and where to submit an application and what documents to include.

Unlike other types of debt, most student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  There is no statute of limitations for federal student loans, which means the debt can be collected until it is repaid or the borrower dies. Collection efforts are aggressive --the government can seize tax refunds, portions of Social Security benefits, garnish wages without a judgment, and deny a borrower new education grants or loans.

Civil Justice’s Student Loan Borrower Protection Project was created in 2014 to provide help to low income Marylanders who have defaulted or are at risk of defaulting on their student loan obligations, particularly borrowers who attended for-profit colleges and vocational schools.  The project helps borrowers with forced collection actions, administrative discharge of federal student loans, disputes with lenders and loan servicers, default or delinquency on federal student loans, and counseling on repayment options.

The clinics are free but space is limited.  To reserve a spot, please contact Civil Justice at 410-706-0174 or email cj@civiljusticenetwork.org.  

Join us for an evening of fun, food and friendship at our annual event where we will celebrate the accomplishments of Civil Justice and honor the work of our members.

Featured Speaker - Justin Brown, Esq.
Justin Brown is a Civil Justice member who represents Adnan Syed, the focus of season 1 of Serial, the podcast that became an overnight success with over 100 million downloads.  Justin will speak about his experience handling a case that suddenly gained national attention.

Civil Justice Network Member of the Year - Peter Holland, Esq.

Peter Holland, a long time member of Civil Justice and a nationally recognized expert on consumer protection law, will be honored for his tireless advocacy on behalf of low and moderate income consumers and his mentoring of fellow attorneys and law students.

Click here to purchase tickets. 

Sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Carrie McCully at cmccully@civiljusticenetwork.org, or call 410-706-0174.


Emerging Trends in Foreclosure Law and Policy in Maryland - September 22, 2015 8:30am - 1:00pm

Civil Justice, Inc., Maryland Legal Aid, and Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) hosted a new foreclosure training called "Emerging Trends in Foreclosure Law and Policy in Maryland" on September 22, 2015 from 8:30am to 1:00pm at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  This half-day training focused on a variety of topics including:

  • Death, Divorce and Foreclosure,
  • A View of Foreclosures from the Bench,
  • Post-Sale Issues: How Attorneys Can Help.

Featured panelists included Alys Cohen, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, Judge Toni Evon Clarke from Prince George's County Circuit Court, Master Lori Eisner from Baltimore City Circuit Court, and several attorneys from DLLR, the Maryland Attorneys General Office, Legal Aid and more.

Annual Access to Justice Celebration celebrates the Accomplishment of Two Network Members

Civil Justice, Inc. recognized the work of two of its Network Attorney Members, Thomas Gill and Gerald Walsh, at its annual Access to Justice Celebration on Thursday, June 4, 2015 at Westminster Hall.

Thomas Gill was presented with the Civil Justice Network Member of the Year for his tireless advocacy representing low and moderate income Marylanders facing foreclosure and other financial problems.  Mr. Gill has been a solo practitioner since graduating University of Baltimore School of Law in 1999, and has been an active Civil Justice member since 2000.  His main goal for his practice since its inception is to provide services to clients that didn’t qualify for free services, but couldn’t afford the high priced law firms.  

Gerald Walsh was presented Civil Justice’s Outstanding Service and Dedication Award for his many year of service to Civil Justice and increasing access to justice for underserved communities.  Jerry has been a Board Member of Civil Justice since 2006, serving as board President, and presently as Treasurer.  While currently in solo practice, Jerry began his legal career in Maryland at the Legal Aid Bureau, first as a chief attorney, and becoming the Deputy Director.  He was a founding member and past Board President of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, and also served on the Board for Pro Bono Resource Center, Inc.  Jerry also served three years on the Maryland Legal Services Assistance Network, appointed by Hon. Robert M. Bell, former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

For pictures of the event, please visit our facebook page.  


Civil Justice Trains Attorneys in Foreclosure Recovery

 On September 9, 2013, Civil Justice held a training to launch the Foreclosure Recovery: On Track to Financial Health Program.  Approximately thirty attorneys attend the training, which took place at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  Civil Justice attorneys will assist individuals who have lost homes to foreclosure, who sold or conveyed homes after a default to avoid a foreclosure, or who have received a loan modification or positive outcome in a mediation, who are looking for credit advice.  Below, consumer attorneys (left to right) Peter Holland, Louise Carwell, and Sonya Smith-Valentine share practice tips on how to assist clients who have experienced a foreclosure event. 

Criminal Practices in District Court - CLE offering May 23rd, 2012

Civil Justice's latest CLE offering, "Criminal Practices in District Court", will be held on Wednesday, May 23rd, 4p.m. at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.  This introductory-level class, presented by Christopher Flohr, Esq. is intended to introduce attorneys to the basics of criminal and traffic defense in District Court.  Topics to be covered include: Commissioner and Bail Review hearings, Client Interviews, Investigations, Discovery, District Court trial practices, Plea Bargaining, Sentencing and De Nove Appeals.

About the Speaker
Christopher Flohr began his practice as an attorney for the Legal Aid Society's Criminal Defense Division in Brooklyn, New York in the early 90's.  Part of an esteemed group of young attorneys, Chris worked hard in the trenches, appearing in court nearly every day (sometimes until the early hours of the morning in night court).  Chris was selected a Team Leader and litigated trials in nearly every type of felony (i.e. robbery, rape, murder, etc).  Today Chris is a partner in Blackford & Flohr, LLC and is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Cost for the CLE is $55 for Civil Justice members and $70 for non-Civil Justice members.  To register for the class, please click here to download the registration form.  For additional information, please call Erica Evans at (410)706-0174, or email eevans@civiljusticenetwork.org.  

Defending Criminal Felony Cases in Federal v. State Court - CLE Offering December 7th

Civil Justice's latest CLE offering, Defending Criminal Felony Cases in Federal v. State Court, will be held December 7, 2011 at 9:50 a.m. at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.  This seminar will examine the fundamental difference between felony trial practice in federal and state court. The course will take a look at the differences in the courthouse culture as well as pre-trial and post trial procedural steps and processes unique to each jurisdiction. Participants will review discovery, motions practices and the plea negotiation process. This class is a must for attorneys to efficiently advocate for their clients as they go through the different possible proceedings.

PROGRAM AGENDA
9:50 am - 10:00 am: Introductions
10:00 am - 10:20 am: The culture of Federal v. State Court. What to expect from your federal client and what they expect from you.
10:20 am - 10:40 am: Pre-trial differences-discovery arguments, motions, timing, research, Electronic case filing, motions to seal.
10:40 am - 11:00 am: Issues with cooperators-as clients and as adverse witnesses.
11:00 am - 11:45 am: A comparison of sentencing guidelines and how the climate has changed- A brief history of past federal mandatory guidelines and federal advisory guidelines today, the application of 18USC §3553(a), sentencing issues unique to federal court.
11:45 am - 12:00 pm.: Break
12:00 pm- 12:30pm: Trial Practice including: 404(b) evidence issues, audio visual aids, federal jury panels.
12:30 pm- 1:00 pm: Questions and Answers.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Jonathon Van Hoven has over 23 years experience as a criminal defense attorney.  His practice concentrates on all levels of criminal law including capital cases and other major felony trials.  Mr. Van Hoven  is a part time instructor for the Legal Internship Program at University of MD Baltimore County.

To register, please click here to download a registration form.  Completed forms can be emailed to eevans@civiljusticenetwork.org or can be faxed to 410-706-3196, attention Erica.  For additional information, please call Erica Evans at 410-706-0174.

Maryland Foreclosure Mediation and Mortgage Fraud Prevention Act CLE - December 1

Civil Justice and Allegany Law Foundation are presenting a CLE course entitled Maryland Foreclosure Mediation and Mortgage Fraud Prevention Act on Thursday, December 1, 1p.m. to 4p.m. at the Allegany College Continuing Education Building in Cumberland.    The training will cover the Maryland Foreclosure Mediation law and regulations, and share real life mediation experiences from the perspective of secured parties, homeowners and other interested parties. This portion of the class will be presented by Jeff Nadel, Esq., and Phillip Robinson, Esq.  The second portion of the training will cover litigating mortgage servicing claims under the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Prevention Act.  Sample pleadings, Discovery, Motions, and Attorneys Fees will be reviewed.  This portion of the class will be presented by Phillip Robinson, Esq.

This training is free with a pro bono commitment of two case referrals from Allegany Law including representation in foreclosure mediation, foreclosure defense, or participation in a Foreclosure Solutions Workshop.  To register for the class, please contact Allegany Law Foundation at (301) 722-3390.

CLE Offering – An Overview of Jury Trials in Personal Injury Cases, July 20, 2011

Civil Justice is offering a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) class titled, “An Overview of Jury Trials in Personal Injury Cases”, on July 20, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at the University of Maryland School of Law.  This seminar outlines all aspects of a personal injury trial including deciding to accept the case, preparing a case utilizing experts, developing powerful opening statements and closing arguments, and dealing with the unpredictability of the trial itself. 

 Program Agenda

9:50 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Introductions

10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Accepting the Case – the Four Factors 

10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Preparation for Trial/Settlement
a. Investigation
b. Filing Suit
c. Discovery
d. Experts
e. Evaluating case worth
f. Settlement Attempts
g. Preparing for Trial

11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The Trial
a. Pre-Trial Motions
b. Voir Dire – Jury Selection
c. Direct Examinations
d. Cross Examination
e. Motions
f. Closing
g. Post Trial

About the Speaker
Jane Santoni has been a practicing attorney since 1986.  After clerking for Chief Judge Morris Turk in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, she became a trial lawyer with USF&G (later St. Paul) insurance company, where she handled thousands of personal injury cases and hundreds of trials during her 14 year tenure with these companies.  In 2002 Ms. Santoni started her own firm with partner Joe Williams.  In addition to handling personal injury cases, now on behalf of Plaintiffs, Ms. Santoni began a consumer law practice.  She has taught, “Preparation and Trial of a Personal Injury Case” for MICPEL.  She has been named a “super lawyer” – comprising the top 5% in the legal profession in Maryland for the last four years in a row.  She has won this award for her work in the personal injury and consumer protection area.

To register for this class, please click here to download a registration form

If you have any questions, please contact Erica Evans at eevans@civiljusticenetwork.org, or (410)706-0174.
 

CLE Offering – Advice for Your Client Starting a Small Business, July 13, 2011

 Civil Justice is offering a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) class title, “Advice for your Client Starting a Small Business”, on July 13, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at the University of Maryland School of Law.

 This introductory-level class is intended to give attorneys a simple roadmap for clarifying goals of a client’s new business, identifying potential business risks and pitfalls, structuring the new business, assembling a professional team for business success, meeting licensing and regulatory requirements, and raising money without losing control of the business.
 
PROGRAM AGENDA
9:50 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Introductions

10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Defining the Business and its Business Goals

10:15 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.
Putting Together the Team of Professionals

10:25 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Choice of Entity and Business Structure

10:50 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.
Minimizing Risk

11:05 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Financing the New Business

11:20 a.m. to 11:30am.
Human Relations and Personal

11:30a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
Maintaining the New Business

11:40 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Closing the Business

11:50 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Questions & Answers

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Attorney Stephen D. Ball graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1994.  He worked at Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher in Upper Marlboro during law school from 1992 until 1995.  In 1995 he opened his own law firm in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Since 1995, his practice has included small business formation and litigation.  He is licensed to practice in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.  He joined Civil Justice, Inc. in 1999 and currently serves as its Vice President.

To register for this class, please click here to download a registration form.

If you have any questions, please contact Erica Evans at eevans@civiljusticenetwork.org or (410)706-0174.
 

Civil Justice’s Pilot Partnership Program With The Debtor Assistance Project Awarded 2011 Herbert S. Garten Pro Bono Service Award

Civil Justice has been awarded the 2011 Herbert S. Garten Pro Bono Service Award for its pilot program designed to provide support and attorney staffing to the Debtor Assistance Project (DAP) at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore. The award was presented during the Maryland State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, held in Ocean City, Maryland on June 11, 2011.

DAP is a program, run through the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, which provides pro se debtors with the opportunity to meet with a bankruptcy attorney for a free thirty-minute consultation. While the need for the services of the DAP office are great, the program has struggled to recruit enough pro bono attorneys to meet the demand for appointments. In February 2010, Civil Justice Inc. (CJ) received a twelve-month grant from the Abel Foundation to implement a program entitled “Filling a Vital Gap in Foreclosure Prevention Through Pro Se Bankruptcy.”  Through this pilot project, CJ was able to pay a daily stipend to experienced bankruptcy attorneys who agreed to staff the Baltimore DAP desk on a regular basis.

The pilot project targeted hundreds of pro se bankruptcy debtors who, without the aid of legal counsel, seek to preserve their home in bankruptcy court. The pilot project also sought to fill a gap in services offered by the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project by providing Baltimore area housing counseling agencies with information and guidance on bankruptcy related legal services. Preliminary results show that debtors who visited the DAP office during the pilot project period saw a 50% reduction in involuntary dismissals of their Chapter 13 cases when compared with those who did not benefit from DAP counseling.

The Herbert S. Garten Pro Bono Service Award recognizes an individual, group, or firm that has initiated a special project that enhances the delivery of legal services for low-income people.
 

Civil Justice sponsors its first CLE program, Introduction to Family Law, on June 29, 2011

Civil Justice is beginning its Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses, with its first program, Introduction to Family Law – A Review of Divorce and Custody Issues, on June 29, 2011 at the University of Maryland School of Law, from 10:00am to 12:00pm.

This introductory training is designed to provide the practitioner with essential elements needed to assess and undertake a divorce or custody case.  Taught by Stacey Andersen, a litigator with over 13 years of trial experience in the area of family law, students will be guided through the filing of a divorce action from the initial client interview through overall case assessment and finally the filling of the civil complaint.  Ms. Anderson will also discuss how domestic violence factors into case assessment as well as short and long term case strategy.

Program Agenda
9:50 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Introductions

10:00 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.
The Law: Venue, Grounds, Filing

10:20 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.
Case Assessment and Pleadings

10:40 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Client Case Management

11:00 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Domestic Violence Considerations

11:20 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
The Family Law Practitioner’s “Toolbox”

11:40 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Questions and Answers

About the Speaker
Stacey Andersen actively litigates in the areas of family law, domestic violence, consumer rights, public benefits on behalf of the disabled and indigent, and consumer interest in the realm of public utilities advocacy.  Ms. Andersen has also represented children as a best interest attorney and child’s advocate.  Additionally, Ms. Andersen is also a trained collaborative law practitioner.

To register for this class, please click here to download a registration form

If you have any questions, please contact Erica Evans at eevans@civiljusticenetwork.org, or (410)706-0174.
 

Civil Justice Files Amicus Brief in Ford Motor Credit v. Roberson

Civil Justice filed an Amicus Brief in the Maryland Court of Appeals in the case, Ford Motor Credit v. Roberson, Misc. No. 15, September Term 2010.  To read the brief, please click here.  Live arguments took place on May 10, 2011 at the Court of Appeals, and may be viewed by clicking here.

Civil Justice Participates in "Mortgage Late, Don't Wait" Foreclosure Workshop in Prince George's County


Civil Justice, along with 15 pro bono attorneys as part of the Maryland Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project, attended the "Mortgage Late, Don't Wait" foreclosure workshop at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, MD on April 2, 2011.  Homeowners were given the opportunity to meet with housing counselors, and pro bono attorneys to get advice regarding foreclosure.  During the event, the attorneys met with over 50 homeowners to answer questions regarding foreclosure, and how they could attempt to save their homes. 

The event was sponsored by the Maryland Department of Housing Community Development (DHCD), Freddie Mac, and Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development,  as part of their ongoing outreach to Maryland homeowners who have been affected by the foreclosure crisis.  Additional workshops will be held throughout the state.  To find out the date and location of the next foreclosure solutions workshop, please visit DHCD's calendar of events.

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