COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICES (CLS)
By Nora C. Eidelman, Deputy Director
Reflecting on and Celebrating Neal’s 22 Years of Dedication to Access to Justice
Who would have thought? In 1994, after retiring from the United States Marine Band, Neal joined CLS where he expected to work for only two years. His plan was to pursue employment in Capital Hill doing constituent service for a Member of Congress but national elections at the time changed that possibility. Instead, seven years later, to the great benefit of CLS, Neal became our Executive Director in 2001. Neal has stated “that was when I realized while I searched for what I wanted, I already had everything I needed here at CLS.”
To reflect on Neal’s 22 years of stellar service, I decided to interview him for this piece. Neal recalls 2001 as one of the most challenging years for the organization since its inception in 1995. Funding was scarce and was insufficient to meet payroll. Neal decided to forgo payment to himself for a period of time to make sure all the staff was paid and legal services to the residents of our county continued without interruption!
Soon, Neal took steps to make sure these types of events would never occur again. He rejected the typical view that non- profit organizations are expected to always ‘struggle’ financially. Successfully, Neal increased revenue from $275,000 when he took CLS to more than $1million per year in grants, contracts and private donations. If this great work was not sufficient, in 2006 Neal was Ordained a Deacon for the Archdiocese of Washington – further adding to his community dedication. Deservingly, in 2014, Neal became the recipient of the William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award! The award is presented to a non-attorney who has demonstrated outstanding service representing the civil legal needs of low-income Marylanders or by expanding access to justice.
I asked Neal, what is he most proud of in his 22 years of work with CLS.
Neal: The relationships which were formed in our community from those who needed our assistance to those who provided the services and the funding for our programs. Helping others in our community at times of need is what brings to us the most satisfaction.
My greatest pride is our employees. We have had many employees pass through as would be expected in a non-profit, but I am very proud of the number of employees who have been with us for fifteen and even twenty years.
One particular satisfaction came last year when an attorney telephoned me to ask if I remembered her. I did. She had been one of our Law Links intern only few years ago.
Is there anything you wished to accomplish that you did not get, and what is your wish for CLS going forward?
We have hired a wonderful new Executive Director, Jessica Quincosa, Esq. It was a two-year journey from the day I took our President and Treasurer to a Lido’s to convince them I was serious about stepping down as Executive Director to the day Ms. Quincosa arrived. As we interviewed candidates and especially now seeing the energy and different experience attorney Quincosa brings to work, I realize all of the things I never got around to accomplishing. In the last few years, I found I lacked the energy to start major projects and began to realize I was holding back our young staff talent. I now work part-time for CLS and find that the new energy in the office once again makes it exciting to come to work.
My wish for CLS is to continue to adjust our programs to meet the changing needs of our community.
We express our gratitude to Neal and feel extremely proud and honored to have worked under his leadership all these years! Thank you Neal!
Please, Join Us In Celebrating Neal T. Conway’s 22 Years of Dedication to Access to Justice on October 17, 2017, 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m - Greenbelt Marriot
Keynote Speaker, Timothy F. Maloney -- Principal, Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA
R.S.V.P to Jessica A. Quincosa, Esq. 240-391-6532, ext. 4 or email@example.com
FUNDING AND CASES AVAILABLE FOR ATTORNEYS ACCEPTING JUDICARE CASES- CALL US!
Through our Lawyer Referral Program, we refer income eligible clients to attorneys for representation in their domestic cases. Judicare funding provides for attorneys’ fees. Attorneys receive $80.00 per hour for the first 20 hours/$1,600.00 per case. The next 5 hours on a case, will count as pro bono hours. After the five pro bono hours, CLS will pay for up to an additional 15 hours at the rate of $80.00 per hour from Judicare Supplemental Funds. CLS processes Judicare Supplemental Funds on a first-come, first-serve basis until the funds are exhausted. CLS encourages attorneys to take pro bono cases as well. CLS clients have limited means but have real legal issues that require representation. Help CLS bridge the Access to Justice Gap by taking Judicare or Pro bono cases. Please contact Jessica Quincosa at 240-391-6532, ext. 4 for additional information. Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) provides the funding for the very important Judicare program. For more information about MSLC, please visit https://www.mlsc.org/
ADDTIONALLY, volunteers accepting Judicare or Pro Bono cases from CLS can utilize the Litigation Fund, which provides reimbursement of routine costs such as mileage, postage, discovery, substantial photocopies and faxes. The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) administers the Pro Bono / Judicare Litigation Fund, an annual grant funded by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC). There is no requirement that volunteers wait until the case concludes to request reimbursement. PBRC processes the requests on a first-come, first-served basis until the Fund is exhausted. More information about the Litigation Fund policy including an online PDF request version are available at https://www.probonomd.org/for-lawyers/litigation-fund/. Attorneys with questions about the program may directly contact Annie Speedie, Director of Programming at 443-703-3051 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW LITIGATION FUND- Pilot for Estate Administration Cases
CLS has pro bono probate and estates cases available for referral. MLSC has approved a pilot project to allow pro bono attorneys to utilize the litigation fund for costs associated with estate administration cases. Attorneys who are serving pro bono clients with FY17 cases may apply to the litigation fund to cover the following estate administration costs for their clients: probate fees for opening a small estate, bonding, publication fees, lien certificate, deed recordation fees, certified mailing fees, copies of death certificate, and other costs as approved by PBRC. A maximum of $400 is available per case, as long as funds remains available. For further information, please contact Margaret K. Henns, Esq. at email@example.com or 443-703-3050.
FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR REPRESENTATION IN FORECLOSURE MEDIATION
CLS has funding available for attorneys assisting clients with foreclosure cases in Prince George’s County who request mediation. This funding enables us to pay attorneys $80.00 an hour (up to a maximum of ten hours). Funds are available until exhausted. These funds are earmarked for foreclosure mediations only and will cover time preparing for mediation, attending and representing the client at mediation and legal work done after the mediation that is directly related to the mediation. As clients schedule mediation, we send out an e-mail to attorneys who have assisted with CLS foreclosure matters in the past. If you are available on the scheduled mediation date and are willing to represent our client; then, promptly let us now via e-mail insofar as cases will be placed based on the order that you respond. Funding is available from a generous grant provided by Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC). For additional information about this program, please contact Michael Udejiofor at 240-391-6532, ext. 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For referrals to low income residents of Prince George’s County to CLS programs, our client line is 240-391-6370.
Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc. (CLS) is a non-profit organization established to provide quality civil legal services to low-income persons in Prince George’s County. It does this through the generous contribution of legal advice and legal representation by members of the private Bar. Additionally, CLS operates free Law Clinics in the County, including in the Circuit Court House, Room 2435 M, the Prince George’s County Multi-Services Center and in Suitland’s Windsor Crossings Apartments. For more information about our services, please contact Nora C. Eidelman, at 240-391-6532, ext. 5.