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COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICES OF PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, INC. (CLS)

By Nora C. Eidelman, Deputy Director

 

We hope you had a delightful summer!  Ours was busy and productive at CLS with no signs of slow-downs ahead.  Our Board of Directors elected new officers and welcomed new members; three great high school interns joined our staff; we began the first two of our new monthly foreclosure trainings for volunteer attorneys; we held our first of 8 Estate Planning Clinics for low income seniors. We received good news for projects coming up ahead: our Rent Court clinic in Hyattsville; CLS will join in the Family Justice Center to provide services to victims of violence; CLS received $50,000 non-departmental from the County Council for our CLS Mobile Legal Clinic pilot project, and were awarded $15,000 by the Community Partnership Grant. And before year’s end, CLS will be holding 3 additional Expungement clinic events on September 9, 15 and November 3, and additional training for volunteer attorneys on expungement, domestic violence representation and estate planning for low income seniors.

 

COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICES OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY ANNOUNCES NEW OFFICERS AND WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBERS

CLS is proud to announce our new officers and board members.  CLS’s new president Constance L. Belfiore, Esq. is not a new fixture at CLS, even though she was just elected. Constance was the original Executive Director of the Law Foundation of Prince George’s County – the predecessor organization to Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc. Under her leadership, the Law Foundation grew into a premiere legal services organization.  She was a vital force in the growth and expansion of programs at Law Foundation. We are delighted to have Constance back at the helm of the board with her years of experience and historical knowledge of CLS. CLS’s new board is a diverse group of attorneys with diverse legal backgrounds. We welcome our new Board Members Cristina Caron- Moroney, Esq., Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., P.A.; Joseph A. Compofelice, Jr. Esq., MarcusBonsib LLC.; Alanna Dennis, Esq., Anne Arundel County Government; Alexander Geraldo, Esq., Robinson & Geraldo; Clifford B. Glover III, Esq., McNamee Hosea and Doyle Niemann, Esq., Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince Georges County.  The full slate of officers for 2018-2019 includes:

 

President Constance L. Belfiore, Esq.

Vice-President Nakia V. Gray, Esq., Nakia Gray Legal, P.C.

Treasurer Edwin Shim, Esq., Law Office of Thomas, Shim & Associates LLC.

Secretary Steven Smitson, Esq., Smitson Law LLC.

Cristina Caron- Moroney, Esq., Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., P.A.

Joseph A. Compofelice, Jr. Esq., MarcusBonsib LLC.

Alanna Dennis, Esq., Anne Arundel County Government

Magistrate Paul Eason, Circuit Court of Prince George’s County

Lindsey K. Erdmann, Esq., McNamee Hosea

Alexander Geraldo, Esq., Robinson & Geraldo

Joseph J Gigliotti, Esq., Law Offices of Joseph J. Gigliotti

Clifford B. Glover III, Esq., McNamee Hosea

Eleanor Hunt, Esq., Joseph Greenwald and Laake PA

Doyle Niemann, Esq., Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince Georges County

Hon. Ann Wagner-Stewart, District Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County

Hon. Julia B. Weatherly, Circuit Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County

 

Rent Court / Volunteer Lawyer of the Day Coming to the District Court in Hyattsville

CLS is pleased to announce this new pilot project, which will provide same-day free legal representation to tenants in failure to pay rent hearings. The representation will be provided by volunteer attorneys or a CLS staff attorney, in a limited day-of-court basis.  This project will provide much needed legal assistance to tenants who are unrepresented, unaware of available defenses, with the possibility of facing homelessness.  The project will focus on helping tenants renting from private landlords. Often these tenants leave in unsafe conditions and need assistance to navigate the Court to exercise their rights.  The pilot is projected for early fall and will operate one day a week.  Free training for volunteer attorneys to staff this clinic will be provided in partnership with the Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) scheduled for November of 2018.

 

Wills on Wheels

CLS is partnering with PBRC to hold several Estate Planning Clinics for low income seniors ages 60 and over in Prince George’s County.  Our first one was held on July 14, 2018 at the Windsor Crossings Apartment in Suitland, MD. We express our gratitude Ms. Elsie Jacobs for providing space for this event.  Attorneys are available to prepare FREE Wills, Advanced Medical Directives and Power of Attorney documents. 

 

The next Clinic is scheduled for September 25th, 2018 at the Old Parish House in College Park. Space is limited and reservations are required.  The deadline for registration is September 18, 2018.  To register call 443-703-3052 (for English) or 240-391-6532, ext. 1 (for Spanish).  

Funding for this project is generously provided by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC).

 

Additionally, as part of this project, we will provide a FREE Estate Planning Training Basics for Low Income Seniors for volunteer attorneys who want to help low income seniors.  Topics covered are drafting wills, advanced medical directives, financial powers of attorney and ethical issues when representing seniors with estate planning.  The training will be held on October 16, 2018 by Lindsey K. Erdmann, Esq. of McNamee Hosea, 6411 Ivy Lane, Suite 200, Greenbelt, MD 20770. Register on line at www.probonomdorg/training

 

We are grateful to our Summer Interns Jordan, Saida and Shaun!

Jordan Colquitt was one of our three interns this summer.  We were so delighted and pleased with his commitment, professionalism and great personality, that we extended Jordan’s employment with CLS for the rest of the summer beyond the duration of his internship. Jordan is a rising junior at Parkdale High School and an intern through the Law Links Program.  His career aspiration is to become either a family or criminal defense attorney. Jordan loves working at CLS because he witnesses the daily impact made on people’s lives, he gets real life experience and different aspects of law, all while serving his community.  Our other two and equally wonderful interns Shaun Davis and Saida Bangura came from the ETHM Summer Employment Program from the End Time Harvest Ministries (ETHM), Inc. Shaun is a rising senior at Bladensburg High School and he wants to be a criminal defense attorney. Saida is a rising junior at Bladensburg High School as well and she wants to study Psychology and Sociology.

 

CLS Monthly Foreclosure Prevention Training – Last Wednesday of the Month  

Join us monthly on the last Wednesday of the month at 2:00 pm for a presentation by staff regarding the areas of law, a brief introduction to them and a review of the criteria for funding and placement of cases in these areas. Covered areas ranged from Foreclosure Mediation, Foreclosure tenant actions, Foreclosure Pre and Post Bankruptcy options, Tenant actions, Rent escrow, Wrongful eviction, Retaliatory actions, Eviction by diminution of services and Consumer Protection Actions. Please RSPV to Michael Udejiofor at 240-391-6532, ext. 1.

Trainings to be held at 6301 Ivy Lane, Room 720, Greenbelt, MD.

 

Training: Assisting Domestic Violence Survivors

As part of our Domestic Violence Legal Wellness Program, Community Legal Services is partnering with the Pro Bono Resource Center to host a training on Assisting Domestic Violence Survivors. The training is for volunteer attorneys who wish to take domestic violence cases and learn more about the protective order process and other resources available to survivors in Prince George's County. The training will take place on October 5, 2018 from 10am-1pm at the Upper Marlboro courthouse. The training will be conducted by panelists from Community Legal Services, House of Ruth, Amara Legal Center, Community Advocates for Families and Youth, and Maryland Safe Center for Human Trafficking Survivors.

 

CLS Family Law Mentoring Clinic 

Attention Family Law Practitioners!!! Please join us for the first official Mentoring Clinic since we relaunched.  Meet the Family Law Mentors, get feedback on your cases, sign up to take a pro bono case, and get access to our updated resource guide:  Family Law in Maryland:  Your Essential Toolkit

 

When:  Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 6pm

Where:  Gray Legal, P.C. 9701 Apollo Drive, Suite 301, Largo, MD 20774

 

"How To Plead Your Case Correctly In Family Court"

This free presentation for CLS volunteer attorneys will be provided by Rosalyn W. Otieno, Attorney at Law, on August 21, 2018 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. We are grateful to Ms. Otieno for her volunteerism. The presentation will be held at our main office at 6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 720, Greenbelt, MD 20770. RSVP to Priscilla Henderson at 240-391-6532, ext. 8 or henderson@clspgc.org Refreshments will be served.

 

PBRC Litigation Fund

Please continue to take advantage of the Litigation Fund. Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) would like to remind attorneys to visit www.probonomd.org/training to review the wide variety of online “webcast” trainings currently available! These trainings can be taken at any time, at your own convenience, and most are free.  If you are considering volunteering in an area of law outside of your normal practice or simply want to complete training before getting started in pro bono, these trainings will help you get ready to dive in and assist low-income Maryland residents who need your help with civil legal matters. In exchange for the training, you will be asked to make a pro bono commitment, which is explained on the registration form for each course.  Below is a sampling of available courses, but please be sure to visit www.probonomd.org/training to see PBRC’s full offerings!

 

FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR REPRESENTATION IN FORECLOSURE PREVENTION

CLS has funding for attorneys representing clients in Prince George’s County in foreclosure prevention cases.  CLS has expanded our Foreclosure Prevention project to provide paid hours to attorneys accepting cases for representation in foreclosure defense cases, post-foreclosure motions for Surplus, tenants in foreclosures, as well foreclosure mediation.   In foreclosure prevention cases, the funding provides attorneys $80.00 an hour up for to thirty hours of representation. Funds include representation at judicial proceedings, mediation preparation, representation at mediation, and negotiations.  Additionally, funding is available for bankruptcy chapter 7, and other legal actions that may help the client save his home.  If you are interested in being added to our foreclosure volunteer attorney pool or require additional information, please contact Michael Udejiofor at 240-391-6532, ext. 1 or udejiofor@clspgc.org.  Training, mentoring, malpractice insurance is provided.  Funding is available from a generous grant provided by Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC). 

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 residents of Prince George’s County.  CLS provides direct legal services through the generous contributions by members of the private bar.  Additionally, CLS operates free Brief Advice Clinics throughout the County, including in the  Prince George's County Circuit Court, Room 2435 M, the Prince George’s County Multi-Services Center in Langley Park and in Suitland’s Windsor Crossings Apartments.  For referrals of low-income residents of Prince George’s County to CLS programs, our hotline is 240-391-6370. Intake is Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm., online applications are available at www.clspgc.org. For more information about our services, please contact Nora C. Eidelman, at 240-391-6532, ext. 5.

 

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