MVLS’ LITC Program Helps 90 Year-Old “Claudette”

Last year, MVLS assisted 115 clients through our Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) program. Claudette* recently become a client of MVLS and has a very powerful story about how a volunteer attorney turned her life around.

Claudette is 90 years old and lives alone in Catonsville, in an apartment complex for the elderly. Until her recent foot surgery, she was independent and drove herself wherever she needed to go. Like many elderly people, she had a fixed income and between pensions and social security, she made about $16,000 annually.

Like many individuals on social security, she thought that she didn’t have to pay taxes. Unfortunately, she made too much money – and she did owe taxes.   The filing threshold for 2015 for her age group was $11,850.

Her outstanding tax debt to the IRS was $500.  She didn’t have any money to pay the whole debt, and no money for an installment plan. The IRS put a levy on her social security, and took 15% of her social security. When she found out this information she immediately called MVLS for help.

A volunteer attorney was able to take the case and get Claudette back into compliance with her tax filing with the help of Baltimore CASH, and a “Currently Not Collectible” status was obtained for her accounts, allowing the levy to be lifted.  Claudette still has outstanding tax debt associated with not paying her taxes, but the levy has been lifted, allowing her to get her full amount of social security benefits.

The LITC program is available to help low-income individuals with tax controversy issues like Claudette’s. While it can be scary having the IRS contact you with an issue, MVLS is here to help. We are not done helping Claudette, and her volunteer attorney is currently looking at other collection alternatives for her debt.

The LITC program is currently accepting new tax controversy cases and volunteer applications. Please reach out to LITC Managing Attorney Janice Shih for more information.

*Name has been changed

Oct. 5 – Celebrate Pro Bono

On Wednesday, October 5th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Maryland Volunteer MVLS_128.jpgSMALLLawyers Service will Celebrate Pro Bono by honoring volunteer lawyers, donors and friends at our annual recognition reception. We’ll also celebrate MVLS’ 35th anniversary of providing quality pro bono civil legal services to low-income Marylanders.

This annual event will be held at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Guest will enjoy a cocktail hour, seated dinner and awards ceremony honoring those who have made noteworthy contributions to the delivery of pro bono legal services over the past year. The reception also kicks off Maryland’s participation in the American Bar Association’s National RSM_9919Celebrate Pro Bono Week (October 23-29).

There is a suggested $35 donation to attend Celebrate Pro Bono. Because dinner will be plated and seating is limited, advanced registration is required. Please contact Kim Lennon at klennon@mvlslaw.org or 443 451-4065 to RSVP or with any questions.

Sponsorships

We invite sponsors to partner with us to recognize our amazing volunteers by underwriting the cost of this great event. Sponsorship’s start at $500 and sponsors are publicly acknowledged for their generosity. Click here for a full list of sponsorship levels and benefits.

We’re extremely grateful for our current sponsors. Please join us in thanking them for their support.

35th Anniversary Presenting Sponsors

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KramonGraham

Champions of Pro Bono

Julie Landau Logo

KellyDorsey

2016 RaskinGlobal_logo

Friend of Pro Bono

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Sept. 27 – Glen Burnie Expungement Clinic

Glen Burnie Expungement Clinic
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Glen Burnie Regional Library
1010 Eastway, Glen Burnie, MD 21060

To sign up to volunteer at any of the expungement clinics, contact Matthew Stubenberg at mstubenberg@mvlslaw.org or 443-451-4066.

Sept. 28 – Baltimore City Foreclosure Mediation Brief Advice Clinic

The Foreclosure Mediation Brief Advice Project is a program that provides FREE brief legal consultations for homeowners facing foreclosure who do not have legal representation.  Foreclosure Mediation Brief Advice Attorneys will:

  • Answer questions about foreclosure mediation
  • Give legal advice regarding your foreclosure
  • Help you understand court papers and documents you received regarding your foreclosure

Foreclosure Mediation Brief Advice Attorneys will NOT attend mediation with you, but there are other options for obtaining legal representation for your mediation.*

In Person Clinic – Baltimore City:

Registration: Encouraged but not required. Call 410-547-6537 to register.
When: Last Wednesday of each month from 3:00 pm—6:00 pm
Where:
MVLS Office
201 N. Charles Street, Suite 1400
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Can’t make it to the clinic?  Call our helpline.

Telephone Helpline:

Helpline: 443-808-0076
When: Mondays from 1:30 pm—6:00 pm
Wednesdays from 8:00 am—12:00 pm

*It is best to talk to an attorney before mediation day.  Please contact the HOPE Hotline at 1-877-462-7555 to speak with a housing counselor who can explain your options and direct you to legal representation.

Aug. 26 – New Videos From Maryland Judiciary & MVLS Help Marylanders Understand Foreclosure Legal Process

The Maryland Judiciary has created two new videos in partnership with MVLS to help Maryland homeowners understand the foreclosure legal process, including mediation. The videos, “The Foreclosure Process” and “Foreclosure Mediation,” provide information about what foreclosure is and what happens during mediation. (more…)

Oct. 7 – Self-Help Bankruptcy Class

MVLS will hold a self-help seminar on October 7 from 9am – 12:30pm on How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The seminar will be held at MVLS’ office at 201 North Charles Street, Suite 1400 in downtown Baltimore.

An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will conduct the class and will demonstrate how to fill out the necessary forms and how to represent yourself at your bankruptcy hearing. An attorney will review the forms you complete, but the attorney will not represent you.

Click here to register.

Oct. 19 – Consumer Advocacy Training in District Court

Join MVLS and Pro Bono Resource Center at Pro Bono Connection at University of Baltimore School of Law on October 19 from 2:00pm-5:00pm for a training on consumer advocacy in District Court.  The training is free to law students and lawyers in exchange for a volunteer commitment.  The training is followed by a reception and pro bono fair highlighting Maryland legal services providers.

To register for the training, visit www.probonomd.org.

 

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Oct. 27 – Ground Rent Webinar Training

Join MVLS and the Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) for a webinar training on ground rent issues on October 27 from 12pm-2pm.  Attendees will learn about redemption and how to help clients who risk losing their homes due to ground rent.

Click here to register.

Oct. 27 – Expungement Clinic in Baltimore County

General public welcome!  Meet with a lawyer to identify and expunge eligible criminal charges.  Once a criminal record is expunged, you can legally answer “no” to the question “have you ever been charged with or convicted of a crime?”  Please note that lawyers are available on a first come, first served basis and occasionally, we are unable to help later arrivals.

October 27 from 10am-2pm
The Renaissance Counseling Center
6665 Security Blvd.
Woodlawn, MD 22107

If you’re a lawyer and are interested in volunteering, please contact Matthew Stubenberg at 443 451-4066 or mstubenberg@mvlslaw.org.

Aug. 16 – Matthew Stubenberg Named Innovator of the Year

MVLS’ Director of IT Matthew Stubenberg has been named an Innovator of the Year by The Daily Record for his work using technology to address access to justice issues.

The Daily Record began the Innovator of the Year awards in 2002 as a way to recognize Marylanders and Maryland-based companies for their innovative spirit – for creating new products, new programs, new services or new processes that have helped their companies, industries or communities.

The 2016 Innovator of the Year awards will be presented Oct. 13 at a reception/dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. at the American Visionary Art Museum.  Congratulations Matthew!