Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service Aims to Raise $175,000 to Help Provide Free Legal Help

“A Taste for Pro Bono” Will Help Raise Funds, Recruit Volunteers and Enable Marylanders to Get Fair Legal Representation

BALTIMOREMaryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), a statewide nonprofit offering full legal representation to low-income Marylanders, will host its annual fundraiser – A Taste for Pro Bono – today at the Baltimore Museum of Industry to raise much-needed funds and recruit attorneys and tax professionals to volunteer to provide free legal help. This year’s presenting sponsor is Saul Ewing LLP.

According to MVLS, studies about access to justice indicate that 3 in 4 low-income households experienced a civil legal problem in the past year, and nearly 40% experienced more than five issues. Most of these households struggle to afford necessities, let alone an attorney.

MVLS handles civil cases, including child custody, criminal record relief, divorce, estate planning and administration, foreclosure, income tax issues and consumer cases like debt collection. All services are income-based and MVLS encourages clients with legal questions to reach out for help before it’s too late. MVLS mobilizes a network of more than 1,000 volunteer attorneys and tax professionals who do pro bono work to respond to this need. MVLS offers a variety of training and webinars for its volunteers to learn more about pro bono and can match them with cases of Marylanders in need of assistance.

A Taste for Pro Bono is an opportunity for colleagues and friends to enjoy an evening of food, fun and fellowship,” said MVLS Executive Director Susan Francis. “But most importantly, this major fundraiser will empower our nonprofit to improve awareness about pro bono, recruit volunteers, answer clients’ calls for help and do the good work of ensuring justice isn’t dependent on how much money a person makes – but that low-income Marylanders also can get the legal representation they need and deserve. Our goal this year is to raise $175,000.”

This year’s event will feature exhibits at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, food and drinks from Zeffert & Gold, a DJ and more than 250 guests supporting pro bono legal services. The event is supported by more than 60 sponsors, including law firms, credit unions, healthcare organizations and generous individuals. Last year’s event raised $156,000 to support MVLS’ mission.

“We are so grateful for our generous sponsors, our fundraising committee and all of our guests who will attend to support this very worthwhile cause,” Francis added. “There are so many people across the state who are facing life-changing legal issues. We can’t respond alone and welcome the support of our partners and community.”

Persons interested in volunteering with MVLS can join its pro bono panel. Newer attorneys and tax professionals also may consider joining MVLS’ young professionals group known as the Community Action Network.

About Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) is a nonprofit that mobilizes volunteers to provide free civil legal help. The organization serves thousands of people each year who otherwise would be unable to afford representation, focusing on six issues that have a significant impact on peoples’ everyday lives – family law, housing, finance, tax, criminal record relief and estate planning and administration. Through outreach and education, MVLS brings legal services to people who need it most. Through advocacy, MVLS fights for racial and economic justice. To learn more, visit

Media Contact: Sandy Arnette, 410-274-5975,