April 2021 Volunteer of the Month – Michael McKeown

 
 
Michael McKeown is an attorney at Robert Ades & Associates, where his practice focuses on foreclosure defense, wills, bankruptcy and debt collection defense. Michael has been a volunteer with MVLS since 2013, and has taken a 39 cases.
 

Read on to learn why Michael volunteers:

 

  • Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?

MVLS makes it easy for volunteers to pick the cases they’re interested in via the Pro Bono Portal. Also the staff is very helpful and friendly. Other pro bono programs I’ve approached about volunteering, “vet” the attorneys and have a tendency to only work with attorneys from large corporate firms.

 

  • Do you have any standout stories?

A number of years ago I had a medical collections case where the medical provider took the client to court because they did not follow the appropriate Medicaid billing procedure. Under Medicaid the provider can only bill the client directly under limited circumstances. In this case, those limited circumstances weren’t available. The collection attorney for the provider made it seem like it was partially the clients fault for their failure to get paid.

 

  • What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?

My favorite part about volunteering with MVLS is working with the staff and clients. Also, the MVLS staff is great and helpful.

 

  • Why should other attorneys do pro bono?

Since Maryland has mandatory pro bono reporting requirements, I think one great way to fulfill this requirement is to actually take pro bono cases. I understand that some attorney’s are limited by time or practice areas. New attorney’s shouldn’t feel that inexperience with poverty law is a barrier to pro bono work. The MVLS staff are friendly (yes, this is the 3rd time I’ve said that) and can find a mentor.

 

  • Where do you see the impact civil legal services in the next ten years?

Having been employed with legal services programs in the past, I see that the traditional areas of poverty law – consumer, public benefits, housing and family law, will still be growth areas even ten years from now. When the CDC ends the eviction moratorium after the pandemic is over, will see thousands of eviction cases filed across the country. In a few months from now, civil legal services programs all over the country will struggle to meet the need for representation in eviction cases. I think that’s where pro bono attorneys can step up and really help

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