In 1981, concerned members of Maryland’s Bench and Bar created MVLS to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable populations were able to access essential civil legal services. MVLS’ founders believed that pro bono attorneys could play an essential role in reducing the number of people experiencing life-altering events such as the loss of access to their children, threats to their housing, or harassment by aggressive debt buyers determined to take their very limited assets.
Today, MVLS is the largest pro bono legal services organization in Maryland leveraging a large network of volunteers made up of lawyers, accountants, and enrolled agents to provide free legal assistance to people who otherwise would not have help. In our first 40 years, more than 100,000 Marylanders facing economic hardships have received life-saving legal services from MVLS.
Over the years, our programs have evolved to meet new and pressing legal needs, such as criminal record expungement and protection of human trafficking survivors. However, one thing has remained the same, our mission to connect Marylanders facing financial hardships with volunteer lawyers, tax professionals, and community partners to deliver free civil legal assistance because there should be justice for all, not just for those who can afford it.
Remarks from MVLS’ Executive Director, Susan Francis
40 Cases in 40 Years!
The work of our amazing volunteers does not go unnoticed. Thank you to all the volunteers that have taken a case in our 40-year history, as you have played a pivotal role in providing access to Marylanders. We are proud to announce that we have 198 volunteers that took 40 or more cases over the span of their commitment to volunteer with MVLS. Each month we will be highlighting these volunteers and encourage you all to share within your networks.
Share Your Hopes
As we recognize key moments in our 40-year history, we also want to keep our eyes set on the future. What will the next 10 years bring to civil legal services in Maryland?
What do you hope will be achieved in the next 10 years for Marylanders experiencing financial hardships? What programs and or services do you predict will be game changers in civil legal services?
Participate in our 40th Anniversary campaign by sharing your hopes and predictions with us in the box below
You can share your name or remain anonymous if you prefer. Your comments could be shared on MVLS’s website, throughout our social media channels or in email campaigns.
Thank You to Our 40th Anniversary Sponsors