MVLS is a private, non-profit legal services provider established in 1981 to help meet the need for civil legal services in Maryland. Our mission is to provide quality civil legal assistance to Marylanders with limited income at low or no cost.
Our pro bono program serves Marylanders in Central Maryland, the Lower Shore, and Western Maryland1. Our program has focused on pro bono assistance–matching one client and one volunteer attorney—and it remains a cornerstone of our work today. Our panel of more than 1,600 volunteers help clients with custody disputes, tax issues, child and adult guardianship, landlord/tenant conflicts, foreclosure defense, criminal record expungements, consumer cases and a broad range of other civil legal problems.
Over the years, MVLS has developed special projects that supplement our core pro bono efforts. These include assistance to self-represented litigants at our Washington County family law clinic and MVLS self-help bankruptcy classes.
Since 2008, MVLS has participated in the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project. MVLS volunteers represent homeowners in foreclosure cases in the courts and mediations before administrative law judges. Additionally, a foreclosure clinic is currently held once a month at the MVLS office in downtown Baltimore and at the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. The drop-in clinics provide brief advice to any homeowner facing foreclosure or preparing for foreclosure mediation.
In 2014, MVLS expanded its consumer law services to include a weekly clinic at Baltimore City District Court where volunteer lawyers and MVLS staff attorneys advise debtors on consumer debt, repossession, and debt buyer cases.
MVLS operates a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic that provides services to taxpayers with IRS disputes statewide. We also help community based nonprofits with civil legal issues through our Community Development Project.
We strive to expand legal services through our partnerships and collaborations with other legal services providers and nonprofits, including Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Pro Bono Resource Center, Homeless Persons Representation Project, Catholic Charities, Tahirih Justice Center, and Goodwill to name just a few.
In 2004 Maryland Nonprofits first awarded MVLS its Standards for Excellence certification. MVLS was one of only 48 nonprofits, out of more than 20,000 operating statewide to earn the certification. MVLS renewed its certification in 2007 and 2014. The Standards for Excellence are designed to “raise the level of accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of all nonprofit organizations.” Accredited organizations are committed to excellence in all aspects of nonprofit operations, programs and fund development.
1In Allegany, Montgomery, Prince George’s and the five Mid-Shore counties, MVLS limits program services to people seeking help with denial of long-term care Medicaid benefits and tax disputes with the IRS, school suspensions and legal issues for non-profit organizations. MVLS does accept referrals from these pro bono agencies when they are at capacity or have a legal matter that their program is unable to place with a volunteer.