MVLS is starting the New Year off by recognizing the work of another one of our fantastic volunteer attorneys. Lydie Glynn works for the Baltimore City Law Department and has taken 16 Baltimore City consumer cases in the past 2 years. She tends to take on very challenging cases, often at the last minute when clients really need help quickly. She is thoughtful and thorough in her pursuit of justice for clients. Just this past month, Lydie worked tirelessly to get a security deposit back for a client. Her tenacity, intelligence, and willingness to step up made Lydie an obvious nomination for Volunteer of the Month for our staff members. You can read more about Lydie and why she is so invested in this work below:
Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?
I was first introduced to MVLS through the Consumer Protection Clinic. As a young litigator, I chose to participate in this program because it was an easy, low-risk way to gain courtroom experience, become familiar with a new area of the law, and most importantly use my law degree to serve my community. I volunteered for the program on and off for about a year and a half. Then, in January 2018, with more experience under my belt, I agreed to take on full consumer protection cases involving the representation of individuals with specific credit or landlord-tenant issues in district court.
I have learned a lot through these cases and treat this work as part and parcel of my work as an attorney in this City. Not only did my knowledge of the law increase and my practice benefit from this involvement, but I also became increasingly aware of the problems that afflict many in our City. MVLS provides a tangible and immediate way to make a difference in people’s lives. I also appreciate the direct support and feedback that I receive from MVLS attorneys and staff. In sum, I choose to volunteer with MVLS, because I believe in its mission, appreciate the dedication and legal acumen of its employees, and am thankful for the easy and tangible ways MVLS provides for me to serve the least fortunate citizens of Baltimore City.
Do you have any stand out stories?
Two cases stand out in my mind. Both involve creditors suing my clients for exorbitant sums of money and then dismissing each case with prejudice without my clients having to pay a dime. My clients did not know their rights or the level of proof the creditors needed to put forth to get a judgment against them. Having representation and using subpoena powers were game changers. It became apparent that the creditors did not have admissible evidence of my clients’ liability. The creditors were forced to dismiss these actions, thereby freeing my clients from an extreme burden. For me, it was very exciting to be on the right side of the law while providing real relief to people experiencing difficult situations.
What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?
My favorite part of volunteering with MVLS is working with MVLS attorneys and staff. Their enthusiasm and commitment to the least fortunate of this City and State is inspiring. Their support both legally and interpersonally is affirming and edifying. MVLS as a whole makes volunteer attorneys feel part of the organization as well as part of the solution to the challenge of improving access to legal services for low to middle income individuals in our community.
Why should other attorneys do pro bono?
First and foremost, attorneys admitted to the Bar have a duty to perform pro bono work because it is part of our professional responsibility as attorneys and officers of the court, Md. Prof. Conduct R. 19-306.1, and good quality legal services are costly, in short supply, and inaccessible to many. Moreover, pro bono legal service provides great avenues for attorneys to develop and enhance their legal skills. Pro bono work exposes attorneys to new areas of the law as well as new perspectives on social, cultural, and economic problems affecting the community. In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “[l]awyers have a license to practice law, a monopoly on certain services. But for that privilege and status, lawyers have an obligation to provide legal services to those without the wherewithal to pay, to respond to needs outside themselves, to help repair tears in their communities.” Pro Bono Institute Annual Conference, Reception Introductory Remarks, Notorious RBG (March 2014). Pro Bono is not something attorneys should do when they have time or because it fulfills some billable requirement, pro bono legal service is part and parcel of our work as attorneys and needs to be treated as such.