January Volunteer of the Month – Jerry Schaefer

Jerry Schaefer is a retired attorney with over 40 years of litigation and corporate practice. His specialties include Nonprofit Trade and Professional Associations,
Insurance coverage and claims, and Civil and criminal defense litigation

Read on to learn why Jerry volunteers:

  • Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?

I initially volunteered with MVLS because MVLS not only provided the opportunity to serve people in real need of legal services who did not have the economic means to protect themselves, but also because MVLS provided the basic education in areas of practice meeting the needs of MVLS clients which practice areas were not within my personal practice and expertise. I found the training to be very thorough and the MVLS staff willing and able to answer questions and otherwise to be supportive of volunteer attorneys.

  • Do you have any stand out stories?

On the day of my initial training, I was told of a client with multiple significant and permanent disabilities who was in a seemingly hopeless situation following the tax sale of his home in a southern Maryland county. Years had passed since the tax sale and a judgment foreclosing the right of redemption had been entered, but the client was still living in the residence. I agreed to take the case expecting that nothing of substance could be accomplished for the client. With some luck, a loan from a relative, forbearance by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, cooperation from the county and opposing party, and with the benefit of advice and support of the MVLS staff attorneys, I was able set aside the judgment and assist the client in redeeming his property. To say that the client was exceeding grateful is an understatement.

  • What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?

For me, the collegiality in working with MVLS staff was worth the volunteer effort. But, knowing that someone in a desperate situation, who had no other option for assistance, has been helped has made the effort all the more satisfying and worthwhile.

  • Why should other attorneys do pro bono?

All of us have an obligation to provide some pro bono service. I think that all attorneys in the active practice of law love the challenge that the predicaments that our clients bring to us. Pro bono cases fall within the category of challenging cases, but resourceful counsel can make a huge difference for a person in need. The satisfaction of helping a pro bono client cannot be measured by any fee.