Ben Rubin, an attorney at Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP, has been a reliable and regular MVLS volunteer since 2018, both for full representation clients and at tax sale clinics. In the last year, he has taken five foreclosure cases, four of which were tax sale foreclosure.
Ben also served as one of the trainers for our recent advanced tax sale training. Drawing on his wealth of experience, he provided great insight and practice tips for volunteers. Ben emphasized that even in non-court settings, an attorney can open doors and find creative solutions. He acknowledged the importance of representation, even if the client would not be able to keep their home. This way, the client could understand the process and be best prepared for the future.
Ben shares below in his own words what volunteering means to him.
- Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?
I choose to volunteer so that I can assist fellow Baltimore City residents who may potentially lose their homes through the tax sale process because they don’t otherwise have access to legal counsel. Helping homeowners avoid losing their most valuable asset not only aids individual families, but contributes to the strength of the City as a whole. I enjoy using my real estate background and knowledge of the tax sale process to assist MVLS clients, which can often be done with a relatively small investment of time.
- Do you have any stand out stories?
Rather than a particular stand out story, volunteering at the walk-in tax sale foreclosure clinics stands out because it is such a rewarding experience. Often in my practice, client communication is via phone and email, and moves quickly from issue to issue and transaction to transaction. The walk-in clinics are a refreshing break from that structure. There’s no substitute for the experience of shaking hands with a new client and sitting down with them (and sometimes their families too) and talking through their issues face to face. When we are fortunate enough to be able to solve a client’s problem on the spot, their gratitude is a great reward.
- What is your favorite part of volunteering with MVLS?
My favorite part about volunteering is that I can assist clients facing a critical issue in their lives, like potentially losing their home, and it often without does not take a large amount of time and the client does not have to to endure a long, drawn out process. The tax sale and foreclosure rules can be confusing (even for lawyers trying to learn them), and it is almost impossible for residents facing a tax sale to understand the process and their options based upon the information they receive from the City and the tax lien holder. So, often a simple explanation to the client about the process is all that they need in order to figure out their best options.
- Why should other attorneys do pro bono?
Attorneys should volunteer because it’s a great opportunity to use our legal knowledge and experience to help people who often have no one else to turn to when faced with a legal dilemma. Offering a small amount of time can make a huge difference to someone who doesn’t have access to a lawyer. MVLS makes the process easy and provides all the support that a volunteer attorney needs through training sessions, written materials and on-call staff. Attorneys can start off with just one case – there’s no pressure to take on more than you may be able to handle.