November 2019 Volunteer of the Month- Ricky Adams

Richard, or Ricky, Adams has been a dedicated volunteer with MVLS since January 2018, when he took his first case. Since then, he has accepted 25 cases, and served as a mentor on five additional cases. Through MVLS, he has focused primarily on estate matters, including estate planning, estate administration, and deed matters. 

An associate attorney with O’Byrne Law, LLC, Ricky is also an active member of MVLS CAN (Community Advocacy Network), a group dedicated to supporting attorneys early in their career as they grow their skill sets and make pro bono a part of their profession.

Ricky is always available to provide guidance to MVLS staff and fellow volunteers. In addition to accepting cases, Ricky volunteers at the My Home, My Deed, My Legacy homeowner clinics. Earlier this year, he published a piece in The Advocate, a publication of the MSBA Young Lawyers Section, alongside fellow CAN Member Olivia Holcombe-Volke, discussing the importance of estate planning and the My Home, My Deed, My Legacy campaign. Read on to hear more from Ricky about why pro bono matters!

  • Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS?

I choose to volunteer with MVLS because there is a huge lack of estate planning in the Baltimore City area. Often, the lack of simple documents, such as a Last Will and Testament, Financial Power of Attorney, and an Advance Directive, cause extreme stress, chaos and loss of funds for families. Indeed, I have worked with families where simply preparing a Life Estate Deed without Powers has brought peace of mind and saved the surviving family members from dealing with a headache. I am continuously impressed with the time and energy MVLS staff contribute to educating the community at large. I am proud to do my small part in assisting in those efforts alongside MVLS and other volunteer attorneys.

  • Do you have any stand out stories?

One of my favorite MVLS stories is one involving a simple Last Will and Testament. The client was receiving hospice care at home and could not meet me in my office. I traveled to her townhome in northwest Baltimore City. Her disabled daughter lived with her and was dependent on her for care. The client was very concerned about what would happen to her daughter when she passed away. I worked with the family to not only get the Last Will and Testament in order but reviewed the titling of her assets to ensure her plan was in place. I also worked with the family to connect them with a non-profit that could assist with the long term care needs for the daughter. When the client passed, the family reached out to me to assist with the probate items. To this day, the family keeps me informed of the progress the disabled daughter continues to make in her new living environment. A very heartwarming case that serves as an example: working with MVLS allows me to bring peace of mind to clients in a very personal and fulfilling way.

  • What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS?

I love getting to know and working side by side with the amazing professionals at MVLS, including Susan Francis, Amy Hennen, Ellyn Riedel, John Kern, Hanna Sheehan, Janice Shih, Sarah Witri, and Chris Sweeney, to name a few. Even when we are not working on a matter together, I get the opportunity to network, learn, and grow with everyone at MVLS as professionals, out in the community. To me, volunteering with MVLS is not a static event, but is a relationship based on common goals and the underlying desire to do good in the world.

  • Why should other attorneys do pro bono?

As attorneys, I believe we have a duty to perform pro bono services as much as we reasonably can throughout the year. These services can come in numerous forms, often not taking much time, and always providing us with new learning experiences, new connections, and practical tips and tricks. For all of my pro bono matters, I have walked way not only feeling energized by helping someone else, but also with a new technique or practice tip. In addition, I have received many referrals for future matters from my pro bono clients, their families, and the other professionals I have met at pro bono clinics and events. If you put good energy out there and take the time to assist someone in need, it can come back to you in ways you would not imagine!