2023 Annual Report: It’s All About Relationships

A Message from our Executive Director

I'm grateful for each of you who have joined our effort to provide free civil legal help, create strong community partnerships, and zealously advocate for equitable laws.

When reviewing this year’s annual report, what immediately jumps out to me is that MVLS was able to make major strides in removing barriers to justice because of the valuable relationships we have with our volunteers, community partners, clients, supporters and others.   

As you’ll read in the report, there are the numbers, which are always impressive, that are a clear indicator of the commitment made by our volunteers and staff to ensure that individuals have access to quality, free civil legal help.  Over 300 volunteers along with our staff attorneys, moved justice forward in over 3,200 cases. Each of those cases represents a person who s had better outcomes, who was better able to advocate for themselves and who had more empowerment in their own legal matter. Put simply, 3,256 lives were changed for the better because of the legal help we provided. 

While the numbers are impactful, it is when we dig a little bit deeper and share the stories of clients, community partners and supporters, that one can begin to really understand the strong and essential relationships that MVLS has been building for over 40 years. The task before us, ensuring a fair justice system, is daunting, and sometimes can be demoralizing when we are reminded of the long path to justice.  But the stories shared in our mission impact series illustrate the commitment MVLS has to developing and stewarding strong partnerships with our volunteers, clients, community partners and supporters, as we work collectively to ensure a just legal system. 

Click each image to read the full story behind each client, community partner, and donor featured here.

I got a call from Maryland Volunteer Lawyers. They had a match, an attorney for me. I will never forget that day. - Natushia Lewis-Smith, MVLS Client

MVLS Had an Attorney for MeI encourage you to watch this short video featuring MVLS’ client Natushia Lewis-Smith and her attorney, Curtis Cooper. While the legal outcome, of course, is of utmost importance, what I really love about sharing this story, is both the strong trust built between Ms. Lewis-Smith and Mr. Cooper, as well as the close connection between the volunteer and MVLS staff. That trust between Mr. Cooper and our team was built over many years, and continues to play a crucial role in the value he finds in serving as a MVLS volunteer. 

We See MVLS as the Gold StandardI had the tremendous pleasure of meeting Ms. Simon in 2017 and knew immediately that MVLS would be a better and more effective organization if we were able to partner with her. Thankfully, Ms. Simon saw the value of closing the gap to legal services in the communities she serves and trusted MVLS to begin building our partnership. And together, we began instilling legal knowledge and reducing barriers amongst older adults around Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Our partnership is built on trust, a shared vision and willingness to adapt to the needs of those experiencing financial and legal challenges. 

We set the gold standard annual report cover photo
Giving to MVLS was a small token of the huge impact on my sister and our family. - David Wade

A Token of Impact – After being engaged in our work at MVLS for over ten years, and being able to share in the incredible work being provided by our volunteers, and hearing so many inspiring stories of our clients, I’m rarely left speechless anymore by the generosity of spirit that comes to MVLS through so many connections.  But Lillian Hunter’s wish to leave MVLS a gift out of her modest estate to thank MVLS and her volunteer attorney did just that. We know our work changes lives for the better, to have such a tangible reminder of the meaningful role that we were able to have in Ms. Hunter’s life, it’s powerful and humbling. 

These three meaningful examples illustrate what MVLS is able to provide because of the relationships we have created with all of you. I’m grateful for each of you who have joined our effort to provide free civil legal help, create strong community partnerships, and zealously advocate for equitable laws – your names are listed in the volunteer and donor sections of the report as well!  As is reflected in this year’s annual report numbers, lists, and stories, we move forward our shared commitment to a fair justice system by working together. 

Thank you so much.

A Token of Impact

2023 Annual Report

When David Wade called MVLS, he dialed a different number than his sister once had. That’s because he wasn’t calling for legal help – he was calling to make a gift in her memory, and in honor of the volunteer attorney who helped her.   

David’s sister, Lillian Hunter, was a vital woman who rode a motorcycle, cared deeply for her pets, and loved her family. And like many clients, she called Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service during a heartbreaking time of her life.  

Living with a degenerative illness, Lillian experienced serious abuse at the hands of her husband who was also her primary caregiver, and she needed the marriage to end.  

Through MVLS, attorney Jason Morton took her case and, working closely with her brother, helped Lillian get a divorce and find safety in the remaining years of her life. Sadly, Lillian passed away in the spring of 2023.  

Before her death, David and his sister had discussed her passing, and what she wanted done with her modest estate. Lillian wanted to make gifts to the places that took care of her.  

Lillian Hunter
Lillian Hunter pictured over the years and with her siblings, courtesy of David Wade and family.

Giving to MVLS, David said, was “a small token of the huge impact that Jason had on my sister and our family. “MVLS took care of her in a big way when she was going through a really tough time.”  

Honoring Jason was an important part of their gift. “Anything legal can be quite complicated at times,” David explained, “but Jason was very personable, down to earth, and tried to make things as simple as he could.” 

“It would have been a real burden for us to have had to pay,” he acknowledged, adding “my sisters felt that God’s hand was involved in connecting him to our family.”

For Jason, an attorney at Salvatore & Morton and longtime MVLS volunteer, working on this case illuminated just how dedicated David was to his sister. “In my eyes, David is the hero of this story,” he said.   

A legacy gift to MVLS can provide free legal help for years to come. For more information about becoming a member of MVLS’ Legacy Society, visit our donation page or contact Katie Sutton, Director of Development, at ksutton@mvlslaw.org and 443-451-4065 to discuss a planned gift.  

MVLS Had an Attorney for Me

2023 Annual Report

Natushia Lewis-Smith called MVLS because she needed help with her divorce.  

Family law cases like hers are the most common legal problem that drive people to seek help from MVLS. The legal system is extremely difficult to navigate, and family law clients often find themselves enmeshed in particularly emotionally and mentally devastating situations with everything about their future in turmoil. In these moments, it takes a special volunteer to accompany clients. 

Ms. Lewis-Smith was placed with one such volunteer, Curtis Cooper. She shared that she will never forget the day she learned she would have the support of an attorney.  

Watch Natushia and Curtis share their story in the video below:

Family law cases are increasing throughout the state of Maryland, and pro bono programs like MVLS continue to see huge numbers of family law clients like Ms. Lewis-Smith seeking help. The high demand means clients with family issues must often wait a long time – sometimes for more than 60 days – to get help. 

That staff attorney is Nancy Grimm who joined MVLS in November 2022 to lead the program. Nancy works closely with MVLS legal advocates who answer clients’ calls for assistance and a panel of family law attorneys who take cases. Having an attorney on staff is key to developing and cultivating a strong network of volunteers. In some instances, Nancy also works directly with clients as they wait for placement with a volunteer, providing advice about navigating the process or assisting them in preparing their case.  

In just one year, having an attorney on staff has allowed MVLS’ family law program to place or close 42% more cases in FY23.  

Many clients express fear and uncertainty when suddenly faced with a family law matter that requires representation. Their lives are upended, and they often feel they have nowhere to turn for help. The stakes couldn’t be higher. 

“…Clients need to know they are accepted, that they mean something, that their issues are important, and that they can trust their attorney.”

Good family law attorneys put clients at ease, quickly develop trust, and work with empathy.

It is such a relief for a client to know they are in good hands with their volunteer attorney.  Nancy described what that looks like in practice, commenting on Curtis and Natushia’s case: “Obviously Curtis has great abilities,” she said, “but it’s not just about that. Clients need to know they are accepted, that they mean something, that their issues are important, and that they can trust their attorney. That’s what he brings.” 

Nancy herself was a volunteer with MVLS before she joined as the first family law attorney on staff. Her experience volunteering made her realize the need for good family law representation. Joining the staff was a goal realized and a personal honor. “I always wanted to be a part of the mission to provide equity within legal services,” she said.  

The unfortunate reality is that pro se clients, particularly people of color, are less likely than their white or more affluent counterparts to receive a successful outcome in court. Black and brown individuals face discrimination that has devastating effects on not only their case, but also their health and well-being. For example, courts often presume that people of color do not know how to care for their children and are in fact neglectful and abusive; Black fathers in particular face the presumption that they are incapable or disinterested in caring for their children. And while many judges show fair treatment toward Black individuals in custody cases, there are many who continue to harbor implicit racial bias that influences their rulings.  

“Our volunteers are getting quality programs…we engage and learn with each other.”

Because of these issues, volunteer attorneys must be prepared to advocate for both racial justice and a favorable legal outcome. MVLS offers trainings and mentoring, with an emphasis on the core value of eliminating systemic barriers to justice based on race and economic disparities. “Our volunteers are getting quality programs through MVLS, Nancy emphasized. “We engage and learn with each other.”  

Funding from the MLSC allows MVLS to reimburse family law volunteers who take complicated or contested cases at a low-bono rate. But as Nancy sees it, the primary benefit of volunteering is improving the lives of others. “We as attorneys develop a sense of accomplishment by providing a worthwhile and valuable service to our community,” she said.  

In Ms. Lewis-Smith’s case, the benefit was tangible. Together, she and Curtis Cooper won her case, securing a modest alimony that she uses to cover groceries and medical expenses. 

Interested in volunteering? Visit our Pro Bono Portal to take a case today.

We See MVLS as the Gold Standard

2023 Annual Report

It was 3 a.m. in the spring of 2020, and Betsy Simon woke up to the sound of her phone ringing.  

On the other end of the line was a man who had found her flier in his senior-living high rise. He was calling to ask if Betsy knew how he and the other residents could get food. Betsy would normally call on the Baltimore City Health Department’s Division of Aging, but they were closed because of the pandemic. So, she arranged for a delivery herself. 

Since 1969, Betsy has been working to organize leaders and residents around issues of health equity and social justice. In 2009, she founded the Zeta Healthy Aging Partnership (Z-HAP) with the endorsement and support of her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta. It was during Z-HAP’s expansion to the Langston Hughes Community Resource Center in West Baltimore when she first met Susan Francis, then the deputy director of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS). MVLS was at the center to host presentations about common legal issues. 

In those early days, MVLS was just starting to expand its work with groups like Betsy’s who are often closest to and most directly involved with solving issues related to justice. Betsy’s work with older adults and MVLS’ interest in sharing legal information, especially about creating wills and advance medical directives, made the partnership between Z-HAP and MVLS a natural fit.  

“MVLS has become a staple of our programming…We can trust MVLS”

-Betsy Simon

In 2020, following the outbreak of COVID-19, Betsy ceased Z-HAP’s in-person meetings – but her work was far from over. Instead, she set up a conference call with her members, and together, they identified community needs and coordinated a response. That included safely distanced drop-offs of food, medicine, bandages, and more to residents across the city.  

The group, now called the BDS Healthy Aging Network (short for Betsy D. Simon), had their first conference call on March 18, 2020. They haven’t missed a Wednesday since.   

Betsy D. Simon pictured on Zoom

Tell me about your organization:  

First and foremost, I must honor and thank my husband, Deacon Henry Simon, for his support and sponsorship of every organization and community outreach initiative that I’ve founded, established or operated.  

BDS Healthy Aging Networks, Inc started in 2020 with the pandemic. On March 18, 2020, people started calling in to a conference line I’d set up. Those calls stretched on – from one hour, to an hour and a half, and so on – so we decided to do the calls once a week.  

Today, BDS Healthy Aging is a network of resource partners who come together to learn about needs and share resources. We address social determinants of health while acknowledging, respecting, and treating older adults as assets, not burdens, regardless of their age, economic or health status. We primarily support older adults, caregivers, those experiencing homelessness, the blind and low vision community, and people who are experiencing other hardships.  

While we started with telephone conversations, we moved to Zoom after a training by Dr. Margaret Pittman from Morgan State University. Today, this older-adults driven movement reaches hundreds of people and community partners. 

How do MVLS and BDS work together?  

Early on, Susan and her staff started coming [to the Langston Hughes Community Resource Center] once a month to do housing, estate planning, and other presentations about all that MVLS has to offer. 

The relationship has continued throughout the years. Just last week, MVLS presented at New Psalmist Baptist Church where I have been working as a volunteer consultant. Susan has done a number of presentations about the wealth gap and how much it impacts Black older adults in particular. And we have done additional follow up about avoiding frauds and scams, and why you should do estate planning. Most of the programs that MVLS offers that impact older adults and their families have been presented to us on Zoom.  

The most revolutionary thing that we’ve done together is the programming that shows people how to take practical legal steps. We’ve had partners come on [to the BDS Healthy Aging Network meeting] to give information and a handout. Sometimes it’s a great program but people don’t understand how to act on it. So MVLS agreed to do monthly presentations (every second Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) that show people how to get your tax credit, get information about your utilities, and other practical legal applications. MVLS has become a staple of our programming. 

The benefits are overwhelming, even those we don’t understand. It’s not always known how important legal issues are to ensuring that there is health equity and social justice. Many times, people don’t know what rights we actually have, what we need to do to stay well, how we can be proactive about issues like housing stability or criminal record expungement or estate planning.  

How does BDS benefit from your work with MVLS?  

MVLS brings the issues to us. We can trust MVLS. We can ask stupid questions that a regular attorney might dismiss, especially as older adults and underserved populations.  

Having legal services available on a regular basis with no cost is an enormous benefit. 

We see MVLS as the gold standard among law services, profit or nonprofit, and I think it’s the culture that Susan has created under her leadership that MVLS is easy to reach out to. As far as I know, no one is turned away without an answer. 

How does MVLS benefit from its work with the BDS Network?  

It’s a two-way street. We know if anything comes up, MVLS will help connect people to assistance. And MVLS asks for suggestions. I hope MVLS has benefitted from candid conversations. Our members will speak the truth of what they believe, and MVLS will listen. Their philosophy is one of respect for older adults and the Black community. 

One of MVLS’ core values is its commitment to dismantling racial and economic injustice. Why is that important?  

There are certain things within the system that over time I realized are embedded. Personally, I’ve witnessed [racial injustice]. Unfortunately, like many families I’ve had family members who had to enter the court system. I’ve served on jury panels and had the opportunity to sit in the courtroom. You see how different people are treated when they approach the bench or stand up for service. Even when you put in a judge, prosecutor or someone who may feel differently, they quickly move into the culture without even thinking or knowing about it, and they don’t address the bias they see in front of them.    

It’s important that MVLS address it, because they have the wherewithal to speak on the subject.  

When you see injustice, you can either sit there, or you can speak out and do something. From where I sit, MVLS and others like it do something.  

BDS is a powerful network of older adults. Share more about your core belief that older adults are key assets to their communities.  

Older adults have history. They are in a position to, and still do, run this country. Look at the people making contributions – nurses, doctors, health educators, staff who are required to go to work, people at churches!  

We are often on Zoom with people who are talking about what “seniors” need, and those same people look like they are 65 or older. So, we know they are running the country and our agencies, but because we don’t acknowledge they are there and contributing, we miss out.  

That’s what I want to get across. We contribute! Older adults are assets, not burdens to the system.  

I see the work we’re doing with MVLS as helping us advocate for ourselves. It’s like the saying about fishing. I see the training and advocacy we’re doing with MVLS as key to independence.  

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity 

Betsy Dinkins Simon, M.S., CHES is a nationally certified health education specialist and the Founding Director and CEO of Betsy D. Simon Enterprises© (1969); Z-HAP (2009) and subsequent Founder and President of the BDS Healthy Aging Networks, Inc. For decades she has designed and implemented needs-based programs and interventions for underserved populations across the nation. Prior to her current full time volunteer position, Betsy held positions as professor and administrator, Coppin State University; city-wide Health Education administrator, Baltimore City Schools; project manager and co-investigator, Friends Research Institute, Inc.; and more. Betsy was a Mayor and City Council appointee to the Commission on Aging (2013 – 2020) and represented the Commission on the City Interagency Committee on Aging. She continues as consultant/advisor to agencies and school. community & faith-based organizations. 

Your support of MVLS provides resources for community presentations and partnerships like this one. Learn more about community partnerships on our website.

Working Together for Justice

Part of our 2022 Annual Report Impact Series

Jennifer Jones went to graduate school with the goal of becoming a social worker. Going to law school wasn’t on her radar, but when a couple of professors encouraged her to consider a combined law and social degree program, she took her first law class. To her surprise she really enjoyed it, “and the rest is history.”  

Practicing law has given Jones the opportunity to serve people, albeit in a different way. She started volunteering with MVLS in 2021, and has taken on 11 cases since then, most of them in family law.  

Jones recently closed a particularly contentious divorce case that she took on “low bono” through MVLS’ Judicare Program, through which family law attorneys can receive modest payments for their work. She helped her client, who was navigating the process of ending an abusive marriage, fighting for financial support and, ultimately, obtaining her independence.  

“If you weren’t doing it, it’s very likely an injustice could occur.”

“The most rewarding thing for me in this case was how happy the client was. For many years she had wanted to leave, but believed that being married was the only way she could survive financially,” Jones explained. Jones’ client, who has a disability that prevents her earning an income, courageously took the step of seeking a divorce after her situation became untenable. While it was an incredibly difficult time, with the client experiencing immense anxiety, Jones shared that “she now lives the peaceful life she has wanted for so long… an outcome she never thought would be possible.” 

Despite the high stakes of civil legal cases, which span from family law issues like divorce and custody, to issues that cause long term financial instability, the United States does not guarantee counsel for people navigating these problems. For Jones, it’s gratifying to know that she’s offering her clients something that they truly need.  

“And if you weren’t doing it, it’s very likely an injustice could occur,” Jones added. A recent study by the Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland indicates that clients are 6.5 times more likely to succeed if they have attorney representation. MVLS matches volunteers like Jones with clients to provide free legal help for the duration of their case.  

For Jones, volunteering has an additional reward.  

“I really want it to be highlighted how the legal community at large is supportive of the work and is willing to be a resource. You’re not going to have a handle on every situation. If I get stuck on something, I’ve found that when I reached out to other attorneys who had that expertise, they were more than willing to give me some help.”  

“The legal community at large is supportive of your work and willing to be a resource.”

John Hotz provided that help to Jones during her most recent case. One of the few experts on an issue that ended up being central to her client’s case, Jones shared, “John gave generously and freely. He was so kind and so helpful. Because of his contribution, my client secured benefits that she was entitled to but otherwise wouldn’t have had the means to secure.” MVLS encourages volunteers to seek out mentors or other experts in our network as they navigate their case.  

MVLS also has a Pro Bono Portal that is available online and updated daily. The portal allows potential volunteers to preview cases and select one that’s the right fit for their availability, experience, and location. Jones urged potential volunteers to view the portal and take a case: “It’s not a fair playing field when one party has an attorney and the other doesn’t because they can’t afford one.” 

374 volunteers like Jones took a case with MVLS during the past fiscal year, and another 19 provided formal mentorship support, giving a combined 11,533 hours of pro bono service. If you are an attorney or tax professional, you can visit www.mvlslaw.org to join this dedicated group and sign up to take a case today.  

Planning for the Future

Part of our 2022 Annual Report Impact Series

David Oliver first learned about Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service through an email.  

A lifelong Baltimorean, Oliver owns a home in West Baltimore. When the president of his neighborhood association messaged him and his neighbors to share a list of free legal services, he saw that MVLS was providing that help.  

“…it’s so peaceful knowing that, if something should happen, my family will inherit what I had.”

That email came in handy about a year later when Oliver realized that he needed to make some changes to his estate planning documents. He called MVLS and reached a member of the outreach team. As Oliver remembers it, he was told that he had called just in time and invited to attend an upcoming My Home, My Deed, My Legacy Clinic.  

He did. “And from there, Tim became my representative,” Oliver explained, referring to Tim Chance, MVLS’ Tangled Title Attorney.  

MVLS hosts anywhere from four to six of these My Home clinics each year. Clinics provide an opportunity for clients and potential clients, often recruited by their neighborhood associations or other community nonprofits, to meet with MVLS volunteers and staff attorneys for brief advice or for full representation.  

Tim Chance at MHMD March 2022 Clinic
Tim Chance, MVLS’ Tangled Title Attorney, looks on as volunteers meet with clients at a My Home My Deed My Legacy Clinic.

While Oliver came to the clinic looking to update just one of his estate documents, Chance was able to prepare a total of four legal documents most common in advance planning: the life estate deed, power of attorney, advance directive, and a will. “We wanted to make sure everything was done correctly,” Oliver explained.  

“It’s tricky because people think that once you pass, things go to your next of kin. Which isn’t the case without a lot of red tape and fees,” Oliver added as he described why estate planning appealed to him.  

Over the past decade, drawing on lessons learned from our clients and community partners, MVLS has come to understand the important role that legal services, and advance planning in particular, can play in building generational wealth in historically disinvested Black Baltimore neighborhoods. In the West Baltimore neighborhood where Oliver lives, 88% of residents are Black. The median household income is less than $22,000 and 27% of homes are considered vacant or abandoned. In a city with a well-known history of redlining (the institutionalized denial of homeownership based on race), ongoing practices of under-appraising Black owned homes, and where the majority of our clients facing tax sale are Black, MLVS sees an institutional responsibility to act. By providing free help to residents who have tangled titles, are navigating probate or like in Oliver’s case, are doing proactive estate planning, we can make it easier for families to preserve what is often their biggest asset – their home.  

“The most rewarding thing is that I got it done. And it’s so peaceful knowing that, if something should happen, my family will inherit what I had,” he concluded.  

Thanks to our donors, volunteers, and community partners, MVLS provided estate planning and administration services to 465 clients like Oliver in FY22. You can learn about upcoming community events and clinics, including the next My Home My Deed My Legacy Clinic scheduled for September 29, 2022 here.  

“This is what we want” – The Ripple Effect of Legal Help

Part of our 2022 Annual Report Impact Series

Vermillera rests on the front porch of her East Baltimore row home
Photo Credit: Michael Theis for The Chronicle of Philanthropy

By the time Elizabeth Vermillera talked to someone at MVLS, there was a real possibility of her losing her home to tax sale.

“I almost lost my house for $1,000,” she shared with reporter Kristen Griffith, who interviewed Vermillera and shared her story as a part of a larger profile about tax sale in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. (You can read the full article, titled “Nonprofit Legal Services Help Homeowners Struggling With Property Taxes Keep Their Homes”, here).

Aja’ Mallory, MVLS’ Housing and Consumer attorney, stepped in to help Vermillera last winter after a community partner referred her case to MVLS. While MVLS largely relies on volunteer attorneys, Mallory can intervene when clients are facing a more urgent deadline, or when there are no volunteers available.

“For her to be able to stay in the community that she really loves that she’s trying to build up and restore to its former thriving position, this is what we want.”

Mallory reviewed Vermillera’s case and came across something surprising: there was a clerical error in her property record, one that incorrectly categorized her property as a rental. She’s owned her home since 1997. Mallory quickly contacted the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) to notify them of the error and advocate to get it fixed. Then, she helped Vermillera apply for the homeowners’ property tax credits, little-known incentives that are available to low income homeowners in Maryland.

Those retroactive credits brought down Vermillera’s tax bill to a little under $300. She paid off the now-affordable bill, saving her house from being listed for tax sale.

Mallory represents clients facing foreclosure and tax sale and each week, she gives brief advice to people being sued for consumer debt at our Consumer Protection Project at the District Court.

The hardest part of her job, she said, is learning about the everyday hardships that bring people to the point of losing their home or having their wages garnished. Many of her clients have lost a spouse or other family member, resulting in lost income. Often, their money must be redirected to funeral expenses or medical bills. In some cases, they’ve simply fallen behind because they are experiencing so much grief.

“I have to put things into perspective,” Mallory said. “I understand the client’s hardships, but I have to make the client understand the reality of their situation.”

While the work can be difficult, it is also incredibly meaningful. In cases like Vermillera’s, “the rewarding part about this is that a family gets to keep their home,” Mallory said.

She explained that there is a ripple effect to the work organizations like MVLS does.

“Ms. Vermillera specifically is very active in her community,” Mallory explained. “For her to be able to stay in the community that she really loves that she’s trying to build up and restore to its former thriving position, this is what we want. [She] is a staple of her community, helping others in her community, letting people know about the various resources that are available to them so they can stay in their homes.”

In her conversation with The Chronicle for Philanthropy, Vermillera said learning that her house would be saved was “an answer to a prayer beyond expectation.”

When volunteers take a case, they can also help other community members. Something simple like sending an email, or even explaining what a client can expect as they navigate this moment in their life can make a profound difference, Mallory said.

In FY22, volunteers, donors, and community partners’ support ensured that MVLS could serve more than 2,000 clients like Vermillera with civil legal issues core to their housing, finances, and families.

As of this writing, MVLS has 114 open cases. You can help. Learn about volunteering with MVLS here, or consider making a gift to support free legal help.