Martha Lessman Katz of Lessman|Katz Law is not only an enthusiastic member of MVLS’ volunteer panel, but in addition, a dedicated member of the MVLS Board of Directors. Whether in board meetings or in the court room with clients, Martha has demonstrated an immense commitment to pro bono civil legal services. When MVLS first launched the expungement program last fall, Martha was immediately supportive. Despite her vast experience in intellectual property, technology, and business law, Martha showed no hesitation in taking on more than ten expungement cases in 2016 alone. She is truly a diligent, passionate advocate for pro bono legal services and we are excited to work with Martha more in the future.
We were able to ask Martha a few questions about the time she has spent volunteering with MVLS.
- Why do you choose to volunteer with MVLS? Firstly, when you join a board, you support its mission. For MVLS, that means more than just attending board meetings. It means taking cases to further the mission – helping people resolve their legal matters. I chose to focus on expungements because I knew nothing about the area but believed I could learn it quickly. And when I heard the statistic that over 70% of Baltimore criminal matters are expungeable, I knew that this was an area where I could really make a difference.
- Do you have any stand out stories? There is one person who I helped with some of his expungements. Ultimately, he went on to start his own business and called me for more legal help. It wasn’t in my field so I referred him on. But it was gratifying not only that he trusted me to advise him on other legal matters but that he was able to move forward.
- What is your favorite part about volunteering with MVLS? The staff is just so great – always there to help without judging.
- Why should other attorneys do pro bono? So many people have legal matters that, if resolved, can really change their lives. There is just so much to do, that it can be paralyzing and you end up saying how can my little effort be meaningful. But even if you only take one case a year, it helps. There is a Jewish saying that goes something like this – “you don’t have to finish the task, but you can’t just stand back and do nothing.” In other words, just jump in and do your best with however much you can do.