On June 30, a truck pulled up to the Maryland State Bar Association headquarters and delivered boxes of its newly updated public service brochure, “Foreclosure Proceedings in Maryland.” On July 1, the MSBA started handing them out. By July 15 — just two weeks later — it had gone through more than 1,000 of the 20,000 it had printed up.
And that doesn’t even include hits on the Web version, said MSBA spokeswoman Janet S. Eveleth, who called the response “unprecedented.”
The total includes about 800 brochures given out on request from the MSBA’s office and more than 200 passed out to lawyers attending last week’s MICPEL foreclosure course in Baltimore, Eveleth said.
MICPEL will repeat the “Nuts and Bolts” class this month and next in Rockville and Salisbury, with video replays scheduled for September and November. Scholarships are available for lawyers who volunteer with the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project.
The printed brochure doesn’t mention the pro bono project — “We didn’t want to do anything that might limit its shelf life,” Eveleth said — but the online version includes the state’s HOPE hotline, 877-462-7555.
BARBARA GRZINCIC, Managing Editor/Law
Noting that “foreclosure impacts everyone,” Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell sent letters to Maryland lawyers yesterday, calling on them to help citizens facing foreclosure.
As we wrote in June (subscriber-only link), the Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project aims to train lawyers to help homeowners assert their rights under new foreclosure legislation that took effect on April 4.
According to the letter, Maryland is one of the 10 states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, with 11,000 foreclosures anticipated for 2008.
Lawyers can help either by directly representing homeowners through referral services, providing brief advice at public workshops or serving as of counsel to non-profit housing counseling agencies. Free MICPEL training is offered in collaboration with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland for those willing to accept one pro bono foreclosure case or do 15 hours of pro bono legal services to the project.
Bell calls the program “one of the most important pro bono initiatives of our time.”
What do you think about the program, and the chief judge’s unprecedented endorsement of a single pro bono initiative?
CHRISTINA DORAN, Assistant Legal Editor