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Bonnie SullivanBonnie Sullivan

Executive Director
Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services

Doing something the way it has always been done is not a philosophy to which Bonnie Sullivan subscribes. This may be the reason the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services (MVLS), a nonprofit dedicated to providing pro bono legal services to Marylanders with limited means, has survived the financial crisis, and steadily expanded its staff and services in the last decade.

“Bonnie is not wedded to any practice, decision or concept if the only reason we’re doing something is because that’s the way it’s always done. She is open to any changes or new action that will enable us to do our work efficiently and effectively resulting in us being able to better serve more clients,” said Susan Francis, Deputy Director of MVLS.

Under Sullivan’s leadership, MVLS has hired 15 more staff members, and implemented new programs addressing human trafficking prevention, workforce development and foreclosure prevention. In fiscal year 2018, Sullivan and her team closed 5,730 cases — ultimately helping 14,089 Marylanders. In addition, since fiscal year 2009, Sullivan has successfully increased fundraising efforts by 335 percent.

In order to assist her clients more efficiently, Sullivan adopted a cloud-based case management program that is also linked to their call center and online intake system. MVLS was the first legal services organization to adopt this new technology – which has increased the number of clients served by 60 percent.

“As a small nonprofit dependent on the commitment of volunteer lawyers, I looked to technology innovations to deliver services more effectively to our clients and volunteers,” said Sullivan.

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record’s 2018 Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs awards. Some information for this profile was sourced from the honoree’s application for the award.