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PBRC kicks off 2019-2020 Professional Skills Academy

A group of Academy Fellows and mentors listen to the PBRC Academy orientation presentation. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

A group of Academy Fellows and mentors listen to the PBRC Academy orientation presentation. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

From left, PBRC Executive Director Sharon E. Goldsmith enjoys a conversation with attorneys James Connolly and Irwin Kramer of Kramer & Connolly. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

From left, PBRC Executive Director Sharon E. Goldsmith enjoys a conversation with attorneys James Connolly and Irwin Kramer of Kramer & Connolly. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

District Court Judge Mark Scurti, the president-elect of the Maryland State Bar Association, and Nancy Shuger, who served for 18 years as a judge on the District Court of Maryland and is now an Academy mentor, enjoy the opportunity to talk together. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

District Court Judge Mark Scurti, the president-elect of the Maryland State Bar Association, and Nancy Shuger, who served for 18 years as a judge on the District Court of Maryland and is now an Academy mentor, enjoy the opportunity to talk together. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

Academy Fellow Cynthia C. Farmer, left, and PBRC’s Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project Manager Cate H. Scenna, discuss PBRC’s immigration work. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

Academy Fellow Cynthia C. Farmer, left, and PBRC’s Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project Manager Cate H. Scenna, discuss PBRC’s immigration work. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

Academy mentor Gerard Vetter, Assistant U.S. Trustee for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division in the Office of the United States Trustee in the U.S. Department of Justice, chats with Maura Ward, associate counsel with Bon Secours Health System. Vetter was paired with Ward, an Academy Fellow, as she begins PBRC’s 2019-20 Professional Skills Academy. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

Academy mentor Gerard Vetter, Assistant U.S. Trustee for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division in the Office of the United States Trustee in the U.S. Department of Justice, chats with Maura Ward, associate counsel with Bon Secours Health System. Vetter was paired with Ward, an Academy Fellow, as she begins PBRC’s 2019-20 Professional Skills Academy. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

From left, Margaret Henn, director of PBRC’s Home Preservation Project, Academy Fellow Angela Kuan, and PBRC Deputy Director Annie Speedie spend time chatting during the 2019-20 Professional Skills Academy kickoff event. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

From left, Margaret Henn, director of PBRC’s Home Preservation Project, Academy Fellow Angela Kuan, and PBRC Deputy Director Annie Speedie spend time chatting during the 2019-20 Professional Skills Academy kickoff event. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

Dave Pantzer, PBRC’s director of education, outreach, and technology, explains the vision for the Professional Skills Academy during the kickoff event. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

Dave Pantzer, PBRC’s director of education, outreach, and technology, explains the vision for the Professional Skills Academy during the kickoff event. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

From left, 9. Bar Association of Baltimore City Young Lawyers’ Division officer representative Ellyn Riedl; Academy mentor, faculty and sponsor Jane Santoni; and Academy mentor Chris Flohr share a humorous moment. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

From left, 9. Bar Association of Baltimore City Young Lawyers’ Division officer representative Ellyn Riedl; Academy mentor, faculty and sponsor Jane Santoni; and Academy mentor Chris Flohr share a humorous moment. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

The kick-off event for PBRC’s Professional Skills Academy provided opportunities for extended networking.  Front, from left, mentor Curtis Cooper and academy fellow Kenneth Lemberg enjoy a conversation; Second row, from left, academy fellows Stephen B. Freeman and Elaina Christmas share a chat while academy fellow Olamide S. Orebamjo, seated, and mentor Natasha Dartigue get together to talk. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

The kick-off event for PBRC’s Professional Skills Academy provided opportunities for extended networking. Front, from left, mentor Curtis Cooper and academy fellow Kenneth Lemberg enjoy a conversation; Second row, from left, academy fellows Stephen B. Freeman and Elaina Christmas share a chat while academy fellow Olamide S. Orebamjo, seated, and mentor Natasha Dartigue get together to talk. (Photo courtesy of Pro Bono Resource Center)

The Pro Bono Resource Center kicked off its 2019-20 Professional Skills Academy Aug. 29, a program that develops volunteerism and expertise in newer attorneys through a combination of training, mentorship and service.

A total of 38 people came out to the event, which was hosted by the Baltimore office of Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann, LLP. It served as an orientation for Academy Fellows (newer attorneys seeking to deepen their skills while giving back to the community) and mentors (experienced attorneys and retired judges who have agreed to meet with the Fellows over the coming year).

PBRC Executive Director Sharon E. Goldsmith and District Court Judge and MSBA President-Elect Mark Scurti welcomed the group and provided historical context regarding the need for pro bono legal services in Maryland.

The 2019-2020 pilot program paired 19 Fellows with individual mentors.  In addition to mentorship, the Academy provides each Fellow with seven trainings over the year, and with seven specific opportunities to learn by doing – providing pro bono service to real clients, with a mentor present.

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