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Wilhelm H. Joseph Jr.


joseph-wilhelm-mf-7589Wilhelm H. Joseph Jr. has fought to advance and protect the rights of low-income individuals and communities as executive director of Maryland Legal Aid. Under his leadership, the organization’s budget has increased from $8 million to more than $30 million, allowing for updates to technology and additional staff to expand services to clients.

Joseph has helped MLA establish partnerships with local, national and international institutions. One example is the local partnership with the Administrative Office of the Courts that helps MLA operate District Court Self-Help Centers. Those centers have helped more than 100,000 clients since 2009.

Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the limitation of court proceedings to help fight the spread of the disease has been the top priority for MLA.

“The devastating consequences of this crisis will especially impact Maryland’s most vulnerable residents,” Joseph said in a statement posted on the MLA web-site. “As businesses and other entities close or significantly decrease their services and jobs are lost, the need for free legal help continues to rise dramatically. MLA is working hard to shore up its resources to ensure that it is able to meet this need in both the near and long term.”

Following the death of Freddie Gray, Joseph and other leaders at the MLA looked for ways to help the community and developed the “Lawyer in the Library” — now called the Community Lawyering Initiative – that provides free legal services in the community.

This profile is part of The Daily Record's Power 100 list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. See the full list at or in our digital edition.