Shore Legal Access recognized the contributions of the nonprofit’s volunteer attorneys with an annual awards ceremony and reception Oct. 26 at the Ivy Café in Easton.
Shore Legal Access relies on volunteers to represent people with limited means in court, prepare documents, and provide legal counseling and advice.
The event was also part of the annual National Celebration of Pro Bono, sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Center for Pro Bono Committee to recognize pro bono work as a professional responsibility and an individual ethical commitment of each lawyer.
Volunteer Attorney of the Year awards were presented at the event to Criminal Record Expungement recipient Kristin Gilbert, Esq. of Gilber Law, LLC in Salisbury; Family Law recipient Stephanie Hambleton, Esq. of Hambleton Law, LLC in St. Michaels; Housing recipient Cathleen Massey, Esq. of Oxford and Life Planning recipient Judith Showalter, Esq. of Easton.
The Hon. Karen Murphy Jensen Award for Pro Bono Service and Mentorship was presented to Donna McElroy, Esq., of the Law Office of Donna B. McElroy in Berlin. The award was created to honor a member of the legal community who demonstrates a commitment to pro bono service in addition to mentoring those who are new to the profession or seeking to increase their skills in service to the community.
Shore Legal Access relies on its network of volunteers to represent people with limited means in court, prepare documents, and provide legal counseling and advice. In 2022, Shore Legal Access volunteers provided 8,350 hours of free legal help, resulting in access to legal representation valued at more than $2 million in financial benefits for Eastern Shore residents.
Shore Legal Access was founded as Mid-Shore Pro Bono in 2005 by a small group of local judges and attorneys who recognized the need for basic civil legal services in the five Mid-Shore counties. It became the first regional pro bono organization in Maryland to connect private attorneys with people unable to afford representation for their civil legal issues.