April Newsletter

March was a busy month for CLS staff.  It is when the vast majority of our grant applications and reports to our major funders are due.  With the support of these funders, the Maryland Legal Services Corporation, Administrative Offices of the Courts, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Prince George’s County and your dedicated voluntarism, is that CLS is able to deliver services to thousands of income eligible clients every year.

In March, CLS also participated in several events. We held two Estate planning Clinics for income-eligible seniors in collaboration with PBRC at the College Park United Methodist Church and at the Greenbelt Municipal Center.  Volunteer attorneys and CLS staff assisted close to 30 seniors with wills, advanced medical directives and financial powers of attorney documents.  On March 2nd, CLS and the Prince George’s County Bar Association teamed up for the 4th annual expungement event with Reid Temple A.M.E. Church in Glenn Dale. Our staff and volunteer attorneys assisted 68 clients with 245 expungable cases.  On March 9th, CLS participated at the annual “Estudios Universitarios a su Alcance: Un Taller Gratis en Español” (“A College Education is Within Your Reach: A Free Workshop in Spanish”) hosted by the University of Maryland at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union.  The event is a College Preparation workshop given in Spanish to provide information to students in grades 6-12 and their families.

On March 5th, our Deputy Director Nora Eidelman testified before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee in Annapolis in support of House Bill 1273.  The bill requires educational institutions and hospitals to establish policies that limit immigration enforcement from operating on those premises to the extent possible consistent with federal and State laws on certain guidelines established by the Attorney General on or before December 31, 2019.  Ms. Eidelman asked members of the Judiciary Committee to consider expanding the scope of this bill to include courthouses. Around 30% of CLS clients are members of our immigrant communities in the county, with many limited English proficient residents, first generation families, and persons with limited education.  Courthouses are places where victims go to seek protection, justice, recourse for a wrong done, etc.  We are very concerned when clients tell us that they are afraid to participate in any type of case in court including seeking a protective order against an abuser, suing an employer for unpaid wages, afraid to report a crime they witnessed for fear of detention/deportation by immigration enforcement.  We are concerned that communities generally known as vulnerable and marginalized will become even more vulnerable and marginalized. The Marylanders Access to Justice Commission convened a committee to study the reports of ICE arrests in MD state courts, and reported that it “impedes the ability of all Marylanders to access justice on an equal footing, and has an Impact the efficient and fair administration of justice.” https://www.msba.org/blog/access-to-justice-survey-concerning-ice-arrests-in-md-state-courts/

We hope you joining for this event.  We’re Getting Together to Say Thank You to our Volunteers!  Come celebrate with us, enjoy some refreshments at Franklin’s Restaurant and Brewery on April 8, 2019, 6-8 PM.  Please RSVP to Flor Ceron at ceron@clspgc.org or 240-391-6532, ext. 2.  Franklin’s address: 5123 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville, MD 20781

Additionally, on April 8, 2019, anytime from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM, CLS supporters can come, enjoy Franklin’s delicious food, and support CLS.  Please make sure you let the host or server know that you are dining to support CLS.  CLS will receive 20% of the pretax total receipts.


Shop Amazon Smile

Support Community Legal Services when shopping! When you shop online using Amazon Smile, Amazon donates 0.5% of your purchase back to our organization. Start now by clicking the button below to designate Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc. as your chosen charitable organization.  AMAZON SMILE


Sign up to help families avoid wrongful evictions in our Failure to Pay Rent Tenant Representation Program. Training & Stipend is Available.

CLS is seeking attorneys to provide same day representation to tenants in Prince George’s County Rent Court, located at Hyattsville District Court. CLS provides training, malpractice insurance coverage, mentoring, and support to our volunteers.  Out-of-state attorneys are welcomed.   Representing Tenants in Prince George’s County Rent Court training, in partnership with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, is available on line at www.pbrc.org.  The training includes Landlord/Tenant rules and perspectives, issue spotting in Failure to Pay Rent complaints, and practical advice for handling cases.  If you wish to take this training or have questions about the program, please contact Kayla Williams, Esq. at  williams@clspgc.org.  Participating attorneys must commit to volunteer to staff two clinics or take two landlord/tenant cases within one year of completing the training.

Beyond this volunteer commitment, a stipend of $100* will be provided to attorneys in exchange for their representation. *per docket. Funding for this program is provided by Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC).


CLS Monthly Foreclosure Prevention Training – Last Wednesday of Every Month

Our next monthly training will be held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 2:00 pm. (Note: the April 24th training will start at 1:00 PM). Join us for a presentation regarding foreclosure related cases and speak with an experienced foreclosure attorney.  Please RSVP to Nora Eidelman at 240-391-6532, ext. 5 or eidelman@clspgc.org Trainings will be held at 6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 720, Greenbelt, MD.


Civil Cases Available for Attorneys and Other Volunteer Opportunities

Through our Lawyer Referral Program, we refer income eligible clients to attorneys for representation in their domestic cases.  Judicare funding pays the attorneys’ fees.  Attorneys receive $100.00 per hour with a cap of $3,000 per case.  The billing process with CLS allows you to bill twice during the life of the case.  MLSC reimburses CLS for your billed time.  As a result, a slight delay in Judicare payments should be anticipated.  This funding program is administered by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) with funds from the Administrative Office of the Courts.  For more information about MSLC and the Judicare program, please visit https://www.mlsc.org/.

CLS’s domestic violence program places protective order and peace order petitioners and respondents with attorneys. A limited funding of up to $500 per case is available for attorneys providing representation in these cases.

CLS encourages attorneys to take pro bono cases. CLS has requests for landlord tenant attorneys, wills attorneys, and attorneys for additional civil legal cases. CLS can place cases with attorneys based on the attorney’s preferred case type.

CLS also has volunteer opportunities at our Brief Advice clinics. Expand and grow your practice by volunteering around your schedule.

CLS clients have limited means but have real legal issues that require representation. Help CLS bridge the Access to Justice Gap by taking Judicare or Pro bono cases. CLS provides our volunteer attorneys training, mentoring, access to a litigation fund, monthly practitioner’s clinics, and malpractice insurance.  To learn more about our opportunities, please contact Nora C. Eidelman, at 240-391-6532, ext. 5.


Funding Available for Representation in Foreclosure Prevention

CLS has funding for attorneys representing clients in Prince George’s County through our Foreclosure Prevention Program.  CLS has expanded our Foreclosure Prevention project to provide paid hours to attorneys accepting cases for representation in foreclosure defense cases, post-foreclosure Motions for Surplus, tenants in foreclosures, as well foreclosure mediation.  In foreclosure prevention cases, the funding provides attorneys $80.00 an hour and up to thirty hours of representation. Funds include representation at judicial proceedings, mediation preparation, representation at mediation, and negotiations.  Additionally, funding is available for bankruptcy chapter 7, and other legal actions that may help the client save his home.  If you are interested in being added to our foreclosure volunteer attorney pool, or require additional information, please contact Michael Udejiofor at 240-391-6532, ext. 1 or udejiofor@clspgc.org.  Training, mentoring and malpractice insurance is provided.  Funding is available from a generous grant provided by Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC).

Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc. (CLS) is a non-profit organization established to provide quality civil legal services to low-income residents of Prince George’s County.  CLS provides direct legal services through the generous contributions by members of the private bar.  Additionally, CLS operates free Brief Advice Clinics throughout the County, including in the Prince George’s County Circuit Court, Room 2435 M, the Prince George’s County Multi-Services Center in Langley Park, and in Suitland’s Windsor Crossings Apartments.  For referrals of low-income residents of Prince George’s County to CLS programs, our hotline is 240-391-6370. Intake is Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm., online applications are available at www.clspgc.org. For more information about our services, please contact Nora C. Eidelman, at 240-391-6532, ext. 5