January 2023 Newsletter

By Kayla Williams, Managing Attorney
Although the pandemic is still ongoing, court filings are trending towards prepandemic levels. This can especially be seen in landlord/tenant cases. The Maryland Judiciary recently released a report highlighting the number of landlord/tenant filings throughout the state as of September 2022. In September, there were 33,942 Failure to Pay Rent filings, 786 Tenant Holding Over filings, and 212 Breach of Lease filings. To put this into perspective, in 2019 there were 58,942 Failure to Pay Rent filings, 250 Tenant Holding Over filings, and 137 Breach of Lease cases filed.
These numbers are troublesome, and with the courts in full operation and many leases nearing expiration or having already expired, I think it’s safe to say that we can expect these numbers to continue trending upward.
It is no secret that the pandemic has exacerbated America’s eviction and housing crisis. High rent and housing costs, coupled with inflation, illness, and an unpredictable job market have further enhanced these issues. Additionally, the future of widespread rental assistance programs is unclear. Through the implementation of Access to Counsel in Eviction proceedings, CLS and many other legal services providers have answered the call to action to provide representation to tenants in need of assistance. Our office currently provides free representation to incomeeligible tenants in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.
If you are interested in volunteering with either of our Eviction Prevention programs, please email me at Williams@clspgc.org.

Pro Bono Call to Action

The Maryland Attorney General, Maryland Judiciary, Maryland State Bar Association and Maryland’s Access to Justice Commission have delivered an urgent call to action for pro bono services. Attorneys are strongly encouraged to take at least one pro bono case or a designated number of pro bono service hours over the next year to provide legal services in areas including housing and family law. All Pro Bono providers in Maryland, including CLS, are taking part in this call to action. The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland is helping to implement this call to action by matching interested attorneys with pro bono organizations throughout the state. For more information, visit probonomd.org.

Eviction Prevention Programs

CLS is seeking attorneys to provide representation to tenants at their Failure to Pay Rent hearings through our sameday tenant representation program. Stipends are available. CLS provides training, malpractice insurance coverage, mentoring, and support to our volunteers. Outofstate attorneys are welcomed. CLS and the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland have put together a training on how to represent tenants in Prince George’s County rent court. This 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, have questions about the program, or want to sign up to represent tenants at their rent court hearings, 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, with a potential maximum of $200 per day. *$100 per half day in court (AM or PM sessions).

Interpreters Needed

CLS is in need of interpreters to assist attorneys representing Limited English proficient clients. Training is available and no prior experience is required. We pay $30 per hour and up to 30 hours per case. For more information, please email info@clspgc.org.

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 provides funding to pay attorneys $100.00 per hour with a cap of $3,000 per case.* CLS allows you to bill twice during the case. CLS invoices Maryland Legal Services Corporation for your billed time. As a result, Judicare payments are usually paid a month after an invoice is submitted. CLS uses Bill.com which allows for electronic payment for invoices. This funding program is administered by MLSC with funds from the
Administrative Office of the Courts.

*For Judicare invoices received on or after April 1, 2022 the hourly rate will increase from $100 an hour to $120 an hour. Additionally, for cases closed on or after April 1, 2022, the cap on hours will be moved from 30 hours to 35 hours.

Foreclosure Prevention Program

CLS has funding for attorneys representing clients in Prince George’s County through our Foreclosure Prevention Program. In foreclosure prevention cases, the funding provides attorneys $80.00 an hour and up to thirty (30) hours of representation. Cases 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 email us at info@clspgc.org. Training, mentoring and malpractice insurance is provided. Funding is available from a generous grant provided by MLSC.

*The hourly rate for foreclosure cases will increase from $80 an hour to $120 an hour with a cap
of 35 hours per case.
Domestic Violence Wellness Program
Are you interested in building your practice by adding Protective and Peace Orders? Training is available. CLS’s domestic violence program places protective order and peace order petitioners and respondents with attorneys. CLS will provide mentoring to help you prepare your case. You will also be able to shadow one of the staff attorneys during Protective and Peace Order hearings. CLS’s Domestic Violence Legal Wellness Program places protective order cases, petitioners and respondents with attorneys. Attorneys receive $80 per hour with a cap of $500 per case. We ask that for each case that an attorney takes paid, that the attorney also take one pro bono. Please contact Marcie Mininberg, Esq., at mininberg@clspgc.org for more information.

*The hourly rate for DV cases is $120 an hour with a maximum of $750 per case.

Concluding Thoughts

CLS clients have limited means, but that does not negate the fact that they have significant legal issues that require legal representation. We encourage you to help bridge the Access to Justice gap by taking Judicare and pro bono cases. CLS provides our attorneys with training, mentoring, access to a litigation fund, and malpractice insurance. To join our volunteer pool, please apply on our website at
clspgc.org or contact info@clspgc.org.

Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc., is a nonprofit organization established to provide quality legal services to lowincome residents of Prince George’s County, MD. CLS provides direct legal services through the generous contributions of members of the private bar. For more information about our funder, Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) and our Judicare Program, visit