Project Bounce Back Press Release

Project Bounce Back
Financial & Legal Educational Course


Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc. (CLS) and the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) are proud to announce the launch of Project Bounce Back. Project
Bounce back will focus on Prince George’s county residents who are facing or have recently filed
a Chapter seven or thirteen bankruptcy for financial relief. During the six-month financial and
legal education course, participants will receive practical tips and advice on understanding their
finances. Program benefits include:
  • One-on-one credit counseling
  • Free legal advice & referrals
  • Budgeting tips & tools
CLS’s Mission is to provide education, advice, and/or representation to low-income litigants in
civil legal matters in Prince George’s County, MD. Our goal is to promote equal access to justice
by providing access to free legal services through our legal advice clinics, mobile legal services
and pro bono referral program to meet our Mission. LEDC’s goal is to drive the economic and
social advancement of low to moderate income Latinos and other underserved DC, MD, and
Northern Virginia area residents by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial
independence and become leaders in their communities. CLS will coordinate the project and
provide legal advice, and LEDC will serve as consultants for the project providing financial
coaching personnel and education for participants.
Funds for this inaugural program were generously provided by the American College of
Bankruptcy Foundation (“the Foundation”). The Foundation promotes the ends of justice through
educational and charitable activities, and focuses on bankruptcy and insolvency. They award
grants to legal services organizations whose mission and activities are consistent with their mission
of fostering the institution and maintenance of legal aid facilities for the indigent.
Project Bounce Back will launch on February 26, 2020, and the application is available here.
Contact Information:
Latavia Alexander
(240) 391-6532 ext 8

Failure to Pay Rent Tenant Representation Program

Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc., (CLS) is excited to announce the launch of its Failure to Pay Rent Tenant Representation Program, which has been generously funded by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC). This program provides free same-day legal representation to income-eligible tenants facing eviction in Hyattsville District Court, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Tenants who are interested in receiving representation through this program can contact Kayla Williams, Staff Attorney at (240) 391-6370 or by email at Tenants can learn more about this program and apply for services through our website at


CLS has partnered with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) to train and recruit attorneys who wish to volunteer through this program. Volunteer attorneys receive a stipend in exchange for their representation, as well as malpractice insurance coverage, mentoring, and case support. Additionally, CLS assists out-of-state attorneys with becoming specially authorized to practice law in Maryland. Although this program provides representation to tenants, resources are also available for landlords.


CLS’s mission is to educate, represent and empower low-income members of the Prince George’s County community in civil legal matters. Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Upcoming Estate Planning Clinics for Income Eligible Seniors – Ages 60 and Over

Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 10 AM – 3 PM
Friendship Arms Apartments
5805 42nd Avenue, Hyattsville, MD 20781

Reservations must be made by Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Saturday, December 8, 2018, 10 AM – 3 PM
Windsor Crossing Apartments
3000 Victory Lane, Suitland, MD 20746

Reservations must be made by Friday, November 30, 2018

Space is limited and reservations are required. To register call 443-703-3052.  Attorneys will be available to prepare wills, advance medical directives and power of attorney documents for income eligible clients.

Rent Court Attorney of the Day Program, Training & Stipend

CLS is seeking attorneys to provide same day representation to tenants in Rent Court for our soon to be launched Pilot Program in Hyattsville. CLS will provide training, malpractice insurance coverage, mentoring,  and support to our volunteers.  Out-of-state attorneys are welcomed.  In November we held our live training Representing Tenants in Prince George’s County Rent Court in partnership with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland to train attorneys representing tenants in Prince George’s County Failure to Pay Rent hearings.  Topics covered in the training included Landlord/Tenant rules and perspectives, issue spotting in Failure to Pay Rent complaints, and practical advice for handling cases. The training is available online.  If you wish to take this training or have questions about the program, please contact Kayla Williams, Esq. at  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 hired our new staff attorney Kayla M. Williams to manage this pilot program. While the same day representation has not launched, Ms. Williams is representing tenants in Failure to Pay Rent hearings. In her first week, Ms. Williams successfully represented two tenants in Rent Court. The first case in which Ms. Williams appeared resulted in a dismissal of the Failure to Pay Rent complaint because the tenant presented a defense.  In the second case, Ms. Williams successfully argued a defect in the Failure to Pay Rent complaint, and prevented a judgement from being entered against the tenant. Income eligible tenants needing legal representation may contact CLS at 240-391-6370 for representation at their failure to pay rent hearing.

Training: Representing Tenants in Prince George’s County Rent Court

CLS is co-hosting this training with PBRC to prepare attorneys to provide limited-scope representation to tenants in Prince George’s County Failure to Pay Rent hearings. The training will take place on Thursday, November 8, 2018, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Prince George’s County District Court House, 4990 Rhode Island Avenue, Hyattsville, MD 20781. Topics covered will include Landlord/Tenant rules, issue spotting in Failure to Pay Rent cases and practical advice for case representation. Participating attorneys must commit to volunteer to staff 2 clinics or take 2 landlord/tenant cases within one year of completing the training. Out-state attorneys must become authorized to practice pro bono in Maryland. Malpractice insurance coverage, mentoring and case support are provided to all volunteers.

CLS Welcomes Two New Staff Attorneys

CLS welcomes our two new staff attorneys Latavia S. Alexander and Kayla M. Williams.

Latavia joined CLS on August 29, 2018 to staff our Foreclosure Prevention Program where she provides brief legal advice and direct representation to homeowners and tenants in Foreclosure. Prior to joining CLS, Latavia worked in private practice and in higher education as Director of Student Conduct and Deputy Title IX Coordinator. She earned her BA in Strategic and Organizational Communications from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, JD from North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, NC, and LL.M in Corporate Law & Finance from Widener- Delaware Law School. She is licensed in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. She is active in her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.; Latavia also enjoys event coordination and traveling.

Kayla joined CLS on September 17, 2018 to develop and manage our new Rent Court Attorney of the Day Pilot Project to provide same day representation to tenants facing eviction. Kayla obtained her law degree from Southern University Law Center, and her Bachelor of Science degree from Hampton University. While in law school, Kayla served as President and founder of an organization involved in advocating for issues impacting women’s health and access to affordable healthcare. Prior to joining CLS, Kayla served as a Judicial Law Clerk with the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Kayla is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She is currently fellow of the Maryland State Bar Association Leadership Academy.

Expungement Clinics Scheduled

Through our partnering with several agencies, CLS continues to hold expungement events. We held two this past September, at the Greater Mt. Nebo AME Church in Old Mitchellville and the Turner Memorial AME Church in Hyattsville. We are holding additional Expungement Clinics in the months to come. Please mark your calendars for these volunteer opportunities:

October 13, 2018, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Jericho City of Praise Church
8501 Jericho City Drive
Landover, MD 20785
For additional information, please contact Michael Udejiofor at or 240-391-6532, ext. 1.

November 3, 2018, 10 am to 2:30 pm
TNI Expungement Event
Sports and Learning Complex
8001 Sheriff Rd.
Landover, MD 20785
For more information contact Nora Eidelman at or 240-391-6532, ext. 5

November 10, 2018, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Shiloh Baptist Church
8801 Ardwick Ardmore Rd.
Glenarden, MD 20706
For more information contact Nora Eidelman at or 240-391-6532, ext. 5


Recent Successes

We completed our final report to the Maryland Legal Services Corporation, one of our main funders, and are happy to report that CLS provided legal services to over 9,900 low income residents in Prince George’s County. This would not have been possible without the continuous dedication of our staff and so many of you, members of the private who volunteer at our various brief advice clinics and our Pro Bono and Reduced Fee Lawyer Referral Program. We are tremendously grateful for your unrelenting commitment in advocating for equal access to justice for all county residents.

Please take a moment to read some of the success stories made possible by you:

  • Client reached out to CLS for assistance with her custody case. Opposing party is a doctor and there was a substantial income disparity as the Client was a stay at home parent to care for the parties’ minor child. There was a complicated history between the parties and while there was no overt violence, this ended up being a very emotional case for all those involved. Once the client was approved for our services, the client was placed with a volunteer attorney. The attorney prepared the client for the case. The case included a substantial amount of discovery including depositions. The client was worried that Opposing party would be in a better position because he had funds to pay his attorney. The client received exceptional legal assistance and was ultimately awarded $2478 a month in child support with $14000 in child support arrears. The parties were granted a custody order that satisfied both parties and was beneficial to their child. Our volunteer attorney spent over 50 hours on this case but this family was able to achieve an agreement that is beneficial to everyone involved.
  • Client was a single mother who had been forced to quit her job during a difficult pregnancy because she ran out of leave. She came to our office 8 months pregnant and in complete despair trying to save her home. Our staff attorney counseled her on the process, the timeline, the points at which, once she was healthy and had safely delivered, she would be able to act. During the consultation a multi-strategy plan was set up (a savings plan, a job plan, a modification plan, a Circuit Court plan and a Bankruptcy plan) to hedge the outcome. She worked closely with the staff of CLS and was placed with a volunteer attorney for her foreclosure mediation. During that time, she safely delivered her baby and was able to return to work. The time that had been managed and negotiated allowed her the ability to demonstrate the income necessary to modify her loan and keep her home. Our client is raising her newborn son in her home with a sustainable mortgage for years to come.



Rent Court / Volunteer Lawyer of the Day coming to the Prince George’s District Court in Hyattsville

CLS will provide same-day free legal representation to tenants in failure to pay rent hearings. The representation will be provided by volunteer attorneys or a CLS staff attorney, in a limited day-of-court basis.

This project will provide much needed legal assistance to tenants who are unrepresented, unaware of available defenses, with the possibility of facing homelessness. The projects will focus on helping tenants renting from private landlords. Often these tenants leave in unsafe conditions and need assistance to navigate the Court to exercise their rights.

The pilot is projected for early fall and will operate one day a week. Free training for volunteer attorneys to staff this clinic will be provided in partnership with the Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) scheduled for November of 2018.

Funding for this project is generously provided by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC).

CLS Welcomes New Officers and Board Members, Adds New Effort to Save Tenants from Unlawful Evictions for Unpaid Rent

Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc. (CLS), is proud to announce our new officers and board members. CLS’s new president, Constance L. Belfiore, Esq. is not a new fixture at CLS, even though she was just elected. Constance was the original Executive Director of the Law Foundation of Prince George’s County – the predecessor organization to CLS. Under her leadership, the Law Foundation grew into a premiere legal services organization. She was a vital force in the growth and expansion of programs at Law Foundation. We are delighted to have Constance back at the helm of the board with her years of experience and historical knowledge of CLS. CLS’s new board is a diverse group of attorneys with varied legal backgrounds.

The full slate of officers for 2018-2019 includes:
President, Constance L. Belfiore, Esq.
Vice-President, Nakia V. Gray, Esq., Nakia Gray Legal, P.C.
Treasurer, Edwin Shim, Esq., Law Office of Thomas, Shim & Associates LLC.
Secretary, Steven Smitson, Esq., Smitson Law LLC.

Cristina Caron-Moroney, Esq., Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., P.A.
Joseph A. Compofelice, Jr. Esq., MarcusBonsib LLC.
Alanna Dennis, Esq., Anne Arundel County Government
Magistrate Paul Eason, Circuit Court of Prince George’s County
Lindsey K. Erdmann, Esq., McNamee Hosea
Alexander Geraldo, Esq., Robinson & Geraldo
Joseph J Gigliotti, Esq., Law Offices of Joseph J. Gigliotti
Clifford B. Glover III, Esq., McNamee Hosea
Eleanor Hunt, Esq., Joseph Greenwald and Laake PA
Doyle Niemann, Esq., Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince Georges County
Hon. Ann Wagner-Stewart, District Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County
Hon. Julia B. Weatherly, Circuit Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County

CLS’s mission is to educate, represent and empower low-income members of the Prince George’s County Community regarding civil legal matters. Currently, CLS is piloting a Rent Court Lawyer of the Day project, coming to the Prince George’s County District Court in Hyattsville, which will provide same-day free legal representation to tenants in failure to pay rent hearings. The Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) generously provided funding for this pilot project.