The Maryland State Bar Association highly encourages attorneys to make their legal services available to individual who cannot afford legal assistance or to help non-profit organizations in achieving their purpose. Here are some of the activities I have been involved in during the past year.
Wills for Heroes: This program involved preparation of simple wills, powers of attorney, and advance directives for police and firefighters in Anne Arundel County. For my part I trained ten lawyers from the Young Lawyers Association in the basic concepts of estate planning and answered any “hard questions” that our clients might have. A generous donation of software from LexisNexis (http://www.lexisnexis.com/) helped speed our clients through the process. We did not provide tax planning for the first responders, but provided a basic estate plan for our public servants. Most of all, I was impressed by their awareness of the need to name a Guardian for the children as they stand in harm’s way every day they put their uniform on to ensure our safety and well being.
Legal Services for the Elderly: My involvement with this program is to take on an elderly client and handle an elder law issue for them. Often the solution is quite easy, but this group is so susceptible to scare tactics and scams. They are an appreciative group making the work very rewarding.
Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts: My involvement here is to take on clients who have substantial art collections. I work to preserve the collection after the client’s death or sell the art to fund charitable causes usually involving the arts.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School: I sit on the board that oversees the business part of the church and school. Although my official title is that of executive vice-president for finance, my duties are closer to that of a corporate attorney. I answer the questions of: “What is the organization’s liability for that action?”, “Can you review this contract?”, and “How does our tax-exempt status affect our ability to carry on this activity?”. This position allows me to support an organization that is doing a great deal to improve the lives of its members, school students, and community.