Celebrate Pro Bono Awards Reception 2014

On Wednesday, October 15th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service will Celebrate Pro Bono by honoring volunteers, student interns, law firms and supporters at our annual recognition reception at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law’s Westminster Hall in Baltimore.

This annual event, held in partnership with the UMD Carey School of Law’s Leadership in Public Service and Maryland Public Interest Law Project, honors those who have made noteworthy contributions to the delivery of pro bono legal services over the past year.  Guests will enjoy a catered buffet while networking with peers and listening to remarks from distinguished keynote speaker David S. Udell, Executive Director of the National Center for Access to Justice.

The reception also kicks off Maryland’s participation in the American Bar Association’s national Celebrate Pro Bono Week (October 19-25).  Celebrate Pro Bono is free for attendees but advanced registration is required.  Register online.  Please contact Stephanie Austin at saustin@mvlslaw.org or 443 451-4065 to RSVP or with any questions.

Parking and Directions

From Route I-95 (North or South): Take Route. 395 (downtown Baltimore) and exit onto Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., staying in the right lane. At the fourth traffic light, turn right onto Baltimore St.; turn left at second traffic light onto Paca St.; turn right into the entrance for the Baltimore Grand Garage (visitor parking).  There is also street parking available on Baltimore, Paca, Fayette and Greene Streets surrounding the law school. 

Parking and Directions

Champions of Pro Bono

Art Miller Logo   

Executive Exhibits Logo            HLP Logo

GSG Logo

 MAJ Foundation Logo

MECU LogoSFS Logo   

   Tribridge Logo

WTP Charitable Trust Logo


Friends of Pro Bono

Association of Maryland Pilots Logo        Bay Bank Logo      Midstate  MLM LogoNeedles            Planet Depos        Saul Ewing Logo      SRR Logo



Anne Higdon, Volunteer of the Year AwardMVLS will present attorney Anne E. Higdon, Attorney at Law, with its Volunteer of the Year Award.  Since 2010, she has accepted 55 cases for representation in a variety of matters including custody, divorce, adoption, guardianship, foreclosure, name changes, and wills in Frederick, Washington and Howard counties.   Anne has always been willing to lend a helping hand regardless of the deadline, and is often the first to respond to MVLS calls for legal assistance. She truly sets the bar high for our volunteer panel.



The Baltimore Tax Sale Work Group will be honored with the MVLS Special Project of the Year.  The Baltimore Tax Sale Work Group was founded in 2013 by Robin Jacobs, a staff attorney at the Community Law Center in Baltimore.  She recruited a group of representatives from MVLS, Neighborhood Housing Services, University of Maryland and Baltimore Law Schools, Pro Bono Resource Center, Civil Justice, Legal Aid, Public Justice Center, city agencies, and others who were concerned about the growing practice of homeowners losing their homes over as little as a $250 property tax bill or a $350 water bill.  Thanks to the group’s efforts, a low-interest tax sale loan program was created, two trainings were held to assist homeowners at risk of tax sale, MVLS and Legal Aid provided legal representation to numerous homeowners in this process, and discussions were started with Baltimore City, state leaders and the judiciary to make necessary changes to policies and practices to help more elderly, disabled, and low-income homeowners remain in their homes. 

Lawyer by the Bay Law Firm of the Year

The attorneys of Lawyer by the Bay in Stevensville, Maryland will be honored with our 2014 Law Firm of the Year Award for their extraordinary commitment to providing pro bono legal services to MVLS clients.  Since 2011, Lawyer by the Bay has accepted 41 cases from MVLS, primarily on the Eastern Shore, handling many difficult matters including divorce, custody, name change, support, and adoption.  The firm focuses on collaborative law and mediation, and is able to resolve many of these complex family law matters outside of a contentious court process.



Jose Canto Partnership AwardMVLS will present its Partnership Award  to José Z. Canto, of The Canto Law Firm in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  José became a member of the MVLS attorney panel in 2012 and quickly stood out for his deep commitment to assisting low-income Marylanders.  José happily accepts difficult contested family law matters, primarily divorce and custody issues as well other types of cases—often at the last minute for emergency hearings. 

He is especially willing to assist with many of our Spanish-speaking clients and volunteered to help MVLS translate many of our applications and other documents into Spanish.


 Kyriakos Marudas 10 Year Volunteer     Joy Sakamoto-Wengel 10 Year Volunteer      Frank Turney 10 Year Volunteer

MVLS will also recognize Kyriakos Marudas, Attorney at Law in Baltimore City, Joy Sakamoto-Wengel of the Office of the Attorney General in Baltimore City, and Frank Turney of the Law Offices of Frank E. Turney, P.A. in Baltimore County, as 2014 recipients of MVLS’ Ten-Year Volunteer Award.  This award acknowledges those exceptional volunteers who have accepted as least one case every year for ten consecutive years.