Maryland Legal Aid is now stationing lawyers in public libraries. These lawyers will help people who need legal aid but cannot afford it. For example, Tyrone Burns is a 35-year-old man who was unemployed and could not find a job. A lawyer offered him free legal aid and helped him clear his record from traffic tickets and other charges that did not lead to convictions and which were years old. Without those issues on his record, he was not turned down anymore when applying for jobs. He is now employed with work at a fitness center.
Lawyer in the Library is a program offered by Maryland Legal Aid to help thousands of people who cannot afford legal representation. The lawyers offer free aid to help people out with all kinds of legal issues, including things like child custody and writing a will.
Many other organizations have already been offering free legal aid in public places such as churches or courthouses. Many people need to clear their records in order to be able to advance. Whether they need a new job or loan or whether they are dealing with issues of child custody, they can all benefit greatly from clearing their record. Simple misdemeanors and charges that did not result in convictions should not be blocking a person’s success years later.
Amy Petkovsek is an attorney who helps run the program. She said that a lawyer can give just 20 minutes or less of their time and change a person’s life. After just 10 to 20 minutes, a person can already have the ability to get a new job. They can see their children again.
One person was able to afford housing after living on the streets with their six-year-old child for years. Many of the people that they help leave in tears. Some find it hard to believe that their lives have changed so quickly. Lawyers can also help people gain access to public benefits such as food stamps.