MLSC Announces 2016 Legal Services Awards

September 30, 2016 –Seven 2016 Legal Services Award recipients, selected by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) Board of Directors, will be honored at MLSC’s annual awards reception on Monday, December 5, 2016, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Lord Baltimore Hotel.

The Honorable Karen A. Murphy Jensen, retired judge of the Circuit Court of Caroline County, will receive the Arthur W. Machen, Jr. Award for her leadership in helping low-income Marylanders access legal services on Maryland’s Mid-Shore and support of access to justice throughout the state. Judge Jensen is the chair of the Maryland Court of Appeals’ Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Service and helped with the creation of Mid-Shore Pro Bono.  This award is given annually to a private attorney or judge who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to increasing access to justice and improving civil legal services to low-income Marylanders.

The Benjamin L. Cardin Distinguished Service Award recognizes an outstanding public interest attorney whose career has been dedicated to providing, promoting, or managing civil legal services to low-income Marylanders.  The two 2016 honorees are Antonia K. Fasanelli, executive director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project, and Blaine A. Hoffmann, director of legal services of Heartly House in Frederick.

The first recipient of the Rising Star Award is Amy L. Petkovsek, director of training and pro bono at Maryland Legal Aid. This new award is presented to an attorney who has practiced law for 10 years or less and has significantly contributed to expanding access to justice by serving the civil legal needs of low-income Marylanders or advancing the delivery of civil legal services.

This year’s William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award, for a non-attorney who has demonstrated outstanding service representing the civil legal needs of low-income Marylanders or by expanding access to justice, will be presented to Joan M. Bellistri, director of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Law Library.

The Enoch Pratt Free Library has been named as this year’s recipient of the Herbert S. Garten Public Citizen Award for supporting the legal services community with legal clinics and legal rights training in its branches and offering training for librarians throughout the state on how they can assist clients with legal research and legal answers. The Garten Award honors an entity or organization not regularly engaged in the delivery of legal services to low-income Marylanders but has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to increase access to justice.

MLSC will also present an Award of Special Recognition to Paul V. Carlin, executive director of the Maryland State Bar Association, who is retiring after more than 30 years and has been an invaluable ally and resource in support of MLSC’s initiatives to increase access to justice.

MLSC annually solicits nominations for its legal services awards throughout Maryland’s legal community, including bar associations, legal services programs and other interested persons and organizations. MLSC was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1982 to receive and distribute funds to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal assistance to low-income persons. From its inception, MLSC has made grants totaling almost $200 million to help provide services in over 2 million legal matters for Maryland’s families in areas of family, housing, consumer, employment, health care and other civil legal matters. ###

Media Sponsor: The Daily Record

To learn about contribution opportunities and to purchase reception tickets, click here.