Mid-Shore Pro Bono, Inc.
Providing Access to Justice Throughout the Mid-Shore
Serving Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot & Dorchester Counties
8 South West Street
Easton, Maryland 21601
For Immediate Release
Cyndy Carrington Miller, Public Relations Consultant
410-770-9410, 443-521-2330 (cell)
April 1, 2015
Mid-Shore Pro Bono Launches New Program For Seniors
On March 26, Mid-Shore Pro Bono launched its new Elder Law Clinic, expanding its scope of civil legal services with this program designed for seniors. The first clinic was held at the organization’s office in Easton and served eight senior citizens with the help of two retired attorneys and the Mid-Shore Pro Bono staff.
The Elder Law Project evolved from recognition that seniors represent a growing proportion of Eastern Shore residents. Not only is the general population aging, but the Mid-Shore lifestyle attracts increasing numbers of retirees from other locales. According to the latest U.S. Census statistics, more than 37,000 residents of Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s service area are 62 years of age or older.
Not only do they have unique legal needs, but also often face personal obstacles, whether physical or psychological, in reaching out for legal assistance.
Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Executive Director Sandy Brown explained, “With too many con artists out there preying on seniors’ insecurities, they can be reluctant to deal with necessary legal issues before it is too late.” The Elder Law Clinic helps overcome those challenges and gives seniors a safe and trusted place to come for legal advice and assistance.
“We put seniors at ease in taking care of late-life legal concerns,” Brown added. “We give them peace of mind in knowing that their issues are being handled professionally, in an atmosphere of respect and dignity.”
In addition to legal instruments such as wills, powers of attorney and advance directives, clinic lawyers can help with many other issues, including abuse and neglect, adult guardianships, senior-related homeowner and consumer concerns, Social Security and pensions, nursing homes and assisted living programs.
Retired attorneys Jimmy Persels and Dick Tettelbaum offered their services at the debut clinic. “This was a unique opportunity for senior citizens to receive legal advice from volunteer attorneys related to issues they are confronting at their current stage of life,” said Persels.
“Almost without realizing it, I have become both an attorney who is a senior and a senior with an even more senior parent,” Tettelbaum added. “It is not an easy thing to deal with the late- and after-life legal and financial issues that every person ought to be able to address. Legal counsel can be extremely helpful in this process but is simply not affordable for all who need it.”
Starting in May, Elder Law Clinics will be held on the last Thursday of each month at the Talbot Senior Center in Easton, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Seniors may call Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410-690-8128 to schedule free appointments.
If the pilot project receives adequate support through donations and grants, Brown hopes to expand the clinics and offer them at senior centers throughout Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s service area of Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties.
Mid-Shore Pro Bono also will participate in Senior Law Day on May 1 at eight senior center locations in all five counties. The event will include a general presentation on elder law issues along with opportunities to meet with lawyers at no cost. Those wishing to attend Senior Law Day should contact the individual senior centers to register.
Additional attorneys, both practicing and retired, are welcome and encouraged to participate in Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Elder Law Project. The volunteer hours help fulfill attorneys’ annual pro bono service goal established by the Maryland courts.
For Tettelbaum, however, volunteering is more than just about meeting a numerical goal. “It has become obvious to me that there is a great, unmet need for basic legal services by seniors who are not armed with counsel to help them navigate a complex and often bewildering environment,” he explained. “Having seen this need, it is a pleasure to be able to help address it through volunteering at Mid-Shore Pro Bono.”
For more information or to make a donation, call Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410-690-8128 or visit www.midshoreprobono.org.