Mid-Shore Pro Bono announced a new Sandy Brown Public Interest Internship at a Dec. 2 reception to honor Brown, who is stepping down at the end of December after serving for 13 years as the legal assistance network’s Executive Director. Current Mid-Shore Pro Bono Managing Attorney Meredith Lathbury Girard will begin as Executive Director in January 2022.
The reception was hosted by the Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Board of Directors and held at the Tidewater Inn’s pavilion with current and past board members, funders, partners, volunteer attorneys, internship alumni, and others in attendance.
MSPB Board of Directors President Tim Abeska, Esq. made welcoming remarks before announcing event speakers, including the Hon. Karen Jensen, retired Caroline County Circuit Court judge; Jim Richardson, Esq.; the Hon. Heather Price, Caroline County District Court judge; Mid-Shore Pro Bono Board Member Stephanie Shipley, Esq.; and Maryland State Senator Adelaide Eckardt, who presented proclamations from Maryland’s Senate and Delegation. Abeska also recognized event sponsor support from Parker Counts; The Law Offices of Andie Ross, Esq.; Bay Imprint; Ewing Dietz, Fountain & Kaludis, P.A.; Laser Letters; and numerous board members.
The program concluded with Girard making remarks, which included recognizing internship funding support from the Rural Maryland Council and announcing Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s first paid intern would begin work in the Salisbury office starting in January 2022.
“It’s been a privilege and an honor to serve with Sandy Brown,” said Abeska. “We feel this is a great way to honor her for her passion for public interest and helping students rise in their professional careers.”
Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Sandy Brown Public Interest Internship will provide undergraduate and law school students with a stipend while learning in the areas of public interest law, non-profit management, community service, and basic work experience. Mid-Shore Pro Bono has had more than 32 unpaid student interns from law schools and colleges in the past.
“Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s previous unpaid interns have gained valuable, real-world legal experience serving our clients in need, and now we want to expand the reach of our intern program,” said Girard. “The Sandy Brown Public Interest Internship will support stipends that recognize the value of intern contributions, defray intern expenses, and attract diversity in student participation.”
Girard says the nonprofit is uniquely positioned to expose students who are interested in the practice of law, social work, and public interest work through hands-on experiences working with rural, underserved, populations lacking the same resources as urban areas.
“I am honored to have this paid internship program carry my name,” said Brown. “And I’m touched by the level of support the program already has from the community.
“This program will engage law students in a wide range of legal-related experiences in a high quality and well-supervised professional setting. And undergraduate students interested in law, justice, and criminal justice as well as other civic-minded careers will be exposed to hands-on experience in these areas as well.”
Girard says interns will participate in educationally valuable activities including conducting client screenings and intakes; assisting with case preparation and case management; case research; shadowing volunteer attorneys; and drafting legal documents and petitions.
Girard says the program’s initial goal is to raise $35,000 to support 10 internships. She said all pledges made at the event would directly support student internships.
Mid-Shore Pro Bono was established in 2005 by local judges and lawyers to create a local agency dedicated to helping the Mid-Shore’s residents obtain access to legal assistance. Now Mid-Shore Pro Bono serves residents of the Eastern Shore with offices in Easton, Chestertown, and Salisbury, and a mission to ensure equal access to legal assistance in local communities. More information and online donations to the internship fund are at midshoreprobono.org.