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Legal Advice is Free in Hagerstown Today

PHOTO: Maryland Legal Aid paralegal meeting with a Pro Bono Day visitor
July 19. 2012
PHOTO: Maryland Legal Aid paralegal meeting with a Pro Bono Day visitor

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Legal advice at a price all families can afford? It's free! Maryland Legal Aid is holding a Pro Bono Day in Hagerstown today, where volunteer attorneys will provide answers and guidance on legal issues ranging from business law to child custody to Social Security disability.

Katie Cox is a paralegal who will attend the event. She says many problems can be solved without going to court.

"A lot of times, people need some information about whether they even have a claim. Some things can be resolved in mediation. We're actually going to have a mediation service there."

Cox says demand has been highest lately for family law. About one-third of 148 people who showed up at a similar event in Fredericksburg earlier this week asked questions about divorce and domestic issues. Today's offering is the first time Legal Aid has done a Pro Bono Day in Washington County.

Maryland Legal Aid takes cases based on issue area and income level, focusing on people in the greatest need. Even middle-income families may find it difficult to afford professional legal services, however. Cox says sorting out the details can help.

"This is a good starting step for a lot of people. You can come, get some advice, figure out what direction you need to head in, and you'll also be able to get some other resources."

Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services will also be on hand to connect people with private attorneys who offer free services.

Registration is not required. Pro Bono Day is scheduled between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Department of Social Services, 122 N. Potomac St. Cox advises bringing related documents along.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD