Lawyers dispense free advice in malls Pro bono booths mark Law Week

May 02, 1993|By Amy P. Ingram | Amy P. Ingram,Contributing Writer

Christine Alloways might never see her granddaughter again Her step-daughter is moving to Tennessee and refuses to let her own parents see their grandchild. So Mrs. Alloways went to the Glen Burnie Mall for help.

At the south end of the mall was a booth which read: "Ask a Lawyer. Free Consultation." And that's where general practice lawyer, Lindsey Duvall, listened to her story.

As a part of Law Day, which starts Law Week, Mrs. Alloways of Rosedale got private, free consultation about her legal rights as a grandparent.

Mr. Duvall was just one of the 12 Anne Arundel County lawyers who volunteered their time yesterday, giving free advice and references to area mall shoppers. Six lawyers were setup in booths in both the Glen Burnie Mall and Parole Plaza. Shoppers received consultation between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

"It's a rekindling of Americanism," said Inga Drewniak, co-chairwoman of the Anne Arundel County Bar Association. "Everybody's entitled to justice, and malls are appropriate centers for the public to receive the help the need."

The Ask a Lawyer Booths have been a part of Law Week for five years. And, "they've been very successful," said Ms. Drewniak, "because so many people have limited financial resources."

Mrs. Alloways said Mr. Duvall gave her information on taking the first step toward securing her right as a grandparent.

"We were going to pay for a lawyer just to be told we would have to seek a lawyer in Tennessee. Now I know what to do for free," she said, "Just to see my angel is enough."

Diane Druding, a Glen Burnie resident, also was saved a trip to a lawyer over a 6-year-old dispute with a credit bureau. Lawyer Charles Muskin helped her.

"We've gone other routes and always got the run-around," Mrs. Druding said. "It's hard to get someone to tell you exactly the information you need, but Mr. Muskin did."

Mr. Muskin and Mr. Duvall, who shared a booth at Glen Burnie, agreed that the majority of concerns were domestic issues -- child support, consumer protection, rent and neighbor disputes.

"I'm in this business for one reason," said Mr. Duvall, who has participated in the mall booths for two years, "and that's to serve the people."

The lawyer booths are the first in a series of events to recognize the theme: "Justice for All -- All for Justice." Lawyers also plan to visit senior centers, schools and libraries in the county this week.

"Lawyers tend to be criticized," said Ms. Drewniak. "This is a way we can show we care, by putting back into the community."

Ask a Lawyer booths will return in September. Information on Law Week activities: 280-6950.

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