A program offering free legal advice in the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court law library is about to expand from Annapolis to a site in Glen Burnie.
Ask-a-Lawyer will provide volunteer lawyers in the North County branch of the public library starting Wednesday.
Law librarian Joan M. Bellistri said the program is expanding because of demand from people who said they could not get to Annapolis or who, because they work during the day, asked about evening sessions.
The program has held sessions in other library locations, first in Russett, then in Brooklyn Park last May. Glen Burnie has long been in consideration as a site in the northern area of the county. Bellistri indicated that conversations with library officials and availability of a room at the heavily used North County branch led to locating the program there.
"Glen Burnie has always been seen as a good spot as there is a need there," Bellistri wrote in an e-mail.
She said another one-time program may return to Russett, in Laurel, this year.
Under the program, started by the law library and the Anne Arundel Bar Association, people can have a free 20-minute session with a volunteer lawyer.
The issues that can be discussed are limited to civil cases (divorce and custody cases are excluded), such as consumer and employment disputes.
Unlike many programs that have income restrictions for people seeking help, this program is open to everyone. People should have a list of questions and bring paperwork and related information, including deadlines and a timeline of the problem. The program is not set up to advise people facing criminal charges.
The free program began in May 2009 with monthly consultations in the law library. It expanded to once a week before adding the public library as a partner. Participants do not have to be Anne Arundel County residents, but most are.
The sessions will start at 4:30 p.m. and continue until 6:30 p.m. Though no appointment is needed, a lottery for time slots will be held at 4:15, Bellistri said. The sessions will run on the third Wednesday of March, April, May, June, September, October, November and December. The library is at 1010 Eastway, Glen Burnie, across Ritchie Highway from the Harundale mall. Details can be found at http://aacpll.pbworks.com/w/page/4412441/Ask-a-Lawyer-in-the-Public-Library-:-Flyer
The program in the law library, which runs every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., will continue. The law library is in the courthouse at 7 Church Circle, Annapolis. Information is available at circuitcourt.org.
Since its start, more than 400 people have received free legal advaice..