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With the support of the judiciary, state and local bars and law schools, the ProjectÃ Â¢Ã Â Ã Â s goal is to increase access to justice in civil justice matters through coordination and support of the stateÃ Â¢Ã Â Ã Â s legal services providers, lawyer referral programs, the courts, law schoolÃ Â¢Ã Â Ã Â s and the private bar.
As an integral part of developing MarylandÃ Â¢Ã Â Ã Â s state justice community, the Maryland Legal Assistance Network (MLAN) represents a unique collaborative effort among Maryland legal services providers to improve the delivery of legal services to low and moderate-income persons in Maryland. The Project consists of 6 components designed to increase legal assistance to the public and support the organizations that provide free and reduced fee legal help on civil matters. Ã Â Ã Â· A public access, legal information and self-help website (Peoples Law Library) with information on topics such as family law, consumer law, landlord/tenant law, government benefits and how someone might represent themselves in court or find a lawyer. www.peoples-law.org. Outreach sites have been set up around the state in 18 libraries, court houses or community centers to help provide better public access to the website and other MLAN services. Ã Â Ã Â· A single 800# will offer the public easy access to major legal aid providers in the state that provide free help. Calls are answered by staff at the major statewide partners, which include the Legal Aid Bureau, Maryland Volunteer LawyersÃ Â¢Ã Â Ã Â Service, House of Ruth and the WomenÃ Â¢Ã Â Ã Â s Law Center. Ã Â Ã Â· A central database on the web will help courts, government agencies and legal aid providers to match persons with legal problems with the right legal aid or private attorney program. Ã Â Ã Â· A password-protected website support website to help legal aid and pro bono attorneys better serve their clients. www.mdjustice.org Ã Â Ã Â· Legal self-help - MLAN supports services provided by the Maryland courts and legal aid providers to help people better understand the law, decide if they need legal representation, and help them represent themselves in appropriate cases. Ã Â Ã Â· MLAN works with the private bar and legal services providers to come up with ways to make legal help more affordable through systems that provide for limited legal help. A national conference was held in October 2000 and the www.unbundledlaw.org website has become an ad hoc national clearinghouse on the topic.
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