FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — If you live in Maryland, Monday was “pro bono” day  – Latin for “public good.” The Bar Associations of Maryland provide legal aid for free. 

Legal aid is available to those who cannot afford a lawyer, and the Washington County bar association and department of social services take the occasion to make the public aware of the help they can get at no cost. Maybe you have a criminal record that can be, but has not been, expunged?

“A criminal record can serve as a huge barrier to housing, to education, to your ability to get a better job, and by removing these certain cases from the record you are able to improve yourself going forward by getting those student loans, by getting that job, by getting tha t better apartment,” said Cassie Erler with Maryland Legal Aid.

It is not just legal services for individuals. Community organizations such as the Frederick County Humane Society benefit from legal aid services.

“At one point I had to litigate an issue because a family member was stealing from the state,” explained Ichele Ferris Hansen with the Washington County Bar Association, “So I had to go into court and make sure the humane society received what was due.”

These legal aid services extend to foreclosures, landlord-tenant disputes, divorce, child custody and child support, workers compensation, traffic violations, jobsite and employment issues, your credit report and even social security eligibility. Legal aid is proud to advocate for the underserved. 

There are 12 full-service legal aid offices for those needing help in all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore city.