Legal Aid Bureau offices provide free civil legal assistance to low-income people in need throughout Maryland - in urban and rural settings, for children, the disabled, residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, migrant farmworkers, and those whose basic necessities, including housing, custodial relationships and health, are at risk.
Legal Aid handles civil, not criminal, cases. Priorities for general civil legal services are family/domestic, housing, income maintenance (public benefits), and consumer/finance. Many of Legal Aid's local offices represent children in CINA (Child in Need of Assistance) proceedings. Other vulnerable populations, such as senior citizens, migrant and seasonal farm workers, and nursing home and assisted living residents, receive specialized representation. Depending on the circumstances and available resources, the Legal Aid Bureau provides representation at hearings and trials, legal advice, and referral to other sources of assistance.
In 2009 Legal Aid served nearly 58,000 people throughout the state. About 37 percent of the cases were family law, 19 percent juvenile, 12 percent consumer rights, 14 percent housing, and 5percent income maintenance. Of the nearly 58,000 cases closed, 80 percent were handled without litigation.