Maryland Legal Aid's Montgomery County office opened in 2013 and is led by Chief Attorney Gina Polley. In 2014, Gina and her staff of 16 helped more than 5,000 clients with a variety of civil legal issues. Feedback received from client evaluations that the staff have collected over the past few months reveals that the Montgomery County staff continue to provide high-quality services for their clients.
The Montgomery County team represents a diverse mix of professional backgrounds and experience. Many staff members are multi-lingual in languages including Spanish, Russian, Arabic, German, Farsi, Portuguese, and Yoruba and have used their linguistic abilities to help Limited English Proficient (LEP) clients during intake. A few staff members began as Maryland Legal Aid volunteers or interns before joining the organization full time. Aside from providing direct services to their clients, staff members from the Montgomery County office also participate on a number of Maryland Legal Aid task forces including the Language Access, Public Benefits, Office Managers and Family Law.
At the beginning of the year, Gina challenged each member of her staff to create a list of professional and personal goals to hang up in their offices. "We're a very close knit group, and the enjoyment that we get from our work and comradery is reflected in the level of service that we provide for our clients," says Gina. "As teammates, our job is to hold each other accountable for trying to accomplish these goals." In addition to the individual goals that Gina asked her staff to develop, the staff created a list of collective goals for the year, which includes using more technology and cross-training in different areas of law.