Brown, Goldstein & Levy attorney Lauren DiMartino was recently spotlighted by the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) for her commitment to volunteer work with PRBC’s Eviction Prevention project.
Lauren, who is a dedicated fair housing advocate, first got involved in the project when she moved to Baltimore from New York City. As a fair housing attorney new to Baltimore, Lauren felt it was important to put herself in a position to help and learn from people throughout the city.
“Volunteering in rent court affords me the chance to assist clients with immediate and profound challenges to their livelihood—ensuring they can stay in their home—and to keep a pulse on the issues people are facing in their communities and the types of policies that we should be advocating for to secure broad access to safe, stable, and healthy neighborhoods,” Lauren told PBRC.
The Eviction Prevention project assists tenants with avoiding eviction by challenging the merits or enforcing procedural safeguards of the eviction process, negotiating with landlords to make it possible for families to stay in their homes, even if temporarily, and ensures that tenants’ voices are heard by the court during the eviction process.
According to PBRC, tenants appearing in rent court are nearly always unrepresented by counsel and often unaware of their rights as renters or the legal process that must be followed prior to an eviction. A tenant with an attorney is much more likely to prevail and avoid a life disruption than a tenant navigating the court alone. In fact, 83% of clients represented by PBRC attorneys in 2022 either avoided an eviction entirely or were granted a postponement. Thanks to legislation passed last year, all tenants facing eviction have a right to access counsel related to their eviction action. PBRC has helped to ensure this right can be exercised.
“We are able to empower the clients we’re working with and ensure they have the information they need to reach out for other types of assistance,” Lauren said.
PBRC is the pro bono arm of the Maryland State Bar Association, serving low-income community members with pro bono civil legal services. PBRC was founded more than 30 years ago as a non-profit to help close the justice gap by encouraging volunteer attorneys to offer free legal services involving basic human needs to disadvantaged individuals, families, and communities.
Lauren believes pro bono work is a professional, personal, and moral obligation of attorneys: “Our education and licenses yield so much power, and to not use that to help the community in some way is unjust,” she said.
Lauren continued, “It is important to me that I never operate from an ivory tower. I always want my work to be guided by the needs of the community I serve. Pro bono work allows me to maintain that connection—and I am a better attorney as a result.”
Lauren’s practice at BGL centers around supporting vibrant, inclusive, and accessible communities. With a focus on the Fair Housing Act, she assists individuals impacted by discriminatory conduct and challenges systems perpetuating segregation, with a particular interest in the intersection of housing and public education. Read more about Lauren here.
Founded in 1982, Brown, Goldstein & Levy is a law firm based in Baltimore, Maryland, with an office in Washington, D.C. The firm is nationally recognized in a wide variety of practice areas, including complex civil and commercial litigation, civil rights, health care, family law, and criminal defense. Above all else, Brown, Goldstein & Levy is a client-centered law firm that brings decades of experience and passionate, effective advocacy to your fight for justice.