Mid-Shore Pro Bono announces new tenant counsel staff

Mid-Shore Pro Bono recently announced three new staff members in support of its tenant counsel legal services. The nonprofit has offices in Chestertown, Easton, and Salisbury, Md, and recently received grant funding to help provide access to free legal services for tenants facing eviction.


Joining Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s staff are Mid-Shore Housing Case Manager Julia Jester of Easton, Md, Housing Staff Attorney Bibi Barnes, Esq. of Salisbury, Md., and Housing Case Manager and Community Organizer Elliett Earhart of Westover, Md. Barnes and Earhart are also serving as Equal Justice Works Fellows.


“Julia, Bibi, and Elliett are great additions to our team and help expand our services for the community,” says Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director Meredith Lathbury-Girard, Esq. “We’re grateful for the funding for these positions, and especially for the talents, skills, and life experiences brought by each of these individuals while providing free legal help for people who otherwise wouldn’t have representation.”


Julia Jester, Housing Case Manager for the Mid-Shore, has an extensive background in social science and social justice work, including her most recent work as a qualitative research associate for the Friends Research Institute in Baltimore.


Jester holds a Master of Arts degree in sociology from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Tampa. She is providing intake and case management support for tenant counsel cases in the Mid-Shore counties in her new role at Mid-Shore Pro Bono.


Bibi Barnes, Esq., Housing Staff Attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow is a recent graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law with experience working on human trafficking issues with the University of Baltimore Human Trafficking Clinic.


Barnes earned her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland College Park. She additionally completed the summer study abroad program at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.


Barnes is working out of Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Salisbury office and will provide tenant counsel, including day-of-court representation, for the Lower Shore Counties.


Elliett Earhart, Equal Justice Works Fellowship Community Organizer and Case Manager recently completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution from Salisbury University and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology at Capella University.


Before this position, she served as the first named Sandy Brown Public Interest Intern for Mid Shore Pro Bono and is now providing community outreach, intake, and case management for individuals with tenant counsel cases in the Lower Shore counties.


Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Sandy Brown Public Interest paid internship program was established in late 2021 to honor MSPB Past Executive Director Sandy Brown. The donor-funded program provides undergraduate and law school students with a stipend while learning in the areas of public interest law, non-profit management, community service, and basic work experience.


Tenant counsel services are part of Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s housing justice program, with funding awarded by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation and from Equal Justice Works, allowing significant expansion of legal assistance for tenants, including in-court access to representation.


“Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s tenant counsel services can help tenants who have received a notice of failure to pay rent, for example,” says Mid-Shore Pro Bono Legal Director Laura Chafey, Esq. “We can also help address other issues including breach of lease, tenant hold-overs, rent escrow, constructive evictions, subsidy terminations, and more.”


Mid-Shore Pro Bono delivers a mission of helping Maryland’s Eastern Shore residents obtain access to legal assistance, with offices in Easton, Chestertown, and Salisbury. Tenants needing counsel can complete an online intake form at www.midshoreprobono.org, or call 410-690-8128 or 443-298-9424 during business hours.