The Chesapeake Legal Alliance, Inc. (CLA) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to using the law to improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay. CLA coordinates a network of lawyers who volunteer their time and professional skills to representing environmental organizations, citizens’ groups, and individuals in their efforts to improve the health of the Chesapeake and its watershed. Too often, the health of the Bay and the humans and animals that inhabit its watershed are subjugated to the agendas of interest groups represented by well-paid attorneys. CLA seeks to level the playing field by finding lawyers who will assist citizens and organizations, pro bono, in participating in government decision-making processes and enforcing underutilized laws and regulations designed to protect the Bay. CLA’s goal is to effect systemic change in compliance and enforcement, as well as to improve upon and create more effective laws, regulations, and policies. The result we strive towards is a Bay with clean water, abundant native plants and animals, and opportunities for people to enjoy the Bay safely.
Legal assistance is provided throughout the Bay’s 64,000 square mile watershed on a wide variety of matters that affect, directly and indirectly, the health of the Bay. These matters are addressed through litigation, administrative hearings, development of regulatory comments and legislation, advocacy, strategic advice, and assistance with corporate matters.
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For Organizations and Individuals
Is there an action or initiative, proposed legislation or a question of law that affects the Chesapeake Bay directly or its watershed that you or your organization would address if you had the legal expertise and/or resources to staff the issue or hire an attorney to assist you? CLA was founded to fill this gap in resources with a mission to use the law to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. CLA, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization located in Annapolis, Maryland, leverages the legal talents of active and retired attorneys who care about the health of the Bay on behalf of those who would not otherwise be able to afford legal representation. CLA volunteer attorneys include some of the most experienced attorneys in their fields, with backgrounds in the private and public sectors. Armed with high quality legal representation, CLA clients are able to work towards real and lasting change for the Bay.
Since CLA’s inception in 2009, we have secured legal assistance for 60 clients on 78 matters. In 2012 alone, we placed 44 requests for assistance from Waterkeepers, local, regional and national environmental groups, land conservation organizations, ad-hoc community groups, homeowners associations, and municipalities. In several instances, we have worked with a client on multiple matters. To date, CLA volunteer attorneys have provided thousands of hours of pro bono services valued at almost $5 million.
You can make a difference! We are always seeking to meet lawyers and law firms who are concerned about the Chesapeake Bay and are looking for opportunities to make a difference by performing pro bono work directed toward preserving and improving the unique resource that is the Chesapeake Bay. Lawyers are needed to work on a wide variety of matters, including litigation in state and federal courts, representation of citizens’ groups in zoning cases and other administrative proceedings, drafting and supporting changes in laws and regulations designed to improve the quality of the Chesapeake, and any other matter in which legal services may be employed in service of defending and improving the quality of the Bay and its watershed. Assistance is also needed with corporate and transactional matters, such as mergers, contract review, not-for-profit filings, and lobbying issues.
Whether you are in active practice or retired, or work in the public or private sectors, CLA will match your skills, interest and experience to a client group in need of your assistance. CLA also works with pro bono coordinators as a resource for law firm pro bono programs.
To volunteer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Blue Heron photo courtesy of Diana Hromish (www.lunareye.net)