Alicia Shelton Receives the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland’s Judge Robert M. Bell Award

The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) in partnership with the Maryland State Bar Association has named Zuckerman Spaeder attorney Alicia Shelton a 2021 Judge Robert M. Bell Award recipient. PBRC presents the award annually to an individual who has distinguished herself as “an exemplar of pro bono service, going above and beyond the average pro bono commitment for at least five years.” 

Ms. Shelton is an associate in the firm’s Baltimore office, where she has recorded nearly 500 hours working on ten pro bono representations over the last five years. Ms. Shelton fights doggedly to protect the legal rights of clients who would otherwise have no voices, and her tireless commitment to this work has led to exceptional results. 

“Even as Alicia devotes long hours to her work for paying clients in a broad range of complex matters, she finds the time to take on pro bono clients facing enormous challenges,” said Martin S. Himeles, Jr., managing partner of Zuckerman Spaeder’s Baltimore office. “She represents them with the same skill, determination, compassion, and zeal that she brings to every matter. Alicia does not do this work for recognition, but she richly deserves it.”

Ms. Shelton has developed expertise in compassionate release matters representing pro bono clients in federal prison who are elderly, very sick, or at heightened risk of COVID-19, and do not pose a danger to the community. She has played an outsized role in the firm’s substantial efforts in these cases, which have taken on heightened importance as prisons have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In one such representation, Ms. Shelton secured the compassionate release of a terminally ill individual within four days of taking on the case. This result reportedly is the fastest compassionate release on record. 

Her other pro bono work has included helping a homeless client to find a home, preventing eviction for two clients, and petitioning the President of the United States for clemency for a client. In addition to her efforts to further justice for all, Ms. Shelton mentors Baltimore City high school students and is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS). Ms. Shelton is the Treasurer of the Equal Justice Associates of Maryland Legal Aid, and serves on the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals and the Maryland State Bar Association Strategic Implementation Committee.

Ms. Shelton joined Zuckerman Spaeder in 2016. She was a law clerk to the Honorable Lynne A. Battaglia, Court of Appeals of Maryland. Before pursuing a legal career, she owned a restaurant in Long Beach, California.

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