Ronnie Reno honored with Retired Pro Bono Volunteer Maryland Pro Bono Service Award
June 9, 2022
The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland recently honored Public Justice Center attorney Ronnie Reno with the Retired Pro Bono Volunteer Maryland Pro Bono Service Award. The award is presented to “an individual who is making a significant pro bono contribution while retired.”
After more than 50 years at Venable practicing real estate law, Ronnie Reno joined the Public Justice Center in 2010 as a full-time, volunteer attorney with our Human Right to Housing Project. He has been an integral part of the PJC’s mission of building a just society, providing legal representation, support for advocacy campaigns, networking, and mentoring. Over the past twelve years, Ronnie has:
- Advised or represented over 1,400 tenants facing eviction in trials and appeals, including renters whose landlords were in foreclosure in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
- Played a key role in developing the trial and appellate strategies in Curtis v. U.S. Bank, in which the Court of Appeals held that a foreclosing bank’s premature and inaccurate notice to vacate to the tenant didn’t comply with state law and was insufficient to evict the tenant from the foreclosed home. The decision has had a significant impact on tenants’ due process rights.
- Contributed to advocacy campaigns resulting in laws that prevent competing demands from old and new property owners for rent by requiring any foreclosing entity to search out and notify the tenant in writing of the change in ownership before they collect rent; require utility companies to provide tenants with their own utility accounts upon request; and ban landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their source of income.
- Served as a conduit for advice from his former colleagues at Venable, who have shared expertise on how bankruptcy affected eviction cases.
- Conducted land records research together with colleagues at Venable and assisted in crafting a detailed confessed judgment and other agreements which helped ensure that an employer paid their obligation under a $1 million settlement in a PJC Workplace Justice Project case that assisted 34 workers in obtaining back wages that had been stolen from them.
- Mentored PJC attorneys and paralegals to advance their professional development, providing a listening ear and thoughtful case analysis.
Since the pandemic began, Ronnie has continued advising tenants in navigating a COVID-dominated housing landscape on their rights and responsibilities. We are grateful for his commitment to ensuring that tenants have the information and resources that they need to pursue justice. Ronnie is a model for pro bono service that improves access to justice, and the Retired Pro Bono Volunteer Maryland Pro Bono Service Award is well-deserved recognition.