Because many new clients have no idea how to navigate unemployment claims, Frisby holds a monthly class in Carroll County to teach people how to help themselves.
The state court system contracted Legal Aid in December 2009 to operate a self-help center in the District Court in Glen Burnie. Its lawyers advise people — regardless of income — but do not represent them.
The service grew recently from one to three attorneys, Joseph said. The center handled a record 626 walk-ins last month.
In a move to extend the reach of the self-help center, staff now also answer legal questions online.
Walk-in applications for help at a Baltimore center have grown by 25 percent over the last three years, supervisor Bobbie Steyer said. Many days, as many as 70 people show up.
"We are seeing people we never would have been seeing before," Steyer said. "Most of the people are really surprised to find themselves at Legal Aid."
Cases opened by fiscal year: