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Shirley Brannock Jones: Maryland's First Female District Court Judge

Shirley Brannock Jones was not only Maryland's first female Federal District Court Judge, she was also the first female Federal District Court Judge in the entire Fourth Circuit as well as the first female assistant attorney general and the first female judge on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City. Born to a civilian Coast Guard worker and sailmaker and a homemaker in Cambridge, Maryland, Jones graduated in 1942 from Cambridge High School.  After receiving her associate degree in 1944 from what is now Baltimore City Community College, she received a law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1946. Admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1947, she worked for the state Department of Employment Security until she was appointed assistant city solicitor. She later became a Maryland’s first female assistant attorney general from 1958 to 1959, a judge of the Orphans’ Court, and the first female judge on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City beginning in 1961. Read more details about her life here.

Rose Zetzer: First Woman Admitted to the Maryland Bar Association After Applying 20 Consecutive Times

It was not until 1946 that Maryland admitted women into its state bar association, making Maryland the last state to admit women to a state bar association. Prior to that time, women lawyers formed their own groups such as the Women’s Lawyers Association (the precursor to the Women’s Bar Association). Rose Zetzer was undaunted by the exclusion, applying for membership to the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) twenty consecutive times until she was finally admitted in 1946. 

Born in 1904 in Baltimore City to Russian immigrants, Zetzer attended city schools and according to a 1970 interview in the Evening Sun, decided to become a lawyer when she was in the eighth grade during a discussion about whether women should have the right to vote. Reas her complete profile here

Etta Haynie Maddox: Maryland's First Woman Licensed to Practice Law & Suffragist

Etta Haynie Maddox was the first woman licensed to practice law in Maryland. Born in 1860 in Baltimore, Maryland, she attended Eastern Female High School and later studied voice at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. While traveling as a vocalist, she became involved in the suffrage movement. In 1900, the Baltimore Law School accepted her into its first class of students where she was the only female in the class. Although she graduated in 1901, she could not take the bar or practice law because the Act of 1898 limited the practice of law to men. See e.g. Section 3 of Chapter 139 of the Act ("All applications for admission to the bar shall be referred by the Court of Appeals to the State Board of Law Examiners, who shall examine the applicant, touching his qualifications for admission to the bar.")(empahsis added). Maddox petitioned the Court of Appeals to permit her to take the bar exam, but the Court denied her request, finding that that the right to practice law was not a natural inherent right. In re Etta H. Maddox, 50 A. 487 (Md. 1901). After Maddox lobbied the state legislature, State Senator Jacob M. Moses introduced Senate Bill No. 30 to amend law to admit women to the bar. On April 8, 1902, Governor John Walter Smith signed it into law. To read Maddox's complete profile, please click here.


On February 28, 2023, as part of our chapter's celebration of Black History Month, Nichole' C. Gatewood, the Immediate Past President of the Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, spoke with Judge Williams about his career journey. If you missed this conversation, be sure to check it out below.  To read Judge Williams' profile, click here


The Maryland Chapter held its annual “Introduction to the Federal Practice” program on February 24, 2023 at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt. About 80 lawyers registered for the program held in the Court’s ceremonial courtroom. After remarks by Judge Theodore D. Chuang and Chapter President Bob Brennen, and a primer on the courthouse from Chief Deputy Clerk David E. Ciambruschini, attendees received pointers on pleading, evidence, civil discovery and motions practice and criminal practice from several distinguished members of the bench and bar. In addition, Deena Hausner, Managing Attorney for the House of Ruth’s Marjorie Cook Foundation Domestic Violence Legal Clinic, made a presentation regarding the various opportunities through which members of the federal bar can provide pro bono assistance to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The program concluded with the Hon. Lydia K. Griggsby presiding over a swearing in ceremony for those attendees who were not already members of the Court’s bar, followed by a reception. For more photos from the event, click here.