The Latest News

Our Second Black History Spotlight: Edward Garrison Draper

We celebrate Edward Garrison Draper as we begin the second week of Black History Month.  Draper was born free in 1834 at a time when slavery was in full effect.  After completing public school in Philadelphia, attending Dartmouth College, Draper trained to become a lawyer.  Unfortunately for Draper, once trained, he was unable to become barred in the State of Maryland because he was not white. Read more about Draper and how it took him 166 to be admitted to the State Bar of Maryland here

FBA Maryland Chapter is Accepting Entries for its Annual Short Essay Contest for Maryland High School Students

The Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association is now accepting entries for its annual short essay contest for high school students.  This year’s essay topic is: “Identify someone who promotes and cultivates diversity, equity, and inclusion in your community or school, and explain how that person has impacted or inspired you.” The contest is open to high school students enrolled in public, private, parochial and charter schools and home-schooled students of equivalent grade status (grades 9-12) in Maryland. Essays must be submitted online at [email protected]. Entries will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 28, 2024.  A judging committee comprised of federal judges and FBA board members will decide on the top three essays submitted.  Each student is limited to one (1) essay submission.  Essays will be evaluated based on the following criterion: originality (30%); language arts skills (30%); faithfulness to the theme (30%); and clarity (10%). The first-place winner will have their essay published on the FBA MD website and in the FBA MD newsletter.  Cash prizes will also be awarded as follows: First place: $1,000; Second place: $500; Third place: $250.  For the official rules, please see FBA MD Short Essay Contest.

FBA Maryland Chapter Celebrates Black History Month Spotlighting Thurgood Marshall

As we commence Black History Month, the Maryland Chapter celebrates Thurgood Marshall, perhaps the most famous Black legal hero in American history, and rightfully so.  In spite of deeply entrenched racism, Marshall reached the pinnacle of the legal profession, becoming the first Black United States Solicitor General and-- of course-- the first Black Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  Read more details about his life here

Fireside Chat Held with Magistrate Judge Adam B. Abelson on January 24, 2024

The FBA Maryland Chapter kicked off 2024 with a continuation of our fireside chat series. Magistrate Judge Adam B. Abelson, who joined the court in Fall 2023, discussed his upbringing, his career prior to becoming a judge, and his various responsibilities as a magistrate judge. Judge Abelson spoke about how his grandmother, a first-generation American, instilled in him the importance of public service. Judge Abelson shared that he was inspired to go to law school after working alongside human rights lawyers in Chile. After law school and two federal clerkships, Judge Abelson joined Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, where he developed a varied and fulfilling practice.

Judge Abelson discussed the transition from advocate to judge and how he conceptualizes his new role. He praised the collegiality of the court and shared how his colleagues’ “open door” policy has been invaluable as he continues to learn and grow. Judge Abelson broke down the “nuts and bolts” of serving as a magistrate judge, from mediating settlement conferences to resolving discovery disputes, and provided practice tips for litigants. We thank Judge Abelson for the illuminating and enjoyable chat.

FBA Maryland Chapter Submits Reader Commentary to The Sun on Keeping the Judiciary Safe

Joining with the Maryland State Bar Association, on December 21, 2023, the FBA Maryland Chapter submitted a reader commentary to The Baltimore Sun regarding its  editorial “Keeping Maryland judges safe shouldn’t require lessening transparency.”  In the commentary, we asserted that The Sun failed to balance its transparency-related comments with the multitude of threats faced by Maryland's state and federal judiciary, noting that Judge Wilkinson's death is part of an escalating level of violence towards judicial officers that needs to be immediately addressed.  We explained that the proposed Maryland legislation from 2023 (SB 221) appropriately balances the need for safety of judges and their families with the need for judicial transparency. We likewise explained that the State of Maryland has safeguards in place to monitor and regulate, including the Judicial Ethics Committee and the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities.  To read the full commentary, please visit Judges must be kept safe (

FBA Maryland Chapter Wins Its Third Presidential Achievement Award

The Maryland Chapter was the recipient of a Federal Bar Association Presidential Achievement Award during the FBA’s 2023 Annual Meeting & Convention in recognition of its superior chapter activities in the areas of Administration, Membership Outreach and Programming.  Robert S. Brennen served as Chapter President and led the charge during the 2022-23 term.  A hearty congratulations to the Chapter and its leadership on its third consecutive year of receiving a Presidential Achievement Award.