2023-2024 News

Record Attendance at FBA Maryland Chapter Annual Luncheon

On Friday, April 12, 2024 the Maryland Chapter welcomed approximately 300 members of the Bar and Bench of the District of Maryland to the Chapter’s Annual Luncheon at the Baltimore Hyatt Hotel. During the pre-lunch reception, members mingled with colleagues and met new connections.  As for the Luncheon, Mark S. Saudek warmly welcomed members and introduced all presenters and honorees.  FBA Maryland Chapter President Ezra Gollogly provided opening and closing remarks.  Honorees included the Honorable Adam B. Abelson, the Honorable Erin Aslan, the Honorable Charles D. Austin, the Honorable Brendan A. Hurson, and the Honorable Matthew J. Maddox.  The Chapter also recognized the Honorable J. Frederick Motz.  On behalf of the Chapter, Stuart Berman presented the Peter A. DiRito Award to the Honorable Deborah K. Chasanow, the Honorable Roger Titus, the Honorable Peter J. Messitte, and the Honorable Alexander Williams for their service to the District on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Greenbelt Courthouse.  Established in 1987, the Peter A. DiRito Award recognizes public service that furthers the FBA’s goals of enhancing the federal legal profession, advancement of justice, and the betterment of society.

The Chapter thanks the presenters and honorees for their participation, as well as the FBA Maryland Chapter Luncheon Committee of Mark S. Saudek, Maria Salacuse, and Samantha Miller. For more photos of the event, click here.

Fireside Chat Held with Chief Judge James K. Bredar on April 25, 2024

On April 25, 2024, the Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association continued its fireside chat series with a conversation with Chief Judge James K. Bredar, whose tenure as chief judge will conclude at the end of May.  Chief Judge Bredar described his early professional experience in the National Park Service and his unique profile as an attorney who worked both as a prosecutor and as a public defender before being appointed first as a United States Magistrate Judge (1998) and later as a United States District Judge (2010).

Chief Judge Bredar shared valuable insights with the guests who attended the chat, including about the need for lawyers to form and nurture professional mentorships early in their careers; the role of law clerks in chambers; and the important work of the Judicial Conference of the United States.  Chief Judge Bredar concluded with some thoughts about the rule of law as a bulwark against anti-democratic pressures in contemporary society.

We are truly grateful for Chief Judge Bredar’s willingness to spend an hour with us and to share his views and experience after a long and rich career in public service.

Fireside Chat Held with Magistrate Judge Erin Aslan on March 27, 2024

On March 27, 2024, the Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association hosted Magistrate Judge Erin Aslan for its Fireside Chat series. Judge Aslan joined the court in December 2023 after working most recently in the Office of the Inspector General. She reflected on her path to the bench, including her experiences studying abroad in Latin America, her law school clinic work representing victims of domestic violence, and her clerkship in the Southern District of New York. Judge Aslan also spoke about how her work investigating allegations of police misconduct with the Civilian Complaint Review Board in New York City inspired her to go to law school and enhanced her commitment to public service. She provided insightful advice to both new attorneys and established practitioners regarding mentorship, career development, and being a working parent. She also shared some practical guidance for litigators. We are grateful to Judge Aslan for the enlightening chat with the Chapter.

Finding Justice: History of Women Lawyers in Maryland

In celebration of Women's History Month, on March 12, 2024, the Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the Women's Law Center cosponsored an engaging webinar with the Honorable Lynne A. Battaglia who discussed her seminal work: "Finding Justice: A History of Women Lawyers in Maryland since 1642." Judge Battaglia traced the history of women lawyers in Maryland, beginning with those women during the colonial period who appeared as attorney-in-fact, such as Margaret Brent.  Judge Battaglia discussed how married women faced more obstacles than those who were single since in many states such as Maryland a married woman could not individually own or inherit property, enter into contracts, or keep money earned unless her husband permitted it. The Married Women's Property Acts of 1898 significantly improved the legal status of married women and allowing even greater change in the legal community.  Judge Battaglia highlighted many of the "firsts" such as Etta Maddox who was the first woman admitted to the Baltimore Law School in 1900 and became the first licensed woman in the State of Maryland.  She also discussed her own experiences being the first presidentially appointed woman to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland and becoming the third woman to be appointed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. Judge Battaglia emphasized the importance of mentors, both male and female, to women lawyers to ensure diversity and accessibility in the legal profession.

    

Annual Introduction to Federal Practice Program Held

The Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association presented its annual Introduction to Federal Practice Program on Friday, March 1, 2024 in the J. Frederick Motz Ceremonial Courtroom at the federal courthouse in Baltimore. This year’s edition marked the second return to an in-person format and the first in-person version in Baltimore since 2019. The Chapter’s Immediate Past President served as master of ceremonies. After wonderful welcoming remarks from Chief Judge James K. Bredar, the audience was treated to”

  • A primer on the courthouses by Chief Deputy Clerk David Ciambruschini
  • Highlights of the District’s Local Rules and Standing Orders  from Lauren McLarney, Neel Lalchandani and the Hon. Julie R. Rubin
  • A discussion of discovery and ESI issues featuring Tom Barnard and the Hon. J. Mark Coulson
  • Catherine Curran O’Malley, Executive Director of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland speaking on services to victims of domestic violence
  • A review of motions practice with Kristen Eriksoon and the Hon. Deborah Boardman
  • A discussion of effective mediation practices with Bradley M. Strickland and the Hon. Gina L. Simms

And finally a brief word from Chapter President Ezra Gollogly about the benefits of FBA membership.

The formal program concluded with 30 members of the audience being sworn in as members of the District’s bar during an admission ceremony presided over by the Hon. Brendan A. Hurson. Following the program participants, new admittees, their guests and presenters adjourned to a catered reception in the Courthouse lobby.

    

    

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 (baltimoresun.com).

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.

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.

Fireside Chat Held with Magistrate Judge Charles Austin on February 23, 2024

In the most recent Fireside Chat Series, the Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association hosted Magistrate Judge Charles Austin.  Judge Austin, a Maryland native, shared his connections to Baltimore.  His love of sports inspired him to pursue broadcast news and later led him to a career in journalism.  Judge Austin spoke of his time working in television as a director and producer and the skills he gained in those roles.  

Judge Austin reflected on his time in private practice and government service, including the importance of fulfilling his various roles with integrity and excellence.  He shared his commitment to public service, the law, and his belief in the importance of treating all litigants with dignity and fairness.  Judge Austin also shared advice for newer attorneys and practitioners.  We're grateful to Judge Austin for sharing his time and thoughts with the Chapter.


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