2023-2024 News

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.