Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99
News Opinion Readers Respond

Professionalism Center a key part of Md. legal landscape

As the executive director of the Maryland Professionalism Center, I was drawn to The Sun's June 10th op-ed- piece titled "Justice delayed in Maryland," which promised a commentary on the potential prejudice to litigants caused by the Maryland Court of Appeals' delay in deciding the cases before it. I was puzzled, however, by the writers' charge of an "aggressive semi-political agenda" on the part of the Court of Appeals with regard to the Maryland Professionalism Center.

To promote professional ideals, the court established the Maryland Professionalism Center (formerly the Maryland Professionalism Commission). The center's work is far from controversial. The Professionalism Center is governed by a volunteer board of directors, chaired by Court of Appeals Judge Lynne Battaglia, and has two full time employees: me, and my administrative assistant. Sustained by a modest yearly assessment of $5 to all Maryland lawyers which will go into effect on July 1, 2013, the center has trained over 3,500 new lawyers during the professionalism course. As these new lawyers enter practice, the center offers a mentoring program that has matched hundreds of new attorneys with experienced practitioners, including one of the op-ed's authors. Feedback from these initiatives is overwhelmingly positive.

Next year the center will host a symposium on emerging issues in the legal profession, including the approaching retirement of a generation of baby boomer lawyers and mandatory continuing legal education, a requirement adopted by 46 states in order to keep lawyers current in a fast moving legal environment. By stressing professionalism at the outset of legal careers and monitoring it throughout, the court, through the Professionalism Center, has enhanced the culture of lawyering and promoted continuing civility among practitioners.

The Professionalism Center strives to identify and address a litany of concerns shared by the American legal community. For example, the court's encouragement of pro bono legal services ("for the public good") reflects the Bar's commitment to providing representation to indigent persons at no cost. Pro bono work does often involve representation of unpopular clients. Diligently representing such controversial clients, however, stands to the highest ideals of the legal profession. Likewise, the "civil Gideon" movement seeks to provide counsel to low-income citizens in civil cases at public expense where a litigant's basic human needs are at stake, such as those involving health, safety, shelter or child custody. Access to justice is and should always be a core concern of the court.

At a time when the public's impression of lawyers is often negative, the Professionalism Center is committed to ensuring that the practice of law remains a high calling, focused on serving clients and promoting the administration of justice, as well as the public good.

Monise A. Brown, Annapolis

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Professionalism Center.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Left-wing opinion keeps creeping into Sun “news” articles
    Left-wing opinion keeps creeping into Sun “news” articles

    Another example of left wing media bias appeared in the Sunday Sun in what was a news article. Not opinion, not commentary. In the news article from the Washington Post headlined "Congress circumventing defense cuts it legislated," reporter Walter Pincus writes that the "supercommittee"...

  • O'Malley knows coronations
    O'Malley knows coronations

    The report that former Gov. Martin O'Malley doesn't want Hillary Clinton "coronated" shows just how clueless he is ("O'Malley: Democrats shouldn't coronate Hillary Clinton," March 29). Wasn't Anthony Brown "coronated" by Mr. O'Malley to be our next governor? He should have asked the voters...

  • School construction needs are questionable
    School construction needs are questionable

    The Sun recently reported that the General Assembly is authorizing $20 million for school construction in addition to Gov. Larry Hogan's budget of over $200 million for school-related building and renovations ("Assembly proposes more school construction aid for counties," March 27).

  • Obama should be impeached for meddling with Israeli elections
    Obama should be impeached for meddling with Israeli elections

    It is now a clear fact that President Barack Obama interfered in the recent election of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, which is an impeachable offense. Now where are the Republicans in Congress who need to and should draw up articles of impeachment?

  • What City Hall scandal will The Sun uncover next week?
    What City Hall scandal will The Sun uncover next week?

    Seems as if The Sun is able to turn over scandals in the city administration weekly ("City agency director has law firm with state contract on the side," March 28. It is hard to believe what so-called professionals in Baltimore are able to get away with. Where is the oversight, or, is it part...

  • Annapolis and speed cameras
    Annapolis and speed cameras

    Isn't it amazing how the courts have found that speed cameras are a safety feature and not an un-mandated nuisance tax, yet The Sun finds the news in the loss of revenue instead of the great job they are doing in slowing down traffic and clogging up the streets of Annapolis with bumper to...

Comments
Loading