Circuit Court Judge Lenore R. Gelfman, a judge for the past 22 years, will be the second female to serve as administrative judge of the Howard County Circuit Court beginning November.
"I very much enjoy being a judge," Gelfman said in an interview. "I look forward to this new opportunity."
Gelfman will replace Diane O. Leasure, who is retiring Nov. 4. Leasure was appointed chief judge in 2002 and was the first woman to hold the position
The administrative judge is responsible for policy decisions and the administration of the court.
"She has the comportment and the temperament that make for a good judge and administrator," said Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, who made the appointment.
Bell said Gelfman is "superbly qualified" to serve as administrative judge.
"She has demonstrated a strong commitment to the rule of law and to ensuring the efficient and effective delivery of justice," he said.
Leasure, who will teach at the University of Maryland School of Law and work as a mediator and recall judge upon her retirement, said Gelfman's "long history with the judiciary" will be helpful as she moves into her new role.
"Things will certainly move forward in a very positive direction," Leasure said.
"She works hard, cares about, and gives the proper amount of attention to, all the cases that are presented to her," Leasure said. "She takes the job very seriously and strives to make what she thinks is the best possible decision in any case."
Gelfman worked in private practice in Howard County until 1989, when she was appointed to the county's District Court. In 1996, she was elected to a 15-year term as a circuit court judge.
She received her law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1973 and cut her teeth as an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore City from 1973 to 1975.
Gelfman was president of the Howard County Bar Association in 1991 and 1992 and is an active member of the Maryland State Bar Association. She is a director and fellow of the Maryland State Bar Foundation, a fellow of the Howard County Bar Foundation and the Women's Bar Foundation.
Gelfman also teaches trial advocacy at the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Gelfman said one of her first challenges as administrative judge will be seamlessly moving the Howard County Circuit Court to the Ascend One building in Columbia, as construction crews renovate the historic Ellicott City courthouse. That move is expected within the year.
"We may have to modify some present protocol" due to the move, Gelfman said. "With the new building coming there are going to be challenges, but we'll certainly do the very, very best we can."
Gelfman is up for re-election in the fall of 2012. She says she is planning to run for another 15-year term.