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New Harford judicial appointee Ishak follows a road to success [Editorial]

Bel Air attorney Paul W. Ishak, who has been named Harford County's newest Circuit Court Judge, has a long record of community service.
Bel Air attorney Paul W. Ishak, who has been named Harford County's newest Circuit Court Judge, has a long record of community service. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

Gov. Larry Hogan's appointment of Paul W. Ishak to a Harford County Circuit Court judgeship last week is another excellent choice for the local courts.

In Ishak, Harford will get another judge who is a county native, one who understands what life is like here. He comes to the bench with impeccable credentials and sufficient broad-based knowledge of the law, and we believe he has the makings of a great jurist.

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Of course, the proof of all that will come after Ishak starts hearing and ruling on cases and, in the case of criminal matters, meting out sentences for people convicted of breaking the law. Many veteran judges have told us they didn't know how tough the latter aspect of the job would be. Check that, some have said no matter how good the experience and foundation they brought to the bench, they quickly found out they faced a steep learning curve.

Interviewed by Aegis reporter David Anderson shortly after his appointment, Ishak said that one of the reasons he applied for the newly created sixth judgeship was "being able to bring a broad base of experience to the bench and continue in public service." His past community involvement as a volunteer fireman, as president of the Harford Bar Association and in other activities, coupled with his recent service as attorney for the City of Havre de Grace, are part of that critical foundation we mentioned earlier.

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Ishak also said he was the odd man out in a family of health care professionals. His late father, Dr. Maher W. Ishak, was a surgeon, his mother, a nurse, and two brothers are physicians. Maher Ishak, who died in November 2010, was born in Egypt and immigrated to the United States in 1959, following medical school, and settled in Havre de Grace while working at Perry Point VA Medical Center, according to his obituary. Dr. Ishak became a respected member of Harford County's medical community and led the staff at Harford Memorial Hospital in his adopted hometown for a number of years.

Paul Ishak says he did well in courses related to the law while an undergraduate at the University of Maryland. He said his father advised him to have a career in something he could excel in, "that's the ticket to success." Paul Ishak says his father was right, and we'd say like father, like son.

Congratulations and best wishes on the next leg of what already has been a successful career.

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