Nancy Davis-Loomis, who has been a District Court judge in Annapolis since 1996, was appointed yesterday to the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court bench.
Davis-Loomis, 52, will fill the vacancy created by the retirement in December of Lawrence H. Rushworth. Her appointment by Gov. Parris N. Glendening returns the state's fifth-largest Circuit Court to a full bench of 10 judges and creates a vacancy on the District Court.
Glendening called Davis-Loomis a "dedicated judge" and said her "depth of knowledge and legal background will add new diversity of experience and great value to the Circuit Court."
Davis-Loomis is widely known for expertise in civil law, particularly in the burgeoning areas of family law.
Around the District Court building yesterday, lawyers congratulated Davis-Loomis on her appointment and praised her.
"That's great. She is fantastic," said William C. Mulford II, a lawyer with a general private practice.
"I think she will make a wonderful Circuit Court judge," said State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, praising Davis-Loomis' tenure on the District Court while wishing for an appointee there with a link to the prosecutor's office.
"I think there is a dearth of prosecutors and prosecutorial experience on the Circuit Court bench at the moment. And on the District Court bench," he said, noting that only one Circuit Court judge is a former prosecutor. "Still, you can't ignore the fact that she has been a very good District Court judge, and I'm sure she will be a very good Circuit Court judge."
Before Davis-Loomis is sworn in on the Circuit Court - that must take place within 30 days - she will take the oath of office for another post. On Monday, she will become president of the Anne Arundel County Bar Association.
"Nothing like having a full plate," she said.
Davis-Loomis will be the second female Circuit Court judge in the county. Glendening appointed Pamela L. North to the bench in 1995.
"I think it is important that women become involved in positions of authority," Davis-Loomis said. "These are positions that aren't only possible, but are available to women as well."
She said she was undaunted by two earlier attempts to win a Circuit Court appointment.
"I didn't think I would ever become an attorney," she said.
Davis-Loomis is a 1969 graduate of the University of Akron and earned a master's degree in education from the Ohio school. She taught junior high school language arts and reading for five years in Akron before becoming a counselor.
She said that 30 years ago, women there were not encouraged to attend law school or become business executives. But in 1979, after deciding she was at least as intelligent as successful men, she began attending the University of Maryland School of Law.
She has been an assistant county attorney for Anne Arundel County specializing in land use and social services and once had the largest private practice in adoption in the county.
She was a partner with the law firm Cohen Bennett Green and Davis-Loomis, which was counsel to the county's Board of Appeals and Board of Education.
The others recommended for the Circuit Court vacancy were Master in Chancery Cynthia M. Ferris, a former prosecutor; Frank Ragione Sr., a career prosecutor; District Judge Paul A. Hackner; and lawyer Charles F. Obrecht.