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Joseph Harrison ‘Hank’ Young, corporate attorney who represented the longtime incarcerated on a pro bono basis, dies

Joseph "Hank" Young volunteered with the CollegeBound Foundation in Baltimore.
Joseph "Hank" Young volunteered with the CollegeBound Foundation in Baltimore. (Baltimore Sun)

Joseph Harrison “Hank” Young, a corporate attorney who found the time to represent longtime incarcerated people on a pro bono basis, died of lung cancer Oct. 6 at his Oklahoma City home. The former Roland Park resident was 64.

Born in Baltimore, and raised in Cedarcroft and Guilford, he was the son of Joseph H. Young, an attorney and U.S. District Court judge who presided in a 10-week case against former Baltimore County Executive Dale Anderson. His mother was Doris O. Young, a homemaker and community volunteer.

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Mr. Young was a 1975 Gilman School graduate and earned a bachelor’s degree in government at Dartmouth College.

While at Gilman he ran track and cross country and sang while playing an acoustic guitar. He occasionally performed at the old Peabody Book Shop and Beer Stube on Charles Street in Mount Vernon.

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Bill Harwood, a Gilman classmate and friend, recalled: “Hank had tons of friends in the class. He had a personality that was his own — flinty, but was never rude or unfriendly. He was articulate and even as a high school student, Hank had a forward vision of what he wanted to do.

“There was an everyman quality to Hank. He was never the loudest guy in the room. He was an adventurous guy and had a spirit that said, “Let’s try this.’ Others in the class admired his individualist streak.”

Mr. Young did not begin his career as a lawyer. He worked from 1979 to 1981 as a reporter for the Rutland Herald and Montpelier Times Argus. He covered the Vermont legislature and state government.

He later earned a degree at the University of Chicago Law School.

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He began his legal career as a clerk to U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in Washington, D.C.

In 1985, he joined the law firm of Hogan & Hartson LLP and briefly worked at Kramon & Graham. He did criminal work, civil litigation and insurance defense.

He went on to become an assistant United States attorney in Baltimore.

Mr. Young worked in investigations and prosecution of federal offenses, including mail and wire fraud, bank robbery, bankruptcy fraud and business crimes. He also worked violent crimes and narcotics.

From 1996 to 2014 he was a partner at the Hogan Lovells LLP legal firm in downtown Baltimore. He represented corporate clients but also supervised the law firm’s pro bono work for people who sought free legal representation.

“Hank was smart and had a passion for helping his clients,” Steven F. Barley, his former law partner, said. “As an attorney, he was skilled at paring down complicated legal issues to their essence. He worked in civil and white-collar investigations and was a gifted writer who had never lost his nose for being a news reporter.”

Mr. Barley also recalled Mr. Young’s volunteering his legal skills for people who needed help but lacked money.

“Hank was relentless and worked for nearly 20 years to free a young man who had been caught up in a narcotics investigation,” Mr. Barley said.

Others in his field remembered his writings.

“Hank‘s writing was exceptional. It was clear, concise and persuasive. There was never an excess word or an unnecessary phrase. Like Hank, his writing could be witty when the occasion called for it,” said a former legal partner, David “Dave” King.

Another legal partner, Stephen J. Immelt, said, “Hank had a targeted humor he would deliver in an understated way. He was a great observer of human nature and its foibles, and was particularly good at putting a pinprick in an inflated ego. He was also willing to call himself out first.”

In 2008, he and his wife moved to Oklahoma and later moved to her childhood home in Oklahoma City. They renovated it and the surrounding outbuildings.

He continued to work for the Hogan firm and later joined the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Most recently he was an administrative law judge. He heard cases of people who disputed adverse agency determinations, among other duties. He had earlier been senior director of its legal services.

Mr. Young developed a love of the outdoors at the Adirondack Wilderness Camp. He took backpacking trips with family and friends to the Alps and to the Wichita Mountains in southern Oklahoma.

His brother Steve Young, a former Baltimore Sun editor, said Mr. Young loved the Adirondack Mountains in New York and ranges in northern New Mexico. He was also an enthusiastic bicyclist and had a lifelong passion for rock and folk-rock.

“Although known for his quick, sharp wit and sarcastic sense of humor, Hank was at heart a softy,” his brother Steve said. “On numerous occasions, he, along with Ann and his children, came to the aid of family and friends. He would deny it, but his life was ruled by an unsaid [by him] mantra borrowed from his father: ‘How can I help?’

He always found ways to do so, his brother said.

Mr. Young volunteered with the CollegeBound Foundation in Baltimore and served on the boards of the Dyslexia Tutoring Program and the Jemicy School.

Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Ann Boulton, an art conservator who served the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art; two sons, Will Young of Fallston and Tom Young of Des Moines, Iowa; a daughter, Emma Young of Washington, D.C.; and two brothers, Bill Young of Dalton, Georgia, and Steve Young of Baltimore.

A memorial service will be held at noon Nov. 20 at the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club at 3403 Pocock Road.

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