Katherine Kelly Howard
Katherine Kelly Howard was installed as President of the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) on June 14, 2008, during the Association’s Annual Meeting in Ocean City, Maryland. Howard, the Vice President and General Counsel of Regional Management in Baltimore City, is the quintessential legal professional recognized as an outstanding leader in Maryland’s legal community. MSBA’s new President, well known for her commitment to public service, is an active volunteer lawyer who truly enjoys “giving back to the community and helping others.”
As MSBA’s top leader, Howard will serve a 12-month term and will be joined by newly-elected officers: President-Elect, Thomas C. Cardaro, a partner in Cardaro & Peek, LLC, in Baltimore City; Treasurer John Patrick Kudel, a solo practitioner in Rockville and Of Counsel to the Rockville-based law firm of Karp, Frosh, Lapidus, Wigodsky & Norwind, P.A.; and Secretary Thomas D. Murphy, a partner with the Law Offices of Murphy & Mood, P.C., in Rockville.
Howard, an enthusiastic and energetic MSBA “cheerleader,” is excited about leading this vibrant association of 23,000 volunteer lawyers for the next year, along with her leadership team. “MSBA is the leader in our legal community,” she exclaims. “We have an incredibly diverse membership, from the perspective of individual members and practice areas, and we try very hard as an organization to accommodate all of these different opinions, needs and expectations.”
MSBA’s diverse, legal expertise is one of the reasons “our members, elected officials, the legislature, the judiciary and the general public all look up to our organization as the expert on practically every aspect of Maryland law,” Howard continues. “We are the leader people come to for expertise on legal matters and, through the strength of our diverse membership, we can provide it.”
“MSBA is also a great resource for Maryland lawyers,” she adds. “We offer a great range of experience levels within the Association – seasoned attorneys, judges and experts in disciplinary and ethical matters and lawyer assistance – all under one roof and accessible to every MSBA member.” Howard considers MSBA an incredible resource for all lawyers in the state.
This year, Howard plans to focus on the “efforts lawyers make to better their communities by volunteering to share their legal expertise and simply being good citizens.” She wants to shine the spotlight on everyday lawyers who quietly go out into their communities and volunteer to help others. She would like to communicate effectively that lawyers are good citizens who are making a positive difference in the community.
Thus, one of her top initiatives will be a “Shine the Spotlight on Lawyers program” to recognize the good things lawyer do through a statewide recognition awards program. Another awards project she will promote is a special YouTube Contest focusing on the Rule of Law. Modeled after a Texas Bar effort, MSBA’s YouTube Contest will solicit entries, largely from young people, seeking videos highlighting the Rule of Law, and offer cash prizes.
MSBA’s President, who became involved in MSBA as a young lawyer and eventually chaired the Young Lawyers Section, wants to engage today’s young lawyers and get them more involved in future MSBA leadership roles. To foster this transition, she plans to convene a state leadership summit for young lawyers in the fall. She credits her involvement in YLS with inspiring her to become MSBA’s President.
“As a young lawyer, I learned that one of the best ways to feel good about what you do, as a lawyer, is to “find a channel to give back to the community. I use my legal expertise to make a positive contribution and improve the community where I live to make it better. Giving back has given my life purpose and meaning. And what better way is there to do this than become President of MSBA?”
After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1980, Howard served as a clerk of the Honorable James A. Parrott, of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City before joining the law firm Wright & Parks (now Wright, Constable & Skeen) in 1981, where she engaged in a litigation practice for four years. In 1985, she became the Assistant General Counsel of Regional Management, Inc., and was promoted to General Counsel in 1996. In her 20+ years with Regional Management, Howard has handled Landlord/Tenant Law, Governmental Relations and General Corporate Matters.
Upon admittance to the Bar, Howard immediately became active in the Maryland State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, Chairing the Association’s largest Section in 1989-90. She has served as a member of MSBA’s Committee on Laws, Judicial Appointments Committee and Local and Specialty Bar Liaison Committee and Chair of the Public Awareness and Program Committees. She has served several terms on MSBA’s Board of Governors and most recently served as MSBA’s President-Elect and Secretary.
A Past President of the Bar Association of Baltimore City in 2003-2004, Howard also served as its President Elect and a member of the Executive Committee. She continues to co-chair BABC’s Legislative Committee and was also chair of its Nominating, Program and Membership Committees. Howard is also a member of the Baltimore County Bar Association and has been active in the American Bar Association since 1980. She is a member of the ABA’s Family Law and General Practice Sections and the Young Lawyers Division and served on its House of Delegates from 2005-2006.
As President, Howard would like to be remembered for having done a good job. “When I leave my presidency, if lawyers feel better about being a member of this profession, then I will feel this is an accomplishment. I have fun being a lawyer and I would like to leave everybody else feeling it is fun being a lawyer.”