Two exemplary MSBA attorneys, Edward T. Pinder and Justin Browne, have been honored with MSBA’s first Spotlight Awards for their outstanding public service role as good citizens who actively volunteer in their local communities. Pinder, a seasoned solo attorney in Baltimore County, and Browne, a young attorney in Howard County, are dedicated lawyers who are exceptional volunteer leaders in the legal profession and in the community. MSBA presented these Spotlight Awards on June 13, during the Annual Meeting in Ocean City, recognizing these two attorneys as “good lawyers and good citizens.”
Last year, then-MSBA President Katherine Kelly Howard instituted the “Shine the Spotlight” honors to applaud attorneys who volunteer as leaders in their communities simply by being good citizens. Recognizing that attorneys are honored for their pro bono service and bar association contributions, she wanted to take it one step further and pay tribute to the attorneys performing “good deeds as everyday citizens” with “no expectation of recognition.”
Proud of attorneys’ good deeds, Howard felt “the volunteer Maryland lawyers who do these everyday deserved recognition, too,” so she instituted the Spotlight Awards. A total of 13 nominations were received for the seasoned and young lawyer spotlight awards. Although judging proved challenging, Pinder and Browne were selected as the winners. Howard reports, “Both of these attorneys have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to promoting the welfare of their communities.”
Edward T. Pinder
Edward T. Pinder, a busy solo practitioner in Baltimore County, was awarded the Seasoned Lawyer Spotlight Award for his extraordinary volunteer commitment to his local community. This solo attorney supports the youth in Parkville as well as the entire community as an active volunteer leader engaged in everything from coaching girls’ softball and teaching Sunday school to fundraising and playing Santa Claus. Pinder’s many contributions to his local community are the quiet good deeds that characterize a good citizen and an outstanding attorney most worthy of MSBA’s first Spotlight Award.
“The Spotlight Award is quite an honor,” exclaims Pinder. “I read about Ms. Howard’s focus on lawyers doing good work in the community just by being good citizens, and there are so many lawyers out there involved in community and public service that it is quite an honor to, first, be considered, and then, to be the first recipient.” Pinder declares, “You meet so many wonderful people when you are actively involved in community service, and people get to know you and see you as a person first, then as a lawyer.”
In addition to balancing a busy solo practice of personal injury, workers compensation, criminal and general litigation, this dedicated attorney is the Commissioner of Parkville’s Girls Softball Program, head Coach of the Parkville Thunder Girls Travel Softball and President of Reformation Lutheran Church. He actively serves on the Board of the Parkville Recreation Council and Parkville-Carney Business and Professional Association, is a member of the Pine Grove Elementary School’s Improvement Team, Youth Confirmation Leader at St. Johns Lutheran Church, and the list goes on.
Pinder is most deserving of the esteemed Spotlight Award as an outstanding volunteer. “I started doing public service back in the early ’90s, when I had just gone out on my own and I had the time to do it. I wanted to be actively involved in the community so people could see me as a lawyer in a leadership position. He discovered volunteering was also a good diversion as he was “always dwelling on the business aspects” of his law practice and community commitments made him “get out there.”
A passionate baseball fan, Pinder has been volunteering for softball for 10 years, and when he gets involved, he “jumps in,” first as a coach and then as Commissioner. “It is fun to be out there with the kids on a regular basis, and it is great watching them mature from little kids to young women graduating from high school.” He is committed to public service because “volunteering is a way for me to do a lot of good in the community and a meet and get to know a lot of people.”
Justin Browne, a new lawyer admitted last December, was honored with the Young Lawyer Spotlight Award for his extensive volunteer work in the community and his pro bono and public service contributions to the legal profession, mostly as an aspiring law student. This new attorney epitomizes the all-around good citizen, quietly doing good deeds every day to make the community a better place. In addition, he has already played an instrumental role in creating MSBA’s successful Military Law Committee and partnered with other groups to create a pro bono legal assistance program for veterans, in which he actively volunteers.
“This award is flattering and humbling,” exclaimed a very surprised Browne. “I feel very privileged to practice law. I was sworn-in last December and was truly humbled by this experience. I was able to become a lawyer – something I really wanted to be. I believe the practice of law is a privilege, and attorneys have an obligation to the public as part of this privilege; we hold a special place in society.” Browne has taken this to heart. “I have found doing good for others benefits you, too, in the long run,” he notes.
Browne’s eclectic list of community contributions include everything from driving for Neighbor Ride, a volunteer alternative transportation service for senior citizens, accepting assignments from the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County and collecting aluminum can tabs to helping support the Ronald McDonald House to helping with Habitat for Humanity projects. His altruistic values have already carried over into his fledgling legal career.
As a law student, Browne traveled to New Orleans to help with the Maryland Katrina Indigent Defense Project, organized several fundraisers for veterans, served as a law student mentor and proved instrumental in the creation of MSBA’s Military Law Committee, which he now co-chairs. As a new attorney, he volunteers for the Pro Bono Resource Center and Maryland Volunteers Lawyers Service and helped organize a veterans’ pro bono project and raise funds for this project, with which he actively volunteers.
“I am lucky to be an attorney, and I want to share this with others,” Browne declares. “I firmly believe that, because I have been blessed with this opportunity, I have a duty to try to improve the community and help other people.”
Howard was elated with the success of the Spotlight Awards and hails the two winners as outstanding volunteer attorneys. “Despite the pressures of being a solo practitioner, Ed Pinder has dedicated himself for over a decade to making the Parkville Recreational Council successful in its service to the community, especially to its young people,” exclaims Howard. “Indeed, he could not be in Ocean City to receive his award because he was running the Council’s Final Round Tournaments and end-of-season celebration that day. Now that’s dedication!” Pinder will receive his Spotlight Award at MSBA’s Solo Day Conference on November 7.
“Justin is a unique new practitioner who volunteers as a driver for Howard County Neighbor Ride, shows his support for his community in his daily activities by supporting the Ronald McDonald House, the Animal Welfare Society of Howard County and the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief fund,” she declares. “And, he works with a variety of veterans support services including our Military Law Committee. He sets a great example for all lawyers, especially those new to the profession!” Browne was honored with his award at the Annual Meeting.