All too often, the general public expresses a disproportionately negative opinion when asked about the standing of the legal profession. Lawyers are portrayed as greedy and self-consumed when it comes to both personal and professional ethics. Those who have had their children, homes, businesses and general welfare protected or even salvaged by the intervention of an attorney realize that the stereotype is not justified. Yet, in a world where symbols play such a large role, the example set by a real-world legal champion serves as the best tonic for inaccurate assumptions about an entire profession. Michael Glass is one such example.
Glass believes that on both a professional and personal level it is important to engage in pro bono legal service. As a successful partner in the Preller Glass Law Firm in Baltimore City, he concentrates in civil litigation with a focus on business, real estate and commercial-based litigation. Even while working in a very busy practice, Glass finds time to devote hundreds of hours each year to representing clients on a pro bonobasis through the city bar's Legal Services to the Elderly Program, focusing primarily on landlord-tenant and consumer protection cases as well as the Bar Association of Baltimore City's Lawyer Referral Program. He began his pro bono career assisting the Public Justice Center with representation of low-income tenants and lobbying the legislature for changes in landlord-tenant law in Maryland. For 12 years, Glass has served on the advisory board of a non-profit dedicated to providing substance abuse, treatment, education and training to impoverished individuals. As an outside hobby, he devotes approximately 150 hours per year time as a volunteer diver for the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
working in a very busy practice, Glass finds time to devote hundreds of hours each year to representing clients on a pro bonobasis through the city bar's Legal Services to the Elderly Program, focusing primarily on landlord-tenant and consumer protection cases as well as the Bar Association of Baltimore City's Lawyer Referral Program."
A 1985 graduate from Hamilton College, Glass earned his law degree and a Master of Business Administration from The George Washington School of Law and the Columbia University School of Business, respectively. Admitted to practice in 1990, Glass began his substantive legal career in Los Angeles at Pircher, Nichols and Meeks, where he honed his interest in real estate and commercial-based litigation. Subsequently, he served as General Counsel to a health system which encompassed a hospital and multiple outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities.
Glass believes that doing pro bono work is an "opportunity," a "privilege" and an "obligation." It is an opportunity to use what he has learned in his professional life, to assist others who would not otherwise be able to afford legal services, and in the process continue to learn and hone his skills as an attorney. He feels that it is a privilege and an honor to be among a select licensed few able to apply specialized training and skills to assist others in need. Finally, Glass believes it to be an obligation – particularly the more established he becomes in his career – to give back, share what he has learned and assist in meeting a dire need of those less fortunate.
Glass is well-known as a compassionate attorney who has carved a niche in his practice for pro bono or reduced-fee clients. It is for this reason that he was selected as the Baltimore City Pro Bono Star and honored at the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland's 20th Anniversary Benefit Gala in November 2010. Clearly, Glass is passionate about equal access to justice and puts his passion into practice on a daily basis.
For more information on the legal service volunteer opportunities in Maryland, contact Jennifer Larrabee at PBRC at (410) 837-9379 or (800) 396-1274, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diana Rogers is the Marketing and Development Coordinator at the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.