The Hon. Barbara Kerr Howe
The Honorable Barbara Kerr Howe, a retired Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge and MSBA Past President, began her three-year term as Maryland’s new American Bar Association (ABA) State Delegate in early August, at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Elected to the post by Maryland ABA members late last winter, Howe succeeds three-term ABA State Delegate Robert T. Gonzales, whom she coincidentally succeeded as MSBA President in 1996.
The ABA’s 560-member House of Delegates (which includes 52 State Delegates) is the policy-making arm of the ABA, responsible for the control and administration of that organization.
Maryland’s ABA State Delegate also occupies a seat on the MSBA Board of Governors for the duration of his or her term.
“At this time, the ABA needs strong leadership to make intelligent decisions,” says Howe, who presently serves as a settlement judge for the Circuit Court of Baltimore County, as well as Chair of the Community College of Baltimore County’s Board of Trustees. “I will bring that to the House of Delegates.”
Ethics and professionalism have long been, and continue to be, key issues for Howe; indeed, it was during her year as MSBA President that the Board of Governors formally adopted the MSBA’s Code of Civility.
Also a Past Chair of both the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism and the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline, Howe plans to prioritize these matters in her new role.
Candidates for ABA State Delegate are nominated by petition of at least 25 ABA lawyer members and must themselves be ABA lawyer members whose membership in that Association is accredited to the relevant state. Ballot materials containing the names of nominees and brief biographical details are subsequently distributed to all ABA members within that state, who, in turn, elect the winning candidate.
Howe, who served as MSBA President in 1996-1997, practiced law in the Towson firm of Kerr, Kerr & Howe from 1969 until her appointment to the Baltimore County District Court in 1985. Three years later, she was appointed to the Baltimore County Circuit Court, where she served until her retirement in 2001 (during which time she spent five years as the Court’s Administrative Judge, from 1992 to 1997).
Howe’s service to MSBA also includes two terms on the Board of Governors, as well as serving as Co-Chair of the MSBA Leadership Academy from 2006-2008.