MSBA Past President Herbert S. Garten, above, was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1952 and is the first subject of MSBA’s new “Legal Lions” video series.
This month, MSBA debuts “Maryland Legal Lions”, a new video series intended to highlight the wisdom, experience, and motivations of Maryland’s long-practicing Bar members for the benefit of younger and future generations of attorneys, as well as contemporary attorneys.
The format of “Maryland Legal Lions” is simple: MSBA President John P. Kudel engages in a five- to ten-minute conversational interview with distinguished members of the legal community, including attorneys, judges, and MSBA Past Presidents. Each one- to two-minute edited video will be posted on the MSBA website (www.msba.org), as well as the Association’s YouTube channel, while the longer interview will be made available as an audio file.
In the series opener, Kudel interviews MSBA Past President Herbert S. Garten (1989-1990), who chairs the Baltimore law firm of Fedder and Garten, P.A. Admitted to the Maryland Bar in July 1952, Garten has long been a staunch advocate of pro bono service; indeed, his efforts in that area led to the founding of the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.
During his segment, Garten describes a legal landscape immeasurably changed by digital technology. “The biggest thing that’s ever happened in the legal profession is computers,” he says. “I now see boutique firms – small to medium firms, like my own – able to compete really because of the computer, and what’s available to us. It levels the playing field.”
Further, through anecdotal experience, Garten illustrates why, despite hard economic times and an even tougher job market, he still regards the practice of law as “a growth profession.”
“I’ve cautioned lawyers not to be concerned about all these prophecies about wasting money on your education, because lawyers will always be needed,” he explains, stressing the importance of “perseverance.”
Garten calls being the inaugural subject of such a series an “exciting and memorable experience.” Future installments will include, among others, fellow MSBA Past President Cleaveland D. Miller (1987-1988), a Principal in the Baltimore office of Semmes, Bowen & Semmes.
“I chose to launch this series with lawyers like Herb and Cleaveland because both distinguished themselves not only as MSBA Presidents but also as individuals who recognized the importance of giving back to their community,” says Kudel.
Such a “permanent recorded history,” he notes, will benefit both MSBA and the legal community as a whole by providing a resource that “current and future attorneys can use to compare their own career paths with those of successful practitioners.”
However, Kudel stresses that the scope of this new video series will extend further into the Maryland legal field, beyond the MSBA leadership.
“While interviewing Past Presidents is important to learn how these lawyers have risen to the top of their profession,” he says, “I believe it is equally important to include other lawyers of the Bar who have made significant contributions to not only the profession but also the community.”
Indeed, other future interviewees will include, among others, the Honorable Karen A. Murphy Jensen, Circuit Court for Caroline County, and President of the Maryland Bar Foundation.
Moreover, Kudel hopes to continue hosting the series after his own presidency ends. “It would be an honor and a privilege to host this project as it would allow me to celebrate the lives of these living legends,” he says.
To view the Garten interview, as well as other MSBA videos, visit the MSBA YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/MDStateBar, or visit MSBA.org.