On June 18, MSBA President Michael J. Baxter joined Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown in greeting approximately 250 lawyers, judges, and other members of the legal community at the Camden Club in downtown Baltimore for the Equal Justice Council’s 16th Annual Awards and Recognition Breakfast, celebrating those members of the bar and law firms whose donations help drive the Legal Aid Bureau in its ongoing mission to provide free civil legal services to low-income Marylanders.
“Equal justice, as a concept, is a core value of the Maryland State Bar Association,” said Baxter. “It’s in our mission statement, it’s in our DNA, so it is only natural for us to be here this morning, not only to recognize the individuals and law firms who are present, but the individuals and law firms that make that concept a reality for Marylanders in need.”
Guest speaker Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, praised Brown and Governor Martin O’Malley for their “courage and leadership” in what Jealous described as “an incredible year for the partnership between the civil human rights community and our leadership in Annapolis.”
“The Dream Act has been passed, Marriage Equality has been passed, the death penalty has been abolished, voting rights have been extended, and gun safety has been enhanced,” noted Jealous. “I don’t think there’s another state in the country that has that record.”
The ceremony also included a tribute to retiring Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Court of Appeals of Maryland. Bell, a longtime proponent of legal aid and access to justice, offered closing remarks.
Created in 1997, the Equal Justice Council serves as the fundraising arm of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, securing donations from private attorneys across the state in support of Legal Aid’s mission to provide free civil legal assistance to low-income state residents.
The 2013 Equal Justice Council Honorees are:
- Julie Ellen Landau and Lee H. Ogburn, Champion of Justice awards
- Ballard Spahr LLP; Goodell DeVries; and Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler, Pacesetter awards
- DLA Piper; Miles & Stockbridge P.C.; Venable LLP; and Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, Trailblazer awards
- Herbert S. Garten, Executive Director’s award