Highlighting the importance of the justice system and an independent judiciary, Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Court of Appeals of Maryland, delivered her “State of the Judiciary” message on June 16 at the MSBA Legal Summit & Annual Meeting, where she covered a wide range of topics including judicial neutrality, the issues with cash bail, and human trafficking.

Chief Judge Barbera highlighted the work the judiciary has done to increase access to civil legal services and the courts while acknowledging the problems we still face.

“Even though we rank third in the nation we have … 1.5 lawyers to provide civil legal services per 10,000 of our poorest residents… Certainly it’s good to be at the top nationally as I said but still those numbers are quite sobering.”

As she drew to a close Chief Judge Barbera struck a hopeful note and encouraged the attendees to continue attempting to create a more just society.

“As I see it, in having the privilege to practice law we have in our hands the power to right wrongs. We can respond to the call for justice for all. I look to you, members of the Maryland State Bar Association and I am heartened, for I see Maryland’s leaders in ensuring the promise of equal justice can be kept”

If you would like to hear what else Chief Judge Barbera had to say, you can view the entire speech at the top of the page.