The Spark Series Capstone Program


Join the MSBA for the 125th Anniversary Thought Leadership Initiative’s Spark Series Capstone Event!

The occasion of the Maryland State Bar Association’s 125th anniversary has presented more than an opportunity to commemorate the past. It has also invited us to pause for critical reflection on the state of the legal profession, how we have wielded our position of influence historically; how we might exercise that privilege responsibly going forward; and, finally, what we imagine and dare to reimagine about the legal profession’s role in the future of justice in our state, nation, and world.

Over the past year, the MSBA 125th Anniversary Thought Leadership Initiative has held Spark Series events, hosting innovative thinkers and world-renowned leaders – like Sherrilyn Ifill, Vanita Gupta and Grace Speights – and will soon be releasing a series of podcasts to spark robust discussion and forward-thinking dialogue about the historical relationship and future direction of justice and the legal profession, with a focus on the following themes:

  • GUARDIANS OF JUSTICE – exploring the role of professional responsibility and ethics in shaping and constraining justice
  • REFORMING JUSTICE – exploring the responsibility of the legal profession in propagating or dismantling racial injustice and other inequities and spurring meaningful criminal justice reform
  • ACCESS TO JUSTICE – exploring the role of the legal profession in perpetuating or disrupting the civil justice crisis; the disparate impact of the civil justice system on communities of color and other minorities or marginalized citizens; and the road to meaningful civil justice reform
  • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY and JUSTICE – exploring the unique questions, challenges and opportunities at the intersection of law, science & technology, across the spectrum, from the regulation of innovation to issues of access and bias.

As a culminating event, the 125th Thought Leadership Initiative will host an in-person Spark Series Capstone Program on Friday, January 20, 2023. The event will create space for intellectual stimulation and deep reflection and include thought-provoking keynote speakers and panels with high-level professionals challenging us to think about emerging issues and the role of our profession in grappling with ethical and justice implications – that will serve to have a lasting impact on the MSBA and the profession as a whole. 

In-person seats are limited! Registration closes on Friday, January 6! Register today!

Confirmed Speakers and Panelists:

Welcome Remarks

Anthony Brown, Maryland Attorney General

Deans’ Roundtable on the Future of the Legal Profession

Roger A. Fairfax, Jr., Dean, American University Washington College of Law

Renée McDonald Hutchins, Dean, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Dayna Bowen Matthew, Dean, George Washington University Law School

Ronald Weich, Dean, University of Baltimore School of Law


Guardians of Justice

Erica Newland, Esq., Protect Democracy
Erica Newland’s work focuses on presidential election reform, Department of Justice reform, and securing accountability for abuses of power. She most recently served as an Attorney Adviser at the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice (DoJ). Before joining DoJ, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Merrick B. Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Democracy & Technology. During law school, Erica worked for the National Security Division at DoJ and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Erica received her J.D. from Yale Law School. 


Lauren Stiller Rikleen, Esq., Interim Executive Director, Lawyers Defending Democracy

Lauren Stiller Rikleen, president of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership and interim executive director of Lawyers Defending American Democracy, an organization devoted to the protection of democracy and the rule of law.

Lauren is the editor of the upcoming book Her Honor – Stories of Challenge and Triumph from Women Judges and the author of more than 200 articles and 4 books, including The Shield of Silence: How Power Perpetuates a Culture of Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace and You Raised Us – Now Work With Us: Millennials, Career Success, and Building Strong Workplace Teams. For 20 years, she was recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers, and in Massachusetts Super Lawyers.



Reforming Justice

Alec Karakatsanis, Esq., Founder and Executive Director of Civil Rights Corps
Alec was awarded the 2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year by Public Justice for his role in designing and bringing constitutional civil rights cases to challenge various aspects of the punishment bureaucracy across the United States and the 2016 Stephen B. Bright Award for contributions to indigent defense in the South by Gideon’s Promise. His work at Civil Rights Corps challenging the money bail system in California was honored with the 2018 Champion of Public Defense Award by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Michael R. Bromwich, Esq., Steptoe & Johnson
Michael has conducted internal investigations for private companies and other organizations, provided monitoring and oversight services, and represented institutions and individuals in white-collar criminal and regulatory matters and congressional matters. His most recent publicly disclosed representations have included Christine Blasey Ford, Andrew McCabe, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Additionally, he served as the independent monitor for Apple (antitrust) and Walmart (US ethics). Most recently, Michael led a team of Steptoe lawyers in an investigation of the largest corruption scandal in the history of the Baltimore Police Department.


Science, Technology, and Justice

Amanda C. Pustilnik, Professor of Law, University of Maryland Carey Law
Amanda is a professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law and faculty at the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her work focuses on the intersections of law, science, and culture, with a particular emphasis on the brain. In 2015, she served as Harvard Law School’s first senior fellow on law and applied neuroscience. Her collaborations with scientists on brain imaging of pain and addiction led to her recent work on opioids on behalf of the Aspen Institute. Prior to entering the academy, Amanda practiced litigation at Sullivan & Cromwell, clerked on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co., in New York. She attended Harvard College, Yale Law School, and the University of Cambridge, where she studied history and philosophy of science. Her work has been published in numerous law reviews and peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Nature.

Lydia X. Z. Brown, Policy Counsel for Privacy and Data, Center for Democracy and Technology
Lydia is an advocate, organizer, strategist and writer whose work focuses on interpersonal and state violence against disabled persons at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, language and nation. Brown is Policy Counsel for Privacy & Data at the Center for Democracy and Technology and Director of Policy, Advocacy and External Affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. They also lecture at Georgetown and American Universities.



What: 125th Thought Leadership Initiative presents … The Spark Series Capstone Program
When: Friday, January 20, 2023 from 8am to 3pm
Where: University of Maryland Carey Law School (live and in-person only)
Who: We welcome MSBA members and non-members to these critical conversations about the legal profession.
Cost: FREE
Food: Breakfast and lunch provided.



University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
500 W Baltimore St
Baltimore, MD 21201 US
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Event Information
Jan 20, 2023
8:30 am - 3:00 pm EST
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
500 W Baltimore St
Baltimore, MD 21201 US


Day 1

8:30 am
Registration & Breakfast
9:00 am
Welcome & Keynote
9:20 am
Plenary 1 - Guardians of Justice
10:20 am
10:30 am
Plenary 2 - Reforming Justice/ A2J
11:30 am
11:40 am
Plenary 3 - Science/ Tech & Justice
12:40 pm
1:30 pm
Dean’s Roundtable
2:45 pm
Closing Remarks
3:00 pm
Program Conclusion


$ (% off)


$ (% off)
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The Spark Series Capstone Program