Supreme Court Scholar Lyle Denniston Donates Materials to Library

Lyle Denniston, center, shown in 2016 with Prof. Emeritus Garrett Epps, left, and Dean Ronald Weich.

Recently, the law library received a substantial donation of books from the personal collection of Lyle Denniston, renowned author and scholar on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The donation stipulates that the School of Law library may use all or part of the collection for any educational purpose, and that students, faculty, staff and the general public will have free access to the books and journals for research, study and scholarship. 

The collection consists of: 

  • 83 issues of scholarly magazines covering law and the Supreme Court;

  • Approximately 1,150 hardcover and softcover books on law, the Supreme Court, politics and American history, covering such topics as civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights, as well as the confirmation of recent Supreme Court Justices.

Denniston taught an online, eight-week, college-level course, “The Supreme Court and American Politics,” through the University of Baltimore School of Law, and it is still available at no charge. Although he is nominally retired, Denniston can still be found reporting on the Supreme Court and the law at his blog, Lyle Denniston Law News

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Water, Water, (Not) Everywhere

In Closing – Fall 2021

By Jamie Alison Lee

Jamie Alison Lee

Lawyers work toward many forms of justice. What does justice look like when we talk about water? Yes, that water: plain, simple H2O. Water is one of the few things that humans absolutely cannot live without, yet “water justice” is not a phrase often on the tip of our tongues. But it should be. 

Water justice has a multitude of dimensions that require our attention and energy. Water justice means, among other things, addressing rising sea levels due to climate change, eliminating poisonous drinking-water pollutants, increasing water access by indigenous and other rural communities to make work and schooling more possible, and lowering water rates for urban communities for the same purposes.

In my 10 years of teaching community development and business law at The University of Baltimore, I have spent over half of that time studying water justice as it plays out right here in Baltimore City. In these years, I have seen more and more attention paid to water justice across the United States. Truth be told, this is both positive and alarming. 

It is positive in that the crucial water-justice efforts being fought every day by lawyers and others, in every part of our country, are gaining greater recognition by the media, policymakers, legislators, government officials and everyday people. It is also positive in that water justice today is seen as relevant to all Americans, not just to faraway countries or to the western half of the United States (for a story about water’s importance to western land development, see the classic film Chinatown, though be warned that it involves some appalling racism and sexism). 

Alarm bells are still ringing, however, because public engagement in water-justice issues simply remains too low. It is still not a common matter of conversation around the dinner table or on social media, nor do most Americans see water justice as something for which they need to fight. Perhaps it seems too prosaic, too commonplace? But its universality is exactly why it requires our attention. Water justice is already at a critical point for our communities, including in our own city and state, and the solutions do not appear easy. That should not dissuade us, but it does mean that greater numbers of energetic, knowledgeable people must loudly call for the necessary change. 

Opportunities to make this call abound. On the national level, at the time of this writing, politicians continue to wrangle over water infrastructure legislation. While a solution is desperately needed, we must not settle for one that encourages the privatization of our water supply and the prioritization of profit over the human need for water. 

On the local level, we should appreciate local and state leadership for their efforts at water justice, but not settle for partial action. For example, while homeowners in Baltimore City with unpaid water bills are now better protected against the extortionate and labyrinthine “tax sale” foreclosure process, more reform is needed to prevent low-income, elderly and non-white homeowners from losing both the roofs over their heads and the life savings that could be passed on to their children in the form of home equity. 

Similarly, at the local level, more work is needed to address skyrocketing water rates in Baltimore City, and a billing system long plagued with inaccuracies and a lack of due process. While there is promising new leadership, and a strong new law to reform the local water utility was passed in 2020, the new law still has not been implemented. This is despite the fact that water customers in both the city and Baltimore County would benefit from its affordable water rates, due-process reforms, tenant protections, customer advocacy office, and transparent accountability structure. 

We can no longer take water access and water justice for granted. We know that public engagement is crucial to making concrete and meaningful change. One way to get involved is to join forces with nonprofit experts, such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Food and Water Watch, among others. Feel free to reach out to me personally, as well. Water justice affects every one of us, and we must act together accordingly. 

Jaime Alison Lee is a professor and director of the Community Development Clinic at Baltimore Law.

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Faculty Notes – Fall 2021

JOSE ANDERSON

Article, “What Will Protect Us from the Protectors? The Civil Rights Paradox of Qualified Immunity,” The Trial Reporter, Maryland Association for Justice, 2021 (Issue Number 2) (with F. Michael Higginbotham)

“Urban Trauma Drama: The Intersecting Path of Criminal Justice and PublicHealth Revealed During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” St. Louis U. J. Health L. & Pol’y (forthcoming)

JOHN BESSLER

The Death Penalty’s Denial of Fundamental Human Rights: International Law, State Practice, and the Emerging Abolitionist Norm. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)

“The Rule of Law: A Necessary Pillar of Free and Democratic Societies for Protecting Human Rights,” Santa Clara L. Rev. (forthcoming)

FRED BROWN

Understanding Business Entity Taxation, 2nd Edition, Carolina Academic Press (with Walter Schwidetzky) (2021)

“Designing Nonrecognition Rules Under the Internal Revenue Code,” Fla. Tax Rev. (2021)

PHILLIP CLOSIUS

“Myth, Manipulation and Minor League Baseball: How A Capitalist Democracy Engenders Income Inequality,” U. Cin. L. Rev., with Joseph Stephan (2020)

GILDA DANIELS

Promoted to full professor

Testified on voting rights June 11 to a congressional subcommittee on elections

MICHELE E. GILMAN

Digital Barriers to Economic Justice in the Wake of COVID-19, Data & Society Research Institute (2021)

“Feminism, Privacy & Law in Cyberspace,” in The Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the United States, Oxford U. Press (forthcoming)

DANIEL HATCHER

His work fighting systematic exploitation of the poor was included in three investigative series this past year: the HBO docuseries “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez,” the NBC docuseries “Children That Pay,” and the NPR/Marshall Project investigative series on states that financially exploit foster children. 

NIENKE GROSSMAN

Elected in March to a three-year term to the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). Currently serving a three-year term as co-chair of the Women in International Law Interest Group of ASIL, through 2022.

“Litigating US Policy toward the ICC,” ASIL Insights, with co-author (2021)

MICHAEL HAYES

“‘Sorry, It’s My Bad, but You’re Still Fired — & Have No Case’: The Honest Belief Defense in Employment Law.” Drake L. R. (forthcoming)

F. MICHAEL HIGGINBOTHAM

Race Law: Cases, Commentary, and Questions (5th Edition ed., pp. 793). Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press (2020)

“Saving America’s Racial Soul,” Harvard Kennedy School Journal of African American Policy (forthcoming)

MARGARET E. JOHNSON

“Menstrual Dignity for Bar Examinees,” with co-authors, U.C. Davis L. Rev. (forthcoming)

“Title IX and Menstruation,” with co-authors, Harv. J. L. & Gender (2020)

ELIZABETH KEYES

“Hamilton’s Immigrant Story Today,” in Hamilton and the Law, Cornell University Press (2020)

“Duress in Immigration Law,” Seattle U. L. Rev. (2021)

ROBERT KNOWLES

Received tenure

“Torture and Institutional Design,” Yale L. J. Forum (2020) 

DIONNE L. KOLLER

“‘Keep It in the Locker Room’: How Athletic Departments Stifle Controversy and Dissent,” in Not Playing Around: Intersectional Identities, Media Representation, and the Power of Sport (forthcoming)

“Magnifying the Problems with Collegiate Sports in the Impact of COVID-19 on Sports: A Mid-Way Assessment,” Int’l Sports L.J. (2020)

 

ROBERT H. LANDE

“The Sherman Act Is a No-Fault Monopolization Statute: A Textualist Demonstration,” Am. U. L. Rev. (forthcoming)

“Preventing The Curse of Bigness Through Conglomerate Merger Legislation,” Ariz. St. L. Rev. (2020)

JAIME A. LEE

“Turning Protest into Reform: Creating Structural Power for Public Voice,” Geo. Mason L. Rev.(forthcoming) 

Testified before the Taxation, Finance, and Economic Development Committee of the Baltimore City Council regarding the implementation of the Water Equity and Accountability Act (2021)

SHELDON B. LYKE 

“Can Affirmative Action Offer a Lesson in Fighting Enclosure?” in The Cambridge Handbook of Commons Research Innovations, Cambridge University Press (2021)

Elected for a three-year term to the board of directors for the Association for Law, Property & Society

JAMES R. MAXEINER

“America’s COVID-19 preexisting vulnerability: a government of men, not laws,” The Theory and Practice of Legislation / Taylor & Francis (2020)

HUGH MCCLEAN

Promoted to associate professor, with tenure

“Discharged and Discarded: The Collateral Consequences of a Less Than Honorable Military Discharge,” Col. L. Rev. (2021)

AUDREY MCFARLANE

Panelist, Managing Integration: Race, Class, Privilege and Inclusionary Housing, University of Florida 27th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference 

Presenter, Black Transit, Iowa Law Review Symposium, “The Future of Law & Transportation” 

NANCY M. MODESITT

“The War on Whistle-blowers,” U. Pa. J. Law & Pub. Affairs (2021) 

“The Biden administration should use OSHA to help curb the pandemic,” The Hill, Nov. 22, 2020

MAX OPPENHEIMER

“Truth,” Harvard Bus. L. R. (2021) 

“The Species of Origin,” Mich. State L. Rev. (2021)

ROBERT RUBINSON

Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law, 5th Edition ed., with Lerman, L.G., and Schrag, P.G. (Walters Kluwer, 2020)

WALTER SCHWIDETZKY

Understanding Business Entity Taxation, 2nd Edition, Carolina Academic Press (with Fred Brown) (2021)

Partnership Taxation, 5th Edition, Carolina Academic Press (forthcoming)

MORTIMER SELLERS

“The Universalism of International Law,” in Tipping Points in International LawCambridge University Press (forthcoming) 

“Formal and Informal Constitutional Amendment,” in General Reports of the General Congress of the International Academy of International Law (Heidelberg, 2021)

MATTHEW SIPE

“A Fragility Theory of Trademark Functionality,” U. Pa. L. Rev. (forthcoming)

AMY SLOAN

Basic Legal Research: Tools & Strategies, 8th Edition, Wolters Kluwer (2021)

COLIN STARGER

“The Argument that Cries Wolfish,” MIT Computational Law Report (2020)

CHARLES TIEFER

Regular columnist for Forbes magazine

KIMBERLY WEHLE

Received the 2020 University of Maryland System Board of Regents Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship

How to Think Like a Lawyer — A Common Sense Guide to Everyday Dilemmas, Harper Collins (forthcoming 2021)

Regular columnist for The Hill, The Bulwark, Politico and The Atlantic

SONYA ZIAJA

How Algorithm Assisted Decision Making Is Influencing Environmental Law and Climate Adaptation, Ecology L. Q. (forthcoming). Paper was presented at the Sabin Colloquium for Innovative Environmental Scholarship and the University of Michigan Law School’s Junior Scholars Conference this past spring.

International and Comparative Law Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School, summer 2021

In Memoriam – Fall 2021

1950S

Martin Moncarz, J.D. ’51
 
Hon. Richard O. Motsay Sr., J.D. ’52
 
Leonard E. Trout Jr., J.D. ’52
 
Edna L. Williams, LL.B. ’52
 
William R. Benson, LL.B. ’53
 
Norman W. Lauenstein, J.D. ’53
 
John J. Brocato, LL.B. ’54
 
Otto P. Schulze, LL.B. ’55
 
Alan Getz, LL.B. ’57

1960S

Robert R. Cassilly, LL.B. ’60

Melvin R. Guy, J.D. ’61

William L. Freeh, LL.B. ’62

John B. Maier, J.D. ’63

R. Roland Brockmeyer, J.D. ’64
 
James C. Hoeck, LL.B. ’64
 
Thomas L. Lovelace, J.D. ’64
 
John F. X. O’Brien, J.D. ’64
 
Albert R. Wilkerson, J.D. ’65
 
Gary E. Good, LL.B. ’66
 
Thomas Salvatore, III, J.D. ’66
 
William T. Glasgow, J.D. ’67
 
Robert C. Hardy, LL.B. ’67
 
Joseph M. Nolan, J.D. ’67
 
George Barkman, LL.B. ’68
 
John B. McCrystle, J.D. ’69
 
Eugene J. Pawlikowski, J.D. ’69
 
Paul M. Plaia, Jr., LL.B. ’69

1970S

Jerry A. Berardi, J.D. ’70
 
Charles R. Boutin, J.D. ’70
 
Ara M. Crowe Jr., J.D. ’70
 
Michael F. Gilligan, J.D. ’70
 
Leah B. Graff, J.D. ’70
 
Edwin M. Kahoe, J.D. ’70
 
Irene C. Santoek, J.D. ’70
 
James R. Bell, J.D. ’73
 
Matthew S. Evans III, J.D. ’73
 
John T. Shaw, J.D. ’73
 
Hon. Ronald R. Donatucci, J.D. ’74
 
Howard B. Gerber, J.D. ’78
 
Jules G. Kollar, J.D. ’79
 
Andrew G. Shank, J.D. ’79

1980S

Jeffrey A. Weber, J.D. ’80
 
Hon. Alexandra N. Williams, J.D. ’81
 
Kenneth L. Hooper, J.D. ’83
 
Charles J. Ryan, III, J.D. ’85
 
Katherine A. Holmes, J.D. ’88
 
Jane R. Luckey, J.D. ’88, LL.M. ’93
 
Katherine E. Wilson, J.D. ’88
 
Maureen Vilanova, J.D. ’89
 
Susan Weinstein, J.D. ’89

1990S

Olivia N. Graham, J.D. ’93

2000S

Rosemary C. Smart, LL.M. ’04

2010S

Darren Sanborn, LL.M. ’10

Alumni Notes – Fall 2021

1970s

STUART M. GOLDBERG, J.D. ’74, is the chairperson for the Stratford University Professional Advisory Committee and is the chair of its Alumni Project, which was created to establish an alumni association and an alumni relations office for the university. Additionally, Goldberg is a foundation trustee for the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Foundation in the United States.

BARNETT Q. BROOKS, J.D. ’75, is of counsel at Smithey Law Group LLC.

HON. GLENN L. KLAVANS, J.D. ’78, is county administrative judge on the Anne Arundel County, Md., Circuit Court for the Fifth Judicial Circuit.

1980S

DONALD C. FRY, ESQ., J.D. ’80,received the Henry A. Rosenberg Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America Baltimore Area Council.
 
STEPHEN W. LAFFERTY, J.D. ’83, is director of the Baltimore County, Md., Department of Planning.
 
DAVID J. SMITH, J.D. ’84, was interviewed on the TODAY Show on Monday, August 24, 2020 for the segment “The New Normal,” providing tips on working from home. Smith is a career coach based in Rockville, Md.
 
HOWARD L. ALDERMAN, JR., J.D. ’85, is managing partner at Alderman Law LLC.
LINDA S. WOOLF, J.D. ’85, was named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
 
WILLIAM D. MORSE, J.D. ’86, celebrated 30 years with Shore United Bank and currently serves as executive vice president and legal counsel.
 
HON. JEFFREY S. GETTY, J.D. ’87, is circuit administrative judge on Maryland’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, which includes Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties, and is county administrative judge for Allegany County, Md., Circuit Court.
 
HON. FRED S. HECKER, J.D. ’87, is circuit administrative judge on Maryland’s Fifth Judicial Circuit, which includes Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard counties.
 
WILLIAM J. MCCARTHY, JR., J.D. ’87, LL.M. ’92, joined the Baltimore board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

1990S

PATRICK PALMER, J.D. ’90, was named to the board of directors of Queenstown Bank of Maryland.

HEATHER L. PRICE, J.D. ’91, is associate judge on the District Court of Maryland, District 3, Caroline County.

LESLEY A. DAVIS, J.D. ’92, is executive vice president of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.

SANDRA A. BANISKY, J.D. ’93, joined the board of directors of WYPR.

SHELLY L. BROWN, J.D. ’94, joined the board of directors of 211 Maryland.

KELLY A. KOERMER, J.D. ’94, joined the foundation board of directors of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region.

BOB SHILLINGER, J.D. ’95, is county attorney of Monroe County, Fla.

DANIEL P. VAVONESE, J.D. ’95is deputy commissioner for trademark operations at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

GLENN M. SULMASY, J.D. ’97is president of Nichols College.

DAVID M. CONNELLY, J.D. ’98, is a partner in the energy practice at Balch & Bingham in Washington, D.C.

NEIL E. DUKE, ESQ., J.D. ’98, is practice group leader and chief legal counsel for employee affairs and accessibility coordination at the Johns Hopkins Health System Legal Department.

STEPHANIE A. LAMONACA, J.D. ’98, is associate dean of students at the University of Redlands.

KRISTIE SCOTT, J.D. ’98, is general counsel at Xometry, a provider of on-demand manufacturing solutions.

CLAUDE DE VASTEY-JONES, J.D. ’98, joined the board of directors of the Heritage Housing Partner Corp.

HON. BRYON S. BEREANO, J.D. ’99, is associate judge on the District Court of Maryland, District 5, Prince George’s County.

LORI L. SHERWOOD, J.D. ’99, is director of commercial and market development at Render Networks.

2000S

AMY E. ASKEW, J.D. ’01, was named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

REBECCA N. CORDERO, J.D. ’02, received the 2020 Respect for Law Award from the Optimist Club of Calvert County, Md.

JOHN A. CARPENTER, JR., J.D. ’03, is a partner at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP.

JAMES F. ELLIOTT, J.D. ’03, is state’s attorney for Allegany County, Md.

LUISELLA “SELLA” PERRI, J.D. ’03, is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Holland & Knight, where she concentrates her practice on federal tax laws and regulations related to tax-exempt financings.

GENEAU MARIE THAMES, J.D. ’03joined the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel.

ADAM D. BAKER, J.D. ’05, is a partner at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP.  

ERIK S. ATAS, J.D. ’06, is associate judge on the Baltimore City, Md., Circuit Court for the Eighth Judicial Circuit. 

DAVID J. WEISHAUS, J.D. ’07, is manager of Tunie’s Market in Coral Springs, Fla.

KEMP W. HAMMOND, J.D. ’08, is associate judge on the District Court of Maryland, District 7, Anne Arundel County.

JASON F. WEINTRAUB, J.D. ’08, is counsel in the government relations practice at Gordon Feinblatt LLC.

LYDIA S. HU, J.D. ’09, is network correspondent at FOX Business Network.

2010S

LEAH CONWAY DEMPSEY, J.D. ’10, was recognized as a top lobbyist by The Hill newspaper.

HENRY L. GREENIDGE, J.D. ’10, is a fellow-in-residence at the New York University McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.

MYSHALA E. MIDDLETON, J.D. ’10, is associate judge on the Baltimore City, Md., Circuit Court, Eighth Judicial District.

CAILIN J. TALBERT, J.D. ’10, is a senior associate at JDKatz P.C.

MATTHEW HUDDLE, J.D. ’11, is a partner at the Baltimore firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, working in the firm’s corporate, private equity and venture capital practice groups.

BABAK MONAJEMI, J.D. ’11, is a shareholder at Polsinelli in Washington, D.C.

RACHEL C. SNAVELY, J.D. ’11, is executive director of Region 9 at the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council.

ZAINAB ALKEBSI, J.D. ’12, is policy counsel at the National Association of the Deaf, where she advocates for regulatory changes to improve the quality of life of deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, deaf with mobile disabilities, and deaf-blind people. She is also president of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association.

BRANDON S. BUTLER, J.D. ’13is government relations consultant at Greenwill Consulting Group.

KATHLEEN R. KERNER, J.D. ’13was named co-chair of the Maryland Association for Justice’s Product Liability Section.

ADAM E. KONSTAS, J.D. ’13, is a member at Pessin Katz Law.

KIM E. STEPANUK, J.D. ’13, is an attorney at MBH Settlement Group.

TIFFANY F. BOYKIN, J.D. ’15, is chief compliance and fair practices officer at Anne Arundel Community College.
 
SOPHIE GAGE, J.D. ’15, was named senior business counsel for NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the union for professional football players. Gage has served in several capacities at the NFLPA since 2012.
 
RAYMOND L. GAMBRILL, J.D. ’15, is an attorney in the litigation practice group at Miller, Miller & Canby.
 
ADAM SCHARFF, J.D. ’15, is an associate at the Baltimore firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, working in the firm’s business and commercial real estate practice groups.
 
GRASON M. WIGGINS, J.D. ’16, is senior government affairs manager at the Maryland Multi-Housing Association.
 
CAYLIN A. YOUNG, J.D. ’16, is public policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union 
of Maryland.
 
HOWLETT “JR” JACKSON, J.D. ’17is an associate at the employment law firm of Luchansky Law in Towson, Md.
 
ERIK L. JOHNSON, J.D. ’17, is an attorney in the coverage and commercial litigation section at Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers, LLP, in Atlanta.
 
ERONCIA BERRY, J.D. ’19, is a corporate attorney with Miles & Stockbridge in Baltimore.
 
BRANDON CAHEE, J.D. ’19, was named senior program/policy analyst for The National Education Association, where he leads the union’s African American outreach and engagement for its members and students.
 
ALANNA CASEY, J.D. ’19, has joined Wright, Constable and Skeen LLP as an associate in its employment law and litigation practices at the Baltimore office.
 
EDWARD DENT, J.D. ’19is an agent with The Sports & Entertainment Group in Washington, D.C.
 
LAUREN R. MULLIN, J.D. ’19is an associate in the medical malpractice group at Goodell DeVries in the firm’s Baltimore office.
 
VALERIE E. TAYLOR, J.D. ’19is an associate in the general litigation group at Pessin Katz Law, P.A.
 
JOHN K. THOMPSON, J.D. ’19, is an associate at Rollins, Smalkin, Richards & Mackie, LLC.

2020S

SUMBUL ALAM, J.D. ’20, is an associate at Ballard Spahr in Baltimore.

EMILY (SCHULTHEIS) DEBENEDETTO, J.D. ’20, is an associate with Shaw Keller LLP in Wilmington, Del.

RYAN FRACE, J.D. ’20, is an attorney advisor at the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Department of Justice, in New York.

JOSHUA R. PERRY, J.D. ’20, is a fixed income portfolio manager and partner at Brown Advisory in Baltimore.

ALANA QUINT, J.D. ’20, is a staff attorney at Maryland Legal Aid.

JORDAN CULLEY, J.D. ’21, is a contract specialist at the U.S. General Services Administration.

2021 Alumni Award Recipients Honored in Virtual Celebration

Every year, the School of Law honors the extraordinary accomplishments of its graduates through the Distinguished Alumni Awards program. On May 20, law school Dean Ronald Weich and Alumni Board President Jasmine Pope, J.D. ’18, hosted the first-ever virtual alumni awards celebration.

“We are thrilled to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of some of our shining stars and to capture them here in this program,” says Weich in the video. “The extraordinary contributions of University of Baltimore School of Law alumni rising to the occasion make us all proud.”

Award recipients are chosen by the UB Law Alumni Board. This year, the board received and reviewed nearly 40 nominations.

The Dean’s Award was awarded to Barry M. Chasen, J.D. ’80, founder and shareholder of ChasenBoscolo. This award, chosen at the discretion of the dean, recognizes outstanding contributions and extraordinary service, commitment and dedication to the School of Law community and to the legal profession.

The Byron L. Warnken Alumni Award, named after the legendary professor known as “Mr. UB,” recognizes a graduate who has enhanced the reputation of the School of Law and the legal profession by consistently demonstrating excellence in their practice through high ethical standards, commitment to community service, and commitment to mentoring law students and fellow attorneys. This year’s recipient is Isabel Mercedes Cumming, J.D. ’93inspector general for the City of Baltimore.

The Distinguished Judicial Award was awarded to Hon. Stuart R. Berger, J.D. ’84, who currently serves as a judge on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. The award recognizes a graduate who has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the rule of law and the administration of justice and who is considered a role model in the legal community and in the Maryland judiciary.

The Rising Star Award recognizes a recent graduate who is already making significant leadership and service contributions to the legal community and to the School of Law. This year’s recipient is James R. Torrence, Jr., J.D. ’17, a member of the Baltimore City Council.

The Judge Robert M. Bell Award recognizes a graduate who has demonstrated commitment to public service and social justice during their legal career. This year’s recipient is Jill J. Myers, J.D. ’81, professor and director of the Western Illinois University School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.

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Col. Rose Forrest Recognized as a Leader in Maryland Legal Community

Col. Rose M. Forrest

As the first female staff judge advocate in the Maryland National Guard, Col. Rose M. Forrest, J.D. ’06, led legal operations for the Guard during a very challenging time: the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guard supported COVID testing and vaccination efforts across the state. She was recognized for her accomplishments when she was named the overall winner for The Daily Record’s 2021 Leadership in Law awards program. 

An Iraq veteran, Forrest has been serving the Army since 1998. In January 2020, she was named the state’s first female staff judge advocate, a role in which she serves as legal adviser to the National Guard’s Adjutant General and manages legal programs for the office of the Staff Judge Advocate.

In a statement released to announce her promotion, Forrest noted that she was the only female member of the JAG Corps when she joined. So when staffing the office, Forrest made a point of keeping diversity in mind — not just diversity of gender and ethnicity, but diversity of thought as well.

“I think if somebody walks in for an interview and their legal philosophy is completely different from mine, I’m probably going to hire them,” Forrest said. “When somebody presents them with a problem, [they are able] to analyze the problem and look at it from different perspectives.”

Earlier this year, she earned a master’s degree in Military and Strategic Leadership from the U.S. Army War College. Forrest previously worked in private practice, focusing on family law, real estate law and birth advocacy. In 2020, she was named first runner-up in the 2020 Ms. Veteran America competition, a fundraiser for homeless women veterans and their children.

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For Portia White, the Fight Against Tobacco Is an Equity Issue

Portia White

Portia White, J.D. ’02, had a hefty resume before joining the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), where she is vice president for strategic partnerships, in 2020. She has also wielded her organizing and advocacy savvy at the AARP, the National Education Association, and the Transport Workers Union of America.

During the run-up to the 2016 election, White was a senior adviser to Sen. Harry Reid, then served as deputy director for public engagement for the Democratic National Convention Committee. Prior to that, she ran her own business consultancy.

She seems to have found a home at CTFK, a natural culmination of her two decades of experience. “I love what I do,” she says. “I’m about caring for people and having a passion to push forward an agenda.”

For now, that means lobbying the Food and Drug Administration to follow through on a promise made this year to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, a regulatory process she predicts will take years. Menthol is a popular flavoring because it softens the harshness of cigarette smoke, White says, but it also causes smokers to inhale more deeply, and it makes quitting more difficult. 

For White and CTFK, this is also an equity issue. Some 85 percent of Black smokers choose menthol cigarettes, she says, and there is ample evidence that the cigarette industry markets directly to Black teenagers, heavily promoting menthol brands such as Salem, Kool and Newport. “They have been targeting various communities with their products. [They’re] really callous about it because of the profits that come back,” she says.

While rates of cigarette smoking have declined since the early 1990s, White says, flavored cigars and e-cigarettes — for which there are a mind-boggling 15,000 unique flavors — are eroding some of that hard-won progress. 

“Despite the reductions in rates of smoking,” she says, “tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable death, killing more Americans than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.”

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Christopher Adams Sees Making Partner as a ‘Step in the Journey’

Christopher W. Adams

Christopher W. Adams, J.D. ’06, this year became a partner at the Washington, D.C. firm of Squire Patton Boggs, where he specializes in intellectual property and technology. He has been at the firm since 2008, first as an associate and then as of counsel. 

While attending Baltimore Law at night, Adams worked for several Northern Virginia federal government IT solutions providers, gaining hands-on experience in all phases of the software development lifecycle. He holds many industry certifications.

In an interview earlier this year with Law.com, Adams shared some advice he received from a colleague on how to approach this next phase of his career. “He reminded me that as Nelson Mandela said, ‘After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb,’ and so I should take this as an important step in the journey, but not the destination.” 

His advice to young law firm associates? “Have a positive mindset and be respectful of both your professional colleagues and your administrative support staff; most have been at the firm longer than you, and they have lessons to teach you that will be helpful to your career development.”

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Alumnus and Military Judge Advocate Trained Troops Protecting the U.S. Capitol on Use of Force Rules

Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Schepers for the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

We’ve all seen the videos of the chaos at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. In its aftermath, National Guard troops were called in from multiple states to restore and maintain order. One of those was University of Baltimore School of Law alumnus Army Capt. Julius M. Blattner, J.D. ’12.

Blattner is a brigade judge advocate with the 58th Troop Command in Adelphi, MD. Part of his role in this deployment at the Capitol has been training troops on the rules for the use of force, or RUF. While Guard members regularly receive training in the Maryland RUF, the rules of engagement often change from deployment to deployment, according to the Guard.  

While deployed in Washington, D.C., Maryland troops operated under the RUF set by the District of Columbia’s National Guard. Blattner is one of the military lawyers who were sent to Washington to train the Maryland service members on the new RUF.

“I first learned of the National Guard activation to Washington, D.C. from Governor Hogan’s tweet the afternoon of the (Jan. 6) attack on the Capitol,” Blattner says. “I immediately began to work with other judge advocates … to determine under what authorities the Guard was being activated to D.C.

“We also had to work on a Memorandum of Understanding … outlining the responsibilities and expectations of command and control, and support being provided during the mission. One of our biggest responsibilities as lawyers is to determine what laws apply and how they apply in these domestic operations,” he says.

“When soldiers first arrive in D.C., they are screened to make sure they are lawfully authorized to carry a weapon and are briefed on D.C.’s rules for the use of force by a D.C.-barred attorney. … The general principles of the RUFs are for service members to use the minimum force necessary to accomplish the mission and in self-defense or defense of others. I conduct scenario-based training with soldiers to help them apply the rules in situations they are most likely to face during their mission.

“I also advise commanders on how to incorporate the RUFs into their rehearsals and drills in responding to various situations.”

Blattner joined the Maryland National Guard in 2002 as a mechanic. After graduating from Baltimore Law and passing the Maryland bar exam, Blattner was admitted to the JAG Corps in 2013. Since then, he has been involved as a legal adviser in deployments following the Freddie Gray-related civil unrest in 2015, and more recently during civil unrest in response to the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

As a civilian, Blattner maintains a family law and mediation practice in Towson. 

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