UMCarey receives gift for female leadership program

A female leadership program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law received a belated holiday gift this week.

DollarThe Marjorie Cook Foundation gave the Women, Leadership & Equality Program a $100,000 gift, the law school announced Tuesday.

The money will allow the program, which focuses on gender issues in the legal profession, to expand its curriculum and maintain the positions of the program’s fellows at nonprofits like House of Ruth and the Maryland and National Women’s Law Centers.

“Because of the Foundation’s generosity we have had the ability for the last decade to educate more than 90 students selected as Rose Zetzer Fellows in the theory and practice of gender equality for women in our profession,” program founder and professor Paula Monopoli said in a statement.

The program was initially founded with the help of a $250,000 gift from the Marjorie Cook Foundation.

 

Law blog roundup

kagan_090501_mainHappy Monday and welcome to the unofficial official start of fall. Today’s the day when many of your favorite syndicated talk shows return from summer hiatus and new shows begin. (Don’t tell me what happens on “Bethenny”; I DVR’d it!)

Here are some law links to peruse while you wait for the return of Arsenio tonight:

– Everyone knows Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from litigation over Obamacare while solicitor general. But here’s why she did it.

– Did you hear about the law school student who is suing his school for making him retake a class he failed? (HT: Above the Law)

– Ms. JD explains how law school is like planning a wedding.

Here’s video of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaking Friday night at the National Constitution Center.

A groundbreaking anniversary for Maryland

This date, forever linked to unimaginable violence, also marks the anniversary of a grand beginning for Maryland.

One hundred ten years ago — Sept. 11, 1902 — Henrietta H. “Etta” Maddox, then in her early 40s, became the first woman admitted to the state bar.

Maddox, the only woman in her Baltimore Law School graduating class of 13 students in 1900, opened a law office in the city on the corner of St. Paul and Lexington streets.

Maddox, who died Feb. 19, 1933, is buried in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore. The Scales of Justice are inscribed on her tombstone.

(HT: Finding Justice, A History of Women Lawyers in Maryland)

Maryland native runs animal law practice

For Maryland native Jennifer Reba Edwards, the practice of law has gone to the dogs.

Literally.

Edwards runs the only law practice in Colorado solely concentrated on animal law, The Denver Post reports. Edwards opened the Animal Law Center in Wheat Ridge after she graduated from law school in 2006.

Edwards’ practice handles everything from animal ownership disputes to national, high-profile cases. The practice won a $24 million settlement with a pet food company in a class-action suit in which Edwards represented owners whose pets had died after eating the company’s food.

The practice also deals with cities or areas trying to ban specific dog breeds like pit bulls and a case where a dog was shot by a police officer when answering a call at someone’s house. Edwards has almost been attacked by a wolf and was peed on by a tiger in the course of her work.

“But that’s OK,” Edwards told the Post. “I like to meet my clients.”

Lawyer puts a cork in legal career

A Washington, D.C, lawyer has chosen vino over verdicts.

The Washington Post reports Elizabeth Banker, part-owner of law firm ZwillGen PLLC in the District, has decided to quit the law and go into the wine business. Banker is opening a wine bar on Wisconsin Avenue in mid-August.

Banker has put about $600,000 into Slate Wine Bar, $450,000 of which was her own. Much of the rest of the money came from other lawyers.

The restaurant will serve some food but will concentrate on wine, a menu Banker prepared for by traveling to wineries around the world for two years.

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

The most talked about general counsel in the news in the last week was, of course, former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh compiled a report after investigating the university’s handling of Jerry Sandusky. When the report was released last week, Baldwin was repeatedly mentioned for not dealing with the situation correctly.

Sandusky was convicted and jailed on 45 counts of abusing boys and is awaiting sentencing.

Baldwin served as the interim general counsel from January 2010 until June 30. Freeh criticizes Baldwin for downplaying the grand jury investigation into Sandusky to the university’s board of trustees. The report also says she failed to find an expert for the university’s internal investigation or to lead it through the criminal investigation.

The report singles Baldwin out for attending the testimony of Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley during the grand jury investigation. Baldwin said she attended simply to represent the university, but Schultz and Curley thought she was there as their attorney.

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Number of women on the bench continues to rise

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Dear Judge Avery, Judge Smith, Judge Barber, readers who have posted comments and those of you who have not written yet:

We were wrong and we are sorry.

It was never our intent to trivialize the accomplishments of women judges, and yet we did just that — and we did it at the speed of light and the Internet. We published a blog post that, while well-intentioned, contained an image and content that was insulting and demeaning. That offensive material has now been removed.

As publisher of The Daily Record, I personally assure you that we respect Maryland’s female judges. We elevate and celebrate the accomplishments and perseverance of successful women in all fields through our content, our events in general and our Top 100 Women and Leading Women programs in particular, as well as their related scholarship, networking and mentoring programs.

If there is an upside to this humbling lapse in judgment, it is the dialogue I have had with several of you, and the renewed energy and commitment it has given us to recognize the resolve, persistence and achievements of women in Maryland.

Once again, our apologies.

Suzanne Fischer-Huettner

***

The number of female judges in the United States continues to rise.

About 27.1 percent of federal and state judges are female, up from 26.6 percent in 2011 and 26 percent in 2010, according to a new study by the University at Albany Center For Women in Government & Civil Society.

In Maryland, women made up 33.7 percent of all total state and federal judges. Breaking the numbers down, 34.4 percent of Maryland’s state judges and 26.7 percent of its federal judges are women.

Maryland has the sixth highest percentage of women judges overall. Montana leads the country with 40.3 percent; Washington, D.C., is fourth at 37.2 percent.

Other findings from the study: women make up a total of 27.5 percent of state judges around the country; and the Northwest had the highest percentage of women judges at the state and federal level, at 30.4 percent.

In-House Interrogatory

Not surprisingly, this week’s question is all about the Supreme Court’s healthcare decision last week. We know everyone else is talking about it, but, hey, that just means all you general counsels are talking about it, too.

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

General counsels are taking center stage this week in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s healthcare decision. The Supreme Court voted to uphold President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, including a requirement that individuals buy insurance.

General counsels both at healthcare companies and companies across the board that offer health insurance will be talking about the effects of the decision this week. Corporate Counsel talked to a general counsel who recommended a course of action in light of the decision.

According to the article, counsels should prepare for the decision in advance, mostly by letting potentially affected divisions of the company know how this could affect them. A general counsel should keep management in the loop for both scenarios and be ready to take action when the decision is made.

So, here’s our question for you:

How are you and your company dealing internally with the Supreme Court’s decision on healthcare?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • The biggest general counsel news this week is that Yahoo announced longtime general counsel Michael J. Callahan resigned. He leaves amid the legal department’s ongoing investigation into former CEO Scott Thompson’s academic record.
  • PetSmart Inc. has a new general counsel.
  • Our intern, @MattOwings (follow him!), takes a look at how local general counsels handle social media policies.
  • Ever wonder what it’s like to be the in-house counsel for The Walt Disney Company India?
  • Above The Law has advice on finding an in-house job.
  • Corporate Counsel looks at the challenges of hiring an international outside counsel.
  • Female general counsels say networking is the key to success.
  • More lawyers are going in-house in Western Australia, mate.
  • To get more in-house counsel news, sign up for our FREE monthly email newsletter, In-House Counsel. The newsletter is a compilation of The Daily Record’s coverage of in-house counsel news as well as job listings, movements within the industry and other resources. Click here to sign up today.
  • Follow us on Twitter for the In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse
  • Want the latest on who’s been hired, fired or moving and shaking in between? Head to our Movers and Shakers page to find out.
  • For networking events and other happenings this week in Maryland, check out our calendar of events.
  • Get the very latest updates from our law reporters on Twitter: @TDRKristi, @BenMook@Steve_Lash
  • Check out The Daily Record on Facebook.

Bicoastal woman power

While all of us here at The Daily Record celebrated the Top 100 Women across the state Monday, another woman on the other side of the country reached a milestone for women in the courts.

Jacqueline H. Nguyen of Los Angeles was confirmed as a judge on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday. The appointment makes her the first Asian Pacific American woman judge on a federal appellate court.

Nguyen came to the United States in 1975 after fleeing Vietnam and studied during breaks while helping her parents at their donut shop in Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles Times.

She went to UCLA School of Law, was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2002 and was chosen by President Barack Obama as a federal judge for the Central District of California in 2009.

The Ninth Circuit Court, where Nguyen was appointed, has jurisdiction over the federal district courts in Hawaii, Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Starting my day the feminist way

What did you do during breakfast this morning? If you’re like most people, you skimmed the local paper, grumbled at the weather report, checked your e-mail or tried to keep your kids from ripping each others’ hair out.

Well, my Thursday started much differently than it usually does. Over coffee and a bagel, I discussed abortion, homosexuality, HIV and religion with some of the world’s foremost feminist thinkers.

I had the pleasure and the privilege to start my day at University of Baltimore School of Law’s Feminist Legal Theory Conference. Before the program had even begun, lively chatter broke out among a number of presenters sitting at my table. Though the discourse changed as I slowly drained my cup, the underlying concern on everyone’s mind was apparent: How can we improve the lives of women around the world through legal practice and policy?

The event, in its fourth year, featured guest speaker Toni Morrison (above) – whom, I’m sorry to say, I missed because tickets went like hotcakes — as well as panels on reproductive health, socio-economics, women in combat and feminist activism.

Though I won’t bore you with my own opinions on these pressing global issues,  I will implore you — when this conference comes around again next year, sign up.

I only wish I could start my day the feminist way every morning.