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It’s time to get engaged

Before I introduce myself as a blogger of Generation J.D., a disclaimer is in order. I will be 37 years old at the end of this month. I’m not sure if that makes me “Generation J.D.” or “Gen X’er J.D.” That being said, I have enjoyed (most of) my time within the Maryland legal community and I hope to bring some value to readers of this blog regardless of which generation we represent. So here we go:

Everyone has (or should have) an elevator speech to explain their work life in 30 seconds or less. The first part of this post is a variation of my standard introduction. The second part of this post might matter more than a recitation of CV highlights.

I have been an attorney for eight years in the litigation practice group at Ober|Kaler in downtown Baltimore. In the past few years, I have been involved in a variety of matters ranging from products liability and construction defect cases to a widely reported-upon case involving a pit bull attack on a child. I like developing and executing game plans for litigation. I dislike the devolution of discovery practice that can plague cases.

I will begin the second part of my introduction by noting that I am a husband and father and I do not believe that you must choose between being a good parent and a good lawyer. The two options are not mutually exclusive, although finding balance is difficult.

As a young lawyer, professional development is of the utmost importance. In the first few years of practice, we all must work hard at developing research, writing and analytical skills. I went about skill building by shutting myself in an office researching legal points, drafting memos and eventually preparing for my first deposition, hearing, trial, etc. I kept my head down and chugged along. However, in doing so, I had inadvertently put blinders on to the broader, societal implications of the practice of law.

Luckily, a mentor of mine has long stressed the benefits of service on nonprofit boards. So I expanded my horizons and it made a tremendous difference in my life and practice. Service to communities in need is personally rewarding and has led me to undertake pro bono engagements in subject areas beyond my everyday practice. We need attorneys as civic leaders and champions of justice. Get started with board leadership, volunteerism and take on pro bono clients as soon as possible.

I look forward to sharing more about all of these topics in the weeks to come.