Attorney Andy Baida has won The Daily Record’s top Leadership in Law award for 2014, an honor for public service that left the veteran appellate advocate struggling for words.
“I’m very humbled, extremely baffled and completely unprepared,” Baida said in accepting the award Thursday night. “All I’ll say is thank you very much.”
Baida began the day as one of 26 winners of The Daily Record’s 14th annual Leadership in Law award, which recognizes members of Maryland’s legal community who have made outstanding contributions to the profession, public service and the future through mentoring.
The winners, in advance of Thursday’s event, voted on which one of them would take home the top prize, but the result was not announced until the dinner at the BWI Hilton in Linthicum.
After the ceremony, Baida continued to praise his fellow winners.
“I’m very appreciative,” said Baida, a partner at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP. “Modesty is one of my traits and this is against my grain to be talking about it.”
The event, which drew 260 attendees, celebrates “the incredible accomplishment of judges and lawyers across the state of Maryland,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record.
“The Daily Record has served this community for 126 years,” Fischer-Huettner said. “We bring the legal community together to not only celebrate their professional accomplishments but the positive impact they have on the greater community.”
The other 25 winners of the 2014 Leadership in Law award included judges Kathleen O’Ferrall Friedman, of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, and Theresa A. Lawler, of the Orphans’ Court for Baltimore County.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy was also a winner, as were Isabel Mercedes Cumming, assistant inspector general of investigation at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Emmanuelle Regine Francois, executive director of the Maryland Professionalism Center Inc.; Veronica P. Jones, legal counsel for Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera; Donna S. Mandl, chair of the legal-studies department at Baltimore County Community College; and Suzanne Sangree, chief of police legal affairs at the Baltimore City Law Department.
Law-firm partners winning the award this year included James R. Benjamin Jr. of Pessin Katz Law P.A.; Anthony I. Butler of TBMG Law; James W. Constable of Wright, Constable & Skeen LLP; Allan J. Gibber of Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin & Gibber P.A.; Kelly Tubman Hardy of DLA Piper; Michelle N. Lipkowitz of Saul Ewing LLP; Jim Mathias of DLA Piper; William Alden McDaniel Jr. of Ballard Spahr LLP; Thomas Meachum of Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr LLP; Tracy L. Steedman of Niles, Barton & Wilmer LLP; Margaret M. Witherup of Gordon Feinblatt LLC; and Martin E. Wolf of Gordon, Wolf & Carney Chtd.
Other winners were Meryl Burgin, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield; Debora Fajer-Smith, of counsel at Joseph, Greenwald & Laake PA; Edward T. Paulis III, vice president and assistant general counsel at Zurich North America; Debra G. Schubert, of the Law Office of Debra G. Schubert PC; and Mark A. Tyler, president of the Wicomico County Bar Association.
More than 100 names were placed in nomination for Leadership in Law awards this year. From those names, a panel of six judges selected the 26 winners honored Thursday.
The six judges were Barbara Grzincic, managing editor at The Daily Record; Wilhelm H. Joseph Jr., executive director of Maryland Legal Aid; Patricia McHugh Lambert, of Pessin Katz Law P.A.; Hillary Michaud, of Stevenson University; Maureen van Stone, of Kennedy Krieger Institute; and James L. Thompson, of Miller, Miller & Canby.