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Editorial Advisory Board: Helping Maryland’s future lawyers

Lawyers in the Maryland bar — and probably throughout the country– have regularly and for a long time been calling for law schools to teach their students practical skills important to the practice of law. The University of Baltimore School of Law (UB Law), as compared with law schools around the country, was a pioneer in lawyering skills training for its students. (This is also true of the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law.)

Practicing members of the Maryland bar perform key roles in this effort, proving they don’t just demand law students be trained in legal skills, they do a lot to make that happen.

For decades, Maryland bar members have aided UB law students’ practical learning through a variety of externship programs in which lawyers, judges and other legal practitioners oversee and guide students who are performing substantive legal tasks, written and otherwise. UB Law is one of the few law schools in the country that ensures that this is available for all its law students no later than in the summer after their first year of law school, through the EXPLOR program that in 2019 is celebrating its 25th year.

Maryland bar members also assist UB Law students in preparing for EXPLOR hiring and work, and obtaining and working in other legal jobs, by assisting UB Law’s Career Development Office (LCDO).  For example, along with LCDO staff, Maryland lawyers conduct “mock interviews” with UB Law first-year and other students. Many Maryland bar members also provide guidance to UB Law first-year students in a legal mentorship program.

Later during their time at UB Law, most students gain further practical experience by representing actual clients under the supervision of experienced professors in one of the school’s 11 legal clinics.  Of coursethis requires students to engage and improve their performance in a variety of legal skills, including near-constant legal writing, as well as legal research, problem-solving, client counseling, interviewing and fact-gathering, oral presentation and many more. UB Law’s skills training of its students through its clinical programs is nationally recognized, ranking 15th in U.S. News and World Report.

Students in UB Law’s Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic represent veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Board of Veterans Appeals and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regional offices.

Judiciary assistance

The Maryland judiciary also has long assisted UB Law students, and recent graduates, in furthering their legal careers. And this invaluable assistance has continued to the present. In 2018-19, 70 UB Law graduates (38% of the class) served as judicial clerks, overwhelmingly for Maryland judges. That resulted in UB Law being ranked 3rd of 201 law schools for judicial clerk employment, according to Unsurprisingly, the training, knowledge and contacts (including with scores of Maryland Bar members) that those UB Law graduates acquire during their clerkships invariably boosts their legal careers, which often unfold in the state of Maryland.

In addition to Maryland judges, other Maryland Bar members and lawyers from Maryland and other jurisdictions provide training and other valuable instruction to law students. For example, the Association of Corporate Counsel invites UB Law (and U of Maryland law) students to attend its monthly meetings, at which vital matters relevant to representing corporations are presented and discussed. Another set of examples that has been so important to UB Law for so long are the Maryland Bar members and other legal practitioners — including judges — who teach courses at UB Law as adjunct professors.

As a result of everything discussed above — including the priceless contributions of members of the Maryland Bar — graduates of UB Law have a long-standing and well-deserved reputation of being “practice-ready” by graduation, and certainly by the time more than one-third of them complete clerking for a judge.  Consequently, according to the most recent statistics available (for the UB Law Class of 2018) more than 90% of UB Law graduates are gainfully employed within 10 months after graduation, a significantly higher percentage than the national average for law schools.

And so, we extend our thanks to the Maryland Bar members, and other Maryland lawyers, who have done so much for so long to assist UB Law and UMD law students and graduates to enhance their lawyering and other skills and to further their legal careers.  And — we invite other Maryland Bar members to join their colleagues in these efforts!


James B. Astrachan, Chair

James K. Archibald

Martha Ertman (on sabbatical)

Arthur F. Fergenson

Nancy Forster

Susan Francis

Michael Hayes

Ericka King

Stephen Meehan

William Michaels

Angela W. Russell

Debra G. Schubert

Mark Stichel

Vanessa Vescio

The Daily Record Editorial Advisory Board is composed of members of the legal profession who serve voluntarily and are independent of The Daily Record. Through their ongoing exchange of views, members of the board attempt to develop consensus on issues of importance to the bench, bar and public. When their minds meet, unsigned opinions will result. When they differ, or if a conflict exists, majority views and the names of members who do not participate will appear. Members of the community are invited to contribute letters to the editor and/or columns about opinions expressed by the Editorial Advisory Board.