Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Paul B. Dewolfe

Public Defender
State Of Maryland

Paul B. DeWolfe has practiced criminal defense law for 33 years, including the past 23 years as public defender for the state of Maryland. 

He is the former president of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association and former president of the Bar Association of Montgomery County. In 2008, he was given the Joseph P. Curran Award for Distinguished Public Interest Lawyers from the Maryland State Bar Association. 

What is the biggest challenge facing the legal profession today? 

It is not hyperbole to say the country today faces an existential threat to the rule of law, which depends on the universal acceptance of the judicial authority to resolve disputes peacefully. 

The politicization of the judicial selection process in the federal system is one example of recent attempts to tip the scales of justice ideologically. 

The legal profession’s biggest challenge is to be a bulwark against forces which seek to undermine the independence of the court system and the electoral process to obtain power. 

What advice would you offer anyone interested in a legal career? 

I would advise those entering the profession to envision a purpose-driven career. Find a firm or an organization with a like purpose and learn from those whom you respect and would like to emulate. 

What has been your biggest surprise during the pandemic? 

As the leader of an organization with over 1000 employees, it has been an eye-opening experience during the pandemic to discover how much the work of our agency can be done by teleworking. I believe the pandemic has transformed the concept of the “workplace” permanently.