On the second Tuesday of the month, a diverse group of lawyers gathers in a downtown Baltimore office building to discuss the legal issues of the day. These conversations, along with a steady stream of emails between meetings, help shape the voice of The Daily Record’s Editorial Advisory Board, whose work regularly appears in these pages.
The Editorial Advisory Board’s opinions are separate from editorials published by The Daily Record, which are the work of the editors and represent the newspaper’s formal position on issues of import. The Editorial Advisory Board also is independent of The Daily Record; all editors do is review articles for grammar, punctuation and accuracy.
Typically, one member of the board takes the lead in writing an editorial on a topic of interest. A draft is then circulated around for editing and comments. The editorial might remain unchanged or go in an entirely different direction based on the feedback. Eventually, a vote is taken on a finished product, with a simple majority needed for the editorial to be published. Those who decline to join in the opinion are identified.
The board speaks out on issues of importance to the bench, bar and public. If you agree or disagree with the board, we welcome letters and online comments.
James B. Astrachan, Chairman
Jim Astrachan is a principal with Astrachan Gunst Thomas P.C. in Baltimore and a national speaker and writer on intellectual property topics. A substantial part of his practice involves litigating and mediating copyright, trademark, trade secret, defamation, idea misappropriation and technology related matters. Jim is the co-author of a six-volume legal treatise, “The Law Of Advertising and Mass Communications,” and has been an adjunct law school professor for more than 20 years teaching trademark and unfair competition, copyright and the Second Amendment.
James K. Archibald
Jim Archibald is of counsel with Wright, Constable & Skeen LLP in Baltimore and also chief litigation counsel and vice president of Administration & Regulatory Affairs with privately held Wm. T. Burnett & Co., a manufacturer of polyurethane foams and textile-related products, and its subsidiary, sporting goods designer and manufacturer STX. An active trial lawyer for more than 40 years, Jim is the co-author with Paul Mark Sandler of several books on trial practice and procedure, among them the well-known treatise, “Pleading Causes of Action in Maryland.”
John Bainbridge Jr.
John Bainbridge Jr. is a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun and legal affairs editor for The Daily Record. He has practiced law in the private sector as a litigator and served as an assistant Maryland attorney general in the criminal appeals division. John has written articles for magazines, including Smithsonian and Audubon, and co-authored “American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman and the Shoot-out that Stopped It.”
Wes Blakeslee is a lawyer, engineer and entrepreneur, and is principal of Blakeslee LLC (wesblakeslee.com) and of counsel to Blakeslee & Wallace PC in Westminster. Wes provides legal, consulting, expert witness and recruiting services in matters of technology evaluation, licensing and commercialization, operations, business formation and development and industry standards and practices. A former NASA engineer and systems analyst, Wes spent more than 16 years at The Johns Hopkins University. In 2006, he became executive director of Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer, where he led a formerly struggling office to eight consecutive years of growth. He retired from that position in 2014.
Martha M. Ertman is the Carole & Hanan Sibel Research Professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where she teaches contracts, commercial law and contract drafting and writes about the reach of contracts into families and other surprising contexts. Her widely-reviewed book, “Love’s Promises: How Formal & Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families,” blends memoir with family law stories about exchanges in reproductive technology, adoption, cohabitation, and marriage. Martha is a member of the American Law Institute, and received the Service Award from the Intellectual Property Section of the DC Bar Association.
Arthur F. Fergenson
Arthur Fergenson is senior counsel with Ansa Assuncao LLP in Ellicott City, with a practice encompassing complex civil litigation, appeals and dispositive motions. Fergenson has taught at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, was a federal narcotics prosecutor and litigates in private practice, including acting as first chair in a series of lawsuits arising out of the dotcom bust.
Susan Francis is the deputy director of the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, which provides the linkage for thousands of low-income Marylanders to private attorneys who provide essential pro bono representation. Susan has overseen all aspects of the MVLS’ pro bono programs since 2014. Prior to that, she served as the Foreclosure Prevention Project manager. Susan is a 2011 graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law, and prior to law school, she served as a development and communications director in a variety of public interest agencies. Susan has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience primarily focused on poverty-related issues.
Ericka N. King worked for nine years at The Office of the Public Defender for Baltimore City, becoming a successful criminal defense litigator in the District Court of Maryland in Baltimore as well as Baltimore City Circuit Court. She has been a solo practitioner for more than two years, with a primary focus on criminal defense, personal injury and family law, and continues to represent clients passionately and tenaciously. Ericka is a member of the Monumental Bar Association and the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys.
Stephen Z. Meehan
Stephen Z. Meehan practices law in Chestertown where he focuses on prisoner civil rights and other civil matters. Meehan is principal counsel of the Prisoner Rights Information System of Maryland Inc. He also advises companies and individuals on business development matters. He is currently a director of the Corsica River Mental Health Clinic, a private nonprofit providing outpatient mental health services to residents.
C. William Michaels
Charles Michaels is a solo practitioner in the Towson area. His practice is exclusively devoted to federal and state appellate matters. He also does brief writing and drafting for other attorneys. He is the author “No Greater Threat: America After September 11 and the Rise of a National Security State.” He is the longest-serving member of The Daily Record’s Editorial Advisory Board.
Debra G. Schubert
Debra Schubert is a solo practitioner in Towson focusing on elder law, criminal law and estate administration. She has previously served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association (2014-2015) and Baltimore County Bar Association (2006-2007). While President of the MSBA, she emphasized the needs of veterans and received the Brigadier General Philip Sherman Award in 2016 from the Veterans Affairs and Military Law Section, the only civilian ever so honored. She is a graduate of the MSBA’s Leadership Academy and a recipient of the Baltimore County Bar Association Law Day Award. In practice for more than 30 years, Debra currently serves on several MSBA committees, the Board of Directors of the Maryland Bar Foundation and the Maryland SPCA.
Mark Stichel is a principal at Astrachan Gunst Thomas PC in Baltimore where he focuses on general business and insurance litigation. Mark has represented clients in federal and state courts throughout the United States. In 2000, he received the first Pro Bono Service Award from the Judges of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland and, in 1997, he received a Legal Excellence Award from the Maryland Bar Foundation. He has served as chairman of the Baltimore City Sitting Judges Committee since 1994 and is an active member of the American Law Institute.