Fifty-Nine Students Are Inducted into the Royal Graham Shannonhouse III Honor Society at Baltimore Law

Fifty-nine students were inducted Sept. 21 into the Royal Graham Shannonhouse III Honor Society, which recognizes University of Baltimore School of Law students who have distinguished themselves academically after completing 32 credits.

Associate Dean Starger and an inductee.
Associate Dean Colin Starger hands a certificate to an inductee.

The minimum grade-point average for induction is 3.15. Students who have achieved a GPA of 3.7 or higher are inducted as Distinguished Scholars.

The honor society is named for a longtime, and much revered, Baltimore Law professor. The late Prof. Shannonhouse has been described as an educator with a passion for the law and a belief that students learn best by being challenged to wrestle with legal concepts, rather than to simply memorize cases and statutes.

During the induction ceremony, law school alumnus Scott Shellenberger, J.D. ’84, shared personal recollections about becoming a lawyer.

Scott Shellenberger

“It’s who you are, who you become, how respectful and kind you are to others…that’s what will make your career successful,” Shellenberger said during his remarks. “Find an area of the law that you’re passionate about and chase it.”

For Shellenberger, that passion was prosecution. He is now in his fourth term as the State’s Attorney for Baltimore County.

Here are the new Shannonhouse Honor Society inductees; an asterisk denotes a Distinguished Scholar.

Ourania Marie Abbas*

Anthony B. Blanchfield-Felice

Audreina J. Blanding*

Hunter L. Bolen

Sara K. Braniecki*

Jeneen Burrell

Erin Carrington Smith*

Patrick A. Cazalet

Charles Chaffin

Eleanor A. Clerc

Jana T. Cook

Eva P. Cox

Emily A. Cullison

Mitchell D. Dolman*

Brandon T. Ewing

Jamie Fisher*

Saniyya Gondal

Laura K. Grant*

Torra B. Hausmann*

Charles T. Hoffberger

Brenda A. Hurford

Lindsay L. Keough

Vidhi Kumar*

Amanda M. Kushner

Samantha M. Laulis*

Brice M. Litus

Michael A. Mancuso

Joseph A. McCarter

Michaela McComas

Steven Messmer

Thomas J. Michels

Darnisha N. Mitchell

Meriam Mossad

Brian D. Muller

Jeffrey D. Neuman*

Hanna L. Nilles

Coley A. O’Brien

Rebecca A. Odelius

Kaitlin O’Dowd

Alina Pargamanik

Darren S. Pats

Sebastian M. Penafiel

Olga M. Petrovskikh

Alicia M. Pitts*

Alexis T. Riep

Chelsea A. Roberts*

Bradley K. Rosen

Garrick M. Ross

Leah C. Rowell

Ritozeh A. Saingbe

Daniel Santos

Peri L. Schuster

Zachary M. Seidel

Sarah J. Steinberg

Chamyra L. Upshur

Ilianna S. Walker

Aaminah K. Woods

Faith Zellman

Chelsea A. Zortman

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Thurgood Marshall Clerkships Provide Hard Work, Opportunities, Says One Baltimore Law Fellow

All six law students chosen to participate in the 2021 Thurgood Marshall Clerkship Program are from University of Baltimore School of Law: Audreina Blanding, Jeneen Burrell, Dina Morales, Nicolas Remolina, Arriana Sajjad and Chamyra Upshur. We asked Upshur to write about her experience.

This summer, I had one of the most outstanding experiences of my time in law school, as an intern in the Maryland Office of the Attorney General (OAG). I obtained this opportunity through the Thurgood Marshall Clerkship Program (TMCP).

As a first-year student at the University of Baltimore School of Law, I was overwhelmed with the idea of finding an internship. I had no idea where I wanted to intern, the type of law I wished to practice, or whom to ask questions, because I am a first-generation law student.

Chamyra Upshur, Class of 2023
Chamyra Upshur, Class of 2023

I remember attending the information session for the program and thinking, “This is where I want to be.” The speakers for the session highlighted their desire to recruit first-generation law students, students who wanted networking opportunities, and academic achievers with diverse backgrounds. I knew at that moment that this was the program for me.

Students can learn more about the clerkship program at a virtual information session on Thursday, Sept. 30 from 5 to 6 p.m.
Register here.

The TMCP was created in 2013, when the OAG partnered with several notable Baltimore law firms to create a superior legal practice opportunity for candidates with diverse talent, backgrounds and experiences.

The program sought to provide a space where first-generation and other non-traditional law students could gain meaningful experiences within the OAG, while also receiving compensation for their efforts. Unlike many internships in the area, the program’s main goal was to create a pipeline of academic achievers wanting to pursue opportunities typically beyond their reach. The clerkship allows students eight weeks of hard work at OAG, while enjoying mentorship and networking with lawyers from Miles & Stockbridge, Saul Ewing, and Whiteford, Taylor & Preston.

The TMCP has been essential to my success as a law student. I was able to intern in the Organized Crime Unit and learn from skilled attorneys who are passionate about their practice and zealous in teaching law clerks. I also gained experience by writing memoranda and engaging in substantive legal research assignments throughout the summer.

This program also allowed me to network with attorneys at some of Baltimore’s largest law firms. I asked questions, learned about different firms, and created networking relationships with people excelling in my career field. The most notable thing this program gave me was a chance to show the resilient student that I am, the chance to learn, and the opportunity to meet mentors who would impact my life forever.

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Baltimore Law Professor, Student, Share Reflections on the Impact of the Sept. 11 Terrorist Attacks

Over the past week, many Americans have reflected on the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and what the terrorist attacks have meant for the nation as well as for them personally. The University of Baltimore held a 20th anniversary observance on Friday, Sept. 10, organized by The Bob Parsons Veterans Center and including various university faculty, staff and students.

The university also created a 9/11 remembrance web page to gather testimonials and reflections as well, including one from Baltimore Law 2L Tyler Walch, an Army veteran, who shared this:

I was a young 10-year-old  fifth-grader on Sept. 11, 2001. Despite my age at the time, I remember that harrowing day well and in detail. I’ll never forget the unity that followed—that sense of community, Americanism, and a commonly held commitment to mutual helpfulness. 

It was a sad day that soon brought about an immeasurable amount of patriotic fervor, as we put aside our differences to defeat our terrorist enemies. Although I did not recognize it at the time, that resurrection of national pride and our absolute dedication to defeating the organized terror that attacked us had a profound impact on my future.

If not for that day, I highly doubt that I’d have been inspired to serve in the Army. If not for that day, I highly doubt I’d be living in Maryland or using my GI Bill to attend law school. I may have only been 10 years old, but that day played a defining role in making me the man I am 20 years later.

One of the speakers at the public event was Prof. Hugh McClean, director of The Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He recorded a video for the 9/11 remembrance website about the lasting impact of the attacks on our national security, but his remarks at the commemorative event focused more on the trauma affecting our soldiers and veterans. Here are some excerpts of that speech:

Prof. Hugh McClean
Prof. Hugh McClean

In my capacity as director of the Veterans Advocacy Clinic, I teach students to practice law by representing veterans in disability benefits cases. Our clients are low-income and are often homeless. None of them were injured in the events of 9/11, but many of them served in the wars that raged for two decades after 9/11; the wars that are now coming to a close.

What our veteran clients share with those impacted by the events of 9/11 is the trauma. They feel the pain and anguish of loss. Our clients have lost military brothers and sisters while deployed. Some of our clients were traumatized before service, and their trauma was exacerbated by their military service. Some have been addicted to drugs and alcohol. And when you get to know these individuals, you find that their substance use is almost always linked to the trauma they have experienced.

My own trauma is different from my clients. I had colleagues who died in military service, but I didn’t know them well. However, I lost my sister to suicide when I was 25. It’s a different kind of trauma, but I share with my clients the feelings of loss.

The silver lining in all this trauma is that today, our society is quite familiar with trauma, in all its many forms. We have made great strides in the identification of trauma. You might be surprised to know that although service members have experienced PTSD since the dawn of war, it wasn’t until 1980 that the Department of Veterans Affairs officially recognized the illness. In our clinic, we’ve always been concerned about the mental well-being of our clients. But now we know that our students can experience secondary trauma through their representation of individuals who have experienced trauma. …

I was delighted to see an announcement from Department of Veterans Affairs yesterday about the refugee crisis in Afghanistan. It was an open invitation to communities across the country to support the resettlement of our Afghan allies and other vulnerable Afghan national refugees. It offered a number of ways individuals can become involved in helping with the Afghanistan response.

To me, that announcement was the recognition of trauma, its serious consequences, and a demonstration of the resilience of those living with trauma and those who want to help.

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Baltimore Law Prof. Kim Wehle Offers Expertise to Non-Lawyers in New LinkedIn Learning Course

University of Baltimore School of Law Prof. Kim Wehle, who as a media commentator provides legal analysis of everything from Donald Trump’s taxes to Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, is offering laypersons an online course to develop their own lawyerly skills.

The class, “Think Like a Lawyer to Make Decisions and Solve Problems,” is offered via LinkedIn Learning. The course was first released July 21, and as of this writing, more than 33,000 people have enrolled, Wehle says.

According to the LinkedIn course description, Wehle “explains how thinking like a lawyer and employing the legal method of decision making helps eliminate emotional reactivity, confirmation bias, and other decision-making pitfalls in favor of evidentiary-based analysis.”

Professor Kim Wehle
Prof. Kim Wehle

The 27-minute course is broken into five segments: Introduction, Establish Your Guiding Principles, Define Your Goals, Identify Stakeholder Interests, Gather Facts, and Accept Disagreement.

Wehle emphasizes the importance of asking the right questions, identifying and prioritizing your goals, and exercising critical listening skills — techniques that, Wehle argues, can lead to better decision-making and feeling better about those decisions, even when the outcome is not as expected.

“It’s a natural follow-up to my book, How to Read the Constitution — and Why, and a prelude to my third book, How to Think Like a Lawyer — and Why, and part of my overall passion and objective of civic education.

“[LinkedIn Learning] goes to up to 800 million subscribers across many professional sectors, and many different countries across the globe, so I am extremely pleased and honored to be able to make the contribution to the dialogue around decision-making.”

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Sept. 14 UB Law in Focus Webinar to Look at Ransomware Attacks and the Role of Cybersecurity Lawyers

The frightening number of ransomware attacks in recent years raises serious questions about the vulnerability to hacking of our nation’s businesses, utilities and municipalities to due to inadequate cybersecurity. Class-action lawsuits are being brought against organizations that failed to protect their information technology, resulting in exposure of personal identity details and lost revenues down the supply chain.

What is the role of cybersecurity lawyers in helping their clients prevent these kinds of attacks? And what about the ethics of paying ransom to hackers to restore critical IT services? Does that simply encourage the bad actors to continue?

Jerry Bodman
Jerry Bodman

These questions and more will be addressed in an upcoming UB Law in Focus webinar, “Ransomware Reality: Protecting IT Infrastructure From Crippling Malware Attacks,” on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 5 to 6 p.m. The webinar will be presented virtually on Zoom, and the public is invited to register here.

We will hear from three cybersecurity experts: Baltimore Law alumnus Jerry Bodman, J.D. ’03, an adjunct professor at the law school and senior counsel and privacy officer at Dragos, a Maryland company focusing on Industrial Control System (ICS) cybersecurity; Baltimore Law alumnus David Katz, J.D. ’99, a partner and cybersecurity team leader at Adams and Reese LLP in Atlanta; and Todd Carter, chief information and chief digital officer for the City of Baltimore. The city government’s computer system was infected with the ransomware variant RobbinHood in May 2019. Carter was hired shortly thereafter to lead the system’s recovery from that attack.

Moderating the discussion will be Prof. William Hubbard, director of the law school’s Center for the Law of Intellectual Property and Technology.

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Baltimore Law Welcomes New Students for Orientation; Henry Greenidge Joins as Featured Alumni Speaker

The University of Baltimore School of Law opened its doors this week, kicking off the new school year and the return to in-person learning. Orientation welcomed 240 new students to the John and Frances Angelos Law Center on Tuesday, Aug. 17 for the first day of a four-part orientation.

The entering class comes to Baltimore from 21 different states, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and 5 other countries. Students are well credentialed as well, hailing from 124 different colleges and universities and increasing the median LSAT score and undergraduate GPA of the new student profile from last year. The class is 56 percent female, 36 percent non-white, and students range in age from 20 to 57.

Dean Ronald Weich welcomed students to the legal profession and shared how critical the next generation of lawyers is to our society.

“From voting rights to immigration reform, workers’ rights to climate change, every aspect of our society needs the counsel of legal professionals,” said Weich. “And your University of Baltimore School of Law education will prepare you to address the needs of the communities you will serve.”

Henry Greenidge, J.D. ’10, addressed the entering class as well, adding that students should make the most of their education by learning how to confront challenging situations and how to positively contribute to their communities.

Henry Greenidge, J.D. ’10

“Take advantage of this time. You all have what it takes to be successful,” said Greenidge. He encouraged students to participate in our nationally renowned clinical law program and to enhance their legal research, writing and advocacy skills through the law school’s student journals and trial teams. “These experiences will build your leadership skills to make you a successful and adaptable lawyer when you graduate.”

Greenidge is a dynamic attorney and government relations professional based in New York. Currently, he is a managing director at Tusk Ventures and a fellow-in-residence at the New York University McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research.

His work focuses on the future of urbanism through mobility and technology, including policy around autonomous vehicles, the movement of goods, and broadband infrastructure. His passion for improving access and addressing inequality in the mobility sector through sustainable solutions is a theme throughout his work.

Orientation culminates on Saturday, Aug. 21, with a leadership retreat and diversity workshop at Camp Puh’tok in Baltimore County, where students will meet another Baltimore Law graduate, Alexi Grote, J.D. ’04, who serves as the camp’s director of operations. Students will break into small groups as part of the new UB LEADS program, which focuses on building each student’s support system and instilling leadership skills as they enter law school. Each UB LEADS section also pairs new students with a 2L or 3L student mentor, who will serve as a resource during their first semester.

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Baltimore Law Associate Dean Schultz Named Chair of Maryland’s Access to Counsel in Evictions Task Force

Vicki Schultz, associate dean for administration at The University of Baltimore School of Law, has been named chair of the Access to Counsel in Evictions Task Force. The task force was created in the 2021 legislative session by HB18, the passage of which made the Maryland General Assembly the second state legislature in the country to provide statewide access to counsel in eviction proceedings for income-eligible tenants. 

“I am honored to have been asked to lead the task force comprised of subject matter experts from around our state,” said Schultz. “Through the task force, we hope to assure meaningful access to counsel for people facing eviction that will level the playing field and close an access-to-justice gap in our civil legal system.”

Effective October 1, the task force will be responsible for: 

  • evaluating the provision of services under HB18,
  • studying potential funding sources, and
  • making recommendations to improve the implementation of the access to counsel program, including necessary policy and statutory changes.
Associate Dean Vicki Schultz

In June 2020, in partnership with the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, Attorney General Brian Frosh created the Attorney General’s COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force. That task force submitted nearly 60 significant legislative and policy recommendations to help Marylanders recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19. One of the recommendations of that task force was to provide a right to counsel to defendants in eviction proceedings.

Providing a tenant facing eviction with access to counsel is crucial, according to the attorney general. The federal government has encouraged states and localities to use federal funds for housing stability services and eviction diversion programs, including legal assistance. Frosh has urged the Hogan administration to allocate federal funds to the Access to Counsel Program created by HB 18. Without action by the state, individual counties have been left to decide whether and to what extent to fund legal services. 

“The Access to Counsel in Evictions Task Force is the latest in our ongoing effort to connect households at risk of eviction with resources to keep people in their homes,” said Frosh.  “Now that state protections against eviction have expired, there is new urgency for legal assistance to help tenants navigate the myriad orders and resources that are available.”

By statute, the Access to Counsel in Evictions Task Force consists of 15 members appointed by the Office of the Attorney General. Frosh has selected the following members to serve:

Vicki Schultz, chair
Latonya Abrom         
Jason Butler
Jessica Kaufman
Luke Lanciano
Charisse Lue
Natalie McSherry
Pamela F. Newland
Kelley O’Connor       
Pamela Cardullo Ortiz
Karla Rodriguez        
Cathryn Paul  
Deb Seltzer
Reena Shah
Stuart O. Simms

The task force must issue an annual report with its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly. The first report is due on January 1, 2022.

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University of Baltimore Center for Sport and the Law Contributes to New Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports

Several dozen of the most influential organizations in the sport and nonprofit sectors have officially endorsed the Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports, drafted by the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program to create a shared cultural understanding about the right of all youth to play and to develop through sports. The document was developed by a working group that includes the Center for Sport and the Law at The University of Baltimore School of Law.

Written with the aid of human rights and sports policy experts over the past year, the resource is designed to help leaders – from program operators to policymakers – grow access to sports while establishing minimum conditions under which youth are served.

The Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports identifies eight rights:

  • To play sports
  • To safe and healthy environments
  • To qualified program leaders
  • To developmentally appropriate play
  • To share in the planning and delivery of their activities
  • To an equal opportunity for personal growth
  • To be treated with dignity
  • To enjoy themselves

“The Children’s Rights in Sports initiative is one of the most important things we can do to expand participation and create a better sports experience for American youth,” says Prof. Dionne Koller, director of Baltimore Law’s Center for Sport and the Law. “These rights provide a framework for parents to evaluate programs, guideposts for coaches and administrators to structure their programs, a language for children to empower their participation, and insight for legislators to create meaningful youth sports policy. Every youth sports stakeholder will benefit from adopting a rights approach, and the societal payoff will be felt for decades to come.”

Prof. Dionne Koller
Prof. Dionne Koller

More than 250 athletes from the Athletes for Hope network have called for the adoption of the Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports, which was released Aug. 12 on United Nations International Youth Day.

The athletes are joined by more than 60 organizations from sectors that touch the lives of youth, including: U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, YMCA of USA, National Recreation and Park Association, Little League International, ESPN, U.S. Tennis Association, and more. The full list of organizations and athletes endorsing the bill of rights is here.

Many of the signatories are members of Project Play 2024, a roundtable of leading sports, health and philanthropic organizations that aims to help grow sport participation and related metrics among youth. Others are part of the broader network of Project Play, an initiative of the Sports & Society Program which since 2015 has provided thought leadership and tools to build healthy children and communities through sports.

Together, the endorsing athletes and organizations create a platform to lift the quality and quantity of sports activities made available to youth, regardless of their zip code or ability.

Children from low-income homes are half as likely to play sports as their peers from upper-income homes, according to Sports & Fitness Industry Association data. Costs are a barrier, as is the quality of experience delivered to many youth. In nearly every sport, the average child quits by age 11, according to an Aspen Institute survey commissioned with the Utah State University’s Families in Sports Lab. By high school, 43 percent of students no longer played on any team at school or in their community, with only 23 pecent of students meeting the recommended level of physical activity, according to the federal government.

The disruption of COVID-19 has only expanded demographic divides, with disadvantaged youth more slowly returning to play, according to Aspen Institute research.

On Aug. 20 at noon ET, the Aspen Institute will host a Future of Sports conversation with members of the working group to explore ways to advance the rights of children in sports (register here for the free virtual event). Additional educational and activation opportunities will be announced at the Project Play Summit, a virtual event Oct. 19-20.

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Three University of Baltimore Law Alumni Named to Judgeships Across the State

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan appointed three University of Baltimore School of Law graduates to the bench on August 12. Currently, more than one-third of the state’s judges are Baltimore Law alumni.

Victoria J. Lobley
Victoria J. Lobley

Victoria J. Cyr Lobley, J.D. ’02, was named to the Maryland District Court in Washington County. She has been a sole practitioner since 2015 under the name Lobley Law Office, LLC. She has a general practice with a concentration on criminal defense and family law matters.

Prior to starting her own firm, she worked for four years as a partner at Cheeatow & Lobley, LLC.  She also served as an assistant public defender in Washington County from 2003 to 2004.

Wendy Anne Zerwitz Schenker Epstein, J.D. ’89, was appointed to Baltimore County Circuit Court. She has been a Family Law Magistrate at the Baltimore County Circuit Court since 2014, where she presides over family and juvenile cases, as well as the Family Recovery Support Program.

Under her leadership, the Family Recovery Support Program has expanded to offer litigants battling chronic substance abuse issues with wrap around support programs. Before her appointment as Magistrate, she was in private practice with her father for 22 years specializing in family and criminal law, and for five years she served as a part-time facilitator for the Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Michael Edward Malone, J.D. ’92, was named to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. He has served as a delegate, representing District 33 in Anne Arundel County since 2015. He currently serves on the Judiciary Committee and is a Republican Ranking Judiciary Committee Member. He has been a solo practitioner focusing on family law under the Law Office of Michael Malone in Gambrills since 2007.

Prior to starting his own practice, he spent the bulk of his career as an associate in Glen Burnie practicing with Robert Fuoco, a general practitioner. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Marvin S. Kaminetz, Circuit Court of Maryland for St. Mary’s County from 1992 to 1993.

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Baltimore Law’s Professor Emeritus Steven Grossman Publishes Book, ‘Plea Bargaining Made Real’

University of Baltimore School of Law Prof. Emeritus Steven P. Grossman has taken a critical look at an increasingly common form of case disposition in his new book, Plea Bargaining Made Real, published July 1 by Carolina Academic Press.

“This book was written primarily for three reasons,” says Grossman, who retired in July after teaching at Baltimore Law since 1979. “Although 95 percent of criminal cases are disposed of through some form of negotiation, the plea-bargaining process receives nowhere near the attention it deserves. Critical issues surrounding what generates so many guilty pleas, how these pleas come about, and the problems associated with them need to be explored in far greater depth.”

Professor Emeritus Steven Grossman
Prof. Emeritus Steven P. Grossman

Judicial decisions in criminal law are often controversial, Grossman says, but cases involving plea bargaining “are exceptional in how disconnected the decisions are from the reality of what actually occurs among the parties during the bargaining process.”

“Criminal defendants and the system in general suffer real consequences from this disconnect,” he continues. “The book shines a light on the real actions of the parties to a plea bargain and the significance of those actions.

“In approaching these issues honestly, it is important never to lose sight of how human the process is by which we dispose of criminal cases without trials. The book focuses on the three parties to the process: the prosecutor, defendant/defense attorney and the judge, examining their motivations to engage in plea bargaining and how these motivations impact their decisions,” says Grossman.

Previous books written by Grossman include 2008’s Becoming a Trial Lawyer, with Prof. Michele E. Gilman, and Trying the Case, from 1999.

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