FOX News commentator Juan Williams, invoking the spirit of Baltimore's Thurgood Marshall, told a gathering of public interest attorneys that "in order for there to be justice for all, there must be a good lawyer for all."
Williams was the guest speaker for the annual Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) award reception on Oct. 26. The University of Maryland School of Law was a host of the event at Westminster Hall, along with the student-run Maryland Public Interest Law Project. The event recognized attorneys who embody the spirit of pro bono service to clients who need but cannot afford legal assistance.
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Williams has written several books on the civil rights movement, including a biography of Marshall, who filed the lawsuit that ultimately led to the desegregation of the University of Maryland School of Law and ultimately served as the first African-American on the Supreme Court. He said Marshall, mentored by his dean at Howard University School of Law, Charles Hamilton Houston, learned early in his career the importance of representing those who could not stand up for themselves.
Houston, according to Williams, told the young Marshall: "The lawyer who is not a social architect is a social parasite."
Early in his speech, Williams told the attorneys that because of their work, "Justice will be available to all of us, no matter our economic circumstance, no matter what may be our race, our religion. That, in fact, there are lawyers who will stand tall with us in a moment of need."
The MVLS honored Karl-Henri Gauvin, who heads the Gauvin Law firm in Washington, as its Volunteer of the Year. Gauvin has accepted 44 pro bono cases since 2008, including 24 in 2010. The Law Firm of the Year was Mehlman, Greenblatt & Hare, LLC, a three-person firm in Baltimore that handled 15 pro bono bankruptcy cases in 2010.
In her welcoming address, Dean Phoebe A. Haddon, JD, LLM, noted the passing on Oct. 25 of Judge John Prevas, a longtime Baltimore jurist and alumnus of the School of Law.