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Advocacy Day Brings Together Law Students and Legislators to Support Law Education in Maryland

Sixteen students from the University of Maryland (UM) Francis King Carey School of Law had the opportunity to see state legislators in action and to meet with and shadow senators and delegates during the School's annual Advocacy Day in Annapolis on Jan. 30.

"It's so important to get out of the classroom and see law in action, says first year law student Caitlin Johnston who shadowed Delegate Keiffer Mitchell Jr., a Democrat representing Baltimore City. Her day included accompanying Mitchell while he turned in a bill on the Senate floor. "I got to see what really happens without waiting 100 years to read about it in a textbook," she says.

The day began with remarks from University of Maryland, Baltimore President Jay A. Perman, MD, who reminded the students that "no one is more important to our legislators than you." Perman was joined by UM Carey Law Dean Phoebe A. Haddon, JD, LLM, who noted that the school "has produced many of the leaders of our state," and that students should share with legislators their stories, including how much their legal education means to them both personally and professionally.

For first year law student Eric Suarez, an aspiring politician who volunteers as a Spanish-English translator at the School's immigration clinic, meeting Senator Jamie Raskin, JD, a Democrat from Montgomery County, affirmed his decision to become a lawyer. "As law students we can make a difference," says Suarez (pictured with Raskin), who emigrated from Cuba. "My dream is to be a U.S. senator and to argue a case before the Supreme Court."

Raskin said that the UM Carey Law School "attracts fantastic young talent to our state and produces lawyers we need to make local, county, and state governments run."

During lunch, students met with Delegate Jon Cardin, JD '01, MPS, MA, a Democrat from Baltimore County, and Senator Bill Ferguson, JD '10, a Democrat from Baltimore City, who fielded questions about the legislative process and reflected on how their education at the law school prepared them for governance. Dan Freidman, JD '94, counsel to the Maryland General Assembly in the Office of the Attorney General and a UM Carey Law faculty member also spoke with students.

Senator Lisa Gladden, JD '91, a democrat from Baltimore City, formally recognized Dean Haddon and the UM Carey students to the Senate and spoke about the importance of legal education.

First year law student Mehmet Birisik, a native of Turkey who hopes to return to his country to run for office, was surprised at the "gentlemanly atmosphere" that prevailed in the House of Delegates. He shared his observations of the American system of governance with Delegate Mary-Dulany James, JD '86, a Democrat representing Cecil and Harford counties. "Having a two-party system makes the [governing] process much more stable and easier," he says.


Posting Date: 02/04/2014
Contact Name: Jill Yesko
Contact Phone: 410-706-3803
Contact Email: jyesko@umaryland.edu