Baltimore Law Clubs: A Tradition Promoting the Integrity of the Bar through Scholarship and Congeniality

By: The Honorable Stuart R. Berger and Bryant S. Green

     Since before the civil war, lawyers and judges in Baltimore have had a tendency to organize informal, intimate, and exclusive clubs for the purpose of promoting congeniality and scholarship. Although this Anglo-American tradition traces back to as early as the sixteenth century, the institution of law clubs in the United States appears to have been a unique, local phenomenon until the 1960s and 1970s.  Today, this tradition continues in Baltimore City, which currently plays host to no fewer than eight individual law clubs, with many more existing throughout the state. These law clubs offer their members the opportunity to pursue scholarly endeavors while also providing a social outlet for members of the bench and bar alike. While the members of these organizations certainly realize the intrinsic benefits attendant membership, Baltimore’s law clubs also benefit the legal profession by promoting scholarship and congeniality.

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Throwback Thursday: Commemorative Histories of the Bench and Bar

In Spring 1997, the University of Baltimore Law Forum published an article entitled: Commemorative Histories of the bench and Bar: In Celebration of the Bicentennial of Baltimore City, by the Honorable John Caroll Byrnes (now retired).

In commemoration of the City’s bicentennial, the University Of Baltimore School Of Law and the Law Forum are pleased to offer these excerpts from Commemorative Histories of the Bench and Bar in Celebration of the Bicentennial of Baltimore City, 1797-1997, as a tribute to all of those who helped forge our City’s rich legal heritage. Commemorative Histories should also serve as a reminder to those who are presently involved in the practice, purveyance, or study of the law that their endeavors may one day be recorded by future generations of Baltimore citizens as they reflect upon the accomplishments of their predecessors.

Download and read the article here.