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Important Announcement

Maryland Association for Justice Announces New Group for Civil Rights Attorneys

New resource will help attorneys prosecute civil rights violations, and expand access to justice, through collaboration, training, and outreach.

The Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ), the largest statewide specialty bar association in Maryland, with more than 1,200 dues-paying members, is announcing the establishment of a Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Section.

The Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Section is dedicated to the protection and expansion of the civil rights of everyone in the State of Maryland. Section lawyers fight the persistent and systemic injustice caused by police and correctional misconduct, unlawful discrimination, and all forms of government wrongdoing.  The Section will maintain a special focus on underserved and underprivileged populations.

We encourage all MAJ members and attorneys across the region who have an interest in fighting for the preservation of our civil rights to join this section. Dues for this section will be waived for the remainder of 2020.

“Today, we are at the start of a new phase of the movement in our society, both in Maryland and across the country, to address systemic racism, particularly within law enforcement,” said MAJ President Amy Orsi of the Law Offices of Markey & Orsi. “As we stand on the front lines to protect individuals and families from wrongdoing and abuse, we will not remain complacent while members of our communities are subjected to hate and violence.  Holding governments accountable for their unconstitutional actions against the citizens of this State remains paramount to meaningful reform of systemic racism.”

Black lives matter. This immutable fact will only be truly recognized when the victims of civil rights violations are empowered to hold police officers and agencies truly accountable for their actions in courts of law. We stand against discrimination and racism in all its forms and will continue in our pursuit of justice and equality for all.  Equal protection under the law is not just a catch phrase, it should be the aspiration of every trial lawyer in this State. 

MAJ supports ending immunity doctrines and unfair damage caps that deny justice to victims of police violence and governmental misconduct and preclude any incentive for reform.

The Section will be led by Baltimore trial and appellate attorney and two-time Trial Lawyer of the Year Award winner Cary J. Hansel of Hansel Law, PC and staunch civil rights advocate and litigator Megan Benevento of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA in Greenbelt.  Serving as an advisor and honorary chair will be University of Baltimore School of Law professor F. Michael Higginbotham.

The current officers are:

F. Michael Higginbotham
Honorary Chair F. Michael Higginbotham
, a Yale-educated lawyer, is the current Joseph Curtis Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Professor Higginbotham’s areas of scholarship and publication include constitutional law, human rights and race relations.  Professor Higginbotham serves as a legal advisor to Senator Ben Cardin and frequently appears as a  commentator on CNN and MSNBC.  His most recent book, Ghosts of Jim Crow, examines race discrimination in America today. Professor Higginbotham is the former President of the Public Justice Center and the former chair of the Maryland Attorney General's Task Force on Electronic Weapons.

Cary J. Hansel
Chair Cary J. Hansel
has been a Maryland civil rights lawyer for 20 years.  Mr. Hansel has obtained some of the State’s highest verdicts in police and correctional misconduct cases.  His appellate career includes some of Maryland’s most-cited civil rights cases, including the creation of a new cause of action to fight patterns of police misconduct.  Mr. Hansel is being honored this year for his civil rights work with the Maryland Daily Record’s “Leadership in Law” Award.

Megan Benevento
Chair Megan Benevento
is a civil litigation attorney, with a specific emphasis on civil rights litigation. She has represented victims of police misconduct across Maryland and Washington, D.C. and has held local, state, and federal governments accountable to the constitutional rights of all. She has been recognized by the Daily Record as one of Maryland’s “Very Important Professionals” under the age of 40 for her litigation and legislative advocacy.

Larry Greenberg
Vice Chair Larry Greenberg
has been representing Marylanders who have been injured by the negligence of others for over 25 years. He is a past president of MAJ and is an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore, School of Law. He has won multiple awards for his work in the legal community.

James L. Rhodes
Vice Chair James L. Rhodes
has been practicing law in excess of 20 years.  He has successfully fought and had cases reported in the court of special appeals and court of appeals aiding in the fight for civil rights. He is a native of Baltimore City and dedicates his time in the city, volunteering personally as well as professionally advocating for victims of civil rights violations.

Michael Winkelman
Vice Chair-Elect Michael Winkelman
has practiced as a civil trial and appellate lawyer for more than 22 years in Prince George’s County.  He practices civil rights work throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia and has lectured and published on civil rights issues in Maryland.  He has also participated as amicus curiae on civil rights matters at every Court level in Maryland

Tiana Boardman
Student Chair Tiana Boardman
is a student at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  Ms. Boardman has worked for 5 years as a civil rights paralegal.  She was recently awarded the prestigious J. Franklyn Bourne Scholarship.  Ms. Boardman’s advocacy includes a recent National Public Radio interview during her participation in protests following George Floyd’s murder.

Current members can join the MAJ Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Section by visiting www.mdforjustice.com/JoinCRCL. For non-members, to join MAJ and the Section at no additional cost for the remainder of 2020, please take advantage of our Summer Sale of 50% off normal dues at www.mdforjustice.com/SummerSale.

For questions and more information, please contact MAJ’s Offices at (410) 872-0990 or info@mdforjustice.com