Maryland Carey Law announces 2020 Alumni Awards winners

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Alumni Awards to be presented during the law school’s 2020 Virtual Alumni Awards on December 17, 2020.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded posthumously to Elijah E. Cummings ’76. This award is given by the Alumni Board at the discretion of the dean. Cummings is only the second recipient since the award’s establishment in 2016.

Elijah E. Cummings, who died in 2019, completed his JD at the University of Maryland School of Law in 1976. Dedicating his life to public service, he spent his early career in the Maryland House of Delegates where he was the first African American in the state’s history to be speaker pro tem. In 1996, he won a seat in the United States Congress. At the time of his death, Cummings was in his 13th term advocating for Maryland’s 7th District, and had risen to the powerful position of chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the main investigative committee in the House of Representatives.

Even with his demanding schedule, Cummings was a consistent presence at the law school, serving on the Board of Visitors, and mentoring and supporting current students and recent graduates.

The Distinguished Graduate Award is presented to a Maryland Carey Law alum who has achieved prominence through professional excellence and service to the community. This year’s winner is M. Natalie McSherry ’74.

A principal at Kramon & Graham, McSherry is recognized as one of Maryland’s preeminent trial attorneys with more than 40 years of experience in commercial litigation, health care law, and alternative dispute resolution. She is also a dedicated leader in providing and expanding pro bono legal services to low-income Marylanders. McSherry is chair of the board of directors of the Maryland Legal Services Corporation and serves on the boards of the Maryland Bar Foundation, Catholic Charities of Maryland, and My Sister’s Place. She has been a volunteer attorney mediator for the Circuit Court of Baltimore City since 2002.

For her professionalism and commitment to public service, McSherry has received numerous awards, including The Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Lifetime Achievement Award, the Maryland Volunteer Legal Services Winnie Borden Pro Bono Leadership Award, and the Maryland Legal Services Corporation Arthur W. Machen Award.

The Mary Ellen Barbera ’84 Judicial Excellence Award is presented to an alum who exemplifies the highest standards of judicial excellence, displays extraordinary courage, energy, and tenacity in the handling of controversial and difficult cases as well as embodies strength of character, service, and competence as a jurist, lawyer, and public servant. This year’s winner is the Hon. Clayton Greene, Jr. ’76.

After graduating law school in 1976, Judge Greene worked as a public defender, a lawyer in private practice, and was an assistant county solicitor for Anne Arundel County. In 1988, Gov. Donald Schaefer appointed Judge Greene to the District Court where he led the Anne Arundel County District Court in his capacity as the administrative judge. In 1995, Gov. Parris Glendening appointed Judge Greene to the Circuit Court and in 2002 to the Court of Special Appeals. During Judge Greene’s tenure on the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, he led the 5th Judicial Circuit in his capacity as administrative judge. In 2004, Gov. Robert Ehrlich appointed Judge Greene to Maryland’s highest court—the Court of Appeals—where he remained until his retirement as senior judge in 2019. Judge Greene has the distinction of having served at all four levels of the Maryland Judiciary.

Throughout his career, Judge Greene has been a tireless public servant as a teacher, guest speaker, coach, and mentor. He received various Governor’s Citations, the Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award, the Distinguished Citizenship Award by the mayor and city of Annapolis, and chaired the Harry Cole Judicial Council for more than seven years. Judge Greene has been recognized by the National Bar Association, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Maryland Senate, the Maryland House of Delegates, and the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus.

The Benjamin L. Cardin Public Service Award is presented to an alum who has demonstrated significant and substantial contributions to furthering ideals of public service in the law. This year’s winner is Meghan Marsh ’96.

Marsh has dedicated her career to public service on behalf of Maryland’s most vulnerable citizens. After graduating law school, she became a staff attorney at Disability Rights Maryland, a non-profit legal advocacy organization, where she spent 15 years as legal counsel and advocate in civil rights cases for persons with disabilities.

Since 2012, she has served as the organization’s director of operations, as well as the interim executive director in 2017.

The Rising Star Award recognizes a recent graduate whose exemplary contributions of service and leadership, either professionally or at Maryland Carey Law, have brought credit to the graduate and this institution. This year’s winner is Michelle McLeod ’10. 

McLeod joined the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division through the Attorney General’s Honors Program in 2010 where she has litigated complex civil rights cases in the division’s Voting Section and in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section.

She was awarded the Civil Rights Division Distinguished Service Award for exceptional work on litigation, and the Assistant Attorney General’s Special Commendation Award for Outstanding Performance. In 2017, McLeod was awarded the American Bar Association’s Top 40 Young Lawyers Award.

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