The Banquet featured an exciting new venue, the Hunt Valley Inn. Along with the new venue, attendees enjoyed a grand escalator entrance into the event and an extended cocktail hour with passed appetizers. The demand for this year’s Banquet was so great that there needed to be a second banquet room, with 12 tables and a large screen projecting the ceremony from the main ballroom. Rumor has it that Maryland Room was quite the party!
After cocktail hour, President, T. Wray McCurdy, Esquire took the stage to welcome everyone. He noted how the Baltimore County Bar Association is “crazy, but in a good way” and took delight in the number of our members who come out every year for this event. Next, Past-President Dominick Garcia, Esquire delivered a lovely invocation.
The Keynote Speaker, Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., then took to the podium. After a standing ovation, Governor Hogan recounted his historic victory to become the State’s second Republican Governor in 50 years. He thanked those who helped him win in Baltimore County, and noted that there was a lot of work to be done to help the citizens of the State of Maryland.
After getting the serious comments out of the way, Governor Hogan then charmed the crowd with his humor. When he was asked to speak, the Governor knew that he would be the only-non lawyer in the room. So Governor Hogan asked a lawyer-friend for suggestions as to what to include in his speech at the Prom. His friend gave him some ideas, and then (like a good lawyer) promptly sent him a bill for services. And, when Governor Hogan heard that we refer to the banquet as the “Prom,” he joked about wanting to ask Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger to be his “prom date,” but they could not agree on which one of them would be wearing the dress and corsage. Governor Hogan was also a great sport to participate in the long standing tradition of throwing dinner rolls at the speaker. He came to the stage armed with his own basket of rolls, which he launched into the cheering crowd.
At the conclusion of his remarks, President McCurdy gave the Governor a token of appreciation on behalf of the Bar Association Governor Hogan quickly retorted that if the gift was over $20.00, he either needed to either return it immediately or complete an Ethics Form.
Margaret McKee, Chair of the Professionalism Committee then introduced Herbert R. O’Conor III as the recipient of the J. Earle Plumhoff Professional Lawyer of the Year Award. Mr. O’Conor also received a standing ovation and was very gracious and humbled to receive this recognition. We also learned from Governor Hogan that Mr. O’Conor’s grandfather was a past-Governor of Maryland, who happened to play in an Irish rock band like another former governor. Finally, the Bar Association recognized Past President, Judge Philip N. Tirabassi, for his hard work and service to the Bar Association during his tenure as President last year.
After a delicious meal of salad, filet, crab cakes and mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake for dessert, attendees made their way back out in the halls for Prom Pictures, cocktails and mingling.
This event would not be possible without the hard work of BCBA Executive Director Doris Barnes and her assistant Maxine Morrow (who were both coordinated in lovely purple dresses) and Rachel Ruocco, LRIS Director. Thank you also to the judicial law clerks who volunteered to work at the event, specifically Jennifer Burroughs (Judge Alexander), Leah Hausner (Judge Ballou-Watts), Kevin McKay (Judge Martin) and Aaron Nichols (Judge Ensor).
The Law Prom got 2015 off to a great start. We are all looking forward to seeing what else is in store for the remainder of this bar year.