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John Browning Honors Maryland’s Black Legal Pioneers

February 27, 2023

Spencer Fane attorney John Browning recently honored some of Maryland’s Black legal pioneers in a Baltimore Banner article and at the University of Baltimore Law Forum Symposium.

In his article, Opinion: The Case for Edward Draper’s Admission to the Maryland Bar, John shed light on the history of Edward Garrison Draper. In the 19th century, the aspiring lawyer was denied admission to the Maryland Bar despite his qualifications due to the color of his skin. The piece also called upon the Maryland Supreme Court to join the growing practice of awarding a posthumous bar admission to those “denied [bar] admission on racial grounds.”

On February 16, John again showcased Draper’s story as a panelist for the University of Baltimore Law Forum Symposium. The event, Blazing the Trail: Maryland’s First Black Lawyers and the Legacy They Built, was based upon John’s earlier article for the organization, To Fight the Battle, You First Need Warriors: Edward Garrison Draper, Everett Waring, and the Quest for Maryland’s First Black Lawyer. The symposium highlighted these and other Maryland early black lawyers and the challenges they faced in gaining admission to the bar. The panel also discussed present-day obstacles for Black lawyers seeking bar admission and judgeships.

At Spencer Fane, John views his role as a trial lawyer to be that of a problem-solver for his clients. Whether it’s analyzing a case’s potential for early resolution through a dispositive motion, working with a client to develop a defensive trial strategy, or putting his extensive writing and media experience to use in helping a client protect its brand in the public eye, John brings a pragmatic, problem-solving approach. John is also a former Justice on the Fifth Court of Appeals.

Read John’s full article here and learn more about the Symposium here.