Since 1973, I have litigated many kinds of both criminal and civil cases. Throughout that time I litigated estate, trust and real property cases. These include will contests, improper handling of estate or trust funds, disputes relating to distributions from estates and trusts, boundary disputes and title issues at both the trial and appellate level. Routine probate, wills, trusts and estate planning are also a substantial part of my experience and practice. My practice also includes personal injury litigation and civil litigation in a variety of fields.
My practice is based in Prince Frederick, the county seat for Calvert County, Maryland and from there I travel as necessary to other counties including Prince George's, Montgomery, Howard, Anne Arundel, Charles and St. Mary's.
As a teenager I got very interested in all things electronic. I educated myself as much as I could and then took a course from the DeVry Technical Institute in Chicago in Radio & TV Servicing. I got a degree from there in 1963. That interest started a lifelong quest for knowledge and a particular appreciation for the smallest details and intricately technical things.
Back in the 1960s with Goddard Space Flight Center nearby, there was much interest in the space science field. The engineering department at Catholic University in DC established the Department of Space Science and Applied Physics to meet the increasing demand for engineers for the field. I was one of the first graduates from the program in 1967 when I received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from the Department of Space Science and Applied Physics.
At the time there was also an increasing interest in computers. In my last year, a graduate computer programming course was offered. I held the highest grade for the class from the course. Had I already not been on track to work for Westinghouse, I probably would have ended up in the computer field.
Upon graduation, I started work for Westinghouse as a Field Engineer and then as senior engineering staff assistant. With Westinghouse, I worked with the Navy on the radar and weapons control system for the Phantom F4-J aircraft. I was deployed as a civilian aboard the USS Independence in 1968 and the USS Enterprise in 1969. With the Enterprise, we were in combat operations off the coast of Vietnam. After that service, I returned to Westinghouse headquarters in Baltimore.
While working full time for Westinghouse, 120 miles round trip each day to Cockeysville, I attended law school at Catholic University in the evenings and graduated after three and a half years with a Juris Doctor in 1973 in the top ten percent of my class. I was selected for the Law Review for my second year and in my third year was Comment Editor - a distinction held only once before by a night student.
My legal career began when, in 1972, I was asked by Alfred L. Scanlan, who had just been appointed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to be his first law clerk. It was through that clerkship that I became familiar with the handling of appeals and the workings of Maryland's appellate courts.
In 1973 I was admitted the the Maryland bar and joined the law firm of Pitrof & Starkey as an associate. There I did a general practice that included auto accidents, divorce and custody work, wills, estates and trusts and criminal work.
In 1979, I decided to try practice on my own. I did so with much success, but after 4 years and wanting more association with other lawyers, I and three other lawyers formed Greenan, Walker, Steuart & Meng.
From 1973 to 1990, along with a continuing estate and trust practice, a significant part of my focus was in family law (mostly divorce and custody) litigation.
In 1990, I was asked by State Farm to take on a significant amount of jury trial work defending people insured by them and being sued in Maryland courts. The number of cases they sent to me dramatically increased in the Summer of 1991 and as a result I transitioned completely out of my practice of family law. By early 1992, in addition to estate and trust and real property work, my primary focus was on personal injury litigation.
My work on State Farm cases gave me significant jury trial experience. That is important because jury trials in the estate and trust field are rare. As a result, there are a limited number of lawyers who have the necessary experience.
Because of dramatic shifts in the insurance industry in the 1990s, I decided again to transform my practice and to get away from the State Farm work. I started the transformation in 1998 so that my primary focus would be estate, trust and real property litigation. This was a natural shift as handling family members, who have significant emotional issues related to a person who has died or setting up the trust of other family members, posed a professional and personal dynamic similar to family law. And, there was also a need for lawyers to have jury trial experience to handle some of the issues that arise from wills and trusts.
I enjoy the personal contact and representing individuals. I've had my share of difficult times. These life lessons have made dealing with the realities of death and dying comfortable for me. They have also lead me to be quite tolerant and understanding. The personal disputes that arise in the field of estates and trusts and to a lesser degree in the real property field require a lawyer with interpersonal skills that can be learned only through life experience.
For many years, I have been dedicated to upholding the integrity of the legal profession. In the 1970s, I was the co-founder of a formal bar organization to assist lawyers in need of assistance due to emotional, substance abuse and other practice problems. It was one of the first such organizations in the United States. Since early in my practice, I have been involved with ethical matters, first as a member of the county bar ethics committee, then the state bar and then as a member of the Inquiry Panel for Maryland's Attorney Grievance Commission, which handles the discipline of lawyers. I started that work in 1982. I continued as a member of the Inquiry Panel until 1989 when I was appointed to a 3-year term as a member of the Review Board. After that, I went back to the Inquiry Panel until 2001. There was then a reorganization of the system. The Inquiry Panels and the Review Board ceased to exist. Peer Review Panels handle work similar but different from what was done by the Inquiry Panels. Cases then go to the full Attorney Grievance Commission. During the transition period, I was a member of both Inquiry Panels and Peer Review Panels. As to both Inquiry Panels and Peer Review Panels, I often served as Chairman. In 2007 I was appointed by the Court of Appeals to a 3-year term as a Commissioner for the Attorney Grievance Commission.
In 1987, Martindale Hubbell informed me that my rating had increased from a BV to an AV. An AV is the highest available peer rating from Martindale Hubbell. Since 1988, I have continuously carried that rating and am listed in their publication of Preeminent Lawyers in the United States.
In conjunction with my legal expertise, I have notable technological experience. My first computer programming was done in 1965. While at Westinghouse, in 1970, I received an award for computerizing a process that previously was done by hand. In the early 1980s, I was one of the first lawyers to implement computers into the law practice. I was the first lawyer in Maryland to use Lexis - Nexis CDROM research and the first lawyer in Maryland to electronically transmit a court pleading to a court.
Essentially, this technological proficiency translates into lower costs to the client as the time I expend is significantly decreased.
With a wealth of hands-on litigation and probate experience, I offer to my clients the rare and valuable combination of a lawyer who not only prepares wills and trust documents but who also knows first hand how these plans play out in real life. Added to this, I have many years of practical small business experience.
I hold my integrity as most important. My ability to communicate in an honest, straightforward and complete way is a close second.
My vast and broad knowledge of many different areas of the law, as well as my many diverse life experiences, allow me to speak relevantly and act effectively and successfully in the legal matters I handle for my clients.