UMBC Watch

"As a public university, UMBC is a wonderful incubator for future leaders of all backgrounds. We take special pride in Harry Johnson and his achievements."

— President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III

UMBC Graduate to Lead the Maryland Bar Association

August 19, 2002 - Harry S. Johnson, Political Science ’76, a partner in the Baltimore law firm of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, has been chosen president-elect of the Maryland Bar Association. When he takes office in July 2003, he will become the first African-American president of the 20,000-member organization.

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law, Johnson joined Whiteford, Taylor & Preston and in 1986 became the firm’s first African-American partner. His legal work focuses on product liability, mass tort, professional liability, and other complex litigation. In addition, he continues to be an advocate for minority recruitment in the state’s law firms and has established a mentorship program pairing African-American law students with Baltimore attorneys.

A student-athlete and former president of the Student Government Association, Johnson remains connected to UMBC. He hires UMBC student interns and has taught a business law class in the Economics Department. A generous donor to the University, Johnson was one of the first UMBC alumni to become a member of the President’s Club, a leadership giving society, and he was instrumental in helping to establish the Second Generation Scholarship Fund for undergraduates who have demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of minorities.

Johnson credits UMBC faculty and advisors for guiding him in the direction of law and setting him on a path to success. “UMBC provided a network and a support system that have stayed with me to the present,” he says.

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