Meet The Hogan Judges
By Chairman Bush
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to speak with two Montgomery County Judges – both recently appointed by Governor Hogan – who are up for election in 2020. During a Presidential Election year, it can be easy to forget how critical these local, nonpartisan elections are. And as a practicing attorney, I’ve seen enough to know what makes a good judge and what doesn’t. A good judge is experienced, and shows respect to the people who appear before them. Also, a good judge doesn’t need to be a judge to feel respected or successful, but already brings success and respect to the bench with them.
Judge Bibi Berry has been practicing family law for nineteen years, since graduating from Georgetown in 2001, and was most recently an equity shareholder at Paley Rothman.
Judge Michael McAuliffe (also a Georgetown Alum) has been practicing law for thirty-two years and was most recently a partner at with the firm of Ethridge, Quinn, Kemp, McAuliffe, Rowan & Hartinger.
Judge McAuliffe told me that he has tried nearly every kind of case, and has represented individuals, small businesses, and some large businesses. But he can still recognize that the most important thing is to treat everyone as an individual and every case as its own. “I will never assume that I have tried so many cases that I know your case before hearing it,” he told me.
Judge Berry previously served as Family Division Magistrate for the Circuit Court for Montgomery County starting in 2017. She told me that many of the people who appear before her are unrepresented, and she has learned how to build trust with people who are unfamiliar with the system. Simple things, she said, like making sure there is fresh ice water for the parties or by remembering litigants’ names, shows that she respects and values them as individuals.
Judge McAuliffe told me some of his family’s story. His grandfather came to the United States from a dirt-poor part of County Kerry in Ireland, worked hard and was able to send his son to college. Part of Judge McAuliffe’s motivation in seeking the nomination was a desire to give back the country that has given him and his family so much opportunity.
Both Judges agreed that one of the most critical traits of a good Judge is timeliness. I can personally vouch for this. When a Judge takes the bench 40 minutes late, people in the courtroom seem notably less respectful than when a judge is on time. Like many other situations, the culture of a courtroom comes from the top, and when a judge shows people that he respects them and their time, the judge receives more respect in return. So important is this to Judge Berry that she was able to recall the most minute details of the two occasions (in three years as a Magistrate) that traffic accidents caused her to be late.
Something else I like about Judge Berry is that she brings a diversity of experience to the bench. Unlike most judges, Judge Berry started her career as a paralegal and took evening classes to earn her law degree, all while raising her daughter on her own. It is uncommon, but highly beneficial, for a judge to understand the practical realities of juggling childcare, work, and everything else.
Lastly, both Judges gave me the same answer to my question about what aspect of being a judge they find most challenging. Custody decisions, they said, are the most challenging because of the enormous responsibility of making momentous decisions for an innocent child. To me, there is no more important trait for a Judge than to be aware of the awesome power that they have, and the long-lasting impact their decisions can have on others.
In all, Governor Hogan has appointed (or re-appointed) four Judges who will be on the ballot in the primary election. I strongly urge you to support them on April 28th.