MD Bar BulletinMaryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin

Editor: W. Patrick Tandy

May, 2004

PRO BONO PROFILE

Remembering an Exceptional Advocate

By Lisa Muscara

Maryland’s legal community is rich with talented, committed attorneys who devote their time and expertise to improving the world in which we live. Anne Barlow Gallagher, Esquire, is an exceptional example of such dedicated lifetime service. Sadly, the 38-year-old Gallagher died April 1, 2004, after a 14-week battle with lung cancer (although she was a lifelong non-smoker). The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland celebrates the honorable work of this extraordinary attorney by sharing some of her triumphs here. Remembrances of Gallagher were generously shared by her husband, Peter Holland, Esquire, the Honorable Karen A. Murphy Jensen, Caroline County Circuit Court, and other colleagues and friends.

It is not difficult to detect a trend in the life work of Anne Gallagher. She devoted her time, spirit and expertise to creating a positive impact in the lives of children with special needs. After college, Gallagher taught home- and hospital-bound children through the Baltimore City Public Schools. She also taught in the Walter P. Carter Center, a State psychiatric hospital for in-patient children ages 9 -12. Through extensive contact with these children and their families, Anne decided to go to law school in order to have a broader impact as a legal advocate for disadvantaged children. She wanted to intervene earlier in the lives of these children in need so that the legal and political system might work for them more effectively.

Gallagher graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1994. During law school, she continued to advocate for children and won the Clinical Award for Outstanding Legal Advocacy. Her former professor, Beth Pepper, remembers Gallagher as her “shining student, always with a sweet disposition, a smile and endless dedication to her clients and her work. Her clinical award was only a pale reflection of her wonderful spirit.”

After law school, Gallagher provided legal advocacy for foster, abused and neglected children throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland for many years, and she held office hours at Maryland courthouses to provide legal counseling and information to more than 1,000 individuals.

John Cambardella, Family Services Coordinator for Caroline County Circuit Court, is profoundly aware of the tremendous contributions Gallagher made to the community. “Anne Gallagher, in addition to bringing light into every room she entered, was the foundation upon which pro se clinics were built in most of the Second Judicial Circuit,” he recalls. “She became a mainstay in jurisdictions where pro se services were sorely needed. Now those services are integral and somewhat taken for granted, in no small part due to Anne’s presence.”

“In addition to her advocating for CINA children in the First Circuit, Anne took on many of the Caroline and Talbot County Circuit Courts’ most contentious custody cases by representing, as GAL [guardian ad litem] or advocate, children in those cases,” he adds. “Court services coordinators plead guilty to saving the neediest for Anne.”

Many of the children Gallagher advocated for were part of the Children’s Choice network.  Children’s Choice is a nonprofit child welfare agency and a treatment/specialized foster care program.  It was through this advocacy work that Holly Lang, a Foster Care Caseworker for Children’s Choice, met and worked with Gallagher. Like so many of Gallagher’s friends and colleagues, Lang was impressed by how engaged Gallagher was in her work with children. She didn’t simply take on children’s cases; she truly took their well-being to heart.

“Anne would take the time to not only meet these kids but visit with them and call them,” Lang explains. “One child, who’s now 17, recollects, ‘She would call us at night, just to see how we’re doing. She’d be trying to get her own children into bed. And it was so funny, because you could hear these kids just having a ball in the background, but she was still calling to check on us.’” That kind of commitment and involvement is rare, but it is just the thing that can turn a child’s life around. In recognition of her outstanding work on behalf of children in need, Gallagher will be posthumously awarded the 2004 Founder’s Day Award of Children’s Choice.

Anne Gallagher was greatly respected by her peers and colleagues. She has left a vibrant, inspiring legacy for us all.

 “Truly, she has inspired me to work a little harder, be a little bit more compassionate, to be more patient and to be more committed to the concept of equal access to justice for all,” notes the Honorable Karen A. Murphy Jensen, Caroline County Circuit Court. Cambardella imparts that “Anne personalized and humanized her professionalism, and we are all better for her time with us.”

A memorial celebration of Gallagher’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Anne Gallagher Memorial Fund for Child Advocacy, a non-profit entity for the education, legal rights and welfare of children, P.O. Box 88, Annapolis, Maryland 21404-0088.

Lisa Muscara is Director of Volunteer Services for the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: May, 2004

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