Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : June 2010


MSBA President

Thomas D. Murphy was installed as President of the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) on June 12, 2010, during the Association's Annual Meeting in Ocean City, Maryland. Murphy, a partner with the Law Offices of Murphy & Mood, P.C., in Rockville, is a distinguished law practitioner and quintessential legal professional. Hailing from a small Montgomery County law firm, MSBA's new President is a top leader in Maryland's legal community known for his public service and dedication to legal professionalism.

Murphy will lead this voluntary Association of 23,500 lawyers for the next 12 months and be joined by newly-elected officers: President-Elect Henry E. Dugan, Jr., a partner in the Baltimore County law firm of Dugan, Babij & Tolley, LLC; Treasurer John Patrick Kudel, a solo practitioner in Rockville and Of Counsel to the Rockville-based law firm of Karp, Frosh, Lapidus, Wigodsky & Norwind, P.A.; and Secretary Michael J. Baxter, a partner in the Baltimore City law firm of Baxter, Baker, Sidle, Conn & Jones P.A. Murphy champions public service and considers MSBA's Presidency to be the "pinnacle" of his legal career.

The first Vietnam Veteran to serve as MSBA President, Murphy has dedicated his career to service, in the military, the legal profession and his local community. He is very proud of serving his country, a family tradition that dates back to World War I with both grandfathers. Murphy was seriously injured in Vietnam and was honored with a Purple Heart for his service and valor. His son is carrying on the tradition today, currently serving in Iraq.

Bringing this rich heritage to MSBA's Presidency, Murphy will focus on "service" in the coming year. "MSBA is all about service," he proclaims. "We serve our lawyer members, citizens, the legal community and the broader community as a valued legal resource."

"First, MSBA serves our lawyer members, supporting them with an array of member services and benefits. We now function as the CLE resource for Maryland lawyers to equip them with the practical skills and knowledge they need in the daily practice of law." MSBA also provides lawyers with a wealth of volunteer public service and pro bono opportunities, enabling them to give back to their local communities.

"Second, we serve members of the public," Murphy emphasizes. "In addition to our community outreach, public service and pro bono activities, which assist and educate the public, MSBA advances the legal profession by monitoring attorney discipline and fostering attorney professionalism and civility. Our Association also serves as the legal watchdog before the legislature and governmental agencies to protect consumers."

office purely to give back and serve my profession and my community."


Finally, the Association "serves as a valuable public education resource offering an active speakers' bureau, legal information pamphlets and law-related education programs in Maryland schools, like the MSBA High School Mock Trial Competition and Teen Court," Murphy asserts. The thrust of this outreach is public education and public service.

Highlighting service as the hallmark of his year, MSBA's President plans to initiate a statewide "public awareness campaign to inform citizens about the multitude of community services MSBA gives them as members of the public." He hopes to reinforce that "the services our Association – lawyers – gives the community are a vital part of it having access to the justice system."

"Few people realize that lawyers participate in community service every day; it is simply part of our daily life," Murphy emphasizes. "Maryland lawyers actively partake in service to others both as individuals and through bar associations. They don't get credit for this service, nor do they seek recognition for it because they aren't doing it for this reason," explains Murphy. "They do it to serve; it comes from the heart."

However, MSBA's President believes these lawyers deserve accolades and intends to "offer thanks and recognition to all of the lawyers who give back through service to the community." Murphy thanks all MSBA members who engage in public service to help others. 

The new bar leader also pledges to continue MSBA's core services, including "providing timely information to lawyers about what is going on in the legal profession, offering CLE opportunities through its new CLE service, affording lawyers opportunities to participate in community service and giving lawyers camaraderie and networking opportunities, which are truly staples in the legal community."


After graduating from Wheeling College in West Virginia in 1968, Murphy entered the U.S. Army and engaged in combat service with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and was honored with a Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. In 1973, he earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Murphy launched his legal career as an Associate at, first, Madden, King & Werner, P.A., then at the Law Offices of Walter H. Madden, P.A. In 1975, he joined the Public Defender's Office of Montgomery County as an Assistant Public Defender. In 1978, he became a partner at the law firm Madden & Murphy, remaining there as it became Madden, Murphy & McKenna and then Madden & Murphy.

In 1983, Murphy hung out a shingle as a solo practitioner, then became a Principal in Murphy & Mood, P.C., in 2001, where he remains today. Murphy is a small-firm litigator whose practice involves trial work largely in family law, but his litigation also extends into many other areas.

MSBA's new President has been active in the Association for many years. He most recently served as MSBA's President Elect and Secretary, has been a member of MSBA's Executive Committee since 2006 and a member of the Association's Board of Governors, having served five terms since 1993. He chaired MSBA's Immediate Response Committee and has served on the Association's Ethics, Judicial Selections and Professionalism Committees.

Murphy was President of the Montgomery County Bar Association (MCBA) in 1991-92, served as Secretary from 1979-80 and was a member of Executive Committee in 1984-85. He chaired MCBA's Judicial Selections Committee, Litigation Section and Ethics Committee and co-chaired its Long Range Planning Committee. Murphy was also President of the Montgomery Inn of the American Inns of Court from 1998-99 and served on its Executive Committee from 1997-2004.

At the national level, he was a member of the American Bar Association's House of Delegates from 1993-94 and is a Permanent Member of the Judicial Conference of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Maryland Bar Foundation and a member of Montgomery County Bar Foundation Bar Leaders and the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association. In 1995, Murphy was honored with the Montgomery County Bar Association's Fifth Annual Professionalism Award.


Murphy is excited and honored to serve as President this year. He credits his family's "service" motto as the inspiration behind his Presidency. "Essentially, I think it is what has put me here today," states Murphy. "I am in this office purely to give back and serve my profession and my community. Because of my military service and my personal experience in Vietnam, every day is an extra day for me.  I believe I am the luckiest person alive."

When Murphy's service as President draws to a close, he wants to be remembered for serving MSBA members. "If the lawyers of Maryland say they were proud I was President, I will be satisfied."

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: June 2010

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