Alumni Spotlight

Mary Ellen Flynn '88: Alumna President of Montgomery County Bar Association

by Leslie Frank

On May 4, Mary Ellen Flynn, a principal in the law firm of Andalman & Flynn, was installed as president of the Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland, an organization consisting of approximately 3,000 attorneymembers. She is only the fifth woman elected to this prestigious position since the Montgomery Bar's founding in 1894. Prior to this election, Flynn had served as treasurer of the association, treasurer of its bar foundation, president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Women's Bar Association of Maryland, chair of the Solo and Small Firm Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, and as an executive committee member of the Board of Governors of the Maryland State Bar Association.

As the president, Flynn's long-term goal is to broaden the membership and leadership base so that its makeup more accurately reflects the diversity of the county's population. She also is involved in encouraging young people to better understand our legal system.

"The new Youth Courthouse Project Committee is already planning tours of our courthouses for groups of local children that otherwise would never have an opportunity to learn about our legal system in an educational and positive way," explains Flynn. "The tours will not only show them our courtrooms, court offices and other facilities but also will give them the chance to meet our judges, elected officials and courthouse personnel and introduce them to the wide range of careers open to them in the legal field."

Flynn was born and raised in Queens, New York, graduated from the State University of New York in Binghamton with honors in 1985, and then received her law degree from Washington College of Law, cum laude, in 1988.

Flynn was busy during law school, supporting herself by working a variety of jobs while also gaining experience working on the Journal of International Law, clerking in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for

Magistrate Arthur Burnett, serving as a Rule 13 prosecutor for the State's Attorney's Office for Anne Arundel County, and serving as a Dean's Fellow for Professor Candace Kovacic-Fleisher. She began practicing law in Maryland in 1988 and in the District of Columbia in 1989. Her areas of practice include domestic relations, personal injury, criminal defense, collections and judgment enforcement.

In a typical week, Flynn meets with clients and law partners, goes to court, attends to bar business, stays involved in her daughters' many activities, attends homeowners' association and community meetings, and prepares for upcoming bar association and work-related events.

As the first in her family to graduate from college, Mary Ellen Flynn is thankful to be a woman who "has it all" - a successful law career, a happy 18-year marriage, two accomplished daughters and the opportunity to give back to the community through mentoring young women, participating in professional associations and civic organizations, and serving as president of the Bar Association of Montgomery County.

Her advice to new graduates and accomplished attorneys alike is to become involved with bar associations. Through her participation, she gained important management skills and referrals, while contributing to the legal profession in her community.

"I became involved with bar associations right after I graduated and my involvement very much contributed to my success," notes Flynn. "And it's never too late to join. All lawyers, no matter what stage in their career, can benefit from what these associations have to offer."