The professional background of Ebony Thompson, announced today as Baltimore’s next city attorney, does not appear to meet the Baltimore charter requirement that the city attorney must have practiced law for at least less than 10 years.
Thompson received her law degree from the University of Baltimore Law School in 2013 and went to work that year in the Baltimore office of Venable LLP. During her law studies, she had done an internship at Venable.
Online Maryland court records show that Ebony Monet Thompson was called to the bar on December 19, 2013.
This apparently leaves him a year less than the qualification needed to meet this requirement:
“The City Solicitor must be a member of the Maryland Bar, who has practiced as a lawyer for at least 10 years,” states the Charter on page 177.
The Maryland Code for Business Occupations and Professions, Section § 10-601, further states that a person “may not practice, attempt to practice, or offer to practice law in the State unless admitted to the bar”.
Monica Lewis, spokeswoman for Mayor Brandon Scott, did not respond to emails and text messages regarding Thompson’s legal experience and charter qualifications.
Powers of prosecutor
Currently an assistant attorney and acting chief of staff to Mayor Scott, Thompson was announced as the city’s new attorney in a press release sent out by the mayor’s office earlier today.
Recruited by City Solicitor James L. Shea to be his deputy, Thompson left private practice in Venable last January.
Shea today announced his intention to retire. Shea was hired as a municipal attorney in 2021 with a salary of $188,000. He also did not respond to questions about Thompson’s experience.
Thompson’s salary was not disclosed today by the mayor’s office.
The position Shea leaves and Thompson assumes is one of the most powerful in city government.
Under the charter, the city attorney is the principal legal adviser and representative of the city and its various departments, officers, commissions, boards, and authorities, and has the general supervision and direction of the legal affairs of the city. .
The attorney also sits as one of the mayor’s appointees to the five-member spending council, the Board of Estimates.
Mayor Scott calls Thompson “the ultimate team player”.
The panel, which also includes the mayor, city council president, comptroller and director of the Department of Public Works, awards multimillion-dollar tax breaks, development loans and contracts, sells property, channels state and federal funds to private and public entities. and sets water and sewer rates.
Scott expressed confidence in Thompson, describing her in the press release as “the ultimate team player.”
“I am delighted to see her continue to lead in this new role and look forward to her continued contributions to making us a stronger and more effective administration,” he said.