Case Details


Attorney General Qualifications

Filing State



Maryland Court of Appeals




Abrams v. Lamone, 905 A. 2d 841 (Md. 2006).


A candidate for the office of the Attorney General must be a member of the Maryland Bar for at least ten years and must be a practitioner of law in Maryland for an identical period, and that work for the United States Department of Justice and the Senate Judiciary Committee did not constitute practice of law in the state.

Case Description

A voter brought an action for declaratory and injunctive relief on the grounds that a candidate for Attorney General failed to meet the applicable constitutional qualifications for Attorney General. Article V of the Maryland Constitution provides, “No person shall be eligible to the office of Attorney-General, who is not a citizen of this State, and a qualified voter therein, and has not resided and practiced Law in this State for at least ten years.” The candidate, who resided in Maryland, had worked at the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. for 10 years, had become a member of the Maryland bar five years previously, and had taught law at the University of Maryland School of Law for five years. The Court of Appeals held that “The practice of law in Maryland and Maryland bar admission are coterminous; one follows from and, indeed, is dependent on the other.” The court held that the framers of the Constitutional provision had taken into account the bar membership requirements in drafting the provision. Although the candidate had not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Maryland, because he was authorized to practice there as an attorney at the United States Department of Justice, that did not suffice as the “practice of law” for purposes of his candidacy. The court held, “the entry of appearance in a federal court located in this State by someone not admitted by this Court to practice here is not tantamount to practicing law in this State. Nor is the appearance in Maryland state courts “to attend to the interests of the United States” authorization to practice law in this State.” The court made it clear that those who are admitted to the Maryland bar need not practice exclusively, or at all, in Maryland state courts, but may practice in federal courts in Maryland, or may never appear in court at all.