PK Law was deeply saddened with the news of Judge Joseph F. Murphy, Jr.’s passing on July 27, 2022. Judge Murphy retired from the Court of Appeals on August 5, 2011. He then joined the law firm of Silverman Thompson where he headed the firm’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice. He retired from that firm in 2021.
Judge Murphy had a long and well respected legal career in Maryland starting his practice as a Legal Aid staff attorney, an Assistant State’s Attorney for Baltimore City and the Deputy State’s Attorney before entering private practice as a partner in the Towson based law firm of White & Murphy. He was appointed to the Circuit Court for Baltimore County in 1984, was appointed to the Court of Special Appeals in 1993, became its Chief Judge three years later, and was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2007.
In addition to his practicing and presiding over cases, he authored the Maryland Evidence Handbook, and taught at the University of Baltimore Law School and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. He was the 1994 recipient of the Maryland Bar Foundation’s Award for Professional Excellence in the Advancement of Legal Competence, the 2003 Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center’s Champion for Victims Award, The Daily Record’s 2003 Maryland Top Leadership in Law Award, the 2004 St. Thomas More Society of Maryland’s Man for All Seasons Award, the 2008 University of Baltimore Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Award, and the 2010 University of Maryland Law School’s Cardin Public Service Award.
Members of PK Law remembered Judge Murphy fondly recounting personal encounters with him in the courtroom and as an educator.
Member Patricia McHugh Lambert recalled trying her first solo Circuit Court case before Judge Murphy. “Judge Murphy was patient with me, listened to my client and ultimately crafted a very fair solution to a neighborhood dispute.”
“I had the good fortune to be assigned to Judge Murphy’s group years ago when I attended the MICPEL Nine-Day Trial Advocacy course”, recounted Member Paul Finamore. “He was a wonderful teacher and mentor, providing practical advice from his years in practice and on the bench. He also ensured that we knew the Rules of Evidence. A few years later, he published the Maryland Evidence Handbook and was clearly the guru in Maryland on the topic. I was lucky to learn from him.”
Member Elliott Petty recalled working as a law clerk in Baltimore County Circuit Court in 2002 just down the hall from Judge Murphy. “He treated me with as much respect and kindness as he did my judge and the other judges.”
Managing Director Drake Zaharris echoed the sentiment of many attorneys in Maryland by stating, “he was one of the great jurists of all time for the State of Maryland. He will be greatly missed.”