On Tuesday, November 28, 2023, the Maryland Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to admit Samuel Edward Howie to the Bar of Maryland, despite finding he committed two violations of his law school’s honor code during his final semester in 2018.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Samuel Edward Howie,” with case no. 62.

Howie applied for admission to the Maryland Bar in July 2021 after earning a J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 2018. However, during his final semester of law school, Howie committed two violations of the school’s honor code related to a practice exam for the bar exam. He obtained a model answer from a friend and copied it verbatim, achieving a perfect score.

Upon discovery, Howie faced a hearing before the law school honor board and was issued an official reprimand that would be disclosed to bar examiners. Before graduating, Howie was found to have committed a second violation for failing to identify the friend involved. Howie was permitted to graduate with his J.D. in 2018 despite the violations.

Since then, Howie has practiced law in New Jersey and New York, both states admitting him to their bars after character committee hearings regarding the 2018 infractions. Maryland’s Character Committee also held a hearing in March 2022 and recommended admission by a 4-2 vote. In March 2023, the State Board of Law Examiners conducted its hearing and issued a similar 4-2 recommendation for approval the following May.

However, after Howie appeared before the Maryland Supreme Court in September 2023 in response to concerns raised, the Court’s opinion published on November 28th stated a narrow 4-3 majority approved Howie’s admission. In its order, the majority acknowledged Howie’s clean ethical record over three years of practice along with the past approvals from other bars in permitting his entry to the Maryland Bar despite his law school honor code breaches from spring 2018.

The Disposition states:

“ORDERED, that the Applicant be admitted to the Bar upon taking the oath prescribed by statute.”

At the time of writing, Mr. Howie is an associate in the Newark office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Labor & Employment Practice.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.