Thursday, May 28, 2009

Maryland Defense Force Legal Officer Receives Award For Pro Bono Service

By Lt. Col. Robert Hastings
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs

BALTIMORE (May 28, 2009) – A legal officer with the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) has been recognized by the Maryland State Bar Association with the Brigadier General Philip Sherman Award, recognizing superior service by a civilian lawyer to uniformed service members. J. Michael Lawlor, a Lt. Col. in the MDDF is the inaugural recipient of the award which was presented in a ceremony at the Towson Armory Tuesday.

An MDDF volunteer since November, 2003, Lawlor is the deputy director of the MDDF Legal Directorate and head of its family law department. Lawlor was recognized for providing more than 200 pro bono hours of direct support to national guardsmen and their families, saving them thousands of dollars in legal fees. The MDDF Legal Directorate provides a broad range of pro bono legal support to members of the Maryland National Guard in times of pressing need.

“Mike Lawlor knows what to do, knows how to do it, and gets it done quickly, enabling guardsmen to focus on their duties free of concern about their families and their future” said MDDF Col. Michael Osborn, director of the legal directorate. “Mike is a role model and inspiration to us all.”

A native of Baltimore, Lawlor has 36 years experience as a solo practitioner. He is a graduate the Loyola College and the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a Vietnam veteran who has received numerous citations including the Bronze Star Medal, National Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 3 battle stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Republic of Vietnam Cross Unit Citation.

Headquartered at the Pikesville Military Reservation in Baltimore, the Maryland Defense Force is a volunteer uniformed state military agency organized under the Maryland Military Department. Formally established by the Maryland legislature in 1917, the unit's heritage and traditions trace back to the 17th century.

MDDF is one of a number of State Defense Forces authorized by the U.S. Congress under Title 32 and the respective state legislatures. While specific missions vary from state to state, State Defense Forces exist primarily to augment the capabilities of the National Guard. Employing volunteers who bring military experience and/or civilian professional skills, they supplement the capabilities of the National Guard, assist in National Guard mobilization for federal service, replace National Guard assets deployed out-of-state, and support state homeland security missions. State Defense Forces operate under the command of the Governor, as state Commander-in-Chief, and fall under the operational control of the state Adjutant General. State Defense Forces receive no federal funds and are supported entirely by the state.

For further information about the Maryland Defense Force, visit