Ben Civiletti (left), Wilhelm Joseph, Chief Judge Robert M. Bell (right)
Former U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti (and retired partner and past chair at Venable) was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Equal Justice Council, the private-bar fundraising arm of Maryland Legal Aid.
“I’ve known Ben longer than anyone in this room,” said EJC co-chair Benjamin Rosenberg to a group of 35 partners from large Baltimore firms. “I was a summer clerk in 1968 and Ben wasn’t even a partner yet at Venable — but he was the leader of his peers and senior lawyers. In 1977, he went to Washington, and I became a partner. It felt like being a member of the Colts and Unitas had just left!”
Accepting the award, Civiletti, 77, said Maryland is fortunate to have leaders such as Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Legal Aid executive director Wilhelm Joseph and the EJC.
“They help people who need our help desperately,” Civiletti told the lawyers. “They stepped up when others stepped down. Ask yourself this question: Could we have any semblance to equal justice in Maryland without Legal Aid?”
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Wilhelm Joseph (left), Ben Civiletti
Maryland Legal Aid Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph was one of three guest speakers at a retirement dinner last week for Venable partner (and former U.S. attorney general) Ben Civiletti (right in photo with Joseph), a longtime friend of Legal Aid.
Civiletti is a former Legal Aid board member—and still ardent supporter of Legal Aid. “Apart from glowing tributes made about Ben by several speakers, including Wilhelm, the highlight for Legal Aid was Venable’s contribution of $50,000 in honor of Ben, to support Legal Aid’s continuing work,” said Legal Aid board president Warren Oliveri. “This is in addition to their normal, trendsetting annual contribution.”
Richard Wasserman, a Venable partner and Legal Aid board member, said the gift is a reflection of the firm’s long-standing and close relationship with Legal Aid. “And it’s in honor of Ben’s close relationship with Wilhelm and Legal Aid.”
Added Joseph: “Venable has raised the bar for private attorney support of legal assistance for low-income people in Maryland. It is a special honor that they have done this in the name of a remarkable private lawyer and public servant—Ben Civiletti.”