Mary Ellen Barbera

Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland

Mary Ellen Barbera is the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland,

the state supreme court. Under the Maryland Constitution,

she is also the administrative head of the judicial branch of state government.

A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law,

she clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Karwacki, Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

From 1985 to 1998, she was an Assistant Attorney General in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s Criminal Appeals Division, becoming its Deputy Chief in 1989.

She joined Gov. Parris N. Glendening’s Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs as Deputy Legal Counsel in 1998 and was promoted to Chief Legal Counsel in 1999.

In January 2002, she was appointed Associate Judge of the Court of Special Appeals and, in 2008, to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Martin O’Malley,

who further appointed her Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals in July 2013,

the first woman to be appointed to the position.


Chief Judge Barbera has received a number of awards and honors, including the Maryland Senate’s First Citizen Award (2018) and most recently the Montgomery County Bar Association’s Annual Jurist Award (2019). She is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, Bar Association of Montgomery County, National Association of Women Judges, Women’s Bar Association of Maryland, Women’s Law Center, Maryland Hispanic Bar Association, J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association, American Law Institute, and Conference of Chief Justices.