THIS IS MY STORY
BY: EVELYN DARDEN
For the past several years, I have been in the comfort zone of semi- retirement known as “Of Counsel” to the Law Offices of Addison-Darden. Recently however, God in His infinite wisdom called me back into the Ministry of Law. Yes, “Lawyering has always been my ministry” since I was first admitted to the Maryland Bar on December 29, 1976 along with my colleagues the late U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings and the Honorable Kurt L. Schmoke. Since April 1, 1988, when I first opened the doors of the Law Offices of Addison-Darden in Glen Burnie, I knew I was called to more than just the practice of law; I knew I had found my calling in the Kingdom of God to serve others. Prior to Opening Day back on April 1, 1988, God had already gone before me by preparing the way and making it possible for me to purchase the part-time law practice of another fellow law school colleague who was appointed that day as the first Black Judge in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. By Opening Day, God had equipped me with several years of challenging and crucial legal experiences at the state, federal and local levels in both civil and criminal law. Also, in 1988, my son, now Senior Partner and Principal of the Law Offices of Addison- Darden, P. C. was completing his law degree at Howard University School of Law. Together, we grew the Law Offices of Addison-Darden, P.C. into a premiere law firm in the Greater Maryland area stretching our practice into and beyond the Greater Baltimore – Annapolis metropolitan area.
By God’s grace, the Law Offices of Addison-Darden grew, flourished and prospered like a tree planted by the rivers of water (Psalm 1: 3). On the 25th Anniversary of the Law Offices of Addison- Darden, I also celebrated my retirement from the active practice of law. Several of our clients were saddened to see me leave the active practice of law; “so young”, they said.
However, I decided it was time to spend more time with my beloved husband, Mark A. Darden, Jr, who had long since retired from full time employment. Little did either of us imagined that within weeks of my glorious retirement celebration held at the Hotel Monaco in downtown Baltimore City, that his health would decline to a level that forced him back on dialysis after experiencing nearly 15 years of a healthy restored active life as a kidney transplant recipient on January 20, 1999- that memorable day: the day the two of us would never forget as we once again exchanged “ I love you” whispers as our gurneys passed one another in the recovery room at the University of Maryland Hospital ; he the recipient , me the donor- “ truly a match made in heaven”, is what most of our friends and family members were proclaiming. The best gift we could ever give one another- the gift of life and love- one kidney to another , that allowed us to fulfill our dreams of traveling the world together from sea to shining sea. All the while, I still found time to practice law on a full time basis often working 50-60 hours a week but not on Sundays, my day of rest and worship.
Not on Sunday, unless of course it was a dire emergency, like the Sunday, my friend, Johnny Cochran, the world renowned trial attorney, called me with an urgent plea in his voice as he muttered, “ Evelyn, I know it’s Sunday, but I need you to personally visit a new client of ours today. His daughter was an innocent passenger in a car with her mother and sister on their way to a theater performance in downtown Baltimore when a high speed police chase of a fleeing convict in a stolen car caused the out of control police car to collide with the vehicle in which our young teenage client was a passenger, killing her instantly. Her dad is devastated and needs to talk to a lawyer now, one who is a Christian. I’m at home in L.A. this weekend, but I know you are the right person to handle this situation.” “Will do… on it!” I said. With that statement and a prayer, I was in my car headed to Cockeysville, Maryland to meet the father of the teenage girl who was killed in that horrible accident. . That case and many other wrongful death and serious accident cases over a five year period allowed our firm to work hand-in-hand with this legal giant from 1999 until his death in 2005. Johnny Cochran designated the Law Offices of Addison- Darden as his primary “go to” lawyers for all his cases in the Maryland area. It was truly an honor and privilege to work with one of the greatest trial attorneys of all times, whose name became a household word for excellent trial lawyer and to know that he had the highest confidence and respect for our law firm, The Law Offices of Addison-Darden, still brings me great joy. In 2002, Johnny Cochran nominated the Law Offices of Addison-Darden for the National Trial Lawyers of the Year for Public Justice Award. What an honor!
Throughout all the many travels and adventures of our renewed life due to the blessings of the kidney transplant, God’s plans were still at work in our law practice and in our lives from the very beginning back in April 1988 and continuously throughout our long practice, even though we couldn’t always see it. The four years following my glorious, spectacular retirement celebration at the beautiful Hotel Monaco in Baltimore City, God allowed me to spend significantly more time with my beloved husband at a time when he truly needed my time and services. On a semi-retired schedule serving as “ Of Counsel” to Addison-Darden, I built my schedule around my husband’s Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning 4 hour dialysis treatments at the Ellicott City Dialysis Center. Taking him there and picking him up and making a routine stop at the nearby McDonald’s for coffee became a comforting norm for both of us for four years. Unfortunately, on March 25, 2017, he lost his battle with renal failure and I lost my best friend that I knew from Parole Elementary School through Bates High School in Annapolis, Maryland and through our college years which evolved into a 52 year romance and marriage with children and grandchildren.
Well, here I am four years later after Mark’s heavenly departure and by God’s grace and mercy, I am still here and blessed to have a sound mind and fit body ( II Timothy 1:7). Thank you Jesus! Realizing that God has equipped me with many gifts, skills, talents, abilities, and an abundance of acquired knowledge, wisdom and understanding, I feel the call of God welcoming me back to the ministry of law for a season and calling me out of retirement for such a time as this to allow me to “ Refire” and to pour into others and bless them with the gifts that God has sown into me. Therefore, I am back providing legal services to my clients, old and new. This time around, an integral part of our “REBOOTING”, involves the benefits of modern technology, social media, digital, virtual and zoom services as we at the Law Offices of Addison-Darden enter a whole new world of modern digital technology which will allow us to work smarter not harder while still providing the highest quality of legal services to our much appreciated clients in a timely and efficient manner.
Trust me, this digital, social media world is still a steep learning curve for me to maneuver and master. With our very capable staff, the team of professionals and support systems we have in place, I am confident that with your patience and continued patronage of our law firm, we will continue to render the highest quality legal services to each of you, our treasured and respected clients. In particular, I will focus primarily on the areas of Estate Planning, Estate Administration and Elder Law. I stand ready to provide professional advice and counsel and prepare your will, power of attorney, living will, advance medical directives and any other estate planning documents to help provide you the peace of mind you deserve to experience.
My law partner, son, Mark “Skip” Darden, will continue to provide services to keep Maryland families safe through the zealous pursuit of your personal injury, accident, medical malpractice case or criminal matters.