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Montgomery County Women's History Archive:

40 Women of Historical Significance in Montgomery County

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Sharon V. Burrell


The Honorable Sharon V. Burrell





Sharon V. Burrell was born and raised in Washington, D.C., where she atiended public school. The first person in her family to attend college, Burrell graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University, receiving a degree in English. In her junior year in
college, she decided to pursue a career in law instead of writng or teaching. She credited this decision to inspirationion from the television courtroom drama Perry Mason. Burrell earned her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

Burrell began her career as a law clerk for Judge Harry A. Cole, the fi rst African American to serve on the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the state’s highest court. When her clerkship was complete, Burrell took a position as an associate at Cable, McDaniel, Bowie, and Bond in Baltimore, Maryland, where she practiced tax and corporate law. After leaving the private sector, she began her long and distinguished career in public service as an attorney for the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office. For 21 years, Burrell represented the County Government, its agencies and employees in many different areas of litigation in both state and federal trial and appellate courts.

In 2008, Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed Burrell as an Associate Judge for the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, 6th Judicial Circuit. With her appointment, Burrell became the fi rst African American female judge in Montgomery County, where she has presided over juvenile, family, criminal and civil cases.

In addition to her work as an atiorney and her service on the judiciary, Burrell is, and has always been, active in her community. Some of her professional memberships and accomplishments include: National Association of Women Judges; Maryland State Bar Association; National Bar Association; Montgomery County Bar Association; Federal Bar Association; serving as President of the J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association; Maryland Bar Foundation Fellow; Montgomery County Inn of Court, through which she served as the Chair of the American Inns of Court Program Awards Commitiee; serving as a volunteer mediator for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts; and has serving as a volunteer in the Montgomery County Teen Court Program first as a lawyer and then as a judge.

Burrell is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the NAACP, and the NCNW. She served as Senior Vice-President of Ivy Vine Charities, Inc., and is the recipient of many commendations and awards including: Certifi cate of Recognition and Appreciation, Montgomery County.