Strong Leadership to Propel AAJ Forward in its Mission
Leadership is an action, not a position. – Donald McGannon
Bruce M. Plaxen has spent the last 35 years fighting for justice and advocating for a better, stronger civil justice system. He has successfully taken on leadership positions in the Maryland Association for Justice and the American Association for Justice, and his actions have been directly responsible for many positive legislative changes by the Maryland General Assembly. Bruce served as PAC Chair of the Maryland Association for Justice PAC from 2001-2016 and in 2018 was again asked to serve as PAC Chair and continues to serve as the PAC Chair of the most influential PAC in Maryland.
A respected leader in MAJ and AAJ
Since 1993, Mr. Plaxen has served on the MAJ Board of Governors. He initially chaired the Membership Services Committee and oversaw its growth and under his leadership expanded the services offered to their members. Bruce was an important member of the Education Committee and a frequent and popular speaker on Trial Advocacy, Depositions, Evidence and a multitude of topics. Bruce continues to speak at MAJ educational programs and one of his favorite speaking engagements is when he gets to speak to New Lawyers at their monthly breakfast meetings. While serving as an officer of MAJ in 1995, Bruce was asked to chair the Legislative Committee and he did until 2001 when he became the MAJ PAC Chair. Since 1995, Bruce has been fighting tort reform measures in Annapolis and successfully helped pass dozens of Pro Civil Justice laws that have benefitted the injured and aggrieved. Since 1995, Bruce has testified hundreds of times in Annapolis on Civil Justice issues. Legislative leaders such as the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House, Committee Chair and others in Annapolis, as well as Congressional Leaders routinely reach out to Bruce on issues that may influence the Justice System. Since 2001, Bruce has advocated a strong relationship between MAJ and AAJ believing that State TLAs cannot succeed unless AAJ succeeds and AAJ’s success is tied to the strength of our States. He has taken on numerous leadership roles for both MAJ and AAJ, earning honors and accolades from both groups along the way. As a leader in MAJ, Bruce Plaxen served on these committees and in these positions:
- Board of Governors, 1993-2016
- Chair of the Political Action Committee, 2001-2016
- Legislative Chairman, 1996-2001
- President of the Maryland Association of Justice, 2001-2002
He was named the Maryland Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2009, and awarded the MAJ President’s Award in 2007 and 2010. He is the only MAJ member to have ever received the award twice.
Mr. Plaxen has also been a vocal advocate on behalf of AAJ, taking on leadership roles and supporting AAJ in the following ways:
- AAJ PAC donor continuously since 1987
- Served as either chairman, co-chairman, regional captain, or state captain for every important AAJ fundraising project since 2001
- State Leader and State Liaison to Trial Lawyers Care, the largest pro bono project in history
- 2002 became President of the Council of Presidents
- First served on the AAJ Executive Committee in 2002
- Member of the Organization Review Committee since 2004
- Chairman of the Organizational Review Committee from 2013 to the present
- National Finance Committee member since its inception
- Member of Leaders Forum since 2007
- Chairman of the AAJ Convention Planning Committee 2007-2013
- PAC Taskforce member since 2010
- PAC Trustee since 2012
- Chair of the Maggie Hassan fundraising event at the 2016 Chicago Board meeting
- Co-Chair for Justice 2016 in Los Angeles
- Long time PAC Eagle
- Annual donor to Evergreen
- Regularly attends AAJ membership drives in Maryland and throughout the Country
- Supported and helped shepherd passage of the Revitalization Governor Bi-Laws
- Supported and helped establish the AAJ LGBT Caucus
- Sponsors the AAJ Caucuses in many ways as he believes the caucuses are the life blood of the organization
- Has attended AAJ Lobby Days and routinely communicates with the Maryland Congressional Delegation
Bruce Plaxen is a three-time recipient of the Wiedemann Wysocki Award, in 2003, 2010 and 2016, a recipient of the AAJ Distinguished Service Award in 2017 and a recipient of the AAJ Above and Beyond Award in 2019.
Moving AAJ into the future
Mr. Plaxen is proud of the work the Association has done, and the role he has played in that work, however, there is still much to do. As Parliamentarian, Mr. Plaxen would strive to ensure that AAJ is open and accessible to everyone, including small law firms. Bruce Plaxen understands we have room for improvement and constantly strives to make the AAJ more helpful and valuable to our members.
While fundraising and increased membership must be priorities, we must also make AAJ membership an important and relevant asset for practicing lawyers.
Bruce also wishes to continue his work improving communication between the States and AAJ as well as between the States and each other. Bruce believes that the strength of AAJ relies on the strength of each State. That is why Bruce frequently hosts joint membership drives with MAJ and AAJ and promotes AAJ at monthly MAJ events throughout Maryland.
To share your ideas with Bruce Plaxen, please call or text (443) 690-0471, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.