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Attorney/Government Affairs

Bowie, MD
October 10, 2018

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Monica Best-James, Esquire 13101 Idlewild Dr.

240-***-**** Bowie, MD 20715


I am an experienced attorney and administrator with a reputation as a successful advocate and team builder. This success stems from strong negotiation skills, proven research and analytic skills, public policy acumen and litigation experience. Licenses: United States Supreme Court; Federal District Court; Fourth Judicial Circuit; Maryland State Bar; District of Columbia Bar; Pennsylvania State Bar (retired). Professional Experience

Director of Government Affairs & Counsel, BISM (November 2015 - Present) Serving as the director of government affairs and primary counsel for the Blind Industries & Services of Maryland to key members of the legislature and judiciary on the federal, state, and county levels

• Revamped and navigated the Capital Bond Grant request to secure a $1 million award, the largest BISM has received

• Provided strong recommendations to the the Board of Trustees on how to handle emerging legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

• Leveraged my extensive network to generate new sales/contract opportunities for BISM’s medical and lifestyle product portfolios, fill board vacancies with strong advocates, and identify additional grant and funding opportunities

• Lobbied state and federal legislators on a wide range of issues critical to BISM’s core operations, including procurement and additional sources of funding

• Successfully litigated unemployment insurance cases Senior Advisor/Director, Comptroller of Maryland (February 2007 - October 2015) Served as the director of legislative affairs and primary liaison between the Comptroller’s Office to key members of the legislature and judiciary on the state and county levels

• Championed agency efforts to pass key legislative initiatives related to statewide financial literacy and taxpayer advocacy

• Spearheaded local assignments within Prince George’s County that have led to an enhanced presence within the county and directly correlated with a comfortable margin of victory of over 180k votes during the most recent election cycle

• Litigated Pro Bono Consumer Debt Cases and provide legal research & advice for the Comptroller’s directors, staff, legislators and constituents

• Successfully obtained passage of the Tax Preparers Act which requires local preparers to register and obtain training before lawfully preparing tax returns, which to date has generated Monica Best-James, Esquire

over $475k to protect Maryland taxpayers

• Successfully lobbied the General Assembly and state agencies to support the Comptroller’s “E- File” legislation, which saves the state and local governments close to $500k annually

• Responsible for coordinating the High School Mock Trial Program for Prince George's, Charles, and St. Mary's Counties

Director, MD Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (August 2003 - February 2007) Lead the department’s Legislative Services division and coordinated the Regulatory Affairs program

• Supervised managers, provided strategy, and conducted training for the agency’s directors on issues during four legislative sessions, which led to the successful passage of the agency’s proposals and avoided departmental budget cuts

• Successfully offered testimony in legislative hearings that persuaded the General Assembly to support special funding legislation for the Maryland Racing Commission and the divisions of: Employment & Training, Labor & Industry, and Occupations & Professional Licensing

• Streamlined the agency’s process for submitting and tracking fiscal note information, which ensured that financial data was submitted to the General Assembly in a timely fashion VP of Government Affairs, Maryland Chamber of Commerce (January 2001 - January 2003) Served as a legislative resource to the state’s business community to advance key chamber objectives

• Successfully drafted and presented testimony before the Maryland General Assembly and units of the executive branch of Maryland government on employment law, unemployment insurance, workers compensation law, transportation, environment and ethics issues

• Obtained passage of the Unemployment Insurance (U.I.) Task Force legislation which led to: significant improvements to the state’s U.I. laws, renewed funding for the U.I. Trust Fund, and a savings of $20-30 Million annually for state businesses

• Led the business community's efforts to ensure that the revised Maryland Ethics Laws were adopted, which protected the interests of businesses and private citizens

• Acted as an intermediary for the chamber and its members to the media and organized training sessions for chamber members on critical business issues Associate General Counsel II, M-NCPPC (January 1995 - January 2001) Supported the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission as the legislative liaison to the Maryland General Assembly while also representing the Montgomery and Prince George's County's Planning Boards in legislative hearings and work sessions

• Litigated employment and contract cases in Maryland District and Circuit Courts, and lobbied on behalf of several municipalities to prevent their removal from from the Commission's planning and zoning authority, all of which saved the commission thousands yearly

• Drafted and approved contracts that increased commission efficiency by allowing 2 Page

Monica Best-James, Esquire

municipalities and private entities to combine resources to better complete projects Staff Attorney, Maryland Legal Aid (January 1994 - January 1995) Litigated on behalf of children in abuse, neglect and punitive education claims in Prince George's County and Baltimore City Circuit Courts

• Drafted pleadings, argued motions and presented evidence during Merits hearings and Termination of Parental Rights trials

• Represented clients in school administrative hearings and Foster Care Placement hearings Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services Program (January 1991 - January 1994) Litigated on behalf of children in abuse, neglect and punitive education claims in Prince George's County and Baltimore City Circuit Courts

• Prevailed in several Landlord-Tenant cases which ensured that clients' homes were made habitable at the Landlords' expense

• Supervised support staff as they prepared intake forms and conducted initial interviews Education

Georgetown University Law Center - Trial Advocate Certification, July 1991

• Received a certificate of completion from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy The Catholic University of America - Juris Doctor (J.D.), October 1987

• Graduated from the Columbus School of Law with a focus on Clinical law and Pro Bono law North Carolina Wesleyan College, Bachelors of Arts (B.A.), Politics/Criminal Justice, May 1981

• Received departmental honors for academic achievement in Political coursework Activities

Bowie Public Safety Committee, Chairwoman

Prince George's County Bar Association, Board Member Leadership Maryland, Member

J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association, Former Treasurer Pro Bono Resource Center, Volunteer Attorney

Community Legal Service, Volunteer Attorney

Greater Mount Nebo Church Legal Ministry, Member

Welcome to the Upper Class, Legal Advisor

Eastern North Carolina Karate Championship, Former Grand Champion Black Belt Division 3 Page

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