About: Mike the Lawyer
Admitted: 1989, Maryland State Bar
Law School: University of Baltimore, J.D., 1989
College: University of Maryland, B.S., 1986
Present or Past Member of Several Legal Organization including:
- Appointed to the Baltimore County Bar Association’s Bench – Bar Committee
- Appointed to The Maryland Court Process Committee of the Commission on Child Custody Decision Making
- Maryland Trial Lawyers Association, Maryland Association for Justice, Maryland Criminal Defense Association
- Maryland Collaborative Law Association, Inc., International Association of Collaborative Professionals, Maryland Collaborative Practice Council, Howard County Collaborative Professionals, Inc., Baltimore Collaborative Divorce Professionals
- Founder and President, The Child Access Center, 1998-1999
- A Founding Member and President of the Maryland Collaborative Law Association (MCLA)
- Justinians’ Legal Society
- Author of Award Winning and Highly Acclaimed Book: Stop Fighting Over the Kids: Resolving Day-to-Day Custody Conflict in Divorce Situations ISLN: 914224981
Born: Baltimore, Maryland, 1964
Some Recent Continuing Education Programs Attended:
- The Collaborative Institute 2014: Finding Money Harmony in Collaborative Divorce; (June 6, 2014)
- 2016 – 60 hours supplemental mediation training – court certification
- Best Interest Training for Representing minor children in contested custody cases
- Parent Coordinator Training
A Little About Me:
I was born and raised in Catonsville, Maryland where I attended grade school at St. Mark’s Catholic School and high school at Mt. St. Joseph’s College. In 1986, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County campus (UMBC). From there, I went on to the University of Baltimore School of Law, graduating in 1989 and receiving my Juris Doctorate Degree. At that point, I was admitted to the Maryland State Bar.
During college and law school, I clerked at my father’s law office in southwest Baltimore City. I grew up around the law. My father, A. Gus Mastracci, was an Assistant City Solicitor in the Baltimore City Law Department from 1968 to 1989. He was assigned to the Litigation Section, responsible for defending the City of Baltimore in jury and court trials for actions against Baltimore City and training and supervising new attorneys.
In addition, my father, widely regarded as a “heavy hitter” among judges and attorneys, maintained a successful private practice and was the family lawyer for generations of residents in southwest Baltimore City and beyond, primarily concentrating negligence actions.
Upon being admitted to the Maryland Bar, I joined my father’s firm as an attorney and initially worked primarily in the area of personal injury and negligence cases, including auto accidents and workers’ compensation claims. Additionally, I developed a criminal defense practice for our firm. Although we moved our office to Baltimore County in 1995, we were delighted that most of our long-time clients followed us and have continued to utilize our services, referring family members and friends throughout the years. Even in these days of high-tech marketing and advertising, my reputation and business is not based on Google algorithms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Ghost Blogging, pay per click, snazzy videos, billboards, radio, or television ads, and the like. Our success is almost entirely based on referrals from satisfied clients who know, respect, and trust us and our advice and wisdom on legal matters. Trust and ability are differences that matter.
After a very short and less than harmonious marriage, I became the first branch on the Mastracci family tree to become separated and divorced. My “main man,” Nicholas, was born in the spring of 1993, and had not yet reached the age of two before his mom and I separated and began one of the most acrimonious custody battles to wreak havoc on the Baltimore County Circuit Court. I only mention this because it was that experience that led to my interest in the area of family law matters and lead me to write my first book: Stop Fighting Over the Kids: Resolving Day-to-Day Custody Conflict in Divorce Situations
There is life after divorce and as bad as all of that can be for the children of separation and divorce there is a lot that can be done to move forward even when you and the other parent don’t get along. Like many recently separated and divorced people with small children, I had some significant adjustments to make and was often reminded of how much different a parent-child bond is when compared to other interpersonal relationships; kids come first. Probably the best thing I ever did for my then young son was to marry his wonderful stepmom, Deb Cromer. As Nick pointed out, her name is “B. E. D.” spelled backwards. Kids say the darnedest things, don’t they? Amongst her many attributes, Deb, a/k/our Administrative Goddess, is also the office manager at the Mastracci Law Office.
During many darker times I thought Deb was my guardian angel. Having been acquaintances and then friends for a few years first, Deb and I have been together and married for 25 years. While never clouding her role and importance in Nick’s life, I have never seen anyone show a stepson as much love. Indeed, step parenting following an ugly custody battle has its own unique and often painful challenges. I learned a lot from watching how those situations can best be handled while keeping a child’s best interests of paramount concern.
Nick is an awesome young man and after graduating from The University of Baltimore School of Law in 2018, he clerked for two widely respected Judges in the Baltimore County Circuit Court. He now works at Stacey Rice Law in Annapolis concentrating exclusively in Family Law; life is good.
Unfortunately, on December 8, 2017, my father passed away. He left me with many great memories and lots of laughter that helps to fill the void and lighten my heavy heart. I can only imagine how proud he would have been of his grandson, Nicholas Mastracci, passing the Maryland State bar exam on his first try in November of 2018 and now making his own mark within the legal profession as a named 2023 Rising Star.
Now that I’ve told you more than you need to know, let me tell you why I choose to share such personal information.
When I was in law school, one of my teachers was an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Baltimore County. During Constitutional Criminal Law class, His Honor taught us that one of the most important things you can do for your client is to “know your judge.” He added that he was not talking about personally knowing the judge as a friend (which generally doesn’t hurt) but knowing the background and temperament of a judge so that one could have a reasonable degree of certainty as to how a particular judge would likely rule or otherwise view the particulars of any given case. The website the robing room is a site “where judges are judged.” Lawyers, litigants and court personnel and others evaluate judges in several categories and comment on them as well. This website underscores the importance of knowing your judge. Similarly, I believe that you, the client, should know your lawyer. All of us bring our personal experiences into our professional life. It is a part of our human nature and ultimately inevitable.
Another life-long lesson I learned from an adjunct professor, also a practicing attorney, was that “the practice of law has very little to do with the truth and everything to do with the perception of truth.” Take a moment and think back on some of the more publicized criminal trials, political campaigns and scandals in recent years and you’ll know what I mean.
There is another more common saying that is often true. “It’s not necessarily what you know but who you know.” Again, this is the reality.
I have decades of experience in the areas of personal injury, auto accidents, workers’ compensation, criminal defense, serious traffic violations, drunk driving cases, criminal trials, and family law matters. These days, in semi-retirement and with more personal selectivity, I only personally handle criminal, serious traffic and family law cases and I have co-counsel relationships for the other areas of practice. In addition, there are many other areas of law where I can be of service to my clients by simply making an appropriate referral.
I do not profess to know everything or to be “an expert” in every area of law. I know what I know, and I know it inside and out. I believe in specialization and hiring the right person for the task at hand.
When looking for a qualified person to handle a specific services related to your legal issues, an attorney is also a good place to obtain references. I often make referrals to competent alcohol and substance abuse counselors, child custody evaluators, therapists, anger management counselors, accountants, realtors and the like.