Judge Erik S. Atas
Immediately prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Atas worked in private practice at Zirkin & Schmerling Law. At Zirkin & Schmerling Law, Judge Atas was the head of their Criminal Defense department. He represented hundreds of clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors in every jurisdiction of Maryland’s District and Circuit Courts, as well as civil cases in District and Circuit Courts and at the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Atas served as an Assistant Public Defender at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender from 2006 to 2012. During his time with the Public Defender’s Office, Judge Atas defended thousands of people charged with crimes at District and Circuit courthouses throughout Baltimore City.
Prior to joining the bench, Judge Atas ran a pro bono expungement program that helped hundreds in need at homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and drug treatment programs. His work led to the expungement of thousands of cases from their criminal records. While in private practice, Judge Atas donated thousands of hours of his time to represent over 800 people, all pro bono, to expunge over 7,000 cases from their criminal records.
Judge Atas has been recognized by several organizations for his substantial amount of volunteer efforts to help those in need to expunge eligible cases from their criminal records. Specifically, Judge Atas has received awards and recognition from the Maryland Bar Foundation (Advancement of Public Understanding of the Law Award, 2019), the Baltimore Ravens (Community Quarterback Award, 2018), Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (Volunteer of the Month, October 2018), and Maryland Association for Justice (Simon K. Walton Civil Justice Award, 2018).
Judge Atas is a member of the Bar Association of Baltimore City (BABC). He currently serves as an Elected Member on the BABC Executive Council and previously has served as a Co-Chair to their Criminal Law Committee.
Judge Atas is an active member of his community and volunteers his time to support non-profit and charitable organizations. He served on the Board of Directors for Gaudenzia, a non-profit t drug and alcohol treatment program for men and women in the Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington D.C. areas. In addition to his service on the Board, Judge Atas provided pro bono legal services for hundreds of Gaudenzia patients at their Baltimore City and Crownsville sites and assisted them to expunge thousands of cases from their criminal records to facilitate their positive recovery path.
Judge Atas is currently the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Maryland Youth & The Law (MYLaw), a non-profit educational organization that provides leadership, life skills, and civic awareness to Maryland youth through unique, real-world, law-related learning opportunities. Judge Atas has been volunteering his time in various capacities with MYLaw for more than ten years.
A life-long Baltimore City resident, Judge Atas completed his undergraduate studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He then attended the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2006.