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A lawyer who grew up in St. Mary’s and began his law practice among the county’s attorneys was appointed last week by Maryland’s governor to a district court judgeship on the state’s Eastern Shore.

John Phillip Rue II, 62, graduated from Ryken High School and St. Mary’s College, and upon his graduation from the University of Baltimore’s law school, formed a law partnership for two years in the early 1970s with Leonardtown lawyer Walter Dorsey. Rue’s practice later moved to Lexington Park, and he worked part time as an assistant prosecutor toward the decade’s end with then-State’s Attorney Neal Myerberg while also in a law partnership with Roger Myerberg and Walter Sawyer.

“I learned a lot in a few years. Everybody had a general practice then,” Rue said this week, recalling his interaction with lawyers who had been doing the work for decades. “We were in court every day. It was great being around these attorneys, [some of whom] started in the 1920s. It was a great way for a young attorney to learn and have all these mentors. You just soaked everything up.”

Rue and his wife, Connie, moved to the Eastern Shore in 1980, where the Salisbury resident served again as a prosecutor in Wicomico County, and with the public defender’s office in Somerset, Worcester and Wicomico counties.

From 1990 to 1997, the governor’s office reports, Rue was the district public defender for the lower Eastern Shore area, overseeing all of the office’s attorneys in that region while maintaining a full-time trial docket. Rue has been a solo practitioner specializing in criminal defense since 2009.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) appointed Rue on Thursday to the Wicomico County District Court to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge R. Scott Davis. Rue was among nine applicants for the judgeship, and one of three applicants chosen by a judicial nominating commission in March for the governors’ consideration.

Rue said he expects that his investiture will take place next month to begin his term on the bench.

JOHN WHARTON