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City defense `MVP' visits legal scene's big league

Ken Ravenell, counsel in many well-known area trials, to argue today before the Supreme Court

November 01, 2005|By JULIE BYKOWICZ | JULIE BYKOWICZ,SUN REPORTER

Ehman remembers getting a 5:40 a.m. phone call from Ravenell on her husband's birthday a year and a half ago. It was Ravenell, who began by saying, "I've been waiting to call you."

"I thought, `Waiting since when, 3 a.m.?'" she says. Ravenell had an idea on a case that was in trial and couldn't wait to get her started on the research.

"Many times, I dragged myself into the office at 5:30 a.m., cursing him the whole way," she says. Ehman left in February to work on her own and spend more time with her baby.

Born and raised somewhere in the middle of 11 children in Cross, S.C., near Charleston, Ravenell has lost much of his Southern accent, though "idea" does come out more as "idear." His parents were sharecroppers, and he grew up picking cotton and vegetables.

He knew he wanted to be a lawyer by the time he was in eighth grade, but he never met one until he became a student at South Carolina State University. He picked the University of Maryland School of Law because he has long been a huge Terps fan, particularly of the basketball team.

Christia Ravenell and her siblings will sit in the gallery today, silently cheering on their dad. Ravenell says he will catch up on sleep afterward. Maybe he'll even read one of the John Grisham thrillers that his daughter says he loves, though she adds, "My father can't finish a book. He's too busy."

julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

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