Board Of Governors
Board Of Governors :
Minutes : Jan 23, 2001


5:30 P.M.

The Maryland State Bar Association Board of Governors and officers met at the location, date and time indicated above. There were 34 members of the Board of Governors present including all of the officers. Guests attending the meeting include Robert R. Michael, Chair of the Unauthorized Practice of Law by Allstate Insurance Company Special Committee; Timothy E. Meredith, Chair of the Committee on Laws; Kevin J. Kelehan, Chair of the Law Links Special Committee; Carol Collins of the Citizenship Law Related Education Program; and Cleaveland D. Miller, Chair, and Walter E. Stewart, Jr., General Manager, of the Legal Mutual Liability Insurance Society. In addition, Paul Carlin, Executive Director, and key members of his staff were in attendance.

President Dick Sothoron called the meeting to order at approximately 5:45 p.m.

The Board approved the Minutes of the Board of Governors meeting of December 12, 2000.

As a housekeeping matter, before the President began his report, the Secretary made a motion to have Cornelius David Helfrich appointed Assistant Secretary since he has been nominated by the Board to be the next MSBA Secretary. The Board approved the motion.

1. Dick Sothoron gave the President's report.

a. He reviewed a letter dated December 19, 2000 to the Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, concerning the position of the MSBA regarding the Council on Jury Use and Management’s report and recommendations. President Sothoron noted that many of the issues addressed by the Council were controversial in nature mirroring the positions taken in the Council’s report. He further noted that there were many less controversial recommendations on which there appeared to be a consensus. He expressed concern to Chief Judge Bell that there appeared to be minimal coordination between the Council on Jury Use and Management and the MSBA whose members are directly impacted by the recommendations contained in the report. President Sothoron expressed the hope that future studies of jury reform and other topical issues include input from the MSBA.

b. He reported on Chief Judge Robert M. Bell’s appointment of a broad based panel to study the complex and controversial issue of privacy in public access to court records. The MSBA has not been requested to provide any members of the panel but has referred the issue to the Technology Committee for consideration.

c. He called on Robert R. Michael to discuss the Allstate Insurance Company unauthorized practice of law matter. Mr. Michael advised that he had spoken to the Assistant Attorney General who was directly involved in the Allstate matter. She informed him that they were involved only to the extent of working out compromise language for Allstate’s notices to customers and not conducting any type of investigation into the unauthorized practice of law. The Attorney General’s Office views the issue of whether or not the advice rendered by Allstate involves the unauthorized practice of law to be an open and viable issue. Mr. Michael’s committee recommended that the MSBA forward this matter to the Attorney Grievance Commission. The Board approved a motion to adopt the committee’s recommendation and to refer the matter to the Attorney Grievance Commission for action against Allstate. Harry S. Johnson abstained from the vote.

d. He reviewed a letter from Glenn M. Grossman, Deputy Bar Counsel, to the publisher of the Legal Source for Baltimore advising that under the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct, Maryland attorneys may not hold themselves out to be specialists and therefore he requested that future editions of the publication omit the term "attorney specialties" and include a term such as "practice concentrations."

e. He reviewed a letter dated December 15, 2000 from Stephen L. Freedman requesting the MSBA to establish a Pet Law Committee. The matter has been referred to the Committee on Laws. President Sothoron noted that he had called Mr. Freedman personally and spoken with him regarding the concerns as expressed in the letter.

f. He reviewed the notice of By-Law amendments pertaining to associate memberships in the MSBA of paralegals, legal assistants and law firm administrators. The amendments will be voted on by the membership at the Mid-Year Business Meeting on March 2, 2001.

g. He discussed a letter from S. Allan Adelman to David M. Tralins concerning a proposed Affiliation Agreement between the American Health Lawyers Association and the State Health Care Law Organization. The Board determined that the MSBA should support coordination between the two organizations but did not agree that an Affiliation Agreement was either necessary or appropriate. President Sothoron will send a letter to Mr. Tralins expressing the reservations about an Affiliation Agreement.

h. He discussed a letter that he received from Martha W. Barnett, President of the American Bar Association, concerning foreign legal consultants. He has referred the matter to the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar for consideration.

i. He reported that the National Conference of Chief Justices is holding its Midyear Meeting in Baltimore at this time. The MSBA is sponsoring a dinner at the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse on January 24, 2001.

2. Paul Carlin gave the Executive Director's report.

a. He reported that the total MSBA membership count as of the date of the meeting was 20,036, including 29 resignations, 3 dropped members, 6 deceased members, 862 new members, and 11 reinstatements. The Board approved the applications for Honorary Membership in the MSBA by L. John Ritterpusch and A. Lee Haislip, Jr. The Board approved the resignations noted in the Executive Director's Report.

b. He reviewed an ABA Report on Bar Association Trends and advised that the MSBA is the fastest growing voluntary bar association in the United States. The MSBA is growing at a rate of 4.2% per year.

c. He advised that he has sent letters to members of the MSBA who have not paid their dues to encourage them to remain members and to out-of-state lawyers who have been admitted to practice in Maryland to solicit their membership in the MSBA; that our contract with Lexis had been reviewed, discussed and renewed at a substantial increase in income to the MSBA for the next three years; that an Affinity Agreement was signed with Advance Business Systems effective January 1, 2001 which provides members of the MSBA with a substantial discount on supplies and equipment sold or rented by Advance Business Systems and a 2% royalty to the MSBA; that the ABA Journal of December 2000, on page 84, included a lengthy quote from Carol P. Waldhauser who is the Program Administrator for the MSBA Lawyer Assistance Program; and that he was investigating, on behalf of the Association, advertising on the MSBA’s home page in order to generate additional revenue with tasteful advertising.

3. Jim Nolan gave the Secretary's report. He reported that the minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting held on January 9, 2001 were substantially covered in the agenda for this meeting.

4. Harry Johnson gave the Treasurer's report.

a. He reported the following for the MSBA as of December 31, 2000: total dues income of $2,152,511.62; total income of $2,809,723.29; total expenses of $1,392,624.03; and total surplus of $1,417,099.26. He also reported that dues income representing 100.45% of the MSBA budget had been collected to date.

b. He reviewed a request from the Budget and Finance Committee to approve a budget amendment which would provide $2,500 to the Leadership Academy as a safety net to complete its projects in the event it cannot raise the necessary funds. The Board approved the requested budget amendment.

c. Kevin Kelehan and Carol Collins discussed the Law Links Program and their efforts to seek major grants to assist with the cost of helping worthy high school students in obtaining positions as interns in various places in the legal system in the State of Maryland. After discussion, the Board approved a motion to defer consideration of funding of the Law Links Program until its next meeting.

5. Pam White gave the President-Elect’s Report. She reported that she, Jim Thompson, Mike Conroy, Paul Carlin and Buz Winchester attended a meeting of the Rules Committee on January 5, 2000. They discussed IOLTA and how to improve income on IOLTA accounts. It is anticipated that there will be opposition to improving that income from assorted sources and it may be necessary to resort to legislation to improve the situation. It was further noted that three versions of a revised Rule 6.1 will be submitted to the Court of Appeals for consideration and that the MSBA supports the version adopted by the Judicial Commission on Pro Bono.

6. Reports of Standing Committees.

Buz Winchester, MSBA Director of Legislative Relations, and Timothy Meredith, Chair, gave the report and recommendations of the Committee on Laws. A copy of the written recommendations dated January 23, 2001 is attached to these Minutes as Exhibit 1. The written recommendations for Core Issues, Middle Range Issues, Controversial Issues, and New Issues were approved by the Board, but regarding House Bill 83 and House Bill 86, the Board voted to oppose the bills with amendments. The Board also voted that the retroactive legislation and the single subject rule would be moved to core issue status and that Business and Technology Court and employment discrimination would be moved to mid-range issue status.

7. Reports of Sections.

David C. Merkin, Chair of the Young Lawyers Section, reported that Novemberfest was quite successful and that the Section donated $4,800.00 to The Family Tree which sent a nice letter to the MSBA acknowledging this generous donation.

8. New Business.

Cleaveland D. Miller and Walter E. Stewart, Jr., reported that the Legal Mutual Liability Insurance Society insures approximately 1600 attorneys throughout the state, many of whom are solo and small firm attorneys. They indicated that Legal Mutual offers assistance in claims avoidance with very competitive rates and had an 11% increase in revenues from last year.

9. Announcement.

a. Paul Carlin announced that the MSBA’s Sixth Annual Mid-Year Technology Showcase will be held on Friday March 2, 2001 and Saturday, March 3, 2001, at the Maritime Institute of Technology. A review of the brochure revealed that there are an incredible number of programs being offered to assist lawyers with technology, regardless of their skill level.

b. Dick Sothoron announced that the MSBA, in conjunction with the Prince George’s County Bar Association, will hold an Oyster Roast on Saturday, April 28, 2001, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. at the historic Billingsley Manor. In conjunction with the Oyster Roast, there will be boat tours of the scenic Patuxent River and hay rides available.

c. Ron Richardson advised the Board that Maryland Public Television will air a program on African-American Attorneys and Judges on February 12, 2001, at 10:30 p.m. and again on February 16, 2001.

There being no further business to come before the Board of Governors, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

James P. Nolan

Cornelius D. Helfrich
Assistant Secretary

Board Of Governors : Minutes : Jan 23, 2001