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
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
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
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
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.
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.
James P. Nolan
Cornelius D. Helfrich
Of Governors : Minutes :
Jan 23, 2001