Board Of Governors
Board Of Governors : Minutes :
December 17, 2002

MEETING - 5:00 P.M.

The Board of Governors of the Maryland State Bar Association met at the location, date and time indicated above. 34 members of the Board of Governors were present.  Paul Carlin and selected members of his staff were in attendance, as well as Timothy Meredith, Chair of the Committee on Laws and K. Donald Proctor, Chair of the Practice of Law Committee.

Prior to the meeting, Buz Winchester, MSBA Director of Legislative Relations, gave a brief history of the Maryland State House which is among other things, the oldest State House in the continental United States in continuous use.  He noted that at one time, the State House served as the capital of the United States of America.  From a brief history of the Senate and House Hearing rooms, Mr. Winchester moved to a brief discussion of lobbying and how lobbying takes place in the Senate chambers.

President James Nolan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:15 p.m.

The Minutes of the Board of Governors meeting of November 19, 2002 were approved.

1.James Nolan gave the President’s Report.

a.   President Nolan reviewed a letter that was co-signed by himself and President-Elect, Harry S. Johnson, to all lawyer/members of the Maryland Legislature offering the assistance of the MSBA and discussing, in general terms, some of the priorities of the MSBA during the upcoming legislative session.

He further discussed a letter directed to Thomas V. Miller, Jr., President of the Senate, and Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the House, congratulating them on their (re-election and their election) as President and Speaker, respectively.

b.   He reviewed a Memorandum from Paul V. Carlin, Executive Director of the MSBA, to all Local and Specialty Bar Associations; discussing nominations for various ABA awards, including the Thurgood Marshall Award, the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award and the Louis M. Brown Award.  The Memorandum noted that if the a Local and/or Specialty Bar Association would like to nominate a person for one of the awards and would like the MSBA to sign on as a co-nominator, the Association should forward its submission to Mr. Carlin in order for the BOG to consider the recommendation.  He further noted that the Local and/or Specialty Bar Associations were also free to make whatever nominations they may choose to make, without MSBA involvement.

c.   He noted an article in the November 20, 2002 edition of The Daily Record, written by Earl Kelly, Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer, which noted that the issue of comparative negligence might well be discussed during this legislative session.

d.   He noted an article in the November 27, 2002 edition of the Washington Times, written by Tim Lemke, indicating that the State of Mississippi enacted court reform legislation restricting the location where suits must be tried, restricting punitive damages, revising the joint and several liability rule and finally, exempting retailers from liability if the retailers sell a defective product that they were not aware was defective.

e.   He noted an excellent letter to the Editor of the ABA Journal in its December 2002, edition, from Patrick C. McKeever, MSBA Governor, regarding arbitration of disputes.

f.   He discussed a request from Allan Head, Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services, requesting the MSBA to participate as amici curiae in a suit brought by the ABA against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on September 25, 2002.  The suit seeks to obtain a Judgment declaring the FTC’s interpretation of the privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act invalid.  He noted that the MSBA had previously voted to monitor this legislation.  It was moved and seconded that the Executive Committee be given the authority to decide to sign onto the Amicus Brief in Support of the ABA suit if there was no cost to the MSBA and the Brief was well done.  This Motion passed.

g.   He discussed a letter from Paul V. Carlin, Executive Director, to Representative Benjamin L. Cardin, discussing the MSBA’s support of HR 5457, which clearly exempts lawyers from Title V, Subtitle A of the GLB Act.

h.   The Governors discussed a Memorandum from M. Peter Moser, Chair of the ABA Task Force on Implementation of Section 307 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and the Securities and Exchange Commission Rules implementing Section 307.

i.   President Nolan reported that he had appointed a Special Committee on Entertainment & Sports Law, with 30 members.  He further noted that he had appointed David Merkin, Esquire, as the BOG Liaison to this Special Committee.

j.   He also reported that a Special Committee on Consumer Bankruptcy Law was in the process of being appointed.

k.   He discussed future efforts to eliminate contested circuit court judicial elections.  It was noted that the Conference of Circuit Court Judges, as well as the Court of Appeals Public Trust and Confidence Implementation Committee oppose contested circuit court judicial elections and favor retention elections of the type currently mandated for the appellate courts.  It was clear that the question is one of determining what to replace contested elections with, if the MSBA determined to continue its position of opposing contested judicial elections. 

The Governors agreed to survey Local and Specialty Bar Associations to determine their position on the issue of contested circuit court judicial elections.

The matter was held over for further discussion at the upcoming Executive Committee meeting and then to be revisited at the next Board of Governors meeting.

2.Paul V. Carlin gave the Executive Director’s Report.

a.   He reported that the total MSBA membership count as of December 17, 2002, was 19,856 members, including 17 resignations, 0 dropped members, 0 deceased members, 8 new members and 17 reinstatements.

b.   He noted that the MSBA’s new Marketing Director, Janice Jones Branch, was settling in nicely in her position.  The staff has been preparing solicitations for potential new members of the Association and new Section members from within the pool of available members of the Association.

c.   He noted that the ABA had increased its dues.  He further noted that the MSBA has an incredible record of lack of dues increases.  Dues were increased by the MSBA in 1980 and again in 1990.  Stating that differently, Mr. Carlin noted that there has been only one dues increase by the MSBA in the last 22 years.

d.   He requested an extension of the dues payment deadline to February 28, 2003.  It was moved and seconded to extend the dues payment deadline to February 28, 2003.  That Motion passed.

e.   He noted that Wanda Claiborne had organized the meeting of the most recent Professionalism Course where approximately 1000 new admittees attended.  She also organized a charity drive collecting 31 big boxes of clothes, toys and food and $210.00 to be donated to Ronald McDonald House. He noted that Janet Stidman Eveleth, Director of Communications, had been a member of the MSBA staff for 15 years as of June 8, 2002, and that Buzz Winchester, Director of Legislative Relations, had been with the MSBA for 15 years as of December 1, 2002.  He further noted that the computers, which had previously been authorized for purchase by the BOG, have arrived and are being installed by Lawrence Hicks.

3.   J. Michael Conroy gave the Treasurer’s Report.

a.   He reported the following for the MSBA as of November 30, 2002: total dues income of $2,258,865.49; that the total income was $2,542,445.30; that the total expenses were $1,241,597.59, leaving a surplus of $1,300,847.71 after 5 months of this fiscal year. 

4.   Harry S. Johnson gave the President-Elect’s Report.

a.   He noted that the Mid-Winter Meeting for 2002-2003 was sold out.  He further noted that the Mid-Winter Meeting for 2003-2004 would be held in Punta Canta, Dominican Republic from February 21, 2004 to February 28, 2004. 

He noted that he attended the Swearing In of Judge Althea Handy in Baltimore City and that it was a very nice and moving ceremony.  He further reported that during his Presidential year, he would ask members of the BOG to attend various Judicial Swearing-Ins around the State and to speak on behalf and carry the good wishes of the MSBA to the new Judges.  Finally, he noted that the September 2003 BOG meeting would be held at Bulle Rock in Harford County.

5.   Reports of the Standing Committees.

a.   Timothy Meredith, Chair of the Committee on Laws, and Buzz Winchester, Director of Legislative Relations, gave the Report setting out the final 2003 State Legislative Program.  It was moved and seconded to approve this Report.  The Motion passed.

6.   Reports of Special Committees.

a.   K. Donald Proctor, Chair of the Practice of Law Committee, presented the report of the Committee dated December 11, 2002.  After discussion by the BOG, it was moved and seconded to approve the Report of the Practice of Law Committee and to forward the report to the ABA’s Task Force on the Model Definition of the Practice of Law.  That Motion passed.

7.   Report of Sections.

a.   Michael Stover, Esquire, gave the report of the Young Lawyer’s Section, noting that on January 13, 2003, there would be a public forum held at Westminster Hall to discuss contested circuit court judicial elections.

8.   Special Order of Business - Election of Officers Executive Session).

The BOG, acting as a nominating committee, went into executive session and nominated the following candidates for MSBA office during 2003-2004; For the office of President-Elect, Cornelius Helfrich, from Bel Air, Maryland; for the office of Secretary, J. Michael Conroy, Jr. from Gaithersburg, Maryland; and for the office of Treasurer, Edward J. Gilliss, from Towson, Maryland.

9.   New Business.

a.   It was moved and seconded that J. Michael Conroy, Esquire, be appointed Assistant Secretary of the MSBA.  That Motion passed.

10.  Announcements.

a.   President Nolan noted that Judge Alexander Wright was joining the law firm of Miles and Stockbridge in Towson, Maryland.

There being no further business to come before the Board of Governors, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Cornelius D. Helfrich

Board Of Governors : Minutes : December 17, 2002