Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : March 2006

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MSBA President Enhances Section Communication

~Sections share leadership opportunities~

One of MSBA President J. Michael Conroy's initiatives this year is to enhance communication between MSBA Sections and the Association's membership. MSBA's 22 autonomous Sections are a valuable resource to all Association members. They support practitioners in substantive law practice areas by keeping them apprised of everything from new developments in their field, pertinent legislative issues and case developments to changes that impact their law practice.

"Our Sections are valuable because they have practitioners who are experts in their particular discipline and their substantive expertise is second to none," states Conroy. "Sections have good energy, continually look at new issues and put together helpful materials. They really are the acumen of the Association."

Sections offer attorneys a wealth of information through MSBA publications, Section newsletters (see article, Page 5), Email Lists and CLE programs sponsored in conjunction with MICPEL. Members may engage in a variety of Section networking and mentoring opportunities, special activities and the chance to join their colleagues in a unified voice to bring about change and improve the legal system. Sections offer excellent leadership opportunities to MSBA members, too, but many members are not aware of the process involved in securing a leadership role.

Traditionally, the procedure for leadership advancement in some Sections has not been readily available to all members. Therefore, Conroy has asked all 22 MSBA Sections to post their election and appointment procedures on their individual links to MSBA's website, In this way, members interested in becoming actively involved and possibly advancing to leadership roles within individual Sections will be acquainted with that Section's appointment and election procedures.

This initiative, in part, stems from Conroy's own experience as a young lawyer seeking involvement in a Section. "As a younger attorney, early in my career, I tried to join an active MSBA Section," explains Conroy. "I was told there was no room, so I went instead to a local bar association, not understanding how the Section Councils operated."

Last spring, MSBA's planning retreat underscored the fact that there are still members who do not know how Sections operate. "This is why this initiative is so important; it emphasizes MSBA's inclusiveness," declares Conroy. "It shows we do not want anyone left out or left behind. If someone wants to work we will get them involved."

In addition, this initiative has solved "some misconceived member complaints," adds Conroy. "They did not know how an important cog of the Association operated and felt they were being intentionally left out. This initiative addresses this misconception in a positive fashion and remedies the issue."

Thus, the composition of MSBA Sections and their election procedures are now available online. Through this initiative, MSBA's President has shared the steps one needs to take to pursue an appointment on a Section Council with all MSBA members. Conroy encourages members to pursue leadership roles in their respective Sections.

"We have accomplished and put the finishing touches on a seamless information stream," states MSBA's President. "There should be much less uncertainty about how MSBA works. We now have more of our members standing together, ready to step up to the plate to accomplish whatever is necessary. We have a bigger, more unified, energized team. This is a good thing."

To date, 16 Sections have posted their appointment and election procedures. These Sections include: Administrative Law; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Business Law; Consumer Bankruptcy; Criminal Law; Delivery of Legal Services; Elder Law; Environmental Law; Estate and Trust Law; Family Law; Health Law; Judicial Administration; Labor and Employment Law; Litigation; Real Property, Planning and Zoning; Senior Lawyers; and Young Lawyers. As other Sections submit their procedures, the information will be posted on their individual Section links.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: March 2006

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