Alison L. Asti
Alison L. Asti will be installed as President of the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) on June 16, 2007, during the Association’s Annual Meeting in Ocean City, Maryland. The Executive Director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, Asti is a dynamic and effective leader in Maryland’s legal community. She is well known for her devotion to public service and her commitment to helping others.
As MSBA’s top leader, Asti will serve a 12-month term and will be joined by newly-elected officers: President-Elect Katherine Kelly Howard, Vice President and General Counsel of Regional Management in Baltimore City; Treasurer John Patrick Kudel, a solo practitioner in Rockville and Of Counsel to the Rockville-based law firm of Karp, Frosh, Lapidus, Wigodsky & Norwind, and Secretary Thomas C. Cardaro, a partner in Cardaro & Peek, LLC in Baltimore City. Working with this leadership team, Asti will lead MSBA and its 22,500 members for the next year.
Asti is looking forward to serving as MSBA President. “I have always felt a commitment to MSBA and its leadership because this is where I get the greatest satisfaction – helping others beyond my own little world,” she proclaims. “One of the greatest satisfactions of being a professional in any area, including the law, is doing something for the greater good, something that goes beyond your existence in your own personal job.”
“I also feel committed because of the relationships I have built with MSBA members over the years,” she continues, “which have proven to me how dedicated and committed lawyers are in helping our community and improving our world.” One of MSBA’s major roles is public service.
“MSBA is also there to help lawyers,” Asti adds. She feels today’s busy lawyers face a number of challenges in their daily law practices, not to mention the outside pressures presented by the globalization of law practice, competition for clients, the ever-expanding field of law practice and threats like the unauthorized practice of law. To ease these pressures, Asti encourages practitioners to turn to MSBA for support.
MSBA offers members a large array of membership services and benefits and plays an important role in Maryland’s legal community. “MSBA can speak in one voice for all lawyers in the state,” declares Asti. “I think it is important that, when we have common ground, MSBA speak up on behalf of lawyers. Lawyers are busy with their practices and don’t always have the time to address concerns about global issues affecting the practice of law. So MSBA is the voice of Maryland lawyers, leading the way,” addressing systemic issues which affect lawyers and the legal profession.
Asti brings a wealth of leadership and administrative experience to her new post. After receiving a B.A. degree and Master of Arts in Economics from Duke University, Asti graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1979. She joined the Baltimore law firm of Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander, LLC, becoming a partner in 1986. She engaged in general corporate and commercial practice, handling a broad range of corporate, partnership and commercial matters which included business acquisition, securities matters, banking and bond work.
In 1990, Asti became General Counsel and Director of Development for the Maryland Stadium Authority, assuming responsibility for all commercial transactions with regard to the construction and operation of the Camden Yards Sports Complex, the Baltimore Convention Center expansion, the Ocean City Convention Center expansion, the Montgomery County Conference Center, the Hippodrome Performing Arts Center and other projects delegated by the Maryland legislature. She negotiated leases with the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens and other entities and handled all legislative and state law matters.
In September 2004, Asti was appointed Executive Director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, after serving as Acting Executive Director for six months. In this role, she retains her legal counsel responsibilities and also functions as the organization’s director of development.
Asti is known for her active volunteer work in Maryland’s legal community and her bar association activities and public service projects. She also serves as a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and the National Conference of Bar Presidents’ Executive Committee, and is a former President of the Metropolitan Bar Caucus.
Most recently, Asti was MSBA’s President-Elect and she also served as Secretary and is a member of the Association’s Executive Committee and the Board of Governors. She was President of the Bar Association of Baltimore City, the Baltimore Women’s Bar, the Maryland Bar Foundation and the Baltimore City Bar Foundation. She also chairs The Daily Record’sEditorial Advisory Board.
MSBA’s incoming President serves on the University of Maryland School of Law’s Board of Visitors and is a member of the Board of the University of Maryland System’s Foundation. She was named one of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” by Warfield’s Business Journal in 1996 and one of “Maryland’s Legal Elite” by Baltimore Smart CEO in 2006. Asti was honored with one of The Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Awards in 2005 and as one of its “50 Most Influential Marylanders” in 2007.
This year, Asti plans to focus on internal and external communication. “I would like to reach out to lawyers and find a way to give them an avenue for better communication so they can communicate their concerns to us and we are able to better represent them.” Similarly, she would like to find a way to better communicate with the public about the outreach “our lawyers do in the community and in their own lives, which might enhance the image of lawyers in the community.”
The new Bar leader also wants MSBA to work with the Judiciary’s Professionalism Commission as it prepares its final report on professionalism in Maryland. One of the trends emerging from the Commission’s study is that lawyer dissatisfaction is connected to a lack of lawyer interaction with other professionals and a lack of camaraderie in the profession. Asti believes “MSBA and local bar associations are one of the best sources to reach out to lawyers, bring them together and give them more satisfaction in their careers.”
Asti hopes to pursue a youth-at-risk project, too, piggybacking on this year’s ABA initiative. “The ABA is focusing on kids who have committed status crimes, but have really done nothing seriously wrong,” she reports. “They are at that horrible stage in their lives where the choice between right and wrong is looming and it only takes a little bit to push them onto one path or the other. I think we can assist the ABA by picking one area and trying to make a difference in those kids’ lives. If we only change one life, I will be satisfied we accomplished something.”
Asti is thrilled to assume the helm of MSBA and is already busy planning initiatives for her year. As President, she wants “MSBA to continuously be a better resource to the lawyers of Maryland.” She would like to be remembered for “competently leading MSBA into the future.”