One of MSBA President Katherine Kelly Howard’s priorities this year is to shine the spotlight on all of the good things lawyers do. While MSBA members are often honored for their pro bono service and other outstanding contributions to the legal profession, there is little recognition for the “good things” they do in their everyday lives as volunteers in their communities. To applaud the many volunteer lawyers quietly “making a difference by bettering their communities,” Howard has launched “Shine a Spotlight on the Good Things Lawyers Do” and is encouraging all MSBA members to participate.
“As lawyers, we feel the calling to give back,” proclaims Howard. “In addition to pro bono service, our good works as lawyers enhance our communities. We want to support, and recognize, members of the legal community for these good works as citizens as well as their contributions as members of their communities. Too often, these good works go unsung.”
Therefore, Howard has created these awards to sing the praises of unsung lawyers. “The Spotlight program will recognize the outstanding efforts of lawyers who tirelessly dedicate their time not only to their profession, their clients and pro bono service, but who are also just all around good citizens participating in and leading their communities,” explains MSBA’s President. “They are committed to the communities in which they live and practice, both through their legal expertise and simply as good citizens.”
To recognize these dedicated volunteers, MSBA’s President unveiled the “Shine the Spotlight” program at MSBA’s Bar Presidents Conference in October and requested the support of Maryland’s local and specialty bar associations. MSBA plans to “shine the spotlight” in every circuit, asking local attorneys to select a seasoned attorney and a young lawyer in their local legal communities and nominate them for a MSBA Spotlight Award. The thrust of this recognition program is public service.
While every local bar association in the state has been asked to nominate two lawyers – one seasoned attorney and one young lawyer – all MSBA members are encouraged to participate and make nominations of attorneys for a local MSBA “Spotlight” honor. The award criteria and nomination form may be found on MSBA’s website at www.msba.org/articles/spotlightonlawyers.asp. Nominations are due by April 1, 2009.
In the spring, a panel of three MSBA Past Presidents and three Past Chairs of the Young Lawyers Section – the Selection Committee – will evaluate and select the award winners. These outstanding attorneys will be honored with an MSBA Spotlight Award for their service to and participation in their communities at MSBA’s Annual Meeting and will be invited to attend the 2009 “Solo Day Conference” held during this event for a special gathering of “Spotlighted Lawyers.”
MSBA’s President is excited about this attorney recognition effort and looks forward to personally delivering the awards and congratulating the winners at the Annual Meeting. Howard is proud of the good deeds volunteer Maryland lawyers do every day and believes MSBA’s Spotlight Awards are an excellent way to recognize these dedicated lawyers. In so doing, she hopes to establish a new MSBA tradition.