“Today I have the privilege of becoming the 114th President of the Maryland State Bar Association,” proclaimed Katherine Kelly Howard as she assumed the office of MSBA President on June 14, 2008, at the Association’s Annual Meeting in Ocean City. “There are no words to truly express how important this experience is to me. I am very grateful that MSBA’s 23,000 members are giving me the honor of serving as their President. I am humbled and hopeful that I can meet their expectations.”
Addressing the audience of 200+ attorneys and judges gathered at MSBA’s Business Meeting, Howard declared “MSBA is respected throughout the country for its innovative programs, capable administration, diverse leadership and strong partnerships with the judiciary and our law schools.” She plans to “continue the successes of the past and establish new initiatives,” reinforcing MSBA’s role as a strong resource to Maryland lawyers, the Legislature and the public.
The Vice President and General Counsel of Regional Management in Baltimore City, Howard will serve a 12-month term and will be joined by newly-elected officers: President-Elect, Thomas C. Cardaro, a partner in Cardaro & Peek, LLC, 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, P.A.; and Secretary Thomas D. Murphy, a partner with the Law Offices of Murphy & Mood, P.C., in Rockville.
This year, one of Howard’s major initiatives will be to shine the spotlight on the good things lawyers do. Maryland lawyers have “heeded the call to serve others through their knowledge of the law,” she declared. “And when lawyers hear that call…they answer it, not only by representing clients, whether the clients are paying or on a pro bono basis, but also through a commitment to the communities in which they live and practice.”
To applaud this commitment, MSBA’s new President plans to focus “on the many efforts lawyers make to better their communities – both through their legal expertise and simply as good citizens” through her “Shine a Spotlight on the Good Things Lawyers Do” initiative. In conjunction with Maryland’s local and specialty bar associations, MSBA will “shine the spotlight” in every circuit, asking local attorneys “to select, from among their peers, both a seasoned attorney and young lawyer, for a MSBA Spotlight Award honoring their service to and participation in their communities.” Howard is proud of the good deeds volunteer Maryland lawyers do everyday and believes they deserve recognition.
She is also extremely proud to be a Maryland lawyer and a member of MSBA. “The law has always been a major part of my life,” she declares, “and so has MSBA.” Howard became involved in MSBA as a young lawyer and served as Chair of MSBA’s Young Lawyer’s Section (YLS) in 1989. “This experience cemented my commitment to continued MSBA service and convinced me that the Association’s future depends on its future leaders.” Thus, another one of her major thrusts is to foster future leadership by “recruiting, training and retaining future bar leaders.”
“MSBA’s YLS offers a wealth of talent that can be utilized to engage young lawyers around the state in bar leadership,” declares Howard. To this end, she plans to convene a “Statewide Young Lawyer’s Leadership Summit/Transition Program where young lawyer leaders will gather together in the fall for MSBA’s first Statewide Young Lawyers Leadership Summit.” The Summit will enable these young bar leaders to exchange ideas and gain leadership skills essential for them to be successful leaders now and in the future.
Finally, MSBA’s new President plans to introduce a special YouTube educational initiative to enable Marylanders to better understand their role in maintaining justice. “Increasing public interest in, and understanding of, the law is an essential part of our MSBA mission,” explains Howard. “Reaching out to today’s young people, particularly students, and demonstrating to them that they must get involved in our democracy in order to preserve basic citizen rights, is essential to the success of this mission.”
To accomplish this, Howard wants to use YouTube for positive messaging and is asking MSBA’s Public Awareness Committee and Citizenship Law-Related Education Committee to “launch a statewide contest challenging Maryland’s citizens to post their ideas regarding the Rule of Law in today’s world on YouTube.” The best of these postings will be determined by a jury comprised of past MSBA presidents and past YLS chairs. The winners will be recognized next spring.
MSBA’s President is looking forward to the coming year and will be shining the spotlight on MSBA members. Concluding her message, she shared a quote of Voltaire’s: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
“This sums up my feelings about being your MSBA President,” Howard exclaimed. “It is not a reflection on me but, in fact, is a reflection of the excellence of each and every one of you, my colleagues in this noble profession! Thank you for giving me this opportunity!”