Starting July 1, 2008, second, third and fourth-year law students from the University of Baltimore School of Law will join the ranks of associate membership in the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA), bolstering the Association’s numbers by more than 800.
“Everyone involved thinks it is a positive idea,” says Paul Carlin, MSBA Executive Director. “It provides an opportunity for law students to be exposed to the opportunities and benefits of the state bar and how they will be able to participate in the future. This will be mutually beneficial to both the law students and the MSBA.”
“This is a win-win situation for both the school and MSBA,” says Angela Vallario, Associate Professor of Law and member of the Career Services Committee at the University of Baltimore. At Vallario’s suggestion, the Career Services Committee took the idea to both MSBA and Phillip J. Closius, Dean of the Law School.
“We are happy to establish this new relationship with the Maryland Bar and anticipate much good will result,” declares Closius.
Following a favorable recommendation from the MSBA Membership Committee, the MSBA Board of Governors approved the plan at its January meeting. Moreover, with 100 percent participation, the MSBA offered a reduced rate to the law students.
“We’re pleased with and appreciate the support of the University of Baltimore, as the law student body will join us in promoting the issues of interest to the legal profession,” explains Carlin.
MSBA will aim such electronic membership benefits as online ethics opinions, the monthly Bar Brief, the mid-month Upcoming Events, the online research tool Fastcase and, most importantly, the MSBA Section Email Lists toward the law students. Since today’s students are more geared toward receiving information in electronic formats, providing these benefits in such a manner will help forge a strong bond between the students and MSBA.
The program will help to “bring the Email Lists into the classroom,” notes Vallario, a member of the MSBAs Estate and Trust Law Section who typically brings in material from the Section’s Email List to teach her classes.
All of the students will be automatically enrolled in the MSBA Young Lawyers Section and will have the option of joining one additional Section of their choice. The students will also receive the Bar Bulletin.
“[Section membership] gives the students an opportunity to get involved,” says Vallario. “If they are involved with the MSBA now, they will stay involved throughout their career.”
Carlin agrees. “This program allows the students to become acquainted with the MSBA and its programs, and have [them] stay members after they graduate,” he says.
Vallario also lauds another benefit of involving law students in MSBA: providing networking opportunities for future lawyers.
“This gives opportunities for students to be around experienced professionals and serve as a component of the profession,” she explains.
Carlin believes that MSBA membership “will prove to be an invaluable networking tool, as well as provide many helpful membership benefits.”
“Hopefully, membership in the MSBA will provide an excellent opportunity for those law students as they begin the study of law and their future careers in the legal profession,” he adds.