On September 5, 2008, MSBA Director of Information Technology Lawrence Hicks celebrated two decades of service to the Association.
“As a Certified Microsoft Engineer, Lawrence is our ‘Go-To Guy’ for all of our technology needs and questions,” MSBA Executive Director Paul V. Carlin says of Hicks, whose job, he explains, has grown over the past 20 years to encompass overseeing all of MSBA’s databases, servers and member data, as well the Association’s 120 rosters of Committees and Sections. “Lawrence is extraordinarily conscientious, which allows our operations to progress smoothly and efficiently.”
MSBA Directory of Information Technology Lawrence Hicks stands beside a server rack with which he maintains and secures information on MSBA's roughly 23,000 members
Originally hired as EDP (Electronic Data Processing) Operations Manager, Hicks was initially charged with tending MSBA’s membership records and nascent computer system, which at that time consisted solely of a “Prime Computer, which ran the membership database,” Hicks recalls. “Everyone was still using typewriters for documents.”
Before long, Hicks explains, word-processing capabilities and an accounting system were also added to the Prime Computer. Bar Headquarters subsequently received its first PCs in 1993, followed shortly by the addition of a single terminal wired for Internet access, as well as MSBA’s inaugural web presence. Other milestones during that time include the introduction of a new membership database system in 1996; the addition of membership Email Lists in 2000; the creation of an MSBA “Associate Membership” category in 2001; and the 2002 launch of the Association’s online membership directory.
But the greatest challenge, according to Hicks, has been addressing the technological mobilization of the practice of law. “The boundaries of where you practice are no longer geographical,” he notes. As such, Hicks’s dual charges of membership and technology afford him a unique opportunity to meet members’ evolving expectations by collecting and “providing more access to information” while simultaneously “keeping members’ information secure.”
Carlin likens Hicks to “a fine detective.”
“I marvel at how many problems he detects and solves,” explains Carlin, who honored Hicks’s years of service to the Association at the MSBA Annual Business Meeting on June 14 in Ocean City. “We are extremely fortunate to have had Lawrence on our team for the last 20 years.”