When it comes to the dissemination and exchange of information, the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) makes every effort to keep pace with its members’ ever-growing demands for unprecedented speed and precision. However, you, our members, play an integral role in ensuring MSBA’s membership records are as accurate as can be. This article highlights the why and wherefore of MSBA’s record-keeping as it pertains to member contact information and what you can do to help keep it up to date.
MSBA will maintain up to two addresses per member. These addresses are applied to the following three categories:
Mailing. MSBA considers this to be the member’s primary address. Your mailing address is used for all official MSBA mailings (including publications such as the Maryland Bar Journal, Bar Bulletin and Maryland Lawyers’ Manual), as well as for determining the distribution of ballots for MSBA Board of Governors elections.
Billing. This is the address to which MSBA mails your annual dues statement/invoice.
Published. This address is used for a member’s individual listing in the blue pages of the Maryland Lawyers’ Manual as well as for MSBA’s online member directory and Section and Committee rosters. However, members may “opt out” of having this address published in the Lawyers’ Manual, the online directory, or both.[Please note that our database is set up as such that a P.O. Box can be designated as the primary address, in conjunction with a secondary street address, or can be listed as one address.]
MSBA members have multiple options when assigning an address for use in the three categories. Here are a just few of the more common permutations:
One business address > Mailing/Billing/Published. In this scenario, all official MSBA correspondence, including invoices, will be delivered to the given business address. This address will also serve as your published address.
Some members elect to use a home address for all three categories. However, because the online directory is open to the general public, some choose to opt out of publishing it there, though they may allow it to be published in the more profession-focused Lawyers’ Manual.
One business (satellite office) address > Mailing/Published; One business (main office) address > Billing. This option may prove particularly beneficial to members working in a satellite office of a larger firm with multiple locations. Here, all official Association materials, excluding invoices, are sent to the individual’s actual physical location (which also serves as his or her published address), while all invoices will be directed to the firm’s main office. Another variation is to designate your place of business as your Mailing/Published address, while using your home address for Billing purposes.
One home address > Mailing/Billing; One business address > Published. This option is particularly well-suited to judges, state’s attorneys, public defenders and other holders of public office who may not wish to have their home address made public. Here, all official Association materials, including invoices, will be sent to the member’s home address, but only said member’s work address will be published. [For precautionary reasons, MSBA strongly recommends that judges, state’s attorneys, public defenders and other holders of public office ensure that their published address is not their home address.]
One business address > Billing/Published; One home address > Mailing. Here, your business address serves as your published address, and invoices will also be sent to this address. However, all other official MSBA notices – including events, publications, etc. – will be delivered to the designated home address, as will ballots for any Board of Governors elections within said mailing address’ district.
Telephone/fax numbers. MSBA requires at least one telephone number for each member as a means of contact should questions or concerns regarding the member’s information arise. MSBA will maintain up to one work number, one home number and one fax number for each member.
E-mail addresses. Since an ever-growing number of MSBA’s official communications are in electronic format, the Association encourages each of its members to keep a valid e-mail address on file with the Membership Department. MSBA uses member e-mails for purposes of distributing electronic publications like the Bar Brief as well as MSBA Events and other official announcements and MSBA Section/Committee Email Lists. The Association also uses e-mail addresses for retrieving passwords for online services. (Members may “opt out” of having their e-mail published in the online directory and the Lawyers’ Manual, please note that it is a package deal: by opting out of one they are automatically withheld from the other.)
MSBA will maintain one primary e-mail address per member; however, an alternate e-mail may be used for Email Lists simply by contacting the Membership Department and specifying which address is to be used for which purpose.
All MSBA members are responsible for notifying the MSBA Membership Department of any changes to their contact information. Changes are generally completed within 24-48 hours (business days). The MSBA’s preferred methods for receiving address changes are by way of the MSBA website (www.msba.org, under “Update Member Info”) or when paying your dues. MSBA will also accept address changes in writing by regular mail [Membership Department, c/o MSBA, 520 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201], fax [(410) 685-1016] or e-mail [firstname.lastname@example.org]; please specify which address is to be used for which categories. In the event an entire firm relocates its offices, the firm may submit a letter requesting the specified address change for affected members providing each member has hand-signed the letter.
MSBA does sell pre-printed, one-time-use mailing labels to organizations it deems as beneficial to members, including vendors of related services, MICPEL and other CLE providers; however, MSBA does not provide members’ telephone numbers or e-mail addresses to anyone. Members can opt out of this practice by visiting www.msba.org, clicking on “Update Member Info” and checking the “Do not wish to receive commercial mail” option.
Member account numbers. Your MSBA Member Account Number appears on the “New Member” letter MSBA sent to you when you first joined the Association. It can also be found on your dues invoice, or by calling the Membership Department at (410) 685-7878.
Maryland Lawyers’ Manual. The deadline for address changes for the next edition (2010) of the Maryland Lawyers’ Manual is Friday, August 28, 2009. Again, all members are responsible for notifying the Membership Department of any changes in writing!
Dues invoices. Dues invoices are sent out in early June. As such, please notify the Membership Department of any changes to your billing address no later than Friday, May 15, 2009.
Verify MSBA records. Regardless of whether or not you’ve moved or otherwise changed your contact information, visit the “Update Member Info” option on the MSBA website every few months to ensure that your mailing, billing and published addresses as well as other contact information is valid and up to date.