Specialty bar leaders meet in a session catered to growing and managing specialty bar groups.
Every fall since 1959, the MSBA has invited bar leaders from across the state to gather for two days of networking, sharing of ideas, plenary sessions, and keynote speakers in the interest of fostering stronger ties between each other as well as with the state bar.
This year, the 53rd Annual Conference of Bar Presidents – the nation’s oldest program of its kind – and concurrent 5th Annual Young Lawyers Summit drew 140 participants from across Maryland to Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Maryland, on October 25-27.
“This annual conference gives local and specialty bar leaders and their executives a unique opportunity to spend two days learning how other bar leaders confront issues of mutual interest and concern, sharing ideas, and then taking the knowledge obtained at this conference back to their individual members,” said MSBA President John P. Kudel during his welcoming remarks.
“The MSBA recognizes the importance of local and specialty bars and supports their efforts,” continued Kudel. “I want you all to know that if there’s anything that you need by way of support or assistance, all you need to do is pick up the phone – or, in this day and age, your PC, your tablet, or any other means of communication – contact the state Bar, and I can assure you that [we] will be there to assist you.”
For Dolores Dorsainvil, President-Elect of the Black Women’s Bar Association of Suburban Maryland, the Conference of Bar Presidents, like the MSBA Annual Meeting held every June, offers a chance to “connect with judges and other members [of the bar] who are equally excited about finding ways to better communicate with the members of our local and specialty bar associations, as well as our county bars.”
“This is a great opportunity to get new ideas and kind of get re-energized,” added Dorsainvil.
This year’s programming highlights included plenary sessions on “Planning Your Bar Year”, “Communicating with Your Members”, and a review of the “Maryland Civics and Law Academy Program”; a luncheon presentation by Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland; a legislative update from former Maryland General Assembly member Timothy F. Maloney, Esq.; a wellness and life-balance workshop; and the presentation of the Best Project Awards for the Public and Bar.
Mark F. Scurti, Past Chair of the MSBA Local & Specialty Bar Liaison Committee and Past President of the Bar Association of Baltimore City, returned to host the popular “MSBA Bar Feud Game Show”, while attendees enjoyed dinner and dancing on Friday night. As an added bonus, antique and art aficionados were treated to an appearance by nationally recognized appraiser Todd Peenstra.
“It’s been very informative,” said Ben Yhim, President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Maryland. In addition to various featured speakers, Yhim said he particularly enjoyed “meeting new people, sharing different insights, getting different information to make our specialty bar better and, of course, all the fun events.”
Kudel drew enthusiastic applause during his welcoming remarks when he announced his intention – along with MSBA President-Elect Michael J. Baxter, MSBA Treasurer Debra G. Schubert, and the Honorable Pamila J. Brown, MSBA Secretary – to participate in the 17th Annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (www.plungemd.com), which benefits Special Olympics Maryland, on January 26, 2013, at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. (See right.) Since January 2009, the MSBA Young Lawyers Section (YLS) has raised over $20,000 for the Special Olympics through its members’ participation in the Polar Bear Plunge.
Greg Kirby, Chair-Elect of YLS, labeled this year’s Young Lawyers Summit “extremely successful” in its efforts to prepare young lawyers to be better bar leaders while forging long-lasting friendships and connections.
“The Young Lawyers Summit promotes the sharing of new ideas and learning through interactive discussions, presentations from guest speakers, and insight from other experienced bar leaders,” explains Kirby. At the same time, conducting the Summit in conjunction with the Conference of Bar Presidents, he adds, “creates a synergistic atmosphere that encourages networking with more experienced bar leaders within the MSBA, such as members of the Board of Governors, Past Presidents and current Officers, as well as the Presidents and Presidents-Elect of the other local and specialty bar associations across Maryland.”
Conference sponsors included the Maryland Bar Foundation and Minnesota Lawyers Mutual.