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2011 MSBA Annual Meeting Recap
by Erek L. Barron
The Young Lawyers Section was featured prominently at this year’s MSBA Annual Meeting. Outgoing Section Chair, Marla Zide, won the David Hjortsberg Award from the Solo & Small Firm Practice Section; the Section’s One Bar, One Community public service project won a Presidential award; and the Section’s Annual Meeting chairs put on a standing room only educational program.
The Hjortsberg Award presented to Marla “acknowledge[s], commend[s] and express[es] appreciation towards solo and small practitioners who throughout their everyday practice of law, raise consciousness of all attorney, as well as non-attorney, in the professionalism, civility, intelligence, respect and commitment to community.” It is presented annually to an attorney who is “intelligent and knowledgeable in the law, hardworking tenacious, yet respectful and civil to every party, witness and attorney case, views the practice of law as a profession and takes personal pride in his/her work, and he/she is active in his/her community, their local bar and the State Bar.” The award was a complete surprise to Marla who graciously accepted the award with family in attendance after a courageous and successful year as Young Lawyers Section chair.
The Young Lawyers Section Public Service Committee, chaired by Michael Siri and Gwendolyn Tate, also received an award, the Presidential Best Section Award for the “One Bar, One Community” project. The project organizes lawyers and non-lawyers for at least one community service activities per month. Activities have included: Habitat For Humanity, the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics Maryland, Our Daily Bread, and the Maryland Food Bank. This year, the committee was also awarded a grant from the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division for a new project – Extreme Office Makeover – which involved a complete revamp of the children’s facilities at Baltimore’s Department of Social Services.
Finally, Annual Meeting chairs Laurie Wasserman and Christine Britton put on a “back by popular demand!” program: Depositions 102 (TECHNIQUES, STRATEGIES, TACTICS AND SKILLS for complex & expert depositions). The program included an experienced panel of litigators who provided attendees an array of useful techniques, strategies, tactics and skills to master the fundamentals of handling depositions in complex cases along with dealing with depositions of expert witnesses and difficult witnesses. The program speakers included Paul D. Bekman from Salsbury, Clements, Bekman, Marder & Adkins, LLC; Neil Diloff of DLA Piper; Robert Graham Fiore from Azrael, Franz, Schwab & Lipowitz LLC; and Lee B. Rauch, of Tydings & Rosenberg, LLP.
Finally, of particular importance to young attorneys and members who want to be more active, President Dugan pledged to reenergize the various committees and sections of the MSBA. For example, pursuant to recommendations by membership at the MSBA planning retreat last March, Dugan has implemented a policy requiring periodic turnover of committee leadership and membership. This policy recommendation was made in recognition of the need for new blood, fresh ideas, and diversity to the association.
Overall, the Annual Meeting was a fun-filled and educational experience with the spotlight especially bright on young lawyers who were recognized as future leaders of the bar and rewarded for their accomplishments as attorneys and community servants. Last year’s Young Lawyers Section Council truly set a high standard for the 2011-2012 bar year.