Volume 27, Number 1 - Fall 2011

The Advocate

Young Lawyers Section - Maryland State Bar Association

From the Chair | Articles | Notices | Riding the circuit | Reports | About


Erek Barron Photo
Erek L. Barron

You are the Young Lawyers Section of the Maryland State Bar Association. The more you think of it that way and the more we have the benefit of one another’s participation, the stronger our Section will be. And, by extension, we will continue to make the entire Maryland State Bar Association a stronger, more vibrant organization able to meet the needs of its membership and serve the public.

This year, my goal is to focus on technology – updating our online presence, encouraging tech-related educational programming, and moving our organization into the future. Although our open meeting on October 20 at the Hilton in Columbia is the official launch of our technology initiatives, by the time you read this our website will have been totally revamped with a new blog and we will have introduced a free mobile application for all Maryland attorneys. These are only a few of the new ways to keep our goal of improving service to you and our community.

Of course, we continue to be energized about the programming our Section has always been known for, including great networking and educational opportunities, monthly public service projects, and the association’s annual charity event. For those of you with children, we will have more family-friendly activities to help your work/life balance.

I am honored to serve as your chair this year, and I truly appreciate the current and past section council members and chairs who paved the way for this opportunity.

Erek L. Barron


When Using New Media, Don’t Forget Old Rules

by Brooke Lierman

I was not someone who resisted Facebook; on the contrary, I joined as soon as it opened to the general public, eager to keep in touch with friends dispersed around the country. And, although I have resisted Twitter, never felt creative enough to have a MySpace page, and find FourSquare somewhat creepy, I recently joined Google+ upon the invitation of another attorney. I’m guessing that most of the attorneys reading this newsletter have joined at least one of these websites or other comparable social networking sites.

At any firm, the youngest members of the team are likely to be most familiar with the latest social media. While many of us use social networking effortlessly in our personal lives, effectively using social media in our professional lives requires careful consideration. In litigation in particular, social networking sites can be used in a variety of ways, including offensively—for background research on jurors, on clients, or on opposing parties; and defensively—to corroborate a client’s story or push back against an alternative theory by opposing counsel.

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Addressing Your Clients' Concerns in Eminent Domain Proceedings

by Amy Grasso

Eminent domain is a topic to which most attorneys were exposed in law school and that nearly as many then forgot as quickly as possible.  Many attorneys approach eminent domain as they do Brussels sprouts -- they acknowledge that the practice area may appeal to someone out there, but they avoid it at all costs.  This article is not meant to encourage you to begin an eminent domain practice.  Rather, it attempts to give an overview of some aspects of eminent domain proceedings so you can assist your clients with some of their more important questions, should the topic arise.

Let me negate one misperception: eminent domain proceedings are not dry.  For most people, real property is their single biggest asset and they cannot comprehend that the government can take that asset from them involuntarily, in a situation in which they have little control, and for an amount of money far less than they want to accept. Thus, client education and listening is often as big a part of the process as are legal maneuvering and advocacy.  Nonetheless, the following will give you a good starting point.

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Guardianships and the Personal Injury Case

by Craig L. Zissel

You are sitting in your office and you receive a frantic call from former clients. Their 20 year-old daughter was just involved in an automobile accident and is in the ICU at an area hospital in a coma.  Her parents want to hire you to file a lawsuit on her behalf against the other driver, and ask you what needs to be done so you can move forward on the case.  Under Maryland law, a parent or guardian is able to make medical decisions for an adult child, as an adult child falls within the class of individuals outlined in....

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The Use of Familial DNA Evidence in Criminal Prosecutions in Maryland

by Michael J. Palisano

The use of DNA evidence in criminal prosecutions has attracted much attention in recent years due to improved technology and DNA evidence used in high-profile convictions and exoneration of convicted criminals.  Recently, DNA evidence was used to find and convict Aaron H. Thomas, the man suspected to be the so-called “East Coast Rapist,” who attacked six women in Prince George’s County from 1997 through 2001.  DNA evidence has even been central to the plot of a few primetime dramas, most notably CSI

A particular type of DNA evidence, familial DNA evidence, has also been used to apprehend criminals in high profile cases.  A familial DNA search involves the comparison of a sample taken from the crime scene with DNA profiles stored in a criminal DNA database.  If there is no exact match, the search parameters are expanded

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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.

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Learn How to Quickly Move into Section/Committee Positions

Open Meeting for YLS & launch of YLS Technology Initiatives

PLUS - Speed Networking Event co-hosted by the Membership Committee

October 20, 2011 at 6:30 PM
The Hilton Garden Inn - Columbia
8241 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045
Event is free but must register in advance to Rich Gibson


Saturday, October 29, 2011 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Druid Hill Park Baltimore, MD 21217
Meet the MSBA Young Lawyers at The Village Green Pavilion from 12-1pm for prizes and snacks
Bring your children or the child-in-you and meet us there to mingle and share a treat!
RSVP to Angela Munro by October 26th.

2011-2012 One Bar|One Community Public Service Projects

Again this year, the Young Lawyer Section is having its One Bar/One Community Public Service Project. You do not be a member of the section to participate.  Give as much time, effort, donations as available.  Below is the list of the projects.  Those with additional flyers have links.

November 19, 2011  Maryland Food Bank
October 29, 2011 Light the Night Walk
December 16, 2011   Toys for Tots Drive – Deadline to Donate
January 28, 2012 Polar Bear Plunge for the Special Olympics
February 2012 Extreme Office Makeover
March 2012 BARCS Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, Inc.
April 2012 Friends of Patterson Park Earth Day
May 2012    Harford Habitat for Humanity

Further, the MSBA YLS has partnered with Be the Match National Bone Marrow Program. Throughout the year, we will schedule a registry drive; however, getting registered is as simple as requesting a kit online.  Thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on the Be the Match Registry to find a match to save their life.  If you cannot make it to any other event for One Bar|One Community Program, please consider being a part of the National Marrow Donor Program. 

If you have any additional questions, please contact Michael W. Siri or Gwendolyn Tate.

Law Practice Management Tips

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 6PM - 8:30PM
Hilton Garden Inn - Baltimore Inner Harbor, 625 South President Street, Baltimore
Co-sponsored by: MSBA Young Lawyers Section Education Committee, Butler & Associates and the Monumental City Bar Association

Come learn and hear practical advice about marketing, technology, client screening, retainer agreements, fees, and ethical considerations in starting and maintaining an effective law practice. A representative from Fastcase will be present to demonstrate their free online legal research member services.Refreshments will be served.

RSVP to the Education Committee Co-Chairs: Dolores Dorsainvil or Taren Stanton  

NOTICE: YLS Seeks MSBA Board of Governors Representatives

The Young Lawyers’ Section of the Maryland State Bar Association is seeking applications for the position of Young Lawyers’ representative to the 2012-2014 MSBA Board of Governors.  One position is available for a two-year term. Any current member of the Young Lawyers’ Section who is interested in the position may submit an application to:

Jason Hessler
Chair, Nominating Committee
MSBA Section of Young Lawyers
520 West Fayette Street
Baltimore, Maryland  21201

All applications must be received at Bar Headquarters no later than the close of business on Tuesday, November 15, 2011.  Applications should include a statement of interest, a resume, and a list of Bar activities. If you have any questions, please contact either Jason Hessler
at 410-545-3102 or Nicole Earl at 410-685-7878 x3019.

Members Attend ABA Meeting in Las Vegas

In May 2011, members of the YLS section traveled to an ABA meeting in Las Vegas and, while there, participated in a community service project benefitting the Clark County Department of Family and Youth Services.

Click here for more photos from the event.

Join the American Constitution Society

Join the newly-created Maryland Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society! Members participate in timely and relevant panels on constitutional issue and enjoy bi-monthly happy hours. For more information on membership of simply attending an event, email us or visit us online.



Baltimore County and Harford Counties
Robert Erdman, Circuit Representative

The Baltimore County Bar Association will be holding the following events during the Fall:

  • 10/20/2011: Criminal Law Committee Brown-Bag Lunch [County Courts Building at 12:00PM] – “Cars, Cops & Stops”
  • 10/26/2011: Family Law Committee Dinner [Christopher Daniel Restaurant at 6:00PM] – “Family Services & How They Determine What is Appropriate”
  • 10/27/2011: Young Lawyers Committee Brown Bag Lunch [County Courts Building at 12:00PM] – “Criminal Law for the New Practitioner – Tips from the Bench, Defense and State”
  • 12/15/2011: Baltimore County Bar Association Annual Holiday Party [Valley Country Club at 6:00PM]

For more information about Baltimore County Bar Association events, please visit www.bcba.org.


Anne Arundel, Carroll, and Howard Counties

Brian Furlong & Sarah D. Cline, Circuit Representatives

Anne Arundel
County The Anne Arundel County Bar Association’s (“AABA”) New Lawyers Committee kicked off the fall 2011 bar year with Happy Hours at the Metropolitan in Annapolis on August 17, 2011 and September 28, 2011. Special thanks to Kemp Hammond and Jeffrey Bowman for planning these events. Click here for more from Anne Arundel...

Howard County

The Young Lawyer Section for the Howard County Bar Association is co-chaired by Victoria Gelfman, an Assistant State’s Attorney in Howard County, and Ryan Dymek, an associate at the Willis Law Firm in Ellicott City.  Their next event will be a happy hour at Bare Bones Bar & Grill on Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City on Wednesday, October 19, from 5:30-7:30. There will be a complimentary happy hour buffet and drink specials. Click here for more from Howard County...


Montgomery and Frederick Counties

Andrew Schwartz & Caryn Siegel Wetmore, Circuit Representatives

The Bar Association of Frederick County’s Young Lawyers Section (BAFC YLS) has had a busy summer planning for the 2011-2012 year.  The BAFC YLS started off October with its continuously successful Brown Bag “Lunch with the Judges” Series, holding a lunch with Master Minner.  The BAFC YLS hopes to coordinate YLS events with other county bar associations and young lawyers sections. 

This year, BAFC YLS will focus on its service to the community.  In November, the BAFC YLS is participating in the "coffee drive" to benefit Our Daily Bread, Maryland’s hot meal program.

2011-2012 promises to be an exciting and eventful term for the BAFC YLS.  Stay tuned!  If you have any questions please contact Caryn Siegel Wetmore at csw@eqkmrh.com.


Calvert, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Charles Counties

Renée Hood, Lisa Hall Johnson & Monise Stephenson, Circuit Representatives

The current leadership of the St. Mary’s County Bar Association is exclusively young lawyers—in experience, if not in age—who have been practicing less than five years: Eric Brennan, President; Alycia Stack, President-Elect; and Reid Owen, Treasurer.  The MSBA Young Lawyers Section congratulates these young lawyers on becoming elected officers of the SMCBA.  

Click here for more from the 7th Circuit...


Baltimore City
Laurie M. Wasserman, Circuit Representative

Please mark your calendars for the upcoming Bar Association of Baltimore City (BABC) events:

  • Saturday, October 29, 2011— Pro Bono Day at Maryland Legal Aid, 500 East Lexington Street, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.  Participants with specific legal problems can discuss their options one-on-one with volunteer lawyers on a wide range of subjects including divorce, child support, and custody; housing and landlord/tenant issues; wills and advance directives; and consumer debt and bankruptcy. 
  • Saturday, November 19, 2011—Adoption Day Event, Mitchell Courthouse, Ceremonial Courtroom 400, 10:00 a.m.  Witness the finalization of approximately 50 adoptions, and enjoy a dessert reception with live entertainment and activities for children. 
  • Thursday, December 8, 2011—Young Lawyers Division Annual Holiday Party, Silo Point Pent House, 6:00 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011—Young Lawyers Division Annual Holiday Party for Children Residing at Shelters, Maryland Science Center, 5:00 p.m.

For more information about the BABC, or any of these events, please contact Katherine T. Sanzone, Executive Director, at 410-539-5936 or visit www.baltimorebar.org



Co-Chairs: Julia Carolan & Martha White

The Activities Committee has been busy planning its annual Spring Charity Event.  This year’s event will benefit Believe in Tomorrow, an organization that provides hospital and respite housing services to critically ill children and their families.  The event will take place on March 23, 2012 at Pier V Hotel in Baltimore.  There will be a happy hour from 6-7 p.m. and the event will take place from 7-10 p.m.  There will be a full dinner, open bar, silent auction and entertainment!  Look for information about tickets and sponsorship and donation opportunities, which will be coming soon.  Co-Chairs of the Activities Committee, Martha White and Julia Carolan, are very excited about this year’s event and urge everyone to buy tickets early for what is sure to be a wonderful evening for a wonderful charity!


Co-Chairs: Dolores Dorsainvil & Taren Stanton

The Education Committee is committed to offering educational and professional development seminars to Maryland young lawyers.  On Tuesday, November 8, the Education Committee will host a seminar entitled “Law Practice Management Tips” where young lawyers will learn how to maintain an efficient law practice while conforming with the Rules of Professional Conduct. Download the flyer for more information.

Please contact either of the Education Committee Co-Chairs to rsvp for this important event or to become involved on this committee.  You may contact Dolores Dorsainvil at dolores.dorsainvil@gmail.com or Taren Stanton at taren.stanton@gmail.com.


Co-Chairs: Renée Hood, Niki McCormally, & Patrick McCormally

The Pro Bono Committee is committed to promoting pro bono legal service across Maryland and encourages all YLS members to get involved with National Pro Bono Week, which occurs on the last week of October each year.  Take part by joining the Young Lawyers Section in providing legal services at the Baltimore City Pro Bono Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m at Legal Aid, 500 E. Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 

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Co-Chairs: Michael Siri & Gwendolyn Tate

On September 10, 2011, the Public Service Committee of the MSBA Young Lawyers Section volunteered at the Maryland SPCA.  Throughout the course of the day, the volunteers assisted with grounds work around the facility, which needed upkeep after Hurricane Irene.  The group also toured the new facility and met a number of the animals waiting for adoption.  Two of the volunteers even adopted a dog!  The group included both young and seasoned lawyers, as well as a retired judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. View more photos here...


Hilary Baker, Brianna Brumbaugh, Richard Chambers, Shaketta Denson, Barbara Duvall, Mo Faal, Heidi Herr, Michael Hudak, Sandi Popp, Myriem Seabron, Michael Siri, Carol Smith, Gwendolyn Tate. 
(Not pictured: Brian Blair and Erin Drenning)


Legislative Liaison: Sandra Popp

The Maryland General Assembly’s 428th Legislative Session began on January 12, 2011 and adjourned on April 11, 2011. During the Session, the Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (YLS) took positions on two pieces of legislation.

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Co-Chairs: Regine Francois & Moges Abebe

The YLS’ Storybook Project, inherited from the 2009-2010 Leadership Academy Fellows, is in its second year under the MSBA YLS banner.  The project involves volunteers who record fathers at Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI) reading books for their children and mailing the books, along with accompanying audio recordings, to the children.  The mission of the project is to foster healthy bonds between incarcerated fathers and their children and engender a love of reading.  

Readings are usually scheduled for the third Saturday of each month and take place from 8:30am to about 11:30am.  The project is always in search of books and volunteers.  To get involved contact the co-chairs of the Storybook Project Committee: Regine Francois or Moges Abebe.  The application is available for download.  

As always, special thanks to our past volunteers and we certainly welcome new volunteers.

The Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.
520 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: 410.685.7878  Fax: 410.685.1016  www.msba.org