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Volume 27, Number 4 - Summer 2012

The Advocate

Young Lawyers Section - Maryland State Bar Association

Articles | Notices | Riding the circuit | Reports | About


How to Strengthen Your Legal Skills: Study Economics

By Nicholas C. Stewart, Esq.

Law and economics. These two words have appeared so often together that their pairing has lost its importance. This article seeks to address that problem. Many of today’s budding lawyers graduate from their institutions of higher learning with little more than an introduction to the considerable field of economics. Yet lawyers of all ages have much to gain from economics, especially in these economically challenging times.

Let’s pause to define our terms. Many limit the scope of “economics” to commercial market relationships, financial dealings, and quantitative analyses. This article takes a broader approach, one that recognizes the import of economic principles to everyday life. Rational actors respond to the creation and elimination of incentives; competition stirs innovation and progress; information is the lifeblood of success; and success (at least outside the courtroom) is not zero-sum – these principles animate many of the choices that we make on a daily basis.

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Be Mindful of Who’s In the Room:
Attorney-Client Privilege and Waiver

By John J. Lovejoy, Esq.

It seems like a harmless request: your client asks if he can bring his trusted friend to your next meeting. At your previous meetings, the client failed to remember facts about his case. He spent most of his time raging against the opposing party (a former business partner now suing him for fraud). Wishing to please the client, you tell him his friend would be welcome at your meeting.

This meeting goes well. The friend helps your client recall key facts. And with his friend present, the client maintains his composure. He patiently listens while you explain your theory of the case and your strategies for prevailing. He’s happy, you’re happy.

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Don’t Forget to Blame Your Bartender:
The Uncertain Future of Dram Shop Liability in Maryland

By Ryan Kaufman, Esq.

On a Friday night after a long week on the job, Joe heads to the local bar to unwind with some drinks. After downing a few, he realizes he’s becoming a little tipsy. Joe keeps drinking despite his awareness that he’ll soon be driving home. Although somewhat inebriated, Joe does not stand out from the crowd and simply appears to be having a good time with friends. The bar is crowded and the music is blasting. The bartender is preoccupied with customers as he prepares drinks, keeps track of tabs, monitors inventory, and takes food orders. Joe is not being rowdy or disruptive. As he orders his final drink, it is almost impossible for the bartender to gauge his level of intoxication. Once he’s had his fill, Joe calmly leaves the bar and gets behind the wheel of his car. 

There are countless scenarios of what could happen next. But perhaps the most troubling and all-to-common is that Joe loses control of his car and causes an accident, resulting in the death of a third party.

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Old Lessons, New Technology:
Seizing the Benefits and Avoiding the Pitfalls of Social Media
and Other Free Internet-Based Tools

By Heather R. Pruger, Esq. & Chelsea Jones

Technology surrounds us.  From touch-screens to tablets, innovations that change how we connect, perform, and produce are ever-present and while such technology enriches many lives, it has left some industries struggling to catch up.  Take the field of journalism: with the advent of citizen-journalist blogs and microblogs like Twitter, newsrooms around the country have had to rethink how they gather and publish stories.  Gone are the days when scoops are limited to beat reporters.  Now, anyone with a smartphone and an audience can “break news.”  The impact of advances in technology and social media have been less fundamentally challenging for the legal field, but the practice of law is far from insulated from these developments. 

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Congratulations, Alex Fee Memorial Award

Pro Bono Committee
Co-Chairs: Renée E. Hood and Patrick H. McCormally

Congratulations to Lisa A. Hall Johnson of Dickstein Shapiro LLP, 2012 recipient of the Maryland Pro Bono Service Alex Fee Award.  The Alex Fee Memorial Award, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Section (YLS), is given to a member of the YLS who is making a significant pro bono contribution either directly or through a pro bono organization. Lisa A. Hall Johnson was an easy choice. Despite the pressures of billable hours and maintaining a balanced family life, Lisa actively engages in her firm’s pro bono efforts and volunteers as a mentor and mock trial coach to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Street Law class through the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs School Partnership Project.

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Baltimore County and Harford Counties
Robert Erdman and Brian Furlong, Circuit Representatives

The standing committees of the Baltimore County Bar Association are currently in the planning stages for the 2012-13 bar year, and events are being calendared on an ongoing basis.  For more information, visit


Montgomery and Frederick Counties

Gretchen Slater, Andrew Schwartz, and Caryn Siegel Wetmore, Circuit Representatives

Frederick County

The Summer of 2012 has been, and continues to be, a busy summer for the Bar Association of Frederick County’s Young Lawyers Section (BAFC YLS)!  On June 1, 2012, members of the BAFC YLS served at the very successful “Spring Fling” sponsored by the BAFC. The “Spring Fling” helped raise money to support the Justice for All Fund, a fund that was established by the BAFC to support pro bono services in Frederick. BAFC YLS also helped serve at the Pro Bono Day on July 9, 2012 and is continuing to work with the BAFC to have a more active role in pro bono services in Frederick. On July 13, 2012, BAFC YLS continued its “Lunch with the Judges” with Master Sandy. If you have any questions related to the BAFC YLS please contact Caryn Siegel Wetmore at


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

Renée Hood, Lisa Hall Johnson, Monise Stephenson,
and Daniel Renart, Circuit Representatives

St. Mary's County Bar Association

The St. Mary’s County Bar Association (SMCBA) has been busy during the first half of 2012.

On May 1, 2012, SMCBA celebrated Law Day at the Southern Maryland Community College by inviting nonprofits, local law enforcement, legal service providers, and other entities to set up kiosks to answer questions and hand out materials to members of the general public and community college students.  To liven up the event, SMCBA hosted a happy hour for attorneys and volunteers after the event and held a raffle to benefit the scholarship program. 

Also in the spring, the SMCBA proudly presented $1,000 scholarships to two local graduating high school students planning to pursue higher education in a law-related field. Congratulations to Kyle Crandall and Rachel Riser!

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Baltimore City
Laurie M. Wasserman, Circuit Representative

The Young Lawyers’ Division of the Bar Association of Baltimore City had an incredibly successful 2011-12 year, under the leadership of Chair Jason Wasserman. Social events and membership drives were held through our Annual Holiday Party, happy hours, a beer tasting, and a Cinco de Mayo party.  We continued to build upon two popular ongoing programs: (1) our Annual Holiday Party for Children Living in Shelters which hosted over 200 children at the Maryland Science Center; and (2) our legal education series at Highlandtown Middle School, which included a mock crime scene investigation and mock trial. We were also proud to participate in the Free State Legal Project's will drafting clinic and look forward to partnering on future pro bono opportunities with that organization. Last, but not least, we held ten “Breakfast with the Bench” CLE programs which were very well-attended.

Many thanks to all that participated in our activities this year. We look forward to another great year under our new chair, Rebecca Ripley!



Co-Chairs: Renée Hood and Patrick McCormally

The YLS Pro Bono Committee recognizes the hurdles imposed by today’s economy and job market and firmly believes that pro bono legal service can provide an excellent vehicle to build resumes, gain skills, and expand professional networks. To support this initiative, on September 20, 2012 YLS Pro Bono Committee will cosponsor a Pro Bono Connection with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, the University of Baltimore School of Law, and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Beginning midday at the University of Baltimore School of Law with a panel of free trainings offered in exchange for a pro bono commitment, including Defending Debt Buyer Lawsuits in State Court, the event will also include a pro bono opportunities fair, where attorneys and law students are invited to meet with individual pro bono legal service providers to learn about pro bono opportunities in Maryland and eat, drink, and network the night away. Exact details are forthcoming. Check the YLS Calendar at for more information or to register.

The YLS Pro Bono Committee would also like to announce two exciting Pro Bono Legal Advice Fairs, which will be funded in part by a generous grant from the American Bar Association on behalf of its Young Lawyers Division through the Fund for Justice. The Pro Bono Committee plans to hold the first event in Southern Maryland in October 2012, and hopes to hold the second event on the Eastern Shore in the spring of 2013. Volunteer attorneys, paralegals, law students, and community members will be needed to provide free one-on-one brief legal consultations on civil law issues, greet clients, help with translation services, and staff resource tables. Don’t feel ready to give brief advice solo? Sign up to be matched with a mentor for a co-counsel/observation model. If you are interested in serving on the planning committee or volunteering during the event, please contact Renée E. Hood at to discuss ways to get involved.

Please contact any of the Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs to learn more about pro bono opportunities or to become involved with this committee: Renée E. Hood ( or Patrick McCormally (

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

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