The MSBA takes pride in its statewide efforts to advocate on behalf of the entire legal profession in Maryland on many matters. With the Courts shortly entering into Phase IV on March 15, 2021, with a planned return to Phase V (full court operations) on April 26, 2021, we are extremely concerned that attorneys are still not prioritized for vaccination in accordance with CDC guidelines that stipulate attorneys should be in the Phase 1C vaccinations prioritization.
What is our position?
The MSBA believes that all Marylanders should be vaccinated as quickly as possible and those in vulnerable populations should be prioritized. The MSBA also believes that there is no better model for a rollout approach than the national CDC guidelines. Surrounding jurisdictions are following those guidelines as it relates to attorney vaccinations and yet Maryland is not. We also recognize that some portion of the legal profession is not on the front lines of justice and as such, any attorney that feels he/she should not be prioritized can elect to decline a priority vaccination slot.
We can’t solve the vaccine distribution or supply issues but we want attorneys vaccinated in keeping with CDC guidelines. That is essential especially now that courts are reopening, with full operations resuming in just over two months, and attorneys will be meeting with clients and entering courthouses.
What’s next in our efforts?
The MSBA has met with the Department of Health, has contacted the Governor’s Office, and is working with lawyer legislators to issue a letter demanding action.
Today a call to every local and specialty Bar president will be made to sign on to a letter demanding action. We are thankful to the Bar Association of Baltimore City who proactively reached out to MSBA seeking to join our statewide efforts and we ask that the entire profession speak with one voice on this critical issue. We hope all others will join.
Next week, we will activate thousands of attorneys via a campaign that will enable individuals to be heard. Stay tuned for our announcement on this early next week.
Last year, the MSBA fought successfully against taxation of legal services which would impact the entire profession and the citizens of Maryland. Now we are prepared to step up similar efforts in what is a critical health and safety concern, especially as courts are reopening. Judges, prosecutors and public defenders have been prioritized, yet all other attorneys coming in and out of court and those meeting with our vulnerable populations are not currently in Phase 1C and that is not acceptable.
We recognize not every attorney agrees with our efforts but hope that all attorneys appreciate that we exist to advocate for them. (Your choice remains to decline a priority vaccine appointment if you do not feel a need for prioritization.) Please join us as we will be escalating our efforts to advocate on behalf of our profession.
Any questions or comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We thank you for sharing your voice with us as we continue to advocate for the profession.
Mark Scurti, MSBA President