On Wednesday, September 5, 2018, an article was circulated as part of the membership-wide MSBA Weekly newsletter regarding a proposed change to the rules governing MSBA Email Discussion Lists. The revised rules relied, in part, on language and practices in effect at other state Bars. The article referencing the rules is available on the MSBA website under the “News” tab or by clicking here.

The article noted that the MSBA was opening a 30-day comment period to receive member feedback on the proposed rules. A copy of the existing rules, the proposed rules, and a redlined copy of the changes are available on the MSBA website under the “For Members” tab on the “Email Discussion Lists Archive” page or by clicking here. The comment period is open until October 5, 2018.

Based on a review of the comments received thus far, much of the comments are focused on the purported attempt to limit conversation regarding the MSBA on the lists. This is not an accurate interpretation of the rules, nor is it the intention of the rules. The goal of the proposed rules is to bolster constructive dialogue amongst legal professionals on a variety of topics related to the practice of law. It is not the MSBA’s intention to limit discussions about the MSBA as subject matter on the lists; rather, that portion of language was included to address past incidents whereby members were asking the MSBA to respond to questions or claims made via the lists.

The MSBA does not actively monitor the 30+ active section and/or committee lists, which can produce upwards of 500 messages a day on various topics, and therefore cannot track and respond to questions and comments by members posed solely to the lists.

The feedback@msba.org was created so that we could better respond to questions and comments from our members.

Further, the purpose of the 30-day comment period was and is to receive feedback from members on the proposed rules and receive suggestions to help clarify the rules and to achieve the goals outlined above.  Thank you to all who have commented thus far and we hope this clarification will prove helpful to them and anyone else considering providing a comment/feedback.

During this 30-day period we may periodically post statements or clarifications to be helpful but will not be responding to individual sentiments expressed in postings.

If you would like to provide comments, feedback, and/or suggested language, please do so by emailing feedback@msba.org with the subject line “Email Discussion Lists Commentary.”