Since 2017, the MSBA has worked towards becoming an organization that represents all of Maryland’s legal professionals. As part of that commitment, the MSBA Strategic Implementation Committee, Board of Governors, and Bylaws Committee collaborated over the past two years to review and finalize proposed amendments to the MSBA Bylaws pertaining to the composition of the Board of Governors. 

During the MSBA’s annual meeting on June 9th, members voted to adopt the proposed amendments to the Bylaws, which will ultimately improve the structure of the Board of Governors so that it more accurately reflects Maryland’s legal profession and ensures the MSBA Board of Governors is representative of the full breadth of the profession’s demographic and geographic diversity.

The amendments were designed to facilitate a diverse and representative Board of Governors in the following ways:

Creating New Pathways to Leadership

The amendments created a new pathway to the Board of Governors, by adding 12 at-large board member seats, allowing for a more diverse and comprehensive range of perspectives. 

Increasing Section Representation 

The MSBA is committed to ensuring that the Board of Governors represents a broad spectrum of legal disciplines, which are represented by the many Sections within the association. As such, the amendments expanded Section representation on the Board of Governors, increasing the number of seats from three to eight. 

Safeguarding Geographic Diversity 

The amendments were designed to maintain the MSBA’s geographic reach by retaining seats based on the population distribution of MSBA members across Maryland’s 12 Judicial Districts. 

Cultivating Emerging Leaders 

The amendments earmarked seats on the Board of Governors for members of the Young Lawyers Section, to nurture and empower the next generation of legal professionals within the MSBA’s leadership ranks.

Establishing a Framework for Nominations and Diversity

A notable component of the amendments was the introduction of a Nominating Committee. This committee is vested with the responsibility of identifying and recommending candidates for the newly created at-large seats. 

As MSBA President Jason DeLoach expressed, “These amendments mark a pivotal step towards building a Board of Governors that resonates with the entire Maryland State Bar Association membership. Our aim is to create a board that not only hears every voice, but also amplifies the diversity of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds that enrich our legal community.” 

President DeLoach’s outlook underscores the overarching goal of the amendments, which is to ensure the MSBA represents the legal profession in Maryland effectively, inclusively, and equitably for years to come. Information will be available in the near future on how MSBA members can apply for an at-large seat.