Welcome to August, I know it’s hot, humid and sticky. A typical Maryland summer. I’m here to tell you the MSBA is heating up as well. Over the last month, our Governance Committee has been hard at work, populating our committees and task forces with members that reflect our membership and provide maximum diversity and inclusion.

We are gearing up for the fall with some great in-person and virtual CLE programs and events. As you know, we have made our CLE inventory free of charge online for a limited period of time to our members. Over 20,000 hours of CLE have been consumed to date. 

The Mid-Year Excursion is also starting to book up for sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 14 to the 20th. Remember to book early and take advantage of the incredible discounted rates.

 I also wanted you to know that the Attorney General’s Access to Justice taskforce has been meeting and the MSBA is playing a vital role in making recommendations to protect our most vulnerable citizens during this pandemic. Visit the Access to Justice website if you’re interested in contributing to one of the many committees chaired by MSBA members. 

I am hopeful that the courts will resume operations under phase 4 of Chief Judge Barbera’s order beginning August 31. Contested cases will begin to be scheduled and heard around the state. The MSBA has been continuously monitoring All of the jurisdictions and bringing you the latest up to date information on court openings and procedures. In the meantime, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of ADR alternative dispute resolution, seize the opportunity, and educate yourself and your client about the various ADR options. 

Now, given the backlog of cases and the delays in actually getting scheduled for trial, ADR may be a quicker and less expensive route to get to a fair and just result. Now, there are many qualified ADR professionals that are available for hire. You can visit the MSBA ADR section or the MSBA directory and search for an ADR section member in the county of your choice. The courts also offer day of trial mediation at no cost Call 410-260-1676 To find out more about the court’s ADR programs in your jurisdiction. Most ADR sections are now being held remotely. With Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams, you could take advantage of various online platforms to conduct a successful mediation. 

When I was in private practice, I referred many of my clients to MSBA ADR professionals, particularly in family law, contract and service disputes, and even personal injury matters. Depending on the case, I selected a different type of mediation for my clients. The client sometimes went kicking and screaming and not wanting to mediate. But in the end, most all of them whether they reached a settlement or not felt the process was worth their time. And they felt that they were listened to and could hear the other side’s position. So make ADR a routine part of your conversation with your client. As an alternative to litigation. It is where everyone can walk away satisfied at the resolution, particularly if an agreement is reached. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer and I’ll see you next month.