By Patrick Tandy
From mobile-first technology to expanded member-driven resources and content, the many changes taking place at the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) drove discussion at MSBA’s 2019 Mid-Year Meeting, held Tuesday, February 19, at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson.
“As it has for nearly 125 years, the MSBA has continued to serve its members, our profession, and the community,” said President Judge Keith R. Truffer during his welcoming remarks and state of the MSBA address, wherein he set the stage for a parade of new initiatives led by Executive Director Victor Velazquez and members of the MSBA’s executive team.
On his part, Velazquez explored national trends by pointing members to the Association’s brand-new State of the Legal Profession report, before bringing it home with the Maryland Lawyers Confidence Index survey, produced in conjunction with The Daily Record; such efforts, he contended, enable MSBA to keep its proverbial finger on “the pulse of the legal profession.” Other highlights included:
Three concurrent continuing legal education programs followed the plenary luncheon. Laura LaGrow Armstrong, Senior Consultant/VIP Client Account Manager with designDATA, tackled law practice modernization, including choosing the right cloud solutions, client-management technology, and more, with “Modernize Your Legal Practice with Technology”. In “Fairness and Bias in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Systems”, Dr. James Foulds, Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Department of Information Systems, led an open discussion on the benefits and challenges that artificial intelligence and machine learning systems present to legal professionals. And Jennifer Dill, Esq., of the law firm of Ferrante, Dill & Hisle, LLC, explored “The Impact of Implicit Bias on the Legal Profession” and how practicing mindfulness can help address oft-overlooked bias tendencies.
Attendees also enjoyed a networking reception at the close of the conference.
“At this midpoint in the bar year, I am confident that the MSBA is headed in a new and exciting direction,” said Truffer, “and with your continued support and contributions we are creating a stronger and more vibrant MSBA to better serve our members, our profession, and our community.”