David Shapiro was sworn in as President of the MSBA at the Legal Summit in Ocean City, Maryland, on June 3, 2022.
Shapiro, a Principal at Paley Rothman, spoke to his goals as president and took time to thank those who went before him. He kicked off his remarks with appreciation for outgoing president Natalie McSherry, applauding and commending her “grace, dedication, and sense of humor” that helped the association to thrive during an exceptional and uncertain time.
In addressing MSBA members during the first in-person business meeting since prior to the pandemic, Shapiro noted the technological advances that have taken place since 2019. “I want to reiterate how meaningful it has been to see and meet with so many people in person this year, again, after nearly two years of all virtual programming. That said, it is important also to note how valuable Zoom and Google Meet have been in educating us about how to connect, and allowing us to connect even when we’re not together.”
Shapiro said the modernization of technology and the ability to present meetings and programs in a virtual or hybrid environment are important “because to be connected and to deliver value to all of our members, we need to continue to evolve. And while nothing yet can replace the experience offered by in-person engagement, our members have told us that hybrid and virtual engagement is critical. This hybrid format increasingly is becoming the norm for all professional associations, including the MSBA, and it supports the MSBA’s objective of expanding diversity and engagement to all of our members.”
Turning to his goals for his tenure, Shapiro emphasized that “the Maryland State Bar Association Association represents directly or indirectly more than 40,000 legal professionals in the state of Maryland,” including not only lawyers, but also lawyer-judges, lawyer-legislators, and lawyer-law professors, as well as law students, paralegals, law firm administrators, staff, and others that engage as part of the legal profession every day. “The MSBA is the single entity that every Maryland professional can turn to. We are not an association only for lawyers in one specific area, or who identify as part of one specific group. Rather, our goal is to be a resource for every kind of legal profession, at every stage of their career, and in every part of Maryland.”
Shapiro touched on the importance of reflecting on and learning from the past, and the mission of the MSBA to “promote professionalism, diversity in the legal profession, access to justice, and service to the public.”
“My hope is that building on our recent experiences and advances in technology, that we as an association will expand our efforts to be more fully engaged with Maryland legal professionals, both in person where they are. And that we will continue to work to fulfill our mission of promoting professionalism, diversity, access to justice and service to the public,” Shapiro said.
In closing, Shapiro called on members to practice civility. “[M]y parting message as we head into this next bar year together is a challenge to be mindful of one another’s humanity, even when, especially when, we are on different sides of an argument, different sides of an agreement, different sides of a courtroom, or different ends of a video link.”