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Leading Your Section

Section leaders should focus on keeping the Section healthy by:

  • recruiting new members for Section activities and leadership,
  • encouraging members to produce practice-relevant programming and content, and
  • working with MSBA to develop and market the Section’s content and programming.

MSBA support: sections@msba.org

For your information, here is the current list of MSBA Section and Committee Chairs. You might find this list useful if you want to discuss issues and solutions with other chairs.

Below are submission portals for content, funds, and communications requests. Be sure you are logged in with the email linked to your MSBA membership.

Below are the responses to some basic questions and the “nuts and bolts” of Section leadership:


Communicating with your Section’s general membership and council is critical to maintaining and building a healthy Section. The primary communications channel is MSBA Connect. If you are unfamiliar with this tool, it’s important that you learn how it works and encourage your Section colleagues to use it as well. It is a great source of peer-generated information and referrals. Here is a Quick Start Guide. If you have questions, please contact sections@msba.org.

 

How do I update/change my Section web page, including uploading documents?

Email sections@msba.org with any updates to your Section’s website. Please expect at least one week for changes to be made.

How do I get a roster of my Section membership?

Only members of the Section Council can request Section rosters. Email sections@msba.org with the request. The standard roster includes the name and all contact information.

Can anyone see the content on my Section’s web site?

No. Most of your Section’s content is behind a “Section members-only wall” that only Section members can see.

What Are Access Settings for MSBA.org Web Pages? 

Each page on MSBA.org has three access settings:

  1. Viewable by Section members only (Section members-only wall),
  2. Viewable by MSBA members only (MSBA members-only wall), or
  3. Viewable by anyone.

Most of your Section’s pages are viewable by Section members only. If you can’t see a page on your Section’s website, then log in with the email you use for your MSBA membership.

Note: Only Section Council Members can log into the Section Council Documents page.

 

A sign of a healthy Section is a robust meeting schedule that engages all members of your Section, including the general membership and council.

There are three kinds of Section meetings: 

  1. council meetings,
  2. Section meetings, and 
  3. Section committee meetings. 

Each Section is automatically approved for ONE hybrid council meeting in the fall and ONE hybrid council meeting in the spring. The remaining council meetings must remain virtual.

Sections should use in-person and hybrid meeting formats only when a quorum or two thirds of the Section confirms in-person attendance.

When you plan hybrid meetings, we suggest using a law firm that has video conferencing capabilities, or the MSBA Offices at 3700 O’Donnell Street, Baltimore, Md. 21224. (Unfortunately, restaurants typically do not have video conferencing capabilities.)

Read and download MSBA Governance: Guidelines for Meeting Minutes.

How do we plan a CLE?

Accredited CLE programs can help bring in new Section members, raise your Section’s profile, and substantially increase association revenue, which ultimately inures to the benefit of all members. Now Sections can reach an even broader audience with CLEs less than four hours, as they remain virtual for remote and on-demand access.  

As the MSBA must apply for CLE accreditation to the surrounding mandatory CLE states, please discuss potential accreditation with your Section managers as you begin to develop programs. Many Section programs qualify for accreditation and this can be more helpful to your peers. You should then submit requests for CLE program credits to the MSBA through the MSBA Content Portal (www.msba.org/content-portal) at least two months prior to the event.  You may also contact the MSBA CLE Department at cle@msba.org for guidance. 

We encourage you to appoint a CLE liaison for your Section if you haven’t already done so. That liaison will work with the CLE department to keep members of the legal profession apprised of the latest in the law.

Board of Governors Liaison

A BOG Liaison will be assigned to your Section by September. It is a good practice to invite your liaison to your council meetings. The liaison’s role is to provide any updates from the board’s monthly meetings that may affect your Section. 

Board of Governors Meeting Dates

  • Sept. 21, 2022 
  • Oct. 18, 2022
  • Dec. 13, 2022 
  • Jan. 31, 2023
  • March 21, 2023 
  • April 19, 2023
  • May 19, 2023
  • June 7, 2023

MSBA Signature Meetings and Events

  • Aug. 29, 2022: Leadership Orientation
  • Oct. 2022: Section Quarterly Town Hall 
  • Nov. 15-18, 2022: Legal Excellence Week
  • Jan. 2023: Legal Summit proposals due 
  • Jan. 2023: Section Quarterly Town Hall    
  • April 2023: Section Quarterly Town Hall 
  • June 7-9, 2023: Legal Summit

Avoiding Calendar Conflicts

You may be surprised by how much smoother your year will be if you avoid calendar conflicts with other MSBA events and meetings. There are three kinds of conflicts to avoid.

  1. Conflicts with other Sections’ schedules. To ensure that you have the full support of MSBA planning, marketing, and technological staff for your Section activities, we ask that you avoid calendar conflicts with other Sections’ meetings. The best way to do that is to review the MSBA Calendar, and then confirm your date with angela@msba.org before scheduling your meeting or event. (Please bookmark the MSBA Calendar for easy future reference.)
  2. Conflicts with Board of Governors meetings. Avoid calendar conflicts with Board of Governors meeting dates — see below. In that way, your board liaison, discussed below, can attend the board meetings and report back to you and your council. (Please note that the dates may change, and we apologize in advance if a change results in a conflict for your board liaison.)
  3. Conflicts with MSBA signature meetings and events. Avoid calendar conflicts with MSBA signature meetings and events dates — see below. We will announce 2023 dates once they are scheduled and post them here.

Funding Requests for Sectionwide Meetings and Programming

For Sectionwide event programming, please remember to submit event funding requests no later than 10 weeks prior to the event date — the MSBA Executive Committee needs time to review and act on each Section’s request, and the MSBA’s marketing team needs time to develop and launch each Section event’s marketing campaign. The Section Funds Request Form is HERE.

Keeping Your Virtual Event Participants Involved

As you probably know, attending a meeting virtually is very different from attending in person. Here are tips that will help make virtual attendees feel included and welcomed to participate: Tips for Keeping Your Remote Audience Involved. We recommend that you designate a Section council member as the Online Leader who can act on these tips.

You can also view or download a guide to Achieving an Optimal Hybrid Experience for Section Events.

Can we have a photographer/videographer present at our Section’s event?

The MSBA has limited photo/video capacity, but does strive to cover as many events as possible. When submitting the Section Event Flier Submission Form, please indicate your photography/videography request. 

If our meeting is at MSBA Headquarters, is it our responsibility to order food?

No. MSBA staff will order the food. Please contact sections@msba.org and include any dietary restrictions in your request.

Our Section is planning an event – who should pay the deposit and sign the contract?

MSBA staff pays deposits and signs all contracts. Email sections@msba.org with deposit/contract requests and the MSBA will communicate directly with the venue/restaurant.

Can we have sponsors for events?

Yes, sponsors usually cover the alcohol cost. Sponsors can either send payment directly to the MSBA or pay the venue directly. Indicate on the Section Event Flyer Submission Form about potential sponsors. Email questions to sections@msba.org.

 

Can we have a digital flyer (social media and electronic communications) created for our event?

Yes. Please submit the Section Event Flyer Submission Form

This form details all support services the MSBA offers for Section events. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we cannot accept partially-completed or “draft” submissions. Please ensure that the content you submit is final (i.e. exactly as you would like it to appear in marketing materials and on MSBA channels). You sh

Can we have a registration link for our event on MSBA.org?

Yes. Please indicate this request on the Section Event Flyer Submission Form. The MSBA will post the registration link on the MSBA calendar. Events will also be posted on the Section’s page under upcoming events.

Can our event be posted on MSBA’s social media accounts?

Yes. Please indicate this request on the Section Event Flyer Submission Form. The event will be posted to social media once the marketing materials have been approved by the Section.

Where can I review the MSBA’s social media policy?

Click here to view the latest edition of the policy.

How may a Section member be reimbursed for an out-of-pocket expense?

Email a request with receipts attached to sections@msba.org. Reimbursement is generally made within 30-45 days of submission. Please note that the MSBA Executive Committee must approve reimbursement requests just like any other funding requests. To ensure you will be approved, we strongly encourage you to include all expected expenditure in the Section Funds Request Form HERE.

 

By drawing on the expertise of its members through Sections and Committees, the MSBA continues to actively shape practice-related legislation and policy around the state. As Section and Committee leaders, you are in a unique position as subject-matter experts in your field to provide input, guidance, and testimony to legislators. To ensure MSBA speaks with a consistent and effective voice, all Section and member-wide MSBA advocacy efforts will be coordinated through the MSBA’s Advocacy Program. Please email advocacy@msba.org (monitored by multiple MSBA staff) for all advocacy-related issues.

Are Sections allowed to take positions on bills?

Yes. Sections are allowed to take positions on any proposed legislation they deem to be within their area of interest, UNLESS the Board of Governors is taking a contrary position on the bill. Each Section should designate a Legislative Liaison by the beginning of the Bar year and communicate this information to advocacy@msba.org

The MSBA Advocacy Program refers bills to the Section Legislative Liaisons and leadership that are related to their respective practice areas. Among those bills referred (in addition to any other bills reviewed by the Section), Sections communicate any proposed position on a bill to advocacy@msba.org in advance of any testimony to make certain that there is no conflict with the position of the BOG. The MSBA Advocacy Program will then review the Section’s position and quickly communicate a response to Sections so that they may submit testimony on bills. After approval from the MSBA Advocacy Program, sections may submit oral or written testimony on a particular bill and should email a copy to advocacy@msba.org.

Are Sections allowed to take opposing positions on a bill?

Yes, as long as neither Section is seeking to take a position that conflicts with a position of the BOG. Generally, we try to avoid having Sections express conflicting opinions on a piece of legislation before the General Assembly. However, there are situations where such conflict cannot be avoided. When Section conflict arises, the MSBA Advocacy Program will work with Section Legislative Liaisons to determine whether amendments can be developed that address the concerns of all Section(s) involved.

Is it permissible to submit bill testimony after the date of the bill hearing?

Yes, although it is best to have the testimony submitted on-time. 

Are there any types of bills upon which Sections are not allowed to express a position?

Yes. Generally, there are issue areas where virtually any bill introduced is likely to be outside the purview of the MSBA advocacy role in Annapolis. Invariably controversial bills would fall into this category.

Are there other ways that Sections can engage in advocacy?

Yes, including drafting or reviewing proposed bill language and amendments, filing informational letters, meeting with legislators and stakeholders to provide information and background on issues, sharing comments with the MSBA Advocacy Program about proposed rule changes, and identifying cases where the MSBA may file an amicus brief. Interested members can reach out to the MSBA Advocacy team directly to engage in these efforts.

 

More questions? Contact:

Angela Munro

Sections & Committees Administrator
sections@msba.org
410-685-7878 x3016