Support for Managing Your Section

Section Chairs and their designees should email sections@msba.org for any requests related to the management of/support for their Section. This email address is sent to several team members at the same time to ensure the email is acted upon promptly.

Section leaders should be focused on the health of the Section defined by engagement of new attorneys into the ranks of volunteer leadership, a focus on programming that would entice members to want to continue to belong, rejoin or join, a focus on effective outreach and communication approaches (i.e. MSBA can support social media communications, assist with marketing, etc), creation of technical content that is of use to members and generally be focused on reinforcing the Sections’ value proposition (i.e. Why do existing members belong and what needs to be done so that those who don’t belong become more interested in doing so).

Below are the responses to some basic questions and outlines examples of when to email sections@msba.org.

 

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

Email sections@msba.org for all site updates for your Section. These changes include, but are not limited to, updates to Council roster, bylaws, newsletters, announcements, minutes, etc. The page will be updated within 3 business days of receiving the request.

How can a Section Council member change his or her contact information on the website?

Currently, the Council roster displayed on each Section site is not tied to an individual’s MSBA account information (i.e., the contact information on their profile).* To make changes to the Council page, please email sections@msba.org with the Council member’s name and new contact information, and the page will be updated within 3 business days.

*This functionality will become available in the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

How do I access minutes, or other locked content on my Section page?

Section members must login to access any locked content on the site, including minutes on their Section page. To login, you will need to enter the email address associated with your MSBA Member account and use the one-time use passcode to enter the site. If you have any issues with logging in, please use the chat feature in the bottom right-hand corner on each page of the site.

How do I get a roster of my Section?

Rosters may be requested by members of the Section Council. Email sections@msba.org with the request. It will be fulfilled within 3 business days, and sent as a Google sheet. The standard roster includes the following fields:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Primary Mailing Address
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Member Type
 

What kind of meetings/events do Sections generally present?

Section events fall into two categories: 1) Council meetings and 2) general member programs/meetings which are Events we would seek to publicize. Council meetings are generally scheduled before the end of August by emailing sections@msba.org and are attended by the leadership of the Section. All other events delivered by and sponsored by a particular section include: networking opportunities, happy hours, award dinners, educational programs, charity events, pro bono opportunities, etc. These events , are marketed to either the Section, the membership at large, and/or non-member attorneys.

Is there an approved list of restaurants for meetings/events?

Yes, click here to find an approved list of restaurants.

How do I schedule my Section’s Council meetings?

First, please check the MSBA calendar (https://www.msba.org/calendar/) to see if a date is free. We also recommend that Sections review their calendars for government and religious holidays, and avoid scheduling meetings on these dates. Note that all Section meetings/events are required to appear on the MSBA calendar. After checking the calendar to confirm you have selected a date without conflicts, please email sections@msba.org with the date, time, location, and meeting details. Please allow 3 business days for these events to be added to MSBA’s online calendar.

How do I request a restaurant be added to the list?

Please email sections@msba.org with this request. Include the name, address, and phone number of the restaurant in your request. Note that these additions take time.

How do we schedule Section marketable events?

First, please check the MSBA calendar (https://www.msba.org/calendar/) to see if a date is free. We also recommend that Sections review their calendars for government and religious holidays, and avoid scheduling events on these dates.Note that all Section meetings/events are required to appear on the MSBA calendar. After checking the calendar to confirm you have selected a date without conflicts, please fill out the Section Event Request Form. This form details all support services the MSBA offers for our Sections’ various programs, such as registration, videography, photography, marketing, social media, etc. Due to limited MSBA resources, the availability of these resources will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

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

No, MSBA staff will order the food. Our preferred venue is Jay’s Catering, however, if the Section has a different suggestion, please contact sections@msba.org. Please include any dietary restrictions in your initial request.

What services does the MSBA offer in support of Section events?

The MSBA will assist with marketing, planning (contracts signing, payments to venues), and registration (name tags, registration link).

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

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

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 Request Form, please indicate your photography/videography request.

If your event is an educational event and you are not seeking CLE credit with surrounding MCLE states, our CLE Department may be able to provide staff to video the event, which may be posted on your Section website as a free member benefit, as long as the CLE Department can also post the video on its CLE catalog, for sale at the price your Section charged for the live, original event.

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 Request Form about potential sponsors. Email questions to sections@msba.org.

Can we publish our Section event in the MSBA Weekly (sent out on Mondays)?

Yes, please indicate this request on the Section Event Request Form. The MSBA will need 5 business days notice in advance of the intended date of publication to include the event. Ad hoc requests can be sent to patrick@msba.org.

How can we offer CLE credit at our Section event?

The desire to offer CLE credit should be indicated on the Section Event Request Form when first requesting the event. The MSBA must apply for CLE accreditation to the surrounding mandatory CLE states at least 30 days in advance of the event, thus, to allow adequate time for these applications, sections should submit requests for CLE credits to the MSBA at least 60 days prior to the event. Please submit materials to Andrea Terry at Andrea@msba.org.

Can the MSBA send “Save the Date” announcements for our Section event?

Yes, the MSBA’s marketing team will either use a templated digital flyer or, for larger events, create personalized flyers. These should be requested during event creation when filling out the Section Event Request Form.

 

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

Yes, this should be indicated when first submitting the Section Event Request Form for the event. Please note, due to the large number of events MSBA presents each year, not all events will receive custom-made marketing materials. The MSBA marketing team will utilize templates for repeating events.

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

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

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

Yes, please indicate this request on the Section Event Request Form. The MSBA will have a registration link attached to the event on the calendar.

Can I utilize other Sections listservs for marketing?

The MSBA needs approval from other Section Chairs to accommodate this, but if you receive approval, you can cross-market using another Section listserv.

 

How can our Section submit an article for the Bar Bulletin?

Please email Lisa Muscara Brice at lisam@msba.org to submit content for the Bar Bulletin. Monthly email requests for content will also be sent to all Section Chairs. The Bar Bulletin is published on the 15th of each month, and all content submitted for consideration must be received by the 20th of the preceding month (for example, the deadline for the September 15th edition is August 20th).

When is the Annual Report content due?

The Annual Report content deadline is in the end of March. Section Chairs will be emailed at the end February with a specific date and reminder.

Is there an editorial calendar?

Yes. The complete editorial calendar is available online at www.msba.org/for-members/publications/bar-bulletin. Additionally, the calendar will be emailed to all Section Chairs at the beginning of the fiscal year. Questions regarding the calendar can be sent to lisam@msba.org.

 

How are Section budgets determined?

The MSBA expends resources to support Sections including but not limited to, marketing, staff support, communications, infrastructure including technology, interface with auditors and other third parties in related to Section finances and activities etc.  

The budget for a Section is allocated so that the Section can provide value to its members and as an investment in the growth of the Section due to perceived value by prospective members.  

The exact funding figure is calculated via a funding formula whereby dues revenue is projected using the membership count of the Section at the end of the prior fiscal year.  Although the MSBA cost to support Sections far exceeds 15% of the total dues collected (for any given Section and all Sections combined), Sections are allocated 85% of the projected dues revenue as their “budget.”  Unspent Sections funding at the end of a fiscal year is aggregated and used by the MSBA to offset the costs the MSBA incurs which are well above and beyond the 15% it retains in the initial budget development process.

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

Please direct the member to the reimbursement form available on each Section page; members will need to email the completed form to sections@msba.org. Reimbursement is generally made within 3 to 4 weeks of submission.

Although the MSBA operates on a net-30 basis, it seeks to reimburse volunteers more quickly than that. Reimbursements can be issued as either a check or an electronic payment. Once the form is submitted, the member will receive an email invitation from bill.com like the one pictured here,  to complete the electronic payment process. Bill.com is the payment system for MSBA and allows us to direct deposit reimbursements which speeds up the process.

If the member prefers a check, they should not accept the invitation, and a check will be mailed within a few weeks of the request.

How do we obtain our Section’s budget?

An automated monthly report will be sent to the Section Chair, Chair-Elect, and Treasurer by the 20th of each month. These will be preliminary budgets and subject to changes due to reconciliation. Additional questions should be submitted to sections@msba.org.

Can the Section pre-pay for events for the following fiscal year using the current year’s budget?

No, anything paid in advance is recorded as a prepaid expense until the actual service is rendered or the event occurs.  The MSBA uses the remaining unspent allocated budget to reduce the losses associated with supporting Sections.

 

How does the MSBA decide which bills to act upon?

The legislative activity of the MSBA is broadly governed by the MSBA State Legislative Program, which can be found on the Advocacy page of the website. The MSBA Legislative Office creates a weekly agenda of bills relating to the practice of law and the administration of justice to be considered by the MSBA Committee on Laws (Laws Committee). After the Laws Committee reviews those bills, the Committee will make recommendations to the Board of Governors to support, support with amendments, oppose, monitor, or take no position.

In what forms may Sections express a position on bills?

Sections may sign up to a have representatives testify in-person or may submit written testimony to the Standing Committee of the General Assembly to which the bill is assigned. Committees of the General Assembly do not accept written testimony via email.  Sections should email their written testimony to the MSBA Legislative Office and we will deliver it to the appropriate Committee for you.

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. The MSBA Legislative Office refers bills to Sections that are related to their respective practice areas. Among those bills referred, Sections communicate any proposed position on a bill to the MSBA Legislative Office to make certain that there is no conflict with a position of the Board of Governors.

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, which is no later than 11:00am on the day of the hearing.

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. As examples, invariably controversial bills, such as those related to gun control or abortion would fall into this category.

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 Board of Governors. Generally, we try to avoid having Sections expressing 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 Legislative Office will work with Section Legislative Liaisons to determine whether amendments can be developed that address the concerns of the Sections involved.

 

More questions? Contact:

Angela Munro

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