In an effort to provide members with greater transparency, the MSBA is re-introducing the “From the Boardroom” Blog, which contains details and information from recent Board of Governor meetings. Below are highlights from the September 20, 2023 meeting.

MSBA Board of Governors Meets for First Time Since June; Fills Vacancies

On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, the Board of Governors met for the first time since the Legal Summit and Annual Meeting in June.  As is typical with the first meeting of the year, any vacancies on the Board are filled.  In this case, the Board had vacancies in the following Judicial Districts:

  • 2nd District – Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties – 1 Vacancy
  • 3rd District – Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot Counties – 1 Vacancy
  • 7th District – Anne Arundel County – 1 Vacancy
  • 8th District – Baltimore County – 2 Vacancies

The Board received numerous letters of interest for the available vacancies and, after reviewing and discussing the candidates, appointed the following members:

  • Jodi Cavanaugh, 2nd District, Dorchester County
  • Connie Kratovil-Lavelle, 3rd District, Queen Anne’s County
  • Jessica Quincosa, 7th District, Anne Arundel County
  • Michelle Siri, 8th District, Baltimore County
  • Tom Dolina, 8th District, Baltimore County

The MSBA congratulates the latest additions to the FY24 Board.

MSBA Board of Governors Composition to Evolve in FY2425

As a reminder, the MSBA Bylaws as amended in June 2023 include more pathways to Board leadership for the upcoming FY24–25 year and beyond.  In addition to the District Governor roles, which are traditionally determined by the member population within the 12 Judicial Districts, members will have greater opportunity to serve through Section Governor or At-large Governor Seats.  

Beginning in December 2023, members can look for information on available vacancies and the nomination process and timeline in the eWeekly Newsletter.  This information will also be shared with various local and specialty bars to ensure it reaches all members interested in pursuing a leadership role within the MSBA.

Board Adopts Neutral Stance on Judiciary’s MCLE Report; MSBA to Monitor Progress, Inform Members, and Gather Feedback

Outside of filling the Board vacancies, the primary topic of discussion at the MSBA Board meeting was the recent Maryland Judiciary Report & Recommendations (“Judiciary Report”) on minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) in Maryland.  As you may know, the 132-page Judiciary Report was issued by a workgroup commissioned by the Supreme Court of Maryland.  Essentially, it recommends that Maryland adopt an MCLE rule and require attorneys to complete a certain number of CLE credits each year to retain their bar admission.  More specifically, the Judiciary Report recommends:

  • Attorneys obtain 12 CLE credits per year, with at least one (1) credit in each of the following categories:
    • Ethics & Professionalism
    • Health & Wellness
    • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
  • Reporting is recommended annually, and either on a
    • Calendar year (1/1 – 12/31) basis or 
    • Aligned with the existing reporting schedule for IOLTA & Pro Bono hours (7/1 – 6/30)
  • Exemptions are recommended for:
    • Attorneys with Inactive/Retired status, and
    • Attorneys within their first year of admission

After a thorough discussion of the report, the MSBA Board adopted a plan to respond to the Judiciary Report.  First, the MSBA Board agreed that it should monitor developments related to the report and ensure that members were informed of these developments.  To do so, the MSBA will build a microsite with the latest details and developments.  It is anticipated that this microsite will be available by October 1, 2023.

Second, the Board agreed that the MSBA should work to gather feedback from members.  To facilitate this process, the MSBA will invite members to provide feedback through an online portal and via virtual listening sessions.  An MCLE Response Task Force was also created for the purpose of reviewing the feedback from members, making recommendations to the Board of Governors based on this feedback, and preparing comprehensive comments on behalf of the MSBA to be submitted to the Maryland Judiciary in advance of the Judiciary’s comment deadline of November 10, 2023.

Finally, the Board agreed to host a virtual town hall for local and specialty bars to weigh in on the issue.  This would also provide the MSBA the opportunity to provide information to local and specialty bars, and determine whether the local and specialty bars can create a uniform approach/message in response to the Judiciary Report.  A date for this event will be determined and published soon.