By Anna Sholl

The MSBA Board of Governors met on October 25, 2018, in conjunction with the 59th Annual Conference of Bar Presidents and 11th Young Lawyers Summit. MSBA President, Judge Keith R. Truffer opened the meeting by discussing the importance of the Conference of Bar Presidents, including its ability to join diverse groups of attorneys from across the state.  

As part of his report, Judge Truffer gave the Board of Governors their first glimpse at an upcoming charity event. The event, which will take place in May 2019, will be the performance of a play written by Paul Mark Sandler, about the fictitious trial of Al Capone, allowing prestigious attorneys from across Maryland to add acting to their resumes. Proceeds from the play will benefit the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, which became part of the MSBA earlier this year. In addition, Judge Truffer welcomed two new Board of Governors at the meeting. James Brewer filled the vacancy in the 11th Circuit, and the Hon. Elizabeth Morris filled a vacancy in the 7th Circuit created when Debbie Potter was elevated to MSBA Secretary.

The primary business objective covered during the October 2018 meeting involved discussion of the revised Email Discussion List rules.  Members of the Board of Governors received copies of all the comments obtained during the open comment period, and engaged in extensive discussion regarding revising the rules in light of these comments.  The Board of Governors ultimately voted to give authority to the Executive Committee to adopt the final rules after the revisions discussed during the meeting were completed.

The Board of Governors also met shortly before Thanksgiving, on November 20. This meeting of the Board included some very distinguished guests, including Attorney General Brian Frosh, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law’s Dean, Donald Tobin, University of Baltimore School of Law’s Dean, Ronald Weich, and Chair of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, Ward Coe, III. These distinguished guests provided the Board of Governors an overview of the Access to Justice Commission, as well as perspectives on why the Commission is important, and how joining with the MSBA will further its mission. In addition, Reena Shah, Executive Director of the Commission provided a presentation on the Commission’s current work.

The meeting also had other exciting moments, including a demonstration of the new technology being designed to replace the existing Email Discussion List system. The new software, titled MSBA Connect, will have new features, including the ability to share documents and other attachments. Rollout of the new technology will be gradual, initially to a few test sections, before full rollout in mid-2019. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting development.

In addition, MSBA President, Judge Truffer, welcomed new Board of Governors members, Carl Schlaich, who filled the final vacancy on the Board, representing the 9th Circuit, Harford and Cecil Counties. ABA State Delegate Hon. Pamila J. Brown also provided an update on events at the ABA, and noted that MSBA member Kevin Shepherd is running for Treasurer of the ABA. The November meeting adjourned to a meet-and-greet between MSBA Leadership, the Board of Governors, and the Maryland Access to Justice Commissioners.

The next Board of Governors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 18, 2018, at the State House in Annapolis. For more information on the Board of Governors, including minutes from prior meetings and/or agendas for upcoming meetings, please visit the Leadership page under the “About” tab of the MSBA website.

Anna Sholl is MSBA Director of Profession and Practice Advancement.