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Welcome to the first of a series of my monthly messages about what is happening with your bar association.

Despite COVID-19 we are open for business and will continue to remain virtual until it is safe to meet again in person. This means that although all in-person meetings are canceled through September, we are planning an in-person and virtual Legal Excellence Week, November 9 to the 13th at Maryland Live hotel and casino. Our CLEs include our popular education programs such as advanced estate planning, real property, family and criminal law, consumer bankruptcy, and the very popular business law and advanced tax Institutes. a celebration of the 19th amendment, access to justice, and the annual meeting of the Maryland Bar Foundation and fellows. There will also be our Solo and Small Firm Summit, culminating with our prestigious Bar President’s Leadership Conference on Friday. So join us at Maryland Live.

I’m also thrilled to announce the Mid-Year Excursion is on and scheduled in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico February 14 through the 20th book and reserve your room and airfare now as it’s sure to sell out. Great CLE programs, private beach, golf reception with the Bar Association of Puerto Rico, and much, much more. Visit msba.org website for more information about all of our programs and events scheduled in the upcoming year and specifically Legal Excellence Week and sign up for the Mid-Year Excursion. 

This year, my focus and direction will be on diversity and inclusion as well as access to justice. They overlap each other in many ways more so now than ever we need to engage in the dialogue, listen, learn, and lead the way for change and reforms in our legal system. If not us, then who? I am honored to serve as the MSBA representative to Attorney General Frosh’s COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force to be part of the solution as we’ve reopened Maryland courts. We as lawyers, stewards of the law, and protectors of our rights, need to stand up and speak out against injustice and exclusion. We should continue to celebrate the strides we have made. But we need to speak out now about the wrongs within our legal system so that we can be part of the solution. This includes everyone being civil to one another. Every opinion counts. We may not and should not agree with one another all the time, but we need to take time to listen, to engage, to respect one another, and move forward professionally and with civility. Too often our emotions take over. We misinterpret a text, an email, a tweet, a comment, or even a single word. And on impulse, we react with emotion. Words are our tools and we should use those tools judiciously and strategically change opinions and minds before quickly hitting that send button and regret having sent it. 

To that end, the 1980s technology of our email list discussion groups is being transitioned to our new MSBA Connect. Some sections have already transitioned and your feedback has been great. Here you are able to follow discussions of interest, ignore less useful topics and threads, upload and share documents with your colleagues, have robust and invaluable experience with one another.

Throughout the COVID pandemic, the MSBA has and will continue to be here for you. We continue to provide top-rated CLE programs, platforms for our sections, our committees, our task forces to meet virtually, and to make recommendations to create the changes that are needed in our legal system. We have been the voice of Maryland lawyers with the legislature, the judiciary, and the governor’s office. We have asked your questions directly to them regarding the administrative and the executive orders to get them clarified, defined, and in some cases modified based on input from you.

If you want to get involved in any way, let me know. If you have an idea for a program, a CLE, reach out to us or email me directly. We need you more than ever to renew your membership so that we can continue to represent you and provide all of the programs and important information to our membership. Please spread the news about your MSBA and encourage your attorney and paralegal colleagues to join. I would love to see every firm pledge to be, I’m all in at 100% and show their support to the MSBA. I want you to get the most out of your MSBA membership, be engaged and informed. Let me know how I can make your membership even better. I’ll see you next month.