Within the last hour a senior member of Governor Hogan’s administration responded to our communications. The essential message was as follows: Attorneys need to evaluate and determine whether or not they fit the current guidelines and do so in good faith. We, the MSBA, define this to be the ‘reasonable person may conclude’ concept. This affords an attorney reasonable discretion to conclude whether they should be prioritized and fit within the continuity of government category. We previously defined that category in our letter which can be found here. We believe our contention is reasonable.
Due to the demands on the Executive Branch at the moment, they are unable to respond in writing to our request, but understood that we would communicate the substance of the conversation to our membership.
Per the Governor’s briefing today it is clear the vaccine supply is going to go up significantly very soon which, coupled with this informal guidance from the Governor’s office, should prove helpful.
We know that since issuing our letter detailing our interpretation on all attorneys being eligible, hundreds of attorneys have gotten vaccinated and just in a matter of days. More and more local jurisdictions accept attorneys without issue as they have presented themselves under the continuity of government category, in line with assistant state’s attorneys, public defenders, and members of the judiciary. Many attorneys meet with vulnerable populations, visit clients in detention centers and jails, and now need to attend court hearings, mere feet from their clients, while performing their role as counsel, and thus should be vaccinated.
We have marshaled the legislature, the Governor, and key officials, and much more. Members have sent over 1,800 emails to these leaders in response to our calls to action. We believe the job is done.
As indicated previously, we recognize that not every attorney agrees with our advocacy efforts, but we hope that all attorneys understand that we stand to represent your interests, even if you’re not in agreement with this particular effort.
Thank you for being part of the MSBA. As is becoming clearer given our fight on taxation of legal services last legislative session and now the advocacy around vaccinations, the MSBA is only effective if all attorneys belong and engage.