THE MARYLAND STATE BAR ASSOCIATION COMMEMORATED THE START OF THE 2023 LEGISLATIVE SESSION WITH ITS FOURTH ANNUAL
MSBA DAY (previously known as “Lobby Day”) on January 24, 2023. The MSBA was delighted to welcome members to participate in MSBA Day in person for the first time since 2020.
The event offered valuable information on the MSBA’s legislative priorities and key initiatives that legislators will likely introduce to the General Assembly in the 2023 Legislative Session. The panel of guests who spoke to MSBA members about issues that impact the legal profession and Marylanders including Attorney General Anthony Brown, Senator Will Smith, Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, Delegate Luke Clippinger, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Senator Chris West, Maryland Public Defender Natasha Dartigue, and Executive Director of Maryland Legal Aid, Vicki Schultz.
David Shapiro, President of the MSBA, welcomed participants and highlighted recent MSBA advocacy successes, including defeating proposed legislation to impose taxes on legal services in Maryland, obtain- ing vaccine priority for Maryland attorneys to continue serving the public, and securing more than $40 million in civil legal aid funding for access to counsel in evictions.
Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, Managing Partner of Brown Goldstein & Levy, Member of the Executive Board of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission (A2JC), and former Co-Chair and current Member of MSBA’s Managing Partners Group, kicked off the day by explaining the Commission’s mission is to ensure that the promise of justice becomes a reality for all Marylanders, rather than only for those who can afford it. During the 2023 Legislative Session, the Commission’s goals are to obtain annual budgetary allocations so that access to counsel in evictions is an established right for years to come and increase general civil legal aid funding.
Former State Senator Bobby Zirkin then moderated a discussion with Senator Will Smith and Delegate Luke Clippinger. Delegate Clippinger reported that the Legislature and Judiciary Committee had made great strides over the last few years in increasing police accountability and access to justice and providing assistance to those facing eviction. He anticipated the General Assembly would face challenging issues this year, including how to regulate concealed carry in Maryland, statutes of limitations in child sex abuse cases, and juvenile justice. Senator Smith touched on legislation to eliminate contested judicial elections, funding access to counsel for eviction proceedings, and expungement.
Senator Chris West then discussed the legislative process and bills on expungement contested judicial elections, and issues related to the legalization of recreational marijuana with Zirkin. Senator West also offered his perspective on juvenile justice reform and the stat- ute of limitations for civil claims arising out of child sex abuse.
Reena Shah, Executive Director of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, welcomed Maryland Public DefenderNatasha Dartigue and the Executive Director of Maryland Legal Aid, Vicki Schultz. Dartigue and Shultz discussed what they see as the greatest challenges in the criminal and civil justice systems and their priorities for reform in the 2023 Legislative Session and in the years to come.
Co-Chairs of the MSBA Laws Committee Kelly Hughes Iverson, Partner at Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann, LLP, and David Cahn, Partner at Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP, then explained the Laws Committee’s structure and processes and informed members of the MSBA’s legislative priorities during the 2023 Legislative Session. MSBA members then met with members of the General Assembly and their staff, including Del. Elizabeth Embry, Del. David Moon, Del. Karen Simpson, Sen. Will Smith, Del. Kym Taylor, Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher, and Sen. Chris West.
The day wrapped up with keynote speaker Attorney General Anthony Brown addressing MSBA members during lunch at O’Brien’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Tavern House. AG Brown began by thanking the MSBA for advocating for members of the legal profession so that attorneys can better serve their clients and discussed his top priorities as Attorney General.AG Brown noted he intends to invest in the people and the resources in the Office of Attorney General to better allow them to deliver government services, increase its capacity to investigate and prosecute organized crime and drug, gun, labor, and human trafficking offenses, and work to reduce recidivism rates throughout the State.
The MSBA looks forward to working with the Laws Committee and our Sections to seek impactful legislation for the remainder of the 2023 Legislative Session. For more detailed information regarding MSBA Day and the MSBA’s advocacy efforts, please visit our website.
Throughout the legislative session, the MSBA also provides bi-weekly bill reports by practice area that may be relevant to your work, available here.
Executive Board Member of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, MSBA Managing Partners Group Co-Chair Managing Partner of Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP inBaltimore City
One of the Commission’s priorities is to advocate for the right to counsel in civil cases where basic human rights are involved, such as housing stability. Krevor-Wesibaum said, “we have partially achieved that with the Access to Counsel inEvictions Law, but we need to fully fund it. As predicted, evictions are increasing. And as Governor Wes Moore said, housing insecurity is the main driver of poverty.”
DELEGATE LUKE CLIPPINGER
Chair of the House Judiciary Committee
Delegate Clippinger expressed his appreciation for “all the resources that MSBA has made available to me to my committee and all the issues that have been raised along the way.” He believes the Legislature as a whole, and specifically the JudiciaryCommittee, has made great strides over the past four years, working hard on police reform, police accountability, access to justice, and providing assistance to people facing eviction.
SENATOR WILL SMITH
Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee
Senator Smith addressed the MSBA’s legislative priorities: eliminating contested judicial elections, funding access to counsel for eviction proceedings, and expungement, and other “weighty and meaty issues facing our Committee.” He talked about the importance of the Committee’s partnership with the MSBA, noting that MSBA members “all have expertise in specific areas of the law that can help us develop really sound policy.”
SENATOR CHRIS WEST
Member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee
Senator West introduced a bill to conduct a study of all Maryland criminal statutes, to evaluate the criminal statutes and their penalties as a whole before addressing the issue of expungement. He also sponsored SB0195, which addresses Orphans’ Court Judges Elections.
Director of Maryland Legal Aid
The greatest challenge facing our legal system, whether criminal or civil, is racial and economic inequity. “As lawyers and as citizens, we all have to care that our legal system is fair and accessible to all. We believe in a system that’s fair, that takes all comers and, and allows for representation, but if you live in poverty, that representation is not a given.”
To watch highlights from some of our Connections events, visit