Since 2017, the MSBA has been focused on becoming a more relevant, representative, and resilient organization. As part of that effort and its broader strategic plan, the MSBA has been undergoing governance reform efforts.
Below is a brief history of these governance changes:
FY 2018 – A committee appointed by then President, Sara Arthur and Chaired by Marshall Paul, Esq. reorganized MSBA Bylaws to comply with current best practices. Prior to this effort, minor Bylaw amendments had occurred, but a wholesale restructuring and restatement had not taken place for some time. The Bylaw Amendments were approved at the Annual Meeting of the MSBA in June 2018.
FY 2019 – During this period, then President, Hon. Keith Truffer, formed a Policy Review committee to make amendments to MSBA’s Policy Manual. This committee was chaired by Past-President, Hon. Harry Storm, and resulted in a complete rewriting of the MSBA Policy Manual. This Policy Manual was adopted by the MSBA Board of Governors at the June 2019 meeting Board of Governors meeting.
FY 2020 – The needed revisions to the Policy Manual also required revisions to the MSBA Bylaws. As such, the President, Dana Williams, launched a new Bylaws Committee co-chaired by Marshall Paul and Hon. Harry Storm to recommend amendments to the Bylaws. These amendments were primarily administrative and clarified the role of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee and adjusted committee functions and composition to align with Policy Manual Revisions. These amendments were approved at the June 2020 Annual Meeting – held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MSBA is poised to deliver its next set of Bylaws amendments at the June 2023 Legal Summit & Annual Meeting. These amendments will focus on the composition of the MSBA Board of Governors. Our data shows that the MSBA Board of Governors is heavily concentrated in solo and small firm attorneys, litigators, and attorneys from major metropolitan areas. Although all of these are important segments of the profession, the amendments will ensure the Board of Governors is more representative of the entire breadth of the profession and sets the bar with respect to diversity in the profession. These goals will be accomplished in several ways, including
- Increasing the overall size of the Board of Governors
- Engaging more Sections at the Board level
- Creating new paths to leadership, and
- Developing a pipeline of new leaders
There are several steps in this final step of the governance reform process, including an open comment period for members to provide feedback. The comment period will open on February 15, 2023 and continue through March 15, 2023. Please visit MSBA.org/bylaws beginning on February 15, 2023 for more information on the comment period, and how to submit comments.
Although the MSBA’s journey to become a more relevant, inclusive, and resilient organization continues, its efforts to date have benefited the MSBA and its members. Indeed, the MSBA has grown its CLE, and Publication department to include more quality programs, publications, and content in a wider variety of practice areas. Further, MSBA has expanded the value of membership by including unlimited access to digital CLE of 90 mins or less and a practice section of choice. The MSBA has evolved its advocacy work to become more influential in Annapolis. Finally, MSBA has outperformed other voluntary state bars in overall retention efforts.
Thank you for your continued support and membership in the MSBA… the home of the legal profession.