Board Of Governors
Board Of Governors :
Minutes : Feb 13, 2001


5:30 P.M.

The Maryland State Bar Association Board of Governors and officers met at the location, date and time indicated above. There were 28 members of the Board of Governors present including all of the officers, except Harry S. Johnson, Treasurer. Guests attending the meeting included Timothy E. Meredith, Chair of the Committee on Laws; Edward J. Gillis, Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee; Robert D. Kalinoski, Chair of the Business Law Section; and Business Law Section members Bryson F. Popham, Henry H.Hopkins, Robert A. Zarnoch, and Tia Carnell. In addition, Paul Carlin, Executive Director, and key members of his staff were in attendance.

President Dick Sothoron called the meeting to order at approximately 5:45 p.m.

The Board approved the Minutes of the Board of Governors meeting of January 23, 2001.

Lisa L. Mervis reported that Judge James S. Sfekas passed away on February 12, 2001. Several Board members described Judge Sfekas as kind, considerate and gentlemanly; and stated that he stood as an example of civility for all of us. At the request of President Sothoron, the Board observed a moment of silence in memory of Judge Sfekas.

1. Dick Sothoron gave the President's report.

a. He reported on the reception for the National Conference of Chief Justices which was held at the Clarence Mitchell Court House on January 24, 2001, noting that Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell was quite appreciative of the MSBA’s assistance, financial and otherwise. He acknowledged the Young Lawyers Section of the Baltimore City Bar which was of great assistance in facilitating this very nice function.

b. He reported that the travel portion of the MSBA Mid-Year Meeting to be held at Beaches, Turks and Caicos Islands, is sold out.

c. He reported that the Allstate Insurance Company unauthorized practice of law matter has been referred to the Attorney Grievance Commission. Robert R. Michael, Chair of the Allstate Special Committee, will be the point person for the MSBA. Melvin Hirshman, Bar Counsel, has assigned John C. Broderick to handle the matter for the Attorney Grievance Commission.

d. He reviewed materials submitted by John W. Hardwick, Chief Administrative Law Judge, concerning disparities that affect the salaries of Administrative Law Judges. He noted that the Board has previously supported the request for increases in the salaries of ALJ’s.

e. He called on Gerald W. Heller, Jr. who discussed a request to submit an article on the effect of Project Disarm to the Baltimore Sun for consideration as an op-ed piece. After reviewing the proposed submission, the Board approved a motion that the article, with minor revisions, be submitted.

2. Paul Carlin gave the Executive Director's report.

a. He reported that the total MSBA membership count as of the date of the meeting was 20,046, including 13 resignations, 2 dropped members, 3 deceased members, 19 new members, and 9 reinstatements. The Board approved the applications for Honorary Membership in the MSBA by Anthony S. Frederico, Sr., and Hyman L. Rosenberg. The Board approved the resignations noted in the Executive Director's Report.

b. He reported that the MSBA Home Page now has approximately 13,000 pages of text linked to it; that the Home Page is being revised; and that he is looking into the use of cyber cash and credit cards for Home Page use.

c. He reported on nominations for the Board of Governors for the 2001-2003 term. There will be a contested election in the Eighth (Baltimore County) District.

3. Jim Nolan gave the Secretary's report. He reported that the Executive Committee meeting scheduled for February 6, 2001 had been cancelled in lieu of this Board of Governors meeting.

4. Paul Carlin gave the Treasurer's report. He reported the following for the MSBA as of January 31, 2001: total dues income of $2,173,399.07; total income of $2,956,026.16; total expense of $1,696,371.99; and total surplus of $1,259,654.17. He also reported that dues income representing in excess of 100% of the MSBA budget has been collected to date.

5. Reports of Standing Committees.

Buz Winchester, MSBA Director of Legislative Relations, and Timothy E. Meredith, Chair, gave the report and recommendations of the Committee on Laws. A copy of the written recommendations dated January 23, 2001 is attached to these Minutes as Exhibit 1. The Board approved all recommendations except that SB 483 was approved with amendments; SB 704/HB 363, HB 312, HB 515, and SB 242/HB 459 are to be monitored; and SB 205/HB 307 were supported without amendments. HB 393 was not supported, but rather the Board approved a motion to take no position on this bill.


6. Reports of Sections.

Harry H. Hopkins and other members of the Business Law Section discussed SB 264/HB 1045 and requested that the Board reconsider its position vis-à-vis these bills. Mr. Hopkins explained the historical background which generated the introduction of these bills. Several members of the Board questioned Mr. Hopkins about the retroactive application of these bills if they are passed. After significant discussion, the Board approved a motion to oppose the retroactivity portions of these bills, but to otherwise support the concept embraced in the bills.

7. Unfinished Business.

A request for additional funding by the Law Links Intern Project was discussed. Edward J. Gillis discussed this issue for the Budget & Finance Committee. Board liaison Suzanne K. Farace reviewed the project which places at risk high school students in paid summer employment positions in various law offices in Baltimore City, Howard County, and Prince George’s County. The MSBA previously committed to fund the project for two years in each jurisdiction after which time they were to become self-funding. Ms. Farace pointed out that the student application and selection processes are far along before a local project is notified that it did or did not receive favorable action on its outside grant applications. That dichotomy between selection and outside funding leaves the project in the position of possibly having to tell some of the students that there is insufficient funding for the position for which they have been selected. The Board considered Ms. Farace’s position and approved a motion to authorize up to $25,000.00 in funding for the Law Links Intern Project to be used on an ‘as needed’ basis by the three existing projects. The motion passed with President Sothoron voting ‘nay’.

8. Announcements.

a. Paul Carlin announced that the MSBA’s Sixth Annual Mid-Year Technology Showcase will be held on Friday, March 2, 2001 and Saturday, March 3, 2001, at the Maritime Institute of Technology.

b. Dick Sothoron announced that the MSBA, in conjunction with the Prince George’s County Bar Association, will hold an Oyster Roast on Saturday, April 28, 2001, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. at the historic Billingsley Manor. In conjunction with the Oyster Roast, there will be boat tours of the scenic Patuxent River and hay rides available.

c. Ron Richardson advised the Board that Maryland Public Television aired a program on African American Attorneys and Judges on February 12, 2001 at 10:30 p.m., and would do so again on February 16, 2001. He noted the program was quite interesting and well done.

d. Paul Carlin announced that Robert T. Gonzales, a past President of the MSBA, will be the new President of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, effective August 4, 2001.


There being no further business to come before the Board of Governors, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

James P. Nolan

Cornelius D. Helfrich
Assistant Secretary

Board Of Governors : Minutes : Feb 13, 2001