Board Of Governors
Board Of Governors : Minutes : September
24, 2002 

BOARD OF GOVERNORS
MARYLAND STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2002
CHESAPEAKE BAY BEACH CLUB
500 MARINA CLUB ROAD
STEVENSVILLE, MARYLAND 21666
HASSIE’S PORCH
MEETING - 5:40 P.M.


The Board of Governors of the Maryland State Bar Association met at the location, date and time indicated above. 37 members of the Board of Governors were present. Paul Carlin and selected members of his staff were in attendance. Streett Baldwin of Ellin & Tucker, Chartered was in attendance as an invited guest.

President James Nolan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:40 p.m. He noted the incredible view of the Chesapeake Bay; thanked Paul Carlin and his staff for arranging such a marvelous place for a meeting and asked each of the members of the Board of Governors to introduce themselves.

The Minutes of the Board of Governors meeting of June 12, 2002 and June 15, 2002, as well as the Minutes from the Annual Business Meeting of June 15, 2002, were approved, after an amendment correcting the Board of Governors meeting stated as June 7, 2002, to June 12, 2002.

1. President James Nolan gave the President’s Report.

a. He discussed the various correspondence and articles in newspapers concerning contested judicial elections and noted that the Supreme Court decision in the case of “Republican Party of Minnesota v. White” has changed the ground rules for discussion in contested judicial elections.

b. He noted the article in the August 10, 2002 Daily Record concerning the continuing difficulties with funding pro bono services because of a challenge to the constitutionality of IOLTA and falling interest rates. He noted that the MSBA has attempted to ameliorate the effect of the falling interest rates by instituting the Honor Roll for those banks that have a net interest rate of at least 2% on IOLTA Accounts.

He discussed a letter from Robert J. Rhudy, Executive Director of the MLSC, advising of the very real probability that the MLSC will need to cut back its funding of various pro bono programs because of already reduced funding from the state, a reduction of interest on IOLTA accounts and other reasons. Additionally, he agreed on behalf of the MSBA to attempt to meet with the candidates for Governor to encourage them to support funding for MLSC in fiscal year 2004 and, further to encourage bar leaders throughout the state to support sustained state funding for legal services. Simultaneously, the MLSC will work to increase public understanding and support for legal services and to help coordinate governmental relations in support of state funding for legal services.

c. He noted various articles discussing the redistricting process in Maryland and the court suit resulting therefrom. Of particular concern in the articles was the contact by members of the legislature with members of the judiciary while the court suit was pending.

d. He discussed articles in The Sun and The Daily Record, which appeared on July 30, 2002 noting the passing of Judge Anselm Sodaro. The articles both indicated that Judge Sodaro was revered by attorneys who appeared before him because he was renowned for his civility in dealing with attorneys and litigants.

e. He discussed an article in the July-August, 2002 edition of the Prince George’s County News Journal which contains a picture of Executive Committee member, Judge Michele Hotten, receiving a plaque from MSBA President-Elect, Harry Johnson, who was accompanied by Past-President, Judge Richard Sothoron, at the Prince George’s County 100th Anniversary Celebration.

f. He noted an article in the June 29, 2002 edition of The Daily Record about Stephen J. Cullen, Esquire, who on a largely pro bono basis, assists families who are involved in international abductions of children.

He thanked Janet Eveleth for all of her help in trying to create a positive image for lawyers.

g. He discussed the recent ABA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, where two prominent members of the MSBA received national awards. William R. Levasseur, Esquire, a current Board of Governors member, was awarded the Andrew Hecker Memorial Award that is given annually to one of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section members who consistently demonstrates leadership qualities.
He noted that M. Peter Moser, Esquire, of the MSBA, was presented with the 2002 Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award, which is designed to acknowledge individuals who demonstrate the highest commitment to professionalism and the highest standards of legal ethics.

h. He reported that the Multi-Jurisdictional Practice Report was approved by the ABA House of Delegates. The ABA House of Delegates also passed a Resolution to create a Task Force to study judicial elections. ABA President A.P. Carlton has noted that the public is concerned when the largest contributors to judicial candidates are lawyers who appear before the Judges. Mr. Carlton is concerned that the source of funding contributes to the perception that justice is for sale.

i. He noted that he had attended the Investiture Ceremony of Judge Jeannie J. Hong, a member of the current Board of Governors, after her appointment to the Bench of the District Court of Baltimore City. He noted that not only was she the first Asian Pacific American Judge in Maryland, but she is the first Korean American Woman Judge in the United States.

j. He discussed the concept of Professionalism Scoff Laws i.e. new admittees who seek waivers or deferments from the Professionalism Course requirement but after their admission, never take the course. He forwarded a list of those persons, along with their current status of admission, to Chief Judge Bell on August 22, 2002. Chief Judge Robert M. Bell responded indicating that the Court of Appeals would take the matter under advisement.

k. He discussed the Professionalism Task Force and its scheduled meetings. It was agreed that the local members of the Task Force for each county and the Board of Governors member for each county should attend one meeting and send a brief report to the MSBA Professionalism Committee discussing each meeting, the issues raised and how they were dealt with. There are currently meetings scheduled on September 12, 2002, in Howard County, September 27, 2002, in Garrett County, November 13, 2002, in the morning in Frederick County, and in Washington County, in the afternoon. MSBA Secretary, Neil Helfrich, agreed to attend as many of the 23 meetings as possible since he is a member of the Task Force.
He noted that he and MSBA Secretary, Cornelius Helfrich, had attended the first Professionalism Task Force meeting in Ellicott City and that the meeting was well attended. There were lively discussions of various concepts of professionalism and whether professionalism was improving or becoming less prevalent.

l. He discussed a letter from Chief Judge Robert M. Bell to President James P. Nolan, discussing the three new Rules dealing with pro bono service and requesting the help of the MSBA in implementing the Rules. The Court of Appeals will appoint a Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services with eight members of the MSBA, one from each appellate judicial circuit and one from the State at large. We were provided with a copy of a summary of the Pro Bono Rules and letters which were to be sent to each of the local Bar Presidents and slightly different letters to be sent to each of the legal service providers.

m. He discussed a request by William C. Mitchell, Jr., Esquire, to determine whether or not the time spent on Fee Dispute Committee business by the various members which is significant, could be counted towards the aspirational Pro Bono requirements of the Court of Appeals. It was determined that President Nolan would respond to Mr. Mitchell and advise him that he would discuss this matter with Chief Judge Bell at the Bar President’s Conference in October.

n. He discussed the efforts of the SEC to regulate lawyers by virtue of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, noting that the ABA had contacted the MSBA with a request for the MSBA to discuss amending this Act with Senator Sarbanes. He reported that the MSBA had contacted Senator Sarbanes who had little interest in changing the language of the Act.

o. He reviewed the proposed State Ethics Commission Regulation relating to lobbying, particularly Sections 01.01.A(6) and 01.01.B. He reported that this draft of the proposed Regulations, while open to public comment at this time, exempts MSBA volunteers from being regulated as lobbyists. He further reported that the Board would follow the progress of this Regulation as it proceeds through to adoption.

p. He noted that Janet S. Eveleth, Director of Communications for the MSBA, had issued a news release relating to volunteer attorneys offering free legal advice to victims of a train accident in Montgomery County on July 29, 2002. This offer was published in the Baltimore Business Journal on July 29, 2002. Mr. Nolan noted that the MSBA received excellent publicity as a result of this effort and thanked the Young Lawyers Section for all of the hard work it did in responding so rapidly to this public need.

q. He provided the Committee with a copy of a letter from John Ki, Esquire, advising the MSBA that there was a newly formed Bar Association known as the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Maryland (APABA-MD) which is an independent non-partisan Bar Association comprised of Asian-Pacific American attorneys and law students from Maryland, as well as those who have an interest in advancing the interests of the Asian Pacific American legal community. The Bar Association has been invited to send a representative to a gala to be held on October 3, 2002. That date coincides with the Southern Bar Presidents Conference. Because all of the other Officers plan to be out of state that day, Edward Gilliss, Esquire, and Edward Kim, Esquire, have agreed to attend the gala on behalf of the MSBA.

r. He reviewed a letter from the American Red Cross indicating that it was planning to issue payments to each of the Estates of those killed as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Executive Committee agreed that the notice of the availability would be placed on MSBA’S website, published in the Bar Bulletin and discussed at its October Bar Presidents’ Conference.

s. He indicated that the MSBA would be appointing a Committee on Rules of Practice to advise the Governors on various Rules changes so that the proposed changes can be considered in a timely manner. The thought is that there will be a group of non-committee members, more in the nature of advisors to the Committee, who have expertise in particular areas of the law or trial practice to whom the Committee can turn for guidance as these new Rules are proposed. The goal of all of this is for the MSBA to have considered well in advance the various Rule changes that are being proposed and to have the opportunity to convey its suggestions prior to the Rule being drafted and submitted for comment at the end of the process.

t. He noted that Delegate Montague had introduced a Bill to prohibit a lawyer from directly or indirectly offering employment or discussing opportunities for employment with the lawyer or the lawyer’s law firm with any Judge, if that Judge has any present relationship to any case in which that lawyer or the lawyer’s law firm has entered an appearance or has a financial interest.

u. He noted that MSBA had honored the victims of the September 11 attack with a moment of silence at 10:00 a.m. on September 11, 2002.

2. Paul Carlin gave the Executive Director’s Report.

a. He reported that the total MSBA membership count as of September 24, 2002, was 19,845 members, including 178 resignations, 3 dropped members, 19 deceased members, 303 new members and 106 reinstatements.
He reported on 15 members who had requested honorary memberships. Those members were:

1. Robert R. Bair
2. Hon. Walter E. Black, Jr.
3. William W. Cahill, Jr.
4. Hon. Dulany Foster
5. Vernon G. Frame
6. Hyson S. Freiman
7. D. Sylvan Friedman
8. Thomas L. Hennessey
9. Don F. Ryder, Jr.
10. William R. Sackville
11. Jerome R. Sereboff
12. Morton Shapiro
13. Robert M. Thomas
14. Hon. Eugene M. Lerner
15. Samuel J. Miller, Jr.

Honorary membership for the above listed 15 persons was moved, seconded and approved.

b. He reported on the Second Annual Directors’ Retreat. He noted that a number of items were discussed with the Directors in a rather free-flowing exchange of ideas. One of the issues discussed at some length was computer security, particularly from viruses received when humorous e-mails are forwarded to various staff members. He further noted that Director, Patricia Yevics, is planning several “Distance Learning” Programs.

c. He informed the Board of Governors that the Executive Committee had recommended the Gavel Awards be made on an ad hoc basis rather than annually.

d. He reported that the Executive Committee had approved the hiring of a Marketing Coordinator as a non-exempt employee.

e. It was moved, seconded and approved that Colonel David S. Gordon and William F. Bauer, III, who have been called to active duty, receive an exemption from paying dues from July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003 and further that a refund be made of any dues paid by them for this year.

f. He discussed various personnel changes at the MSBA, including the resignation of his Secretary, Karen Keen, and the hiring of Toni Martsoukos. He further noted that Jenny Henderson had resigned and Patrick Tandy had replaced her.

g. He noted his letter to Wilhelm H. Joseph, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Bureau, supporting its application to the Federal Administration on Aging for funding to continue operating a Maryland state wide legal services hotline to serve seniors.

h. He discussed his letter to Christopher Eddings, Publisher of The Daily Record, supporting its Leadership In Law Awards Program.

i. He provided a list of all Past Presidents of the MSBA.

j. He provided a listing of upcoming Board of Governors’ meetings.

k. He provided a copy of a direct mailing to Maryland lawyers who were not members of the Association asking them to join the MSBA. He noted that there are approximately 5,000 in-state and 5,000 out-of-state non-members.

3. Cornelius Helfrich gave the Secretary’s Report.

a. He reported that the Minutes of the Executive Committee meeting held on September 10, 2002, were substantially included in the Agenda for this meeting.

b. He gave the report on the Board of Governors Entitlement Certification with a very brief discussion of the methodology of the calculation. The Board of Governors Entitlement Certification for 2003 Board of Governors Representation was moved, seconded and approved.

4. J. Michael Conroy gave the Treasurer’s Report.

a. He reviewed the June 30, 2002 and 2001 MSBA Financial Statements and Audit Report prepared by Ellin & Tucker, Chartered. Mr. Conroy then relinquished the floor to Streett Baldwin, CPA who discussed the contents of the Report of the Association as of June 30, 2002. In summary, the Association had a very good financial year and has received a clean report from the Auditors. Approval of the Auditors Report was moved, seconded and passed by the Board of Governors. Mr. Baldwin recommended the creation of an Audit Committee.

b. He reported the following for the MSBA as of August 31, 2002: total dues income of $2,050,712.24; that the total income was $2,160,554.65; that the total expenses were $516,513.41, leaving an unexpended, budgeted amount of $1,644,041.24.

5. Harry S. Johnson gave the President-Elect’s Report.

a. He indicated that he had provided the BOG with a copy of his July 19, 2002 letter to the Honorable Dennis W. Archer, President-Elect of the ABA, inviting him to attend the 2003 MSBA Annual Meeting in Ocean City, MD. It is significant that each of them will be the first African-Americans to assume the Presidency of their respective Associations. Veronica Munoz, a Special Presidential Assistant at the ABA, responded to Mr. Johnson advising him that it was too early to fill in Mr. Archer’s schedule.

b. He reported that he and Chip Wanek from Towson Travel had gone to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, to investigate potential sites for the MSBA Mid-Year Meeting in 2004. He recommended that the Mid-Year Meeting be held at the Melia Caribe Tropical. After discussion of the pros and cons of this site, it was moved, seconded and approved that the MSBA Mid-Year Meeting in 2004 be held at the Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

6. Reports of the Standing Committees.

a. Buz Winchester, MSBA’s Director of Legislative Relations, reported that he had separately distributed by e-mail, the MSBA’s preliminary State Legislative Program for 2003.

b. Mr. Winchester reported that the Court of Appeals unanimously invalidated retroactive provisions in two statutes passed in 2000. He reported that that action is consistent with the position that the MSBA has taken on the retroactive application of statutory changes.

7. Report of Special Committees.

a. President Nolan noted that the Bar President’s Conference would be held on October 24, 2002 to October 26, 2002 in Easton, MD and that an excellent and informative, interactive program was planned.

8. Report of Sections.

a. Michael Stover, Chair of the Young Lawyer’s Section, gave the report of the Section. He reported on discussions with the Deans of the two local law schools about approaching the two Gubernatorial candidates to see if they have an interest in addressing the Baltimore and Maryland legal communities in either a debate or “meet the candidate” type format. Mr. Stover was unsure if Lt. Governor Kathleen Townsend would agree to do this, but stated that Congressman Robert Ehrlich had already agreed to participate.

b. Mr. Stover reported that the Disaster Relief Committee of the YLS of the MSBA had been nominated for a Daily Record Leadership in Law Award 2002. He also advised that MSBA President Jim Nolan has been nominated for the award.

c. Mr. Stover mentioned the Young Lawyers’ Section Novemberfest 2002 “Justice for All” Gala scheduled to take place on November 2, 2002 at the American Visionary Arts Museum from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.

9. Announcements.

a. The Board was provided with a copy of an Article on Andy Posil, the son of MSBA Parliamentarian, Carl Silverman, that appeared in the June 19, 2002 edition of the Towson Times.

b. It was noted that the MSBA has published a new assisted living guide to help the public with long-term care decisions which are available through the UM Law School at the cost of $1.00 each.

c. President Nolan thanked Past President Pamela White, for all of the assistance that she has given to him in the transition from her regime to his term.

There being no further business to come before the Board of Governors, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Cornelius D. Helfrich
Secretary

 

Board Of Governors : Minutes : September 24, 2002