Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin

October, 2004

MSBA Maps Out Future Direction
~Members to help chart course via online survey~
By Janet Stidman Eveleth

Tell us what you think – of MSBA, its membership services and benefits, its role as an effective attorney resource and much more. This month, MSBA will initiate an online membership survey so members can offer input and suggestions on their organization. The key to the success of this endeavor is member participation and feedback. Therefore, MSBA is encouraging all members to complete an electronic survey, thus enabling MSBA to better serve the future needs of its members.

One of Neil Helfrich’s priorities this year as MSBA President is planning for the Association’s future. “I want to assist MSBA in determining exactly where it will be in five, even 10 years by planning for the future now.” To this end, Helfrich will initiate the first membership survey undertaken by the Association in six years. MSBA’s President will then convene a Planning Conference in the spring of 2005 to examine the survey results and chart the Association’s future direction.

When MSBA conducted its last membership survey in 1998, members evaluated the Association’s menu of services and benefits and assessed the organization’s role as an attorney resource. The majority of members ranked the organization very high in value, were strongly satisfied with MSBA and its numerous member services and rated the Association high in “keeping up with the ever-changing times and trends of the legal profession.”

Overall, members rated The Maryland Lawyers’ Manual, Ethics Opinions, the Maryland Bar Journal, the Bar Bulletin and Section newsletters the top five member benefits in 1998. Not surprisingly, technology was regarded as one of the highest areas of member interest, and new member service suggestions dealt with technological advances, additional discount programs and improvements in several existing ones.

Many of the new member services MSBA has introduced over the last six years hail from this member poll. The Association’s two new, very popular electronic publications, Bar Brief and MSBA’s Online Member Directory, have been big hits with members. The Association also unveiled a Statewide Mentoring service in 2000 and added a discounted magazine subscription service, office supply printing service and credit card processing service to further enhance its array of membership benefits.

This fall, members will once again have the opportunity to assess MSBA’s current array of member benefits and suggest new ones. This month, MSBA is launching the first in a series of six electronic surveys. Members may simply go to MSBA’s website,, click on the survey, complete the brief questions and submit it to MSBA. Each survey will be posted for several weeks and members are encouraged to complete them all.

The surveys will generally focus on member services, member needs, possible future services, the overall value of MSBA and whether members are taking advantage of MSBA’s current offerings. Specific surveys will address member benefits, professional satisfaction, continuing legal education, the Judiciary, technology and MSBA as an attorney resource.

“We hope to hear from many of our members,” states Paul V. Carlin, MSBA Executive Director. “Among the many good reasons why the MSBA should survey its members, two of the top ones are: (1) our planning process begins with an assessment of our members’ needs and (2) it is simply important to ask our members what they need and want from MSBA. Offering our members value is about giving them what they need. We must constantly be innovative and provide solutions for our members’ needs.”

Once the results are compiled, MSBA’s President will present them to a group of active members at a statewide MSBA Planning Conference next spring. At this gathering, survey data will be examined, existing and new services and programs will be assessed, the Association will be evaluated, and its future direction will be determined. Member feedback from the electronic surveys will be the foundation of this comprehensive effort as our members help chart the future course of their Association.

MSBA thanks all of its members for supporting their Association by completing the online member surveys. The results will be shared with the entire membership, along with MSBA’s future course. Please let us know what you think!



Publications : Bar Bulletin: October, 2004

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