Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : February 2005

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Navigating www.msba.org
~A guide to the new and improved online home of the MSBA~

By Pat Yevics

Those of you that have visited www.msba.org recently may have noticed that the look of the website has changed. We made these changes for a number of reasons, though the primary objectives were to 1) more effectively use the entire screen and 2) make it easier for us to update pages throughout the site (the site has over 7,000 pages, so making it easier to update was significant).

There have been several major changes made with the user in mind. For example, we have changed the order of the navigation bar from the previous site. The Member Directory, listed at the top of the navigation bar, is now followed by the “Members Only” area, for which login is necessary. All other items are then listed in alphabetical order. We have also added drop-down menus to the navigation bar to make it easier to find information.

We really do welcome your ideas and suggestions. Please forward any comments on how we can make it easier for you to find information to Pat Yevics at pyevics@msba.org. Additionally, it should be noted that much of the credit for the website goes to web coordinator John Anderson (webmaster@msba.org) and web assistant Elizebeth Wescott.

Home Page
Again, the navigation bar remains on the left side of the screen. For a quick view of where to find information, click on “Site Map” in the top right corner of the home page.

The boxes on the right side of the home page are new and will highlight such items as upcoming programs, the Legislative Report and the Ethics Hotline. In addition, MICPEL courses will be listed on the homepage.

The top right corner of the home page also features an “FAQ” link to a list of frequently-asked questions that will be updated regularly.

Member Directory
All MSBA members (and only MSBA members) are listed on the website unless they have requested to not be listed. The directory is available to the general public, and it is possible to search for a lawyer in a variety of ways, such as by last name, law firm, county, practice area, section membership and state. For example, a member of the public could find a family law lawyer from Baltimore County who is licensed in both Maryland and Pennsylvania.

For Members Only
There are a number of areas and services that are for use by MSBA members only, and you will have to log in to use these areas. To create a login, you will need to have an e-mail address on file. In the very near future, we will begin implementing a number that corresponds to the Client Protection Fund Number for all members to allow access “Members Only” areas. “Members Only” areas include:

Electronic Bar Briefs (EBB) – This service will e-mail you a daily synopsis of Court of Appeal and Court of Special Appeal opinions. It is free and for members only. You can choose from a list of 15 practice areas ( www.msba.org/members/ebb/ ).

Ethics Opinions – A searchable list of all MSBA Ethic Opinions is online and can be printed ( www.msba.org/members/ ).

Mentoring Program – This is a list of 250 MSBA members who have volunteered to answer questions on a variety of topics. They are listed by county and have practice area information ( www.msba.org/members/).

Change of Address/Membership Data – You can change your membership data online by clicking on “Update Member Info” at www.msba.org/directory/update/index.cfm. To update your information, you will need to have an e-mail address on file with the MSBA. When you use the online member update, your information is updated in the database at the end of that day.

Additional Member Benefits
All of the exclusive MSBA member benefits are listed under this heading. It is broken down by:

Member Services, such as Court House ID badges and legal brochures

Vendor Discounts include information and links to all vendors that give discounts to MSBA members (these discounts are for MSBA members only).

LOMA (Law Office Management Assistance) provides management and technology information for solo and small firm practitioners

Lawyer Assistance Program provides help for lawyers with drug, alcohol and stress-related problems.

Ethics Hotline provides the monthly list of names and numbers of the MSBA members of the Ethics Hotline, which also appear on each month on page 3 of the Bar Bulletin.

Board of Governors
A list of all members of the Board of Governors (BOG) and BOG Section and Committee Liaison assignments are listed on the site, in addition to the minutes from the monthly meetings.

Calendar
All meetings and programs are listed on the MSBA calendar. The site also features a list of all approved restaurants and directions. In addition, local and specialty bars can electronically submit an event for inclusion on the MSBA calendar.

Committees and Sections
There is a list of all Section Council and Committee members. In addition, all Sections have websites with information specific to the Section’s practice area. Section newsletters are available online exclusively for the Section’s members. A description of all Committees and the work that they do is available at www.msba.org/sec_comm/.

You can also join any of the Section Email Lists, on which you can post questions and get answers (www.msba.org/sec_comm/lists/).

The Real Property, Planning & Zoning Section currently is the only Section using forums to have detailed discussions on specific topics. These can be saved and searched. These forums are available to all Sections, and there are links on all Section websites with directions.

Many of the Sections include minutes from council meetings, as well as links appropriate for Section members.

Contact Us
The site also features a list of all MSBA staff and each person’s responsibilities to help you get the right person or department when searching for the information that you need. There are also FAQs for the MSBA under this listing.

Departments
This gives detailed descriptions of all MSBA departments and the services provided by each.

ID Badges – Applications for Court House ID badges can be found at www.msba.org/departments/administration/idbadge.htm. They can be printed and mailed to the MSBA for your ID Badge.

Legal Career Center
The Young Lawyers Section sponsors the Legal Career Center, where attorneys and employers can go to find or list jobs. This is a national search engine and can be found at http://msba.legalstaff.com.

Legal Links
These are links to all local and specialty bar information and sites, law schools, Maryland and Federal Courts as well as other legal sites. Links to all listings for the Maryland Lawyers’ Manual are also listed here.

Legal Vendor E-Mall
This is the place to go to find vendors that provide services and products specific to the legal community in Maryland. This should be the first place you look to find what your firm needs ( www.msba.org/links/emall/).

Maryland Bar Foundation
In addition to information about the mission of the Foundation, there is a grant application for any Section or Committee who may wish to ask the Foundation to fund a special project. Details are available online.

Publications
The Tables of Contents for all issues of the Maryland Bar Journal are listed here. The complete Annual Report is online. The Bar Bulletin is available online one week after it arrives in the mail. All issues are listed in this area.

A list of all legal brochures as well as the text of each brochure is available online. There is also information on ordering the brochures ( www.msba.org/departments/commpubl/publications/brochures/).

Many other publications, such as the Gender Equality Report and the Code of Civility, are also available.

Press Center
This area of the site features all MSBA press releases and other information of interest to the public or media.

Public Resources
Information that is of specific interest to the public is listed in this portion of the website, including information on nursing homes, assisted living facilities, legal brochures, fee disputes and legal referral services.

Keeping the website up to date and easy to navigate is a constant challenge. Work on improvements continues, and we are planning additional changes during the coming year. If you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we urge you to keep current by visiting www.msba.org today.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: February, 2005

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