Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : August 2006

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  SECTION SPOTLIGHT  

With an Emphasis on Member Service, MSBA's Real Property Section Thrives

Real Property, Planning & Zoning

No. of Members
1650

Founded
November 1, 1968

Officers
Chair: Tracey E. Skinner
Vice-Chair: Michael Swanenburg
Secretary: Hilary O'Connor

Newsletter
Ground Rules

MICPEL Programs
Advanced Real Property Seminar

Tom Barbuti, a partner with Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP, ended his term as Chair of MSBA's Real Property, Planning & Zoning Law Section on a high note as the Section was awarded the 2006 MSBA President's Best Section Project Award – Service to Members, for its educational Advanced Real Property Seminar, presented in conjunction with MICPEL.

"The program provides advanced training for Real Estate lawyers in current practices," says Barbuti. "We encourage all lawyers in the field to attend. A practitioner catches up with the field by attending the seminar."

Held at the Baltimore Convention Center, the program routinely attracts 120-130 attorneys each year and is a valuable asset to a wide array of Real Estate practitioners. Barbuti admits that some of the information may be "a little over the heads" of the younger lawyers, but that they should nonetheless attend because "they learn by osmosis." Throughout the daylong session, attendees can be briefed on new facets of Real Estate law, listen to speeches by prominent lawyers in the field and network in a "meet and greet" fashion.

"It's one of the most-respected programs," continues Barbuti. "Overall, the Section continues to be active and attract participation, [it's been a] fairly successful year for the Section."

Though the Section has thrived continuously for many years, changes must be made in order to stay fresh. Therefore, new Section Chair Tracey Skinner has placed into motion a movement that will bring member benefits to the forefront of her term.

Since June 2005, membership has jumped 10 percent, mainly due to the exceptional benefits to which Section members are entitled, including seminars, a mentor program, the section Email List, the newsletter Ground Rules and the Commercial Real Estate Attorney's Discussion Group Luncheon. Technology has a major role in the improvements, some of which are still in the development stage. One goal for this bar year, to be spearheaded by Jack Zemil, is to webcast the Discussion Group Luncheons to attorneys via their computers, allowing the content to reach members from the Appalachians to the Maryland seashore. Another improvement in communications for the Section's members that is being explored is the implementation of a user-friendly forum as another means of exchanging information between members.

"The essence of the Section's activities over the years has been to provide benefits for its members," said Skinner, "and providing member benefits will continue to be the core of the Section's work." To strengthen this core, the Section Council will add a Planning Committee to the Section, to be chaired by Nicole Lacoste. The main charge of the Planning Committee will be to study the recent survey results from the Section members and to present short-range and long-range plans for the Section, allowing the Section to even better its efforts to "work in the members' interest."

If you are interested in joining the MSBA Real Property, Planning & Zoning Section, visit www.msba.org, or call MSBA's Membership Department at (410) 685-7878.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: August 2006

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