MSBA Celebrates Law Day
Over 150 lawyers, judges, teachers and high school students from all parts
of Maryland gathered at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center on May 25, 2006,
in celebration of Law Day. MSBA's Public Awareness Committee, in conjunction
with MSBA's Citizenship Law-Related Education Program (CLREP), presented the
daylong lawyer/student/teacher conference on "The Impact of the Law on Your
The program was geared to the key laws and legal consequences of issues that
affect the daily lives of high school students.
Welcoming the audience on behalf of MSBA, the Association's President-Elect,
Edward J. Gilliss, stated,
"We are a professional association of over 22,000 volunteer lawyers whose mission
is public service and preserving the rule of the law. Our members go out into
the community and volunteer their time to serve the public. They regularly
visit schools around the state to tell young people about the law and their
"Today, MSBA is celebrating Law Day with this special conference on the law's
impact on your daily life as young people," Gilliss continued.
"As high school students, the law affects your daily life as you go about
your daily routine. The decisions that you make as teenagers can positively
or negatively affect your future, but many young people are not aware of how
these decisions are impacted by the law."
"Today you will receive a basic working knowledge of the law from the experts – prominent
MSBA lawyers and judges who have volunteered their time today to talk to you
and answer your questions," concluded MSBA's President-Elect. "Rights and responsibilities
go hand-in-hand in a free democratic society. Knowledge of the law can help
you better understand your rights as citizens. I hope you enjoy our conference,
I thank you for participating and I hope you find the experience to be enlightening,
giving you an even better understanding of our legal system."
Next, the students watched the dynamic Branded D.U.I. video produced
by MSBA's Administrative Law Section, Maryland's Judiciary and the Office of
Administrative Hearings (OAH). The video was the brainchild of Yvette Diamond,
an Administrative Law Judge at OAH and Council member of MSBA's Administrative
Law Section, who oversaw its coordination and production. Introducing the video,
Diamond said, "Most young people do not think about the consequences of drinking
and driving and are not prepared for them. Young people think it won't happen
After the students watched the compelling video, tracing the actual drunk
driving experiences of 11 of their peers, Diamond joined Adam Sean Cohen, Public
Awareness Co-Chair and defense attorney, Robert Anbinder, Public Awareness
Co-Chair and an attorney with the Baltimore City's Solicitor's Office, and
Erek Baron, a prosecutor in Baltimore's State's Attorney's Office in a panel
discussion of the "realities"
of what can happen to you if charged with DUI.
The balance of the day was filled with numerous break-out sessions on different
areas of the law. At the closing session, it is interesting to note that most
of the questions raised by the young people during the hour-long question-and-answer
session involved drinking and driving, everything from: "What are the real
consequences?; What if you use drugs instead of alcohol – are they the
same charges?; Can't someone else blow into the Interlock System so that you
"Many of the real-world issues addressed had not even been contemplated by
the youth prior to the program," notes Cohen. "It was a truly special moment
to see the wheels turning in their minds as the information was presented and
"The Public Awareness Committee tried to provide easy access to information – one-stop
shopping, really – for what we expected would be the most common issues," added
"We wanted to arm them with answers now, but even more importantly, we wanted
to tell them where they could turn for answers in the future."