John Wooden, a former UCLA Head Basketball Coach who won 10 NCAA Championships (including seven straight) in the 1960s and ’70s, has had a hall-of-fame career peppered with numerous accolades and recognitions, not to mention four undefeated seasons. He is arguably the greatest teacher of 20th Century athletics, though perhaps it is his personal and profound quotations that have a greater impact on the generations. They include:
- “Sports don’t build character, they reveal it.”
- “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
- “It’s what you learn after you know it all, that counts.”
- “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
“People who think they can just win cases by being smarter and slicker than the other attorney are just wrong,” Meredith adds. “You have to know your case inside and out before ever stepping foot in the courtroom.”
This dedication to their craft is not limited to the courtroom, however; for many years, MSBA’s Litigation Section has strived to prepare its membership in their practice. And this year will be no different.
“Rachel [McGuckian, who assumed Section Chair on June 30] is a ball of energy,” exclaims Meredith. “She will be enormously successful.”
Aside from the traditional service of providing multiple CLE programs to the Section’s members, McGuckian has taken aim at involving the Section in legislative tasks - specifically, eliminating contested elections of circuit court judges. Working with Richard Montgomery, MSBA’s Director of Legislative Relations, the Section hopes to reform the heavily-debated circuit court elections.
The Section has many other endeavors stemming from the tailwinds of Meredith’s 2006-07 term. For instance, the Section has taken to promoting the live oral arguments from the Court of Appeals shared for free at www.courts.state.md.us/coappeals/webcast.html. People can conveniently learn a great deal, Meredith explains, by listening to arguments of cases that pertain to their practice, after just a few clicks of a button. Along those same lines, the Section recently initiated a program that allows members to view selected regional programs via the Internet. According to Meredith’s article in the Section’s newsletter, The Maryland Litigator, “We recognize that not everyone can attend every meeting and we believe this pilot program provides broader access to our programs by our membership.” The programs are videotaped by Gore Brothers’ Inc. and posted on their website, www.gorebrothers.com/wecast/msb.
Additionally, the first annual Litigation Section Chair’s Award was given to Al Frederick, a partner with Eccleston & Wolf, P.C., at this year’s Joint Bar/Bench Conference, held in June in Ocean City. The recognition is awarded to a Section member that has made a significant impact in the Section’s activities and programs – which, according to Meredith, Frederick has been doing for many years.
As McGuckian looks to lead the Litigation Section during her term, Harrell reiterates that every Section Chair has had (and will continue to have) the full support of the Section Council in leaving his/her imprint on the Section. With this team and these leaders, litigants across the state will be well-prepared when they enter the court.