Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : September 2007

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Criminal aliens - indefinite detention - interpreters - documentation - due process safeguards - green cards - visas - quota system - residency - right to counsel - aggressive interrogation - consequence of convictions - immigrant benefits - homeland security - terrorism - U.S. immigration policy reform - Today, immigration legal issues surround us. As this substantive area of the law continues to expand, so does the number of immigration law practitioners. Catering to the special needs of immigration lawyers who are MSBA members, the Association is contemplating the creation of a new Immigration Law Section.

Immigration has always been a popular area of law practice. However, the terrorist attacks on 9/11 changed the practice of immigration law in this country forever. Today, immigration laws seem to change on a daily basis, with one regulation after another being overhauled. Therefore, it is vital that practitioners stay on top of this evolving field to best serve their clients’ interests. An MSBA Section would be the ideal vehicle to accomplish this.

“We need an MSBA forum for networking with our colleagues in Maryland to share information and updates on changing laws,” states Lynn O’Brien, an immigration practitioner at Trow & Rahal in Washington, D.C. An MSBA Section on Immigration Law would be a great resource for practitioners as they could exchange questions and answers on the latest changes, participate in targeted CLE programs and generally communicate with their counterparts. MSBA is exploring the creation of a new Immigration Law Section to bring together practitioners and support them in their daily practices.

MSBA now offers members the opportunity to join 26 individual MSBA Sections. These valuable practitioner resources offer lawyers networking and mentoring opportunities in their particular field of law practice, targeted CLE programs in conjunction with MICPEL, special publications dedicated to the particular area of law practice and other services tailored to the special legal field. Systemically, Sections offer members legislative advocacy and a collective voice to improve the practice of law and bring about instrumental change in the legal system.

MSBA’s membership approved the creation of two new MSBA Sections, the Entertainment and Sports Law Section and Intellectual Property Section, at the Annual Meeting in Ocean City on June 16, during the Association’s Business Meeting. Now, it may add a new Immigration Law Section to accommodate MSBA practitioners, which will incorporate the benefits and services outlined above. 

“Our members, like the public at large, expect to receive services that are particularly relevant and useful to them,” states Paul V. Carlin, MSBA’s Executive Director. “We often find one size does not fit all, but rather benefits should be aimed at particular segments of members.” This is the reason MSBA Sections target the special needs of lawyers in their chosen fields.

To begin the process for a possible MSBA Immigration Law Section, the Association will form an Immigration Law Organizing Committee to ascertain the level of interest among MSBA practitioners. “After announcing our effort to explore the creation of this new MSBA entity, we have used the summer to collect the names of members who are interested,” adds Carlin. “Like with our other newly-minted Sections, we will create an Organizing Committee to develop programs and a plan to bring the new Immigration Section to fruition.”

MSBA members interested in an MSBA Immigration Section and/or signing up for an Immigration Law Organizing Committee should contact MSBA Executive Director Paul V. Carlin at pcarlin@msba.org.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: August  2007