Since September 11, 2001, complex immigration laws have proliferated in this country, underscoring the need for skilled immigration law practitioners to assist a growing list of clients in need of their legal services. To address this need and support lawyers in their daily immigration law practices, MSBA has created an Immigration Law Section. This new Section will be a valuable member resource offering practitioners an “edge” and keeping them on top of this evolving legal field to better serve their clients.
On June 14, MSBA’s membership approved this new Section during the Business Meeting at MSBA’s 2008 Annual Meeting in Ocean City. This fledgling group, now 251 strong, will be led by Lynn O. Tarran, an immigration practitioner at Trow & Rahal in Washington, D.C. “Our Section will be a great forum for members to network with colleagues,” says Tarran. “Through this valuable resource, practitioners will be able to share information, get updates on changing laws, exchange questions and answers on the constant changes in immigration law, participate in targeted CLE programs and generally communicate with their counterparts.”
“Our Section will be a forum on immigration law for Maryland attorneys,” Tarran continues. “It will provide information and benefits to Maryland practitioners who do not practice immigration and need a place to turn to for immigration legal advice, to Maryland lawmakers who may need assistance in drafting immigration related legislation, to immigration attorneys practicing in Maryland who may use the forum as an opportunity to network and share ideas and to community based organizations who may provide us with ideas for pro bono and community outreach opportunities. Any member of the MSBA with an interest in immigration law is encouraged to join our Section.”
Today, one of the new Immigration Law Section’s most valuable tools is its active Email List which has proven popular with all of its members. The Section also assisted in the production of the September/October 2008 Immigration Law issue of the Maryland Bar Journal, is in the processing of launching a Section newsletter and is already planning its CLE program for the coming year.
“The MSBA is very pleased to continue to create new Sections for its members,” states Paul V. Carlin, MSBA’s Executive Director. “We have followed a similar pattern to create our newest Sections. After the idea of creation is conceived, an Organizing Committee has been appointed to generate subcommittees, programs, recruitment and a timetable. We generally expect a new Section to reach at least a 100-member threshold before beginning. The Bylaws require a Board of Governors recommendation for approval by the membership.”
MSBA now offers members the chance to join 27 individual MSBA Sections. These valuable practitioner resources offer lawyers networking and mentoring opportunities in their substantive areas of law practice. Sections offer targeted CLE programs in conjunction with MICPEL, special publications dedicated to their particular area of law practice and other services tailored to their specialty 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.
“Our members, like the public at large, expect to receive services that are particularly relevant and useful to them,” Carlin adds. “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.
Members interested in joining MSBA’s new Immigration Law Section may sign up online at www.msba.org/forms/membership/sectionlogin.asp or by calling MSBA’s Membership Department at (410) 685-7878 or (800) 492-1964.