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Volume 27, Number 3 - Spring 2012

The Advocate

Young Lawyers Section - Maryland State Bar Association

from the chair | Articles | Notices | Riding the circuit | Reports | About

FROM THE CHAIR

Erek Barron Photo
Erek L. Barron

Recently, at an event hosted by the Maryland State Bar Association Leadership Academy, I had the pleasure of hearing a keynote speech from attorney Robert Grey.  Mr. Grey is a partner with Hunton & Williams, LLP in Richmond, Virginia and a board member of the Legal Services Corporation which administers grants to indigent legal service organizations throughout the country.  He is also a former President of the American Bar Association, the first African American to hold the position.  Clearly he is a man of much success.

But the words he had that night for an audience of young (and not so young) attorneys was that such success did not come without a willingness to take chances and to strive to achieve more.  Inevitably, when you take risks you will have some failures but in trying you learn for the next time and you also serve as an example and stepping stone for someone else.  Mr. Grey was that stone when, after running and losing an election for mayor of Richmond, he was asked to speak at a local middle school.  It was enough for the school and its children that here was a man that had accomplished much and yet still strove for more.  It was of no consequence that he had not succeeded, he was a positive example nonetheless.  I think part of the lesson is that success begins with one’s attitude and he reminded me of the following Ten Commandments of Attitudes:

  1. It is attitude, not aptitude, that governs success.
  2. The purpose of existence is not to make a living, but to make a life.
  3. A negative thought is the first step to failure.
  4. You will seldom experience regret for anything you’ve done; it’s what you don’t do that will torment you.
  5. Complaining is the refuge of those who have no self-reliance.
  6. The ultimate cost of something is that amount of life that you will exchange for it.
  7. Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, he can achieve.
  8. A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
  9. The worst bankruptcy is the person who has lost enthusiasm.
  10. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Sincerely,

Erek
Chair, Young Lawyers Section

ARTICLES

Thinking (And Thanking) Strategically: Making The Most Of The Thank You Note

By Meri J. Kahan

I can still hear my mom's words years ago, "Go upstairs and write Aunt Alice a thank you note!" The quickest way to ruin a beloved birthday present for a ten-year old kid is being assigned the Herculean task of writing a thank you note reciting why you like the gift.

These days, as a recruiter for a large law firm, I get a lot of inquiries from job-seekers asking for tips on navigating the market. A lot of my suggestions are met with appreciative murmurs. Then I utter my standard parting words: "And don't forget to write a thank you note to your interviewers!" Suddenly I am treated to grumbles on the other end of the line. Clearly, I am not the only one scarred from childhood thank you notes.

Click here to read more...

Unites States Supreme Court Decides Landmark Religious Freedom Case

By Stephen J. Wallace

Perhaps the “most significant religious liberty decision in two decades.”  That is how the New York Times described the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent 9-0 decision recognizing for the first time a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws for religious organizations.  The Court’s unanimous ruling for a Lutheran church in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. E.E.O.C. protected the “special solicitude” the First Amendment gives to the right of religious organizations to choose and to dismiss their “ministers” without government interference.  132 S. Ct. 694, 706 (2012).  The Court did not define precisely which employees of religious organizations qualify as “ministers,” although the concurrences offered two possible standards.  Nevertheless, Hosanna-Tabor is a resounding victory for the autonomy of America’s religious organizations.

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Mastery of the Discovery Rules Can Help Avoid Discovery Battles

By Maryan Alexander

More often than not, written discovery responses elicit a variety of objections rather than substantive information responsive to the discovery request.  The most common objections are asserted on the grounds of irrelevance, excessive scope, and vagueness.  Too often, the objecting party mistakenly believes that he or she is excused from providing a substantive response simply because an objection has been asserted.

This mistake, all too common in litigation, can bring dire consequences.  A mastery of the discovery rules and the applicable case law can help you outmaneuver stonewalling tactics and protect yourself and your client from the exorbitant costs of discovery battles, as well as court-imposed sanctions.

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The "Keys" to Repossession: Advocating for a Residential Landlord in Rent Court

By Kerri Smith

Landlord/tenant law encompasses a variety of actions concerning the relationship between lessor and lessee including, among other things, breach of lease cases, failure to pay rent actions, and tenant holding over proceedings.  Rent court, the venue for actions grounded in a tenant’s failure to pay his or her rent on time, presents a great opportunity for young lawyers (and “soon-to-be” lawyers) to gain valuable courtroom experience.  However, the rules that govern failure to pay rent actions are unique and a complete understanding of the policies and procedures associated with these actions is essential to successful representation of a residential landlord.

Click here to read more...

NOTICES

Section to host seminar at MSBA Annual Meeting

At the 2012 MSBA Annual Meeting in Ocean City, the Young Lawyers Section will proudly present a seminar on Courtroom Tips & Techniques: Effective Use of Technology from openings to Closings and everything in between.  This will be a panel discussion on how to use technology to bolster any case.  The panel will discuss and demonstrate the effective use of various forms of technology in all aspects of litigation, what to do when technology fails, how to address objections and evidentiary challenges and more.  

The YLS is pleased to announce that Jim Gentry of Salsbury, Clements, Bekman, Marder & Adkins will be one of our panel speakers.  Mr. Gentry is experienced in civil and criminal litigation and using technology in the courtroom.  In addition, we are very fortunate to have the Honorable Mickey J. Norman of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County moderating the panel and Judge Norman will present the view from the bench regarding technology use in court.  This will be a very informative and dynamic program so mark your calendars.  YLS looks forward to presenting it and to seeing you in Ocean City.  

To register for the Annual Meeting and for other details, visit the website...

Disaster Relief Committee working to update volunteer list

CALLING ALL MARYLAND ATTORNEYS!!  The Disaster Relief Committee of the MSBA Young Lawyers Section is seeking to update its statewide list of volunteer attorneys.  In the event that a disaster is declared in the State of Maryland, attorneys will be needed to provide basic legal assistance to the affected citizens.  Responsibilities could include:

  1. Assistance with insurance claims
  2. Counseling on landlord-tenant problems
  3. Assistance with home repair contracts
  4. Assistance with consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures
  5. Counseling on mortgage foreclosure problems
  6. Replacement of basic wills and other documents destroyed in the disaster
  7. Drafting powers of attorney
  8. Estate administration
  9. Preparation of guardianships and conservatorship
  10. Assistance with securing state and federal benefits

For more information or to register as a MSBA YLS Disaster Relief volunteer attorney, go to the YLS Web page.

RSVP now for the next Family-Friendly Event!

YLS SPRING BREAK at
SIX FLAGS AMERICA
on April 28, 2012

For family fun!

The Young Lawyers Section will have a Pavilion where we can meet for a special treat!
Bring your children or the child-in-you and meet us for fun, networking, and a nice spring break!

Six Flags America
13710 Central Avenue
Bowie/Mitchellville, MD 20721

The first 50 Young Lawyers to RSVP will receive one FREE ticket.
RSVP to Angela Munro by April 23rd to join in the fun!

NOMINATIONS NEEDED: 2012 Maryland Pro Bono Service Awards

Has an individual lawyer, law firm or corporate legal department made a unique impact by donating their time and expertise to serving the disadvantaged?  Is there a pro bono program or project which deserves special recognition?  Please take a few moments to submit a nomination for one of the 2012 Maryland Pro Bono Service Awards.  These awards are given to individuals, law firms, programs, projects, judges, non-legal entities and others across the state who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to helping the poor or disenfranchised access legal services through volunteerism.  In particular, the Alex Fee Memorial Award, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Section (YLS), is given to a member of the YLS who is making a significant pro bono contribution either directly or through a pro bono organization. The awards will be presented at the Maryland State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Ocean City on June 16, 2012.

Application deadline extended until Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Visit www.probonomd.org/recognition for a nomination form and more information.

For questions, contact the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland at 410-837-9379, 800-396-1274 or sgoldsmith@probonomd.org.

~ 2011 MD Pro Bono Service Award Recipients ~
Individuals: J. Allen Cohen, Esq., Robert N. Grossbart, Esq., William Burnham, Esq.; Alex Fee Memorial: Jacqueline L. Allen, Esq.; Lee A. Caplan: Cecelia Paizs, Esq.; Government/Corporate: Janet Hart, Esq.; Herbert S. Garten Special Project: Leigh Maddox and the JustAdvice Team, Debtor Assistance Project (DAP); Law Firms: Love, Fleming & Bearsch, LLC

RIDING THE CIRCUIT

3RD CIRCUIT

Baltimore County and Harford Counties
Robert Erdman, Circuit Representative

The Baltimore County Bar Association will be hosting a number of great events in April, May, and June, including the following:

  • April 19: Family Law Committee – How To Use Your Expert: “Appraisers” (Jury Assembly Area – 5PM)
  • April 24: Young Lawyers’ Committee – Trusts & Estates for the New Practitioner: Estate Planning 101 (Grand Jury Room – 12:15PM)
  • April 25: Family Law Committee – Evolution of Alimony in Maryland, a view from the bench (Gertrude’s at Baltimore Museum of Art – 6PM)
  • April 26: Estates & Trusts Committee – Real Estate Obstacles (Grand Jury Room – 5PM)

Click here for more from the 3rd Circuit...

5TH CIRCUIT

Anne Arundel, Carroll, and Howard Counties

Danie E. Ridgway, Sarah D. Cline, and Brian Furlong, Circuit Representatives

Anne Arundel County

On Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. the Anne Arundel County Bar Association will host “Barristers, Blue Jeans and Bling,” a charity event to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates of Anne Arundel County.  Join us and enjoy the amazing waterfront view at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Philip Merrill Environmental Center located at 6 Herndon Avenue in Annapolis.  Guests will also enjoy a barbeque buffet, wine and beer open bar, a silent auction, and music by the Shatners, a contemporary dance band.  Prior to April 16, 2012, tickets are $68 per person; after April 16 the price increases to $78 per person.  Checks payable to the A.A. County Bar Foundation can be mailed to: PO Box 161, Annapolis, MD 21404. 

For more information, contact the AACBF at (410) 280-6950 or aaba@circuitcourt.org.

Carroll County

The Carroll County Bar Association has two very exciting events coming up in May!  The first event will occur on Tuesday, May 1st, and is sponsored by the Elder Law Section of the MSBA.  During this all day event local Bar Association members will staff the five (5) local Senior Centers in Carroll County and prepare Advance Directives and Health Care Powers of Attorney for local Senior Citizens free of charge.  Please contact Larue Lennon if you are interested in volunteering for this event.

The second event will occur on Monday, May 14th and will begin at 5:00 p.m.  This event is sponsored by the Carroll Hospital Center Foundation.  This free seminar is designed exclusively for Carroll County Bar Association members.  At this seminar members of hospital staff will be discuss “Patient Decision-Making- How to Empower Your Clients.”  Dinner will be served and advance registration is required.

The next quarterly membership meeting will be held on Monday, June 4th at the Courthouse Annex at 5:00 p.m.   For more information about Carroll County Bar Association events please contact Danie Ridgway.

6TH CIRCUIT

Montgomery and Frederick Counties

Gretchen Slater, Andrew Schwartz, and Caryn Siegel Wetmore, Circuit Representatives

Montgomery County

The Bar Association of Montgomery County’s “New Practitioner’s Section” has had a lot going on since the beginning of the year and has many events planned for the coming months.  On April 24, 2012, the section will sponsor a CLE entitled “Nuts and Bolts of Deposition Practice.”  The program will be held at the Montgomery County Bar Association Building at 5:30 p.m. and will have many experienced presenters.  The section is also participating in Law Day in Montgomery County on May 18, 2012 and will be presenting “Lovers v. Fighters: A Panel of Transactional Lawyers (the Lovers) and Litigators (the Fighters) Offers Various Perspectives on Common Contract Provisions.”  Additionally, the section will host a happy hour at Law Day for Jack Quinn, outgoing BAMC President.

The section will be helping with the Montgomery County Special Olympic Spring Games on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at Landon High School.  Volunteers are needed and can contact Rhian McGrath if interested.  Looking ahead to the Fall, on October 14, 2012, the section will also be participating in the Bar Association’s First Annual Inspiration Walk with the Special Olympics.  Volunteers are needed to help coordinate the event and again should contact Ms. McGrath if interested.

The section is looking forward to another successful year.  If there are any questions about the above-listed programs, please contact Gretchen Slater or visit the Bar Association of Montgomery County’s website.

Frederick County

2012 has been a busy year for the Bar Association of Frederick County’s Young Lawyers Section (BAFC YLS)!  Some of the events that have kept, and will continue to keep, the BAFC YLS very busy are the following:  (1) On Friday, February 24, “Lunch with the Judges” Series successfully continued with the Honorable Janice R. Ambrose; (2) One young lawyer hosted a happy hour for the BAFC through her firm; (3) BAFC YLS is planning a spring or early summer happy hour; and (4) BAFC YLS is also planning to be involved in the spring event being sponsored by the BAFC and to continue to serve the BAFC.  Young lawyers throughout Frederick County continue to benefit from the “Lunch with the Judges” series as well as the BAFC YLS monthly brown bag lunches/meetings (which are held on the third Wednesday of every month).  If you have any questions related to the BAFC YLS please contact Caryn Siegel Wetmore.        

7TH CIRCUIT

Calvert, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Charles Counties

Renée Hood, Lisa Hall Johnson, Monise Stephenson,
and Daniel Renart, Circuit Representatives

Prince George's County

On May 5, 2012, the Prince George’s County Bar Association (“PGCBA”) will be hosting a Family Law Seminar in the Jury Assembly Room from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.

In addition, May 18 is the deadline for nominees for the James H. Taylor Award, given at the annual meeting on June 5.  The PGCBA Board is looking for nominees who have shown consistent and sincere dedication and commitment to the law, the courts and the community.  Please submit nominations with a written summary as to why the person should be considered for this award.

For more information or updates concerning any upcoming events, please visit www.pgcba.com.

Charles County

In Charles County, please note that on Saturday, November 3, a nine-hour negotiation workshop will be held.  The event is sponsored by the Charles County Circuirt Court and the guest speaker will be Professor Charles B. Craver of George Washington University.

For more information or updates concerning any upcoming events, please visit our website.

8TH CIRCUIT

Baltimore City
Laurie M. Wasserman, Circuit Representative

This Spring, the Bar Association of Baltimore City (BABC) Young Lawyers’ Division (YLD) will host some fantastic events including:  

  • Will Power Party—Tuesday, April 17, 2012 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at 241 W. Chase Street, Baltimore.  YLD is partnering with the Free State Legal Project to prepare wills, powers of attorney and advance directives for low-income members of the LGBT community.  
  • Breakfast with the Bench CLE featuring Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge W. Michael Pierson —Wednesday, April 18, 2012 from 8:00- 9:00 a.m. at Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston, 7 Saint Paul Place, Baltimore.  Admission is free for BABC members and $10 for non-members. 
  • Cinco de Mayo Spring Fiesta— Thursday, May 3, 2012 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at Miguel’s Cocina Y Cantina, 170 Beason Street in Baltimore.   Join the YLD for this celebration, featuring a 50/50 raffle drawing to benefit the Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore.  Admission (including food and drink) is $10 for BABC members and $20 guests. 

For all events, please RSVP to pdeguilmi@baltimorebar.org.  Additional information is available at www.baltimorebar.org and on the YLD’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Questions about upcoming events in Baltimore City?  Please contact Laurie Wasserman.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

DIVERSITY COMMITTEE

Co-Chairs: LaKeecia Allen and Tiffany Harvey

It's been a busy year for the Diversity Committee.  The year started off with the  We the Jury project at two local high schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  We the Jury is a program that YLS MSBA puts on every year to teach students about the justice system, particularly the Courts and its processes including the history and importance of the jury system. Lawyers come into the classroom to conduct a mock voir dire and then guide the students through mock jury service by using videos provided by the American Bar Association.  Throughout the course of the program, students had the opportunity to learn about the jury process and sit as jurors on a criminal and civil trial.  The experience was incredibly rewarding and we are excited to continue and build our presence in Prince George's County Public Schools.

Click here to read more...

EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Co-Chairs: Taren Stanton and Dolores Dorsainvil

On March 29, 2012, the Education Committee hosted a panel discussion at Gordon Feinblatt LLP entitled “Navigating Discovery as a Young Lawyer.”   There was a panel of four attorneys from various backgrounds: Michelle Lipkowtiz, Saul Ewing LLP, Lisa Hall Johnson, Dickstein Shapiro LLP, Kathleen Meredith Howard, Iliff, Meredith, Wildberger & Brennan, P.C., and the Honorable Charles Day, Magistrate, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.  The event was moderated by Heather Pruger, Saul Ewing LLP.  The panelists offered attendees practical tips on handling e-discovery and managing document production, effective strategies for drafting and responding to written discovery, and strategies for handling discovery disputes with opposing counsel.  Several sample discovery documents were also distributed to the attendees and will be made available on the YLS website.  A summary of the discussion is available on The Daily Record’s Generation J.D. Blog.

The event was well attended and the panelists provided candid and practical advice on various discovery issues.  YLS plans to offer similar programs in the future. The Education Committee wants to recognize e-Stet, Inc. and Merill LAD for sponsoring the event.  Special thanks also go to Gordon Feinblatt for allowing us to use their facilities.

Education Comm photos

 

MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

Co-Chairs: Tom Weschler & Michelle Wilson

Over the last few months, the Membership Committee has hosted several events for our members including a well-attended happy hour at the Green Turtle in Anne Arundel County on March 15, 2012, set up and run by our co-chair Michelle Wilson.  We also hosted the second annual MSBA 101 program at which we introduced the benefits of the MSBA to many of our newly-admitted members.  Thank you to Michelle Wilson, Carl Isler, Regine Francois, Greg Kirby and Tom Weschler for speaking at this informative program.

More events are planned for the rest of the year including an event in Prince Georges County and a co-sponsored event in Washington DC with the DC Bar.  We will also host our annual end of the year event along with our friends at the The Daily Record in Ocean City at the MSBA’s Annual Meeting.  Please check the calendar on the Young Lawyers website and on our Facebook page to see when and where these and other future events will occur.  Additional reminders will also be sent out on the list serve, so be sure to check your e-mail.

PRO BONO COMMITTEE

Co-Chairs: Patrick McCormally, Niki McCormally, and Renée Hood

The MSBA YLS Pro Bono Committee has three announcements:

First, join the MSBA Young Lawyers Section in volunteering during the Baltimore City Pro Bono Day walk-in legal clinic on Saturday, May 12, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Legal Aid Bureau, 500 E. Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202.  To register, complete the online Volunteer Registration at http://babcprobonodaymay2012.eventbrite.com.  

Second, please take a few moments to submit a nomination for one of the 2012 Maryland Pro Bono Service Awards. Visit www.probonomd.org/recognition for a nomination form, more information, and list of past winners.  The deadline for all submissions is Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

Finally, the Pro Bono Committee urges young attorneys to take advantage of the trainings and support services available for pro bono attorneys.  A list of pro bono trainings, offered at no or at a reduced cost in exchange for a pro bono commitment, can be found on the Pro Bono website.

Click here for greater details on each of these announcements...

STORYBOOK PROJECT

Co-Chairs: Regine Francois and Moges Abebe

The YLS’ Storybook Project, inherited from the 2009-2010 Leadership Academy Fellows, continues its outreach at the Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI).  The project involves volunteers recording fathers at JCI reading books for their children and mailing the books, along with accompanying audio recordings, to the children.  The mission of the project is to foster healthy bonds between incarcerated fathers and their children and engender a love of reading. 

Readings are scheduled for the third Saturday of each month and take place from 8:30am to about 11:30am.  Upcoming readings are scheduled for April 21, May 19 and June 16, 2012.  The project is always in search of books and volunteers.  To get involved, contact the co-chairs of the Storybook Project Committee: Regine Francois and Moges Abebe. You can also find the application at www.yls.org.

Storybook Project Photo Storybook Project Photo

Left, Heather Henderson and Steven Boggs; Right Tanya Bosier and Dana Middleton

 


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520 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: 410.685.7878  Fax: 410.685.1016  www.msba.org




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