Volume 28, Number 4 - Summer 2013

The Advocate

Young Lawyers Section - Maryland State Bar Association

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


Every year at the Annual Meeting there is a changing of the guard: the current President of the MSBA becomes the immediate past President and the President-Elect gets installed as the new Bar president.  This being a very important transition for the MSBA, it occurs at a formal program -- the business meeting -- in front of all the conference attendees.  But my transition to immediate past chair occurred in a more intimate setting with a less formal process.  Since 1999, each YLS chair has transitioned into immediate past chair in the same fashion -- by handing a four-foot tall gavel to the incoming chair.  When I received the gavel from immediate past chair Erek Baron just over a year ago, I remember his words about the weight of the gavel.  Erek of course was speaking metaphorically and he was absolutely correct.  While it has been an honor and privilege to serve as the chair of a section with over 6,000 members, it has also been a tremendous responsibility.  And before I pass the gavel into Greg Kirby’s (the incoming chair’s) capable hands, I want to take this last opportunity to reflect on my Bar year as chair.

As I have said all year, my theme for this year was professional development.  And as you hopefully know by now my inspiration for my theme came from watching recent graduates face a tough job market.  One thing I may not have shared is my other motivation for the theme -- a desire to give back to an organization that has enhanced my own professional development.  With every meeting, event and/or CLE I attended, my relationships with colleagues grew and friendships developed.  With those friendships, polite conversation gave way to honest conversation.   Those conversations helped guide me when I made important career decisions and have guided me during my year as chair.  I will be forever grateful for the advice that I have received and continue to receive.  If I was able to make that same impact on just one person, I will have considered my year a great success.

During the year we have had many great programs, too many to mention in this letter.  I bring this up not as a self-congratulatory moment, but rather as an acknowledgement to the fantastic team that I worked with this year.  I would not have been able to serve as your chair without the dedicated work of the members of section council.  Furthermore, I would not have been able to serve without the support of the President of the Bar, John Kudel.  President Kudel’s support of the section was never more apparent than when he convinced the entire executive committee and the executive director to plunge for the section’s Polar Plunge Team in January!  The event raised over $11,000 for Maryland Special Olympics athletes.   I am happy to report the section received the Presidential Award for Best Service to the Public at the Annual Meeting.

In addition to great programming, the section benefitted from a great publication.  The co-editors of The Advocate, Bill Sinclair and Heather Pruger, having already done a yeoman’s task of transforming this publication from a print edition to an electronic format under the leadership of Erek Baron, agreed to continue as editors during my bar year.  Their excellent work and continued service to the section during this past year should be applauded.  The words “thank you,” even though heartfelt seem inadequate but I will say them anyway…thank you!

Before I conclude this admittedly nostalgic look back at my Bar year, I would like to thank the section.  Thank you for allowing me to serve you as chair; I have enjoyed meeting those that came out to the section’s programming and events.  It is my hope that section participation continues to grow under the leadership of our new chair, Greg Kirby.

Thank you for a wonderful year!

Chair, Young Lawyers Section


Practice Pointer: Disqualification under Rule 3.7

By Monica Handa and Nick Cumings

Circumstances occasionally arise that allow an attorney on one side of a case to call the opposing party’s attorney as a witness in that matter.  This poses a peculiar problem for the party whose attorney is in jeopardy of becoming a witness.

An attorney called as a witness in a matter where they are also counsel may be barred from continuing to act as counsel in that case as a result of this muddling of the roles of advocate and witness.  Rule 3.7 of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct attempts to balance the competing interests in this scenario: first, the interest of a client in choosing her own attorney, where the advocate-witness may be disqualified from acting as counsel after being called as a witness; and second, the possible prejudice to the adverse party should their request to call opposing counsel as a witness be denied or should the advocate-witness be permitted to assume the dual role of both counsel and witness.

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The Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section wants to offer the following kudos to its sub-committees:

• The YLS Public Service Committee received the MSBA Presidential Award from President John Kudel at the Annual Convention in Ocean City.  The award was given to the Committee for its work at the Polar Bear Plunge last January.  On behalf of the Section, Chair Elizabeth Morris accepted the award at the Business Meeting on June 15th.

• The YLS Pro Bono Legal Fair is one of the 2013 American Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Division sub-grant winners.  Special thanks go to Section Council member Renee Hood, who jumped in with only a single day’s notice to put together the grant information. A list of the all the sub-grant winners can be found here.


3rd Circuit

Baltimore County
Robert K. Erdman, Jr., Circuit Representative

BCBA Committee Planning meetings are scheduled to take place throughout the months of June, July and August.  During each of these meetings, each committee will chart out its programs for the bar year.  As those programs become finalized, the Calendar at www.bcba.org will be updated.  At present, the following will be occurring over the next few months in Baltimore County:

July 18 (5:00PM) – State, Local Laws & Zoning Committee Dinner Program.  Details to be determined.

September 12 (5:30PM) – Thirsty Thursday Happy Hour at 7West.

5th Circuit

Howard County
Ryan J. Dymek, Circuit Representative

The Howard County Bar Association will have its second annual Crab Feast on August 1 at Yingling-Ridgley VFW Post 7492 starting at 6:00 pm.  See attached flyer for more details and to register for the event.

Flyer/Registration Form

6th Circuit

Frederick County
Sean O’Keefe, Circuit Representative

In April, the Bar Assoc. of Frederick Co. (BAFC) held its Spring Fling, which is now an annual event hosted with the BAFC Young Lawyers Section (YLS) that includes dining, dancing, and a charity auction supporting the local Justice for All Fund.  In May, the BAFC YLS supported Camp Jamie, a camp run by Hospice of Frederick Co., to benefit local youth who have experienced the death of a loved one.  The BAFC YLS raised funds and awareness in running the Frederick Half Marathon and volunteering with the Camp’s weekend of activities.

In June, BAFC YLS members socialized with others in the legal community during a night at the ballpark to enjoy the Frederick Keys baseball game, a picnic, and fireworks.  On July 19-20, the BAFC will hold its annual young lawyers fishing trip, where young lawyers are matched with experienced lawyers to share experiences while fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.

BAFC YLS meetings are held at noon on the third Wednesday of each month at 50 Carroll Creek Way, Suite 340, Frederick, MD.  Please direct any questions to Sean O'Keefe.


Annual Meeting Report

Co-Chairs: Christine Britton and Kemp Hammond

The Young Lawyers’ CLE at the Annual Meeting this year was an evidence refresher.  Judge Joseph Murphy was the speaker and covered several evidentiary issues, such as objections and exceptions, expert evidence, and authentication/admissibility of evidence, including social media.  We also covered recent seminal cases addressing evidentiary issues.  Thank you to all who attended and to our outstanding speaker, Judge Murphy.

Public Service Committee

Co-Chairs: Michael Siri and Shaketta Denson

The MSBA YLS’ Public Service Committee, in conjunction with the MSBA Public Awareness Committee, presents the ONE BAR | ONE COMMUNITY Public Service Project for 2013-2014 (“Project”).  The goal of the Project is to provide members of the Maryland State Bar Association with an opportunity to participate in community service and give back to the people of Maryland. 

Each month the MSBA YLS Public Service Committee and Young Lawyers Section organize a community outreach program or a collection drive designed to encourage involvement by its members.  We ask that you, as a member of the Bar and a member of the community, be a part of this Project.  The MSBA has organized the following collections and outreach programs:

August 2013 Operation Welcome Home
September 21, 2013 BARCS Animal Rescue
October 12, 2013 Our Daily Bread
November 21, 2013 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night
December 2013 Toys for Tots Drive
January 2014 Polar Bear Plunge for the Special Olympics
February 2014 Maryland Food Bank 
March 2014 Extreme Makeover Project
April 2014 Earth Day at Patterson Park
May 2014 Habitat for Humanity

Additional details will be made available as plans are finalized.  Contact Michael W. Siri, Shaketta Denson, or Myriem Seabron for additional information.

Technology Committee

Co-Chairs: Sahmra Stevenson and Puja DeWire

The Technology Committee is pleased to announce a new project titled the Ten Minute Mentor (“TMM”). The Ten Minute Mentor is an online collection of video presentations from young leading lawyers in their areas of expertise.  Each presentation is around 10 minutes or less, practical and free!

With more and more lawyers entering the market each year, it has become increasingly difficult for some of our profession's wisest leaders to mentor the next generation.  We believe this online mentoring effort will be unique not only in its range, but also in its depth and accessibility.  It is our hope that this collection of videos will become a valuable resource to young lawyers everywhere.

The online videos will be rolled out on a monthly basis. The first installments, which are now available on yls.org, begin with presentations from Scott McMullan (Client Intake) and Lisa Hall Johnson (Mentoring & Networking).  Other presenters include:

• Michelle Wilson (A Recipe for Voir Dire)
• Matthew Trollinger (Testimony as a Narrative)
• Maral Zide (Best Practices)
• Kimberly Neal (Depositions)
• Dolores Dorsainvil (Ethics)
• Carl Isler (Discovery Tools & Tips)
• Taron Stanton (Discovery)

The Technology Committee will promote TMM using the Young Lawyers Section Facebook and Twitter pages.  We will also be working closely with Merrill LAD to generate increased foot traffic to the yls.org page.

The Young Lawyers Section would like to give a big thank you to Merrill LAD for their assistance with the production of videos for the Ten Minute Mentor Project, without which this would not have been possible. For more information about Merrill Lad's valuable resources please visit www.merrilllad.com.

The Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.
520 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: 410.685.7878 Fax: 410.685.1016 www.msba.org