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President's Message
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Back to School
You can feel it in the cool air and hear it in the rustling leaves…it’s that time of year again: back to school.  The special new outfit and the big yellow bus may be missing from this years’ back to school routine and homecoming will not be the same, but the excitement and uncertainty are still present. This year, uncertainty may outweigh all of the other factors. However, education and learning, on all levels, should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. 

Learning this year may be more focused than ever before, with the wide variety of information and platforms available.  Parents are taking a much greater role in the education of their children (whether they want to or not, in-person or online). We may be focused on making sure our kids have a positive learning experience, regardless of whether they are in elementary school, high school or college, but we should not forget about our own learning and continuing education.  

 “As a member of a learned profession, a lawyer should cultivate knowledge of the law beyond its use for clients, employ that knowledge in reform of the law and work to strengthen legal education.” Preamble, The Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct. One would be hard pressed to say we are not learning, in all aspects of our lives and the Bar Association continues to be here for you with new programs to keep you up to date.  

We have been learning how to Zoom and how to use new filing procedures.  We are reviewing court orders, statutes of limitations, and more health code information than we thought possible. We’re creating new rules at our workplaces, incorporating health protocols and formulating new ways of doing business, both in person and online.   Many of us are re-learning how to conduct a direct or cross-examination remotely. Remote depositions are trending and we are adapting to new ways to conduct jury trials.  We are all going back to school, but our learning goes beyond just the operation of our profession.

As a profession, we should use our knowledge to reform the law and better serve our communities. We have an obligation to educate ourselves on past and current events and pave the way for a better tomorrow with equality for all under the law. If you aren’t sure where to start, our Racial Justice Council is getting information out to our membership to help us learn about ourselves and the injustices in our community.  We also have a tremendous partnership with the Association of Black Psychologists, which is providing us with assistance in facilitating meaningful and productive discussions about racial inequities. These resources, amongst others, are helping us to meet an obligation that is long overdue.  

Additionally, we have an obligation to educate ourselves and our community as voters. The major State and Federal elections taking place this fall are, of course, getting mainstream attention. As a legal community, we need to do our part on a local level to support our Sitting Judges: Judge Berry, Judge Boynton, Judge Fogleman and Judge McAuliffe. Please take what time you can to educate yourselves and others about the selection and appointment process for our Circuit Court Judges. There are wonderful resources available at with information about the process itself and about each judge individually. I encourage you to share this site, along with any other information you think is useful, with your friends and family outside the legal community so that they are able to make an informed and educated vote. 

So, this fall, maybe more than any other time, let’s go back to school ourselves.  Let’s open our minds and take in more than we thought we could.  Learning has been defined as “a persisting change in human performance or performance potential…[which] must come about as a result of the learner’s experience and interaction with the world.”  Psychology of Learning, M. Driscoll.  There are few professions that interact with the world as much as ours.  Let’s use this moment in time to improve ourselves and to improve our community.

Thomas M. DeGonia, II

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Bar Association of
     Montgomery County, MD

27 West Jefferson St.
Rockville, MD 20850
Ph: 301-424-3454
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