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As you read this, my hope is that you and your family are safe and well. As we all struggle with the challenges presented by the pandemic, it has become clear its impact is not just a temporary setback, it is a generational event. We are faced with fundamental changes in the way we conduct our lives and the manner in which we practice law.
More than ever, engagement is critical to our personal, practice and our association’s success. While the courthouse doors have been closed, we have been busier than ever. I want to express my appreciation to our members who are participating on workgroups and committees with the Circuit Court and District Court. They are working on issues from electronic filing and physical security to creative ways to address backlogs and triage cases when we reopen.
Heather and I especially want to recognize the members of the Executive Director Search Committee: Callie Carnemark, Paul Chung, Paul Kemp, Pilar Nichols, Keith Rosa and Revee Walters. They reviewed a mountain of resumes, spent hours checking references and days on Zoom meetings and interviews. Their experience and insights were invaluable in selecting our next Executive Director.
After a nation-wide search and interviews with several candidates from near and far, one candidate emerged as the unanimous choice, Wanda Claiborne. Many of you may recognize her from the Maryland State Bar Association in her role as the Director of Conferences and Events. I can assure you she is far more than her title may suggest. She has over 20 years of experience in bar associations, served in leadership positions with the National Association of Bar Executives, and holds many other professional certifications. More importantly, she has the skill, passion and personality to keep our association on course and help guide us into the future. Wanda will officially join us on June 15th. Stay tuned for more information about her and opportunities to meet her.
While we are all physically distant, the BAMC continues to serve as a common resource for our members. Benefits like our Lawyer Referral Service remain active. Our sections, the Family Law Section in particular, continue to provide CLEs. Other sections continue to meet virtually to share information and address how the developing circumstances are impacting their practice areas.
In addition to the New Practitioner’s virtual trivia night, which was a huge success, there are other opportunities for you to stay connected. The Foundation made a renowned chef available to provide a break in your day and spice up your cooking. Tim Maloney provided his ever-popular, entertaining and informative legislative update directly to your home with a beverage of your choice.
Our association continues to find ways to support our members. The Lawyer Assistance Program is there for you if you are struggling. Lisa Caplan spoke about emotional resilience during these uncertain times. Of course, we continue to be the main conduit of information out of the Courts to our members and are the primary source of input into the Court’s decisions.
I am very happy to tell you that we already have a sponsor for our rescheduled Law Day luncheon in the fall. We don’t have details for the luncheon yet, however, our long-time partner and sponsor TriBridge Partners has committed to being our main sponsor. We will continue to make plans as best we can and look forward to meeting the future’s challenges.
Now is the time to reengage and stay involved. We are in the midst of profound changes in our profession. It would certainly be a mistake to shy away. I encourage you to reach out to a colleague who may no longer be involved in the BAMC or maybe they were never involved. Share with them why you are involved, and tell them about the friends you’ve made. If they left, invite them back. I’m also asking you to reach out to a new practitioner. Tell them about the opportunities to meet judges, make friends, build a practice, give back and have some fun along the way.
Together is the way through. Stay safe and be well. I look forward to seeing you in the fall.
Thomas M. DeGonia, II