BARBULLETIN Volume XXXVII, Number 6 • June 15, 2020
What’s Inside Court Splits On Application Of “Plain-feel” Doctrine To Cell Phone Page 10
Legislative Updates on Consumer Protection Issues Page 11
MSBA Partner Supports Virtual Law Firms with OnDemand Office Space, Virtual Receptionists, and Other Services Page 12
2020-2021 Board of Governors Page 14
The COVID-19 Meltdown Page 16
WANT MORE MSBA?
Board of Governors Reflects on Bar Year During First Virtual Annual Retreat
Every year, the existing Board of Governors hosts a retreat to address business matters of the Association. Future Board of Governors are invited to attend this meeting, to learn more about the current issues facing the Association, as they prepare for the start of the new Bar year.
or the first time in its history, on May 15, 2020, the MSBA held this retreat virtually. Over 70 existing and future leaders of the Association were in attendance.
MSBA Leadership Reflects on Challenges to the Legal Profession
MSBA President, Dana O. Williams, Esq., opened the meeting by providing his reflections on the current year. He expressed his gratitude for the great leadership provided by the Executive Committee during a very trying time for the MSBA and the legal profession, including the attempt to tax legal services and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Following the President’s report, Executive Director,Victor Velazquez provided the MSBA Year in Review. In doing so, he described the MSBA’s extensive efforts in
its fight against the proposed taxation of legal services, including grassroots efforts, lobbying tactics, engaging with other professional associations, and rallying Maryland’s largest firms. On the heels of that effort, he explained that the MSBA quickly turned to providing valuable content and information to the legal profession during the COVID-19 pandemic, including its work with the Maryland Judiciary, the 20+ complimentary COVID related webinars, Section Coffee Talks and countless articles, tools & resources provided through the MSBA’s COVID-19 website among others. He also highlighted the fact that the MSBA has opened its resources to both members and non-members, providing complimentary access to 150+ OnDemand CLEs, the most recent edition of the Maryland Bar Journal, and more.
Look for the following icons to find related content across our platforms.
MSBA Feels the Impact of COVID-19
Over the past few months, the MSBA has provided countless resources to the Maryland legal profession, while operating with virtually no revenue from March and projected through to the end of the fiscal year. Despite its work to support the legal profession through unexpected challenges, the finances of the MSBA have been severely impacted by COVID-19. In February 2020, the MSBA projected to have a substantially improved year, with revenue 15% ahead and expenses 17% below the prior year. However, beginning in March 2020, these trends began to change, as the MSBA had to change course to postpone in-person CLE and cancel the Legal Summit & Annual Meeting, which are traditionally its two largest revenue sources during the 4th quarter of the Bar year. As CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
BARBULLETIN Volume XXXVII, Number 6
June 15, 2020
LinkedIn & Facebook News Stories Hundreds of attorneys follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook. Join them and receive these useful articles and more in real time at msba.org/linkedin and msba.org/facebook.
Published monthly by the
Maryland State Bar Association 520 West Fayette Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201 (410) 685-7878 • (800) 492-1964 TDD 539-3186 E-mail email@example.com • www.msba.org Executive Director Victor L. Velazquez
Editorial Staff Anna S. Sholl Editor
Legal Malpractice Payouts Climb, and With COVID-19, No Crest in Sight
Are you a robot?
The 2008 recession caused legal malpractice claims to skyrocket. Expect the same to follow for the next few years.
The economic fallout of the Covid-19 crisis has reached America's top grossing law firms. Now they are taking drastic steps to protect the bottom line.
2019-2020 Officers Dana O. Williams President Hon. Mark F. Scurti President-Elect Delegate Erek L. Barron Secretary M. Natalie McSherry Treasurer
Advertising Classifieds • Displays MCI | USA (formerly Network Media Partners) 307 International Circle Suite 190 Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030 (410) 584-1959
Judges Weigh Bigger Rooms, Cleaner Mics as Jury Trials Restart
‘Zoom fatigue’ is taxing the brain. Here's why that happens.
Judges face difficult decisions as they weigh how, and when, to reopen their courtrooms for jury trials—and try to strike a balance between avoiding a deep backlog of cases and minimizing the health risks of bringing in jurors, lawyers, and witnesses, attorneys say.
Video calls seemed an elegant solution to remote work, but they wear on the psyche in complicated ways.
Eric Gershowitz Account Executive firstname.lastname@example.org
MSBA ETHICS HOTLINE PSYCHOLOGICAL REPORTS FOR IMMIGRANTS 15 years experience (evaluations and testimony) Positive findings accepted by courts/CIS in 90% of cases Extreme Hardship, VOWA, Asylum, N-648 Certs. MICHAEL MILGRAUM, ESQ., PH.D. Licensed Psychologist | (301)-980-3997 | email@example.com DoctorMMsolutions.com | 3717 Decatur Ave., Ste. 1, Kensington, MD 20895
2 | BAR BULLETIN
Ariana W. Arnold Baltimore City 202-806-2657
Wayne M. Willoughby Baltimore City 443-394-8800
Christopher S. Young Howard County 410-290-0707
Robert F. Miller Baltimore County 410-823-1800
Michael J. Neary Montgomery County 301-657-0740
Patricia M. Weaver Montgomery County 301-951-9360
Hon. William A. Snoddy Prince George's County 301-952-3808
Timothy F. Maloney Prince George's County 240-553-1206
Members should address their written ethics inquiries to Patricia Weaver, Ethics Committee, 4800 Hampden Lane, Suite 700, Bethesda, MD 20814, or call (301) 951-9360, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions of the Ethics Committee are available online at www.msba.org/ethics. Please consult the Rules and MSBA Ethics Opinion Website before calling.
MSBA Focused on Upgrading Digital Content Delivery; Sunsets Bar Bulletin The MSBA responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide members with important resources during an unprecedented time.
s part of that response, and knowing that its membership was facing a crisis, MSBA invested in digital delivery of information. It introduced a second eWeekly Newsletter, now titled the Weekly Roundup, to provide members with the critical information they needed, circulated important announcements through MSBA email discussion lists and its social media channels, and developed a comprehensive COVID-19 website. MSBA has witnessed an incredible increase in site visits, email readership, and social media engagement as a result of these efforts, and its members have expressed appreciation for the speed with which MSBA has been able to communicate information in an ever changing environment. MSBA is continuing to im-
prove its digital content delivery by introducing the new “What We’re Reading” page (www.msba. org/what-were-reading) with up to date content on the legal profession. In addition, the MSBA is working to design a new section of the website, dedicated to providing its diverse membership with articles, forms, templates, checklists, and other content in a variety of practice areas. Providing this valuable content in an accessible searchable format is consistent with the MSBA’s strategic plan adopted by the Board of Governors in Spring 2019. As the MSBA concentrates on expanding the scope of content, and upgrading its digital offerings, it will be sunsetting the Bar Bulletin, with this issue being its final run. We want to take a moment to thank all of those that have contributed to
the Bar Bulletin over the years, and we want you to know we are still providing our members with various avenues to contribute. In fact, we have created a new content submission portal, where
members can share their ideas for articles, whitepapers, tools & resources, and CLE programs at any time. If you are interested in contributing, please visit the
content submission portal for more information on the types of content we are seeking at www.msba.org/content-portal.
The McCammon Group is pleased to announce our newest Neutral Hon. Thomas G. Ross (Ret.)
Retired Judge, Circuit Court for Queen Anne’s County The Honorable Thomas Ross recently retired as Chief Judge and former Administrative Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit of Maryland, having also served during his tenure as Administrative Judge of the Circuit Court for Queen Anne’s County. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Ross enjoyed a successful career as a lawyer in private practice in Maryland and DC. Judge Ross is the 2019 Recipient of the Chief Judge Robert M. Bell Award for Outstanding Contribution to ADR in Maryland. He is Past Chair of the ADR Committee of the Judicial Council of Maryland; the ADR Committee of the Conference of Circuit Court Judges; and the ADR Committee’s Work Group on the Revision of the Standards of Conduct for Mediators in Maryland. Judge Ross now brings this distinct record of experience and leadership to The McCammon Group to serve the mediation and arbitration needs of lawyers and litigants in Maryland, DC, and beyond.
For a complete list of our services and Neutrals throughout MD, DC, and VA, call 888.343.0922 or visit www.McCammonGroup.com
MSBA.ORG | 3
Together, we are
MSBA’s COVID-19 response efforts include: Advocating for the profession in state & federal judiciary as well as in the legislature
How does the legal profession deal with new challenges?
On the heels of a legislative victory against sales tax on services, March 2020 presented a new challenge: a global pandemic. MSBA exists to support and empower the entirety of the legal profession every day, even more so when it is facing unprecedented challenges.
M S B A . O R G / S T R O N G E R TO G E T H E R 4 | BAR BULLETIN
Communicating with the Governor’s office on key orders, including remote notarization and remote witnessing Providing 20+ complimentary webinars, with over 15,000 participants (and growing) from across the profession Sharing resources and tools to navigate your practice during the pandemic Guiding firms in their transition to a remote practice, and helping plan for recovery and post-COVID business strategies Opening MSBA’s entire on-demand CLE catalog of 150+ titles, the Maryland Bar Journal, and other resources, to everyone at no cost Convening the state’s legal services organizations to guide the public and self-represented litigants during this unprecedented time Your MSBA has been fighting for you long before this pandemic, and will keep fighting long after. If you haven’t already, we would love for you to join the growing number of attorneys who call MSBA home. Because together, we are stronger.
PAYMENTS Trust Payment IOLTA Deposit Amount
$ 1,500.00 Reference
NEW CASE Card Number
**** **** **** 4242
The easiest way to accept credit card and eCheck payments online. Powerful Technology
Developed specifically for the legal industry to ensure comprehensive security and trust account compliance
Powering Law Firms
Plugs into law firms’ existing workflows to drive cash flow, reduce collections, and make it easy for clients to pay
The payment technology behind the legal industry’s most popular practice management tools
Powered by an Unrivaled Track Record
15 years of experience and the only payment technology vetted and approved by 110+ state, local, and specialty bars as well as the ABA
ACCEPT MORE PAYMENTS WITH LAWPAY
888-504-7264 | lawpay.com/msba
MSBA.ORG | 5
Maryland Access to Justice Commission Chosen to Partner on High-Level Attorney General COVID-19 Task Force BY REENA K. SHAH, ESQ.
The economic hardship caused by the business closures and illness have created conflicts that only the civil justice system can resolve.
he Maryland Access to Justice Commission (A2JC) is honored to have been chosen to partner with the Maryland Attorney General to launch a COVID-19 Task Force focused on access to justice in the civil justice system. The work of the Task Force will keep Marylanders housed, fed, safe, secure and connected. A2JC has been demonstrating strong leadership and value during these uncertain times. We quickly started convening the civil legal aid community; aggregating resources on our COVID-19 Resource Center (mdaccesstojustice.org/covid-19); creating one-pagers on substantive topics; partnering with national organizations to support increased media coverage; and are on our way to creating a Story Map of pandemic-related legal vulnerabilities and are working to develop a Civil Justice Data Dashboard. We are exceptionally thankful for MSBA's support in our endeavors. Membership in the MSBA makes all this work
possible! It is now exciting for A2JC to be poised to elevate issues of access to justice in the civil justice system even more. The Task Force has been convened because the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges to access to justice on a scale and magnitude we have not encountered before. The economic hardship caused by the business closures and illness have created conflicts that only the civil justice system can resolve, like missed rent payments leading to eviction notices; disputes over medical or consumer debt; or people being wrongfully denied public benefits necessary to keep their families afloat. Even before the pandemic, 71% of low-income American households faced at least one civil legal issue - like eviction, domestic violence or unemployment claim denial - every year. At the same time, only 14% of those people received adequate legal help. What that meant is CONTINUED ON PAGE 19
Conventional wisdom says, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
MLM thinks otherwise. Lawyers’ professional liability insurance is all we do. As a result of doing one thing, we do that one thing well.
At MLM “here today, here tomorrow” is more than just a motto and our financial strength is your best defense. Protecting Your Practice is Our Policy.® 6 | BAR BULLETIN
Get a no-obligation quote today! Kiernan Waters, Esq. 443-293-6038 email@example.com www.mlmins.com
Get Maryland’s daily statewide source for law, business, government and real estate news. Behind the compromise Here’s how lawmakers found a way to expand post-conviction relief. 10A
A TEDCO boost
Baltimore medical device startup joins program to help get FDA approval. 3A
Volume 129 | Number 137
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Maryland’s trusted source of business, legal and government news for 130 years.
Roselyn Aker-Black, Psy.D.
LaKeecia Allen Magistrate Jo Ann Asparagus *Christine D. Aspell Jody S. Berg Maureen M. Black Samantha Bowling, CPA, CGMA Oana A. Brooks Shelley Brown Patricia A. Browne Judge Sharon V. Burrell Renay L. Butler Judge Donine Marie Carrington Dr. Jocelyn Chaney-Gainers Erin Charles, CPA Michelle Coates Michele L. Cohen Alyce Dailey Natasha M. Dartigue Suzzanne W. Decker *Diane Devaney Dr. Tracey L. Durant Barbara Ebel Donna S. Edwards Lynda Ellis Wendy Elover Aileen Eskildsen Tiffany Esther Carolyn Evans, Esq. Jodi Finkelstein Sandy Fitzgerald-Angello Bernadette Fowlkes-Bridges Swata Gandhi
Dr. Kathleen A. Getz *Abby Glassberg Elizabeth Scott Glenn Dr. Michele Guyton Catherine Y. Hamel Kay N. Harding Cassandra Jones Havard *Marie Hartman Geanelle Griffith Herring Aubreana Stephenson Holder Jan Holt Jeannie L. Howe *Betsey Hurwitz-Schwab Asma Inge-Hanif *Lisa A. Hall Johnson Erica Joseph Lexy Kessler Amy Kleine Shawn Kros *Mary Beth Lennon *Cylia Lowe-Smith, Esq. Kathleen McClernan-Walz, Esq. Jill McClune Laurie McDonald Pat Bonner McElroy *Denise K. Mersinger Barbara Pisano Messing Vanessa Milio Janice Miller *Kathleen Momme Terry H. Morgenthaler Shannon M. Neal Kathleen Maletic Neuzil Kim Y. Oldham Tenyo Pearl
*Karen Pecora-Barbour Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk Sabita Devi Persaud Lily Qi Ann Quinn Gina Ramsey Johnette Richardson Valda Ricks *Dr. Tonja L. Ringgold Kimberly Y. Robinson Donna Stevenson Robinson Angela Rose Heather B. Sachs *Lynn B. Sassin Laurie-Anne Sayles Tammy S.J. Schneider, CPA *Leslie Simmons, R.N., F.A.C.H.E. Carol Ann Smith Erin Stauder Karen G. Sugar Jessica Wolf Suriano Gustava “Gusty” Taler C. Marie Taylor Rebecca Teaff Maureen van Stone, Esq. MS Judge Cathleen Vitale Annette Campagna Walter Sonya Whited Christina Williams Flavia Williamson Renée M. Winsky Michele K. Wolff
Transportation contract delayed after questions raised Rahn’s handling of selection process under scrutiny By BRyAn P. seARs BSears@TheDailyRecord.com
Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn is defending the process by which a $69 million contract is set to be awarded to a group headed by his former employer.
ANNAPOLIS — A $69 million state contract to oversee the largest public-private highway project in the country has been pulled from
the Board of Public Works’ schedule after questions were raised over Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn’s relationship with the winner of the contract and his handling of the bidding process. The withdrawal of the contract with a consortium headed by Kansas City, Missouri-based HNTB comes as officials express concerns
about the speed of the procurement, the waiving of standard competitive bidding processes and the relationship between the company and Rahn, who previously worked for HNTB. There are also new questions regarding apparent discrepancies between Rahn’s public statements about his ownership and sale of stock
L A R G E S T L AW FIRMS
* Circle of Excellence honorees
from his former employer and public financial disclosures filed with the Maryland State Ethics Commission. “Members of the Board of Public Works had questions about the procurement process and the department is going to and should and will address those questions,” SEE RAHN 8A
Harford company awarded $45M in rubble landfill dispute with county
Government plans to file appeal in latest ruling in 30-year legal battle By AnAmikA Roy ARoy@TheDailyRecord.com
A Harford County jury Tuesday awarded $45 million to a company that has been battling the county government for nearly 30 years over the right to use a property as a rubble landfill, one of the largest jury awards in county history. After an eight-day trial and nearly five hours of deliberations, the jury found that the county government’s decision to prevent Maryland Reclamation Associates from using the property near Havre de Grace as a rubble landfill was a regulatory taking of property for which the company
THE DAILY RECORD’S MARYLAND’S TOP 100 WOMEN 2018 1
The southbound Fort McHenry Tunnel toll plaza on Interstate 95 in Baltimore. FILE PHOTO
MARYLAND EXPLORES CHANGING TOLLS TO ELECTRONIC ONLY
SEE VERDICT 12A
A DIFFERENT VIEW FROM THE CORNER OFFICE
Q&A with female managing partners, page 2
By kAtheRine BRzozowski Capital News Service
ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Transportation Authority is exploring phasing out all cash toll booths across the state. Today, tolls are collected three ways: by cash, or electronically, by either
The rise in lateral moves, page 6
an E-ZPass transponder or by video tolling — when the state uses a license-plate photo and mails drivers their bill. Transportation officials say that the transition to all-electronic, high-speed toll collection will: save drivers time on their commute, save the state money, re-
Trustee Calendar Employment
. Rankings, info on 60 firms
10B 6A 10A
News briefs Law briefs Litigation support
duce accidents at toll plazas, and reduce CO2 emissions as less fuel is being burned, according to a national study by the University of Central Florida. Drivers in Maryland could start seeing new plazas that only collect tolls electronically at highway speeds by the summer of 2019, said 4A N/A 9A
Lawyer to lawyer Public notice Bids
Kevin Reigrut, executive director of the Maryland Transportation Authority. However the state has no specific timetable or budget for all-electronic tolling at this time, Maryland Transportation Authority Communications Director Cheryl M. Sparks told Capital News
11A 1B 3B
Plaintiff’s attorney Brett Ingerman: ‘The jury was persuaded that what (Harford County) did here was wrong. It was wrong back in 1990 and they thought it was wrong today.’
SEE EZ-PASS 7A
$305 per year $2 per copy
For subscriptions call 1-877-615-9536 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
, page 12
Special Offer for MSBA Members 1 Year Print & Digital Access for $249 You SAVE $70 or 1 Year Digital Only Access for $139 You SAVE $50 TheDailyRecord.com/print-digital/?promocode=M9ZMSBA 877-615-9536 Use promo code M9ZMSBA Offer good for new subscribers only
MSBA.ORG | 7
PRO BONO PROFILE
PBRC PARTNER PROFILE:
Rebecca Bainum, Esq.
MSBA Member; PBRC Volunteer Can you tell me a little about your private practice? For 12 years I served as Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Baltimore School of Law. A year ago, after completing a particularly compelling pro bono immigration case, I began a transition to full-time immigration practice. I feel very lucky to be able to make this change. I am now honing my knowledge and skills by volunteering for several organizations that serve the needs of immigrants. I am continuing my Spanish studies and doing some immigration-related contract work.
How has COVID-19 outbreak impacted your own practice? Things have slowed down for me as they have for many people. The volunteering has moved online. Not all my clients are able to complete the legwork to move their cases forward.
Which of PBRC’s projects do you volunteer with, and what do you do there? I volunteer with the Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project (MILAP) brief advice clinic. Usually the clinic operates at the Baltimore Immigration Court, but we are currently meeting remotely. In a three-way video call that includes a volunteer interpreter (until my Spanish is proficient!) I conduct a comprehensive intake for clients in removal proceedings. Many of our clients don’t know what to expect and have no idea how to find an affordable attorney. We give them information (and clear up misin-
formation) about the next steps in their process. Perhaps most concretely, we provide a clear way forward for the clients. They leave the meeting with a candid assessment of their legal options and with phone numbers and instructions for finding an attorney to help them.
How does the project make it easy to volunteer? PBRC provides training, guidance, mentorship and support. Their intake questionnaire is very detailed and very straight-forward. Honestly the most difficult part is asking people to share traumatic and very personal stories ten minutes after meeting me.
Can you tell me about a client you’ve met while working with PBRC? The client I helped this week was from Central America. She and her toddler daughter arrived in the US about six months ago,
fleeing from her abusive partner. She now has a newborn baby as well and is trying to make a new life here. Talking about her experience was very hard for her but I was able to give her concrete information - including upcoming deadlines. She seemed relieved to know more about her case after we finished talking. The need for legal advice hasn’t stopped just because we all have to stay home. I am so glad to be able to assist even one client per clinic during this pandemic.
Do you have a favorite memory of doing pro bono work? I worked on a significant immigration case through Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). The client was a girl the same age as one of my daughters. She found her way to the US from Honduras at age 15. Her hometown was rife with dangerous gangs. We were able, over the course of nearly four years, to obtain “Special Immigrant Juvenile Status” for
PBRC’s featured service opportunity
Learn more about applying to join the 2020-2021 PBRC Professional Skills Academy. probonomd.org/academy
For more information about volunteering in Maryland, contact: Annie Speedie, PBRC Deputy Director: email@example.com, 443-703-3051.
The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland will match your skills with a wide range of pro bono opportunities. The Center welcomes new volunteers dedicated to addressing issues impacting low income families and their communities.
520 W. Fayette St., Baltimore, MD 21201 | (800) 396-1274 8 | BAR BULLETIN
her and then, eventually, she received a green card. She is a lovely young woman with a bright future here. Helping her felt like a privilege for me.
To say it has changed my life is a huge understatement. How has doing pro bono work changed you? My pro bono immigration case was one of the hardest things I’ve done professionally. It inspired me to change the focus of my career, so to say it has changed my life is a huge understatement.
What message would you give to attorneys thinking about volunteering? Pro bono work has provided a valuable perspective on my life. I see how fortunate I am to have skills that can help someone else. It sounds cliché, but I think we get as much out of volunteering as those we help, and maybe more.
Bring your library up to date with these new CLE publications!
N OW AVA I L A B L E
Maryland Divorce and Separation Law Tenth Edition John J. Condliffe, Esq. & Debra B. Cruz, Esq.
Practice Manual for the Maryland Lawyer fifth Edition MSBA Young Lawyerâ€™s Section
Electronically Stored Information in Maryland Courts Available May 2020 Michael D. Berman; The Hon. Paul W. Grimm; Alicia L. Shelton; Diane P. Kilcoyne
JUDGMENT AVOIDANCE: EXEMPTIONS AND LIEN STRIPPING Available May 2020 Marc Robert Kivitz, Esq. & Jan Ingham Berlage, Esq.
Order your copies today at
MSBA.ORG | 9
Court Splits On Application Of “Plain-feel” Doctrine To Cell Phone
he Maryland Court of Appeals debated the contours of the plain feel exception to Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, splitting 4-2 (with one judge concurring only in the result) to hold that a warrantless seizure of a cell phone during a protective frisk of a murder suspect was unconstitutional. State v. Zadeh, No. 25 Sept. Term 2019, 2020 Md. LEXIS 173 (Apr. 3, 2020). The information gleaned from the phone pursuant to a warrant obtained after the seizure, therefore, was the fruit of an unlawful search and should have been suppressed at trial. Zadeh was driving a car registered to his lover, whose husband was murdered the day before. The police stopped the car to execute a warrant which authorized them to search only the car and to seize, inter alia, any “electronic equipment which stores data.” Zadeh was not named in the warrant, and the police did not yet have probable cause to arrest him. Zadeh and the victim’s wife, however, were suspects because they were having an affair about which they both lied; spoke often on the phone and did so 4 hours before the murder; gave contradictory accounts of what they talked about that morning; and Zadeh had earlier refused to show a detective his phone. When Zadeh was stopped and removed from the car, the detective conducted what for purposes of the analysis was assumed to be a valid frisk for officer safety. During the pat-down the officer felt what he immediately knew was a cell phone. The phone was removed from Zadeh’s pocket and held pending application for a warrant to search its contents. The question before the Court was whether the phone, which was particularly described in a warrant to search a car, could be seized from the person of the defendant, who was driving the car. Because the warrant did not authorize a search of Zadeh’s person, the State needed an exception to the warrant requirement to support the seizure of the phone, and plain-feel was the only one available to it. The majority confirmed that “[t]he plain-feel doctrine allows an officer, during the course of a lawful frisk, to seize weapons and nonthreatening contraband, if the incriminating character is immediately apparent.” Slip Op. at 28-9. The incriminating character of an object is immediately apparent only if upon feeling it, the officer has probable cause to believe that the item is contraband or evidence of a crime. Id. at 30. Mere knowledge that the suspects spoke by telephone 4 hours before the murder, “does not rise to the level of a particular fact linking the phone to the murder,” and could not, therefore, establish probable cause for its warrantless seizure. The majority was in dialogue with the dissent throughout its opinion. It first had to distinguish Moats v. State, 455 Md. 682, 168 A.3d 952 (2017), in which a warrantless seizure of a cell phone was deemed lawful because it was seized pursuant to
10 | BAR BULLETIN
a lawful arrest. The plain-feel exception never came into play. The dissent read Moats differently, arguing that it stood for a broader proposition that people who commit crimes often document it in some form on their cell phone. That “fact”, coupled with others linking Zadeh to the crime, permitted the seizure. The majority dismissed this argument in a footnote, implicitly suggesting that if there was probable cause to seize the phone at the time of the stop and frisk, the police should have sought a warrant for it beforehand. More troublesome for the majority was the dissenters’ reliance on McCracken v. State, 429 Md. 507, 56 A.3d 242 (2012), which did permit the seizure and use of a vehicle key fob found during a warrantless
frisk of a suspected “hack”. The hack’s passenger claimed that the hack pulled a gun on her during their ride. The officer felt the fob in the suspect’s pocket and upon retrieving it, pressed the alarm button to locate the car. When peering into the car, the police saw a handgun. On these facts, the Court concluded, the police were investigating the crime of “hacking,” so the potential criminality of the key fob to a crime that required a car was immediately apparent to the officer upon feeling it. Zadeh’s cell phone, in contrast, bore no such obvious or incriminating connection to the murder because “there is nothing inherently or even remotely criminal about a cell phone.” Slip Op. at 34. Unlike the officers in McCracken, the detective in
Zadeh had not amassed sufficient evidence such that it was immediately apparent that the cell phone was evidence of the crime under investigation. Nothing in either Zadeh opinion suggests that the members of the Court were influenced by the peculiar nature of the modern day cell phone for Fourth Amendment analysis. The Supreme Court, however, has observed that a cell phone not only holds what had heretofore been stored in one’s house, “it also contains a broad array of private information never found in a home in any form.” Riley v. California, 573 U.S. 373, 397 (2014). The Court of Appeals touched upon this concern Moats and a companion case, Stevenson v. State, 455 Md. 709, 168 A.3d 967 (2017). Given the wealth of information they contain, cell phones will remain objects enthusiastically sought by criminal investigators. And they will continue to be the subject of future court opinions.
The incriminating character of an object is immediately apparent only if upon feeling it, the officer has probable cause to believe that the item is contraband or evidence of a crime.
Legislative Updates on Consumer Protection Issues BY AMY P. HENNEN, ESQ., DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY AND FINANCIAL STABILIZATION, MARYLAND VOLUNTEER LAWYERS SERVICE (MVLS)
Although the 2020 legislative session was cut short due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Maryland Legislature passed a number of important consumer protection bills and selected a few others bills to be studied further. Auto Issues
HB660/SB934 Baltimore City and Prince George's County Lifeline Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program. A lack of access to affordable insurance often creates barriers to employment due to transportation issues. The legislature created a summer study to determine the feasibility of a low-cost auto insurance option for Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. The program would most likely be run by the Maryland Insurance Administration. HB 280 /SB 234 Vehicle Laws – Suspension of Driver’s License or Registration – Unpaid Citations or Judgments. Marylanders who cannot afford payment plans on state owned debt risk having their licenses suspended. This bill allows for more flexibility for payment plans to avoid license suspension. Marylanders who owe debts to the Central Collection Unit of Maryland can ask for payment plans for amounts starting at $150. Payment plans can also be stretched out longer so payments are more affordable. There are still some occasions that person could still have their license suspended; however, it will likely be easier to help someone reinstate their license. This law will be implemented October 1, 2020. SB134/HB139 Electronic Transactions – Sales and Leases of Vehicles. When consumers are given an electronic contract to sign, it decreases the likelihood they will read and understand what they are signing. This bill provides greater consumer protections when the contract is electronic. Consumers must be provided with copies of all documents they sign. In addition, consumers must be given sufficient time to review such agreements. If consumers are not given copies or enough time, they are not
deemed not to have entered into the transaction. This change takes effect October 1, 2020.
Debt Collection and Bills
B365/SB425 Debt Collection H Exemptions From Attachment and Execution. Most debt collectors take 25% of non-exempt income. The income protected from garnishment has not kept up with poverty guidelines. The bill will increase the wages exempt from garnishment. Rather than 30 times the federal minimum wage, it will be 30 times the state minimum wage. The change is from $217.50 per week protected to $330 per week protected. The amount protected will also increase as the state minimum wage increases. This change will go into effect October 1, 2020. HB1420/SB875 Hospitals Financial Assistance Policies and Bill Collections. Hospital bills are a significant financial stressor, particularly with the patient is uninsured. The bill will require hospitals to expand financial assistance programs, including free and reduced cost care as well as offer payment plans to uninsured patients up to 500% of federal poverty. This bill is effective October 1, 2020. SB873/HB1081 Health Facilities - Hospitals - Medical Debt Protection. Debt collection costs can dramatically increase the size of hospital bills. The legislature created a summer study to determine the feasibility of limiting fees and collection activity, particularly if a patient applies for financial assistance. Sb155/ HB93 Consumer Protection - Mobile Home Purchasers. This bill provides greater protections for consumers in default on their mobile home purchases, including a 30-day notice period before a repossession. This change will go into effect October 1, 2020. CONTINUED ON PAGE 19
MSBA.ORG | 11
MSBA Partner Supports Virtual Law Firms with OnDemand Office Space, Virtual Receptionists, and Other Services As firms strive to adapt during the pandemic, OFFICENSE is proud to be a Baltimore based business center and shared office space that has remained open to assist our “essential services” clients. We have continued to process and forward client mail, deposit their checks, and answer phone calls for all companies working through the pandemic. We will continue to provide resources and services to help our clients navigate these difficult times. By partnering with the MSBA, Officense provides members with discounted services to help their practice run smoothly and efficiently, no matter what challenges they may face.
ecently, OFFICENSE sat down with local Baltimore attorney Stephen L. Thomas Jr. to discuss operating his firm during COVID-19, adjusting to the statewide Stay at Home Order, and the ways his firm leveraged OFFICENSE services to stay operational in a virtual environment.
1. How long have you been an MSBA Member and what value do you find in your membership?
I have been a member of MSBA since 2015. What I value most about my membership is the access to the materials. As a young solo practitioner, I am constantly looking for new ways to grow as a practitioner and as a business owner. The MSBA resources provide consistent tips, strategies, and the information that I need to stay up to date in the practice of law.
2. How long have you used OFFICENSE services and how did you first decide to operate using a “virtual” model?
I started using Officense in 2017. When I made the decision to open my practice, I began to do research to determine the best method to open a 21st century practice. I began to research the pros and cons of brick and mortar vs. a “virtual” model. The virtual model gives you an office while reducing overhead costs and expenses. I would encourage any attorney looking to start a small or solo practice to consider the virtual model to start and build your business.
3. Has your firm altered your business process to adjust to the quarantine? In what ways have you adjusted?
We have had to adjust and alter how we do business due to the spread of COVID-19 across Maryland and the world at large. All in person meetings with clients are now conducted virtually. We have increased our use of conference calls, zoom meetings, etc. The Officense staff are already well versed in utilizing virtual platforms to facilitate such communications.
12 | BAR BULLETIN
4. How have virtual office services such as OFFICENSE helped your firm to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Officense has provided mail scanning, curbside pick-up, virtual receptionists, etc. All of these tools have been resources for my clients to be able to interact with my firm without exposing any of the staff or clients to the virus.
5. What would you advise other firms to look for when they explore virtual office services as they develop reopening plans?
First, determine how you want your firm to operate post-covid. Take a strong view of your internal systems prior to COVID, how they changed, and then research virtual office services to discover service firms that can provide what you need.
6. What is one OFFICENSE service that you could not go without during quarantine? (Mail scanning? Curbside pick-up? Virtual Receptionist?)
I could not go without any of the services offered by Officense.
7. Is there any message your firm would like to share with others in the MSBA community during this time?
As the practice of law continues to move forward and adapt to the 21st century, it is important to explore all recent technology and services available to us as practitioners.
About The Thomas Law Firm: The Thomas Law Firm opened its doors in July 2017 with a vision and a determination to ensure the healing balm of justice is applied to all miscarriages of justice. We are a trial practice firm that focuses on criminal defense, personal injury, civil rights violations, and matters related to religious institutions. To contact the Thomas Law Firm, visit www.thethomasfirm.org or call 410-8147653.
OFFICENSE has been assisting solo practices, small firms, and large multilocation firms for over 14 years, providing professional office and communication solutions. OFFICENSE's professional address, offices, conference rooms, and live answer phone services lend instant credibility to firms – even if you are working from home! Customized administrative and secretarial services provide full-time access without the need for additional hiring. To contact OFFICENSE, visit www. officense.com or call 410-814-7500. Ask about “Back to Work” short-term plans to help your firm transition back into the office.
WE REPRESENT INJURED WORKERS
More than $10 million recovered for injured workers in 2019
Byron B. Warnken, Jr.
Rebecca L. Smith
2020-2021 Board of Governors Hon. Mark F. Scurt
Thomas N. Yeager
M. Natalie McSherry President-Elect*
Eighth District, Baltimore County
Amy D. Lorenzini
Eighth District, Baltimore County
Manuel R. Geraldo
Ninth District, Cecil and Harford Counties
Alison Y. Leonard-Leach
Tenth District, Howard County
Hon. Erik H. Nyce
Tenth District, Howard County
Eleventh District, Carroll and Frederick Counties
Twelfth District, Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties
Craig J. Little
Fourth District, Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's
Erek L. Barron Secretary*
Fifth District, Prince George's County
Jason DeLoach Treasurer*
Jetta J. Alberts
George G. Hermina
Fifth District, Prince George's County
Dana O. Williams Immediate Past President
Fifth District, Prince George's County
Hon. Pamila Brown ABA Delegate
Sixth District, Montgomery County
Carl S. Silverman Parlimentarian
Sixth District, Montgomery County
Hon. Dana Middleton First District, Baltimore City
Sixth District, Montgomery County
Evelyn Lombardo Cusson First District, Baltimore City
Thomas G. Slater
Terri Ann Lowery
Section Representative – Environment & Energy Law
Sixth District, Montgomery County
Carlotta A. Woodward
First District, Baltimore City
Section Representative – Negligence, Insurance & Worker's Comp
Sixth District, Montgomery County
George G. Tankard, III First District, Baltimore City
David P. Shapiro Lauri E. Cleary
First District, Baltimore City
Sixth District, Montgomery County
Kelly Hughes Iverson First District, Baltimore City
Seventh District, Anne Arundel County
First District, Baltimore City
Seventh District, Anne Arundel County
Cynthia L. Leppert
First District, Baltimore City
Seventh District, Anne Arundel County
Second District, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester
Eighth District, Baltimore County
* Pending Confirmation at the June 30, 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting
14 | BAR BULLETIN
Section Representative – Real Property
Sixth District, Montgomery County
Damien R. Banks
Kristy M. Hickman
Third District, Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot
YLS Representative – Chair
Chris Jennison YLS Representative
Indira Sharma YLS Representative
Continuing Legal Education Opportunities
Department of Learning: Raising the Bar for Education BY ANDREA TERRY, ESQ.
The MSBA CLE department provides programming that carries credit with our surrounding MCLE state, and relies primarily on our Sections to keep us apprised of what topics need to be covered in their practice areas. The CLE department covers all expenses related to an accredited program, and provides all logistical support, from marketing, to coordinating the location, food, registration, recording and webcasting, and on-site support the day of the event. No Section funds are needed to provide an accred-
ited educational program, so we hope your Section will consider offering at least one accredited program this upcoming bar year. As we gear up for summer the CLE department is working hard to bring as many of the programs planned for the cancelled Annual Meeting and Legal Summit to the Maryland legal community. Dubbed the “Legal Summit Series”, these sessions will offer fresh information throughout the summer, both as livestream and on-demand options, so you can learn from the safety of your
home and office. We’re starting the new bar year (still in virtual mode) in July, with the Elder and Disability Law Section’s annual “Hot Topics in Elder Law”, lead by Morris Klein, Esq., which will cover changes in the law and procedures applicable to your practices in representing the elderly client. Details on specific programs and registration information is below. Feel free to email us with programming suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPCOMING LIVE WEBINARS • Civil Practice in the District Court | June 22, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. • Criminal Practice in the District Court | June 24, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. • Hot Topics in Elder Law | July 7, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (registration opening soon) • Retainers/Trust Accounts/Liens: Risk Management for Lawyers | July 9, 2020 | 1:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m. • Family Practice Update | August 26, 2020 | 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
LEGAL SUMMIT SERIES • Headless Chickens and Zombie Data: Your Ethical Obligations for Disasters and Data Breaches | June 10, 2020 - 1 p.m. • Developing a Consumer Law Practice | June 16, 2020 - 10 a.m. • Obtaining Significant Awards for Non-Economic Damages | July 13, 2020 - 10 a.m. • Elderly Financial Exploitation and How Bankruptcy Can Help | July 23, 2020 - 1 p.m. • The New Maryland Receivership Act | July 28, 2020 - 10 a.m. • Are You Settling Employment Cases Ethically? | August 13, 2020 • Artificial Intelligence and the Death of the Billable Hour | available on-demand after June 29, 2020
UPCOMING PROGRAMS • 40-Hour Basic Mediation Training | September 21-25, 2020 | Baltimore
NEW AVAILABLE ONLINE-ON DEMAND • Financial Issues in Divorce – Taxation, Valuation, Equalization: Navigating Potential Asset and Income Obstacles in Divorce Negotiations - presented live January 30, 2020 • Hot Tips in Family Law – A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Your Practice - presented live February 12, 2020 • Hot Topics in Adult Guardianships - presented live February 19, 2020 • Software Licensing and Cloud Computing Boot Camp: Successful Contracting in an Ever-Changing Environment - presented live February 20, 2020 • Estate Planning in the Era of High Estate Tax Exemptions – a New Way of Thinking presented live February 25, 2020 • Mediation of Complex Commercial and Insurance Disputes - presented live March 5, 2020 For more information and to register go to www.msba.org/cle-catalog
NEW & RECENT PUBLICATION UPDATES (All titles available in print and electronically) Available Now Electronically Stored Information in Maryland Courts – Both the law and the profession have raced to keep pace with technological changes that define the early 21st century. While these changes have had a profound impact on every practice area, issues inherent in the transition from hard-copy to electronically stored information (ESI) came quickly to the fore in the context of civil discovery. After years of common law development, amendments to the rules of procedure, and sustained effort of practitioners, jurists and academics to address these issues, a principled, rules-based discovery regime eventually brought some order to the chaos that had been causing litigation costs to soar, and striking terror in the hearts of attorneys traversing the previously uncharted terrain of ESI. The journey, detailed in Electronically Stored Information in Maryland Courts, contains lessons for all. Available Soon Judgment Avoidance: Exemptions And Lien Stripping What Every Maryland Attorney Should Know Lien Stripping – Every lawyer has a client, family member or friend heading toward or already under financial stress. Consumer debt from credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans is on the rise, exceeding levels experienced in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. This, in turn, leads to increased collection efforts by creditors, and a corresponding increase in judgements against debtors. While bankruptcy remains an option for individuals facing economic ruin, there are more than 50 non-bankruptcy “exemptions” available to shield assets from debt collectors. Properly employed in state court, these exemptions might help keep the debtor out of bankruptcy court. The nature and source of these exemptions, and the interplay of state and federal laws that protect both creditors and debtors, are among the subjects addressed in Judgment Avoidance: Exemptions and Lien Stripping, What Every Maryland Attorney Should Know, written by attorneys Mark Robert Kivitz and Jan Ingham Berlage, published by the MSBA in June 2020. Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions (Update) – Available Summer 2020 Civil Pattern Jury Instructions (Update) – Available Late Summer 2020 Recent Releases Divorce & Separation – Updated in 2019, the Tenth Edition of this definitive work is the Family Law practitioner’s comprehensive reference book and guide on divorce and separation law in Maryland. The book sets forth the legal principles and procedures for handling family law actions, including divorce, separation, child custody, child support, adoption and paternity matters, from the initial contact with a potential client through appeal. Updated by expert practitioners, it provides tips and forms and is an easy-tofollow guide on Family Law. Practice Manual for the Maryland Lawyer, Fifth Edition—This first update since the 2012 Fourth Edition brings the Practice Manual up to the minute! The best how-to-guide and fundamental reference on the essentials of Maryland law practice, the Practice Manual is the ultimate practical, nuts and bolts resource. Since 1981 it has served as both a cornerstone for new lawyers who are building real-world know-how and a touchstone for seasoned practitioners who trust its CONTINUED ON PAGE 19 Order your copies today at www.msba.org/cle-catalog
MSBA.ORG | 15
MSBA Lawyer Assistance Program Wellness TipSheet
The COVID-19 Meltdown BY LISA CAPLAN, LCSW-C
I think we can all agree that during the pandemic we have experienced a range of emotions, including uncertainty, anxiety, frustration, fear, anger, and sadness. I have spoken with many lawyers, and many with no prior mental health history have expressed that these feelings sometimes come out of the blue and wash over them. Some describe it as a feeling of “hitting a wall,” or emotional fatigue.
e are all struggling with different situations, including not being able to see elderly relatives in retirement communities, watch children graduate, visit with grandchildren, be with someone who is sick, go to a funeral, or celebrate with someone. In addition, life doesn't stop because of this pandemic. We still have to navigate work, family, and other aspects of life with an extra blanket of stress added to our daily activities. Now with reopening there is another level of uncertainty and fear of what that might look like. If you are experiencing any of these feelings you are not alone. Here are some tips that I feel are helpful:
• Focus on your anchors. Anchors
are simple day to day activities that are in your life no matter what is going on around you. It may be your dog waking you up in the morning, the smell of coffee, the sunrise or sunset, or the smell of cut grass. Your anchors can help you feel grounded during changing times. Even just thinking about an anchor can help you feel calm and centered.
• Meditate. I can hear you all saying,
“That doesn't work for me.” Like the practice of law, meditation is a practice and you are not aiming for perfection. Just trying it will move you in the right direction. New apps like Headspace, Calm, and Mindfulness can help you start. If you prefer, you can also look on youtube for videos. Start with just a few minutes each day.
• Pick 3. Three things you can see, hear, and physically feel. Doing this grounding exercise will bring you back to what is going on at the moment.
• Exercise moments. Instead of
trying to work out for a big chunk of time, try to build in exercise throughout your day. Set your timer to walk the stairs, stretch, do jumping jacks, etc. All of this adds
16 | BAR BULLETIN
up and helps you stay grounded. • Focus on your actions and attitude. To feel grounded, focus on your behaviors and your attitude. You cannot control anyone else.
• Focus on an Object. Pick up an
object and describe it using your senses with as much detail as possible. Does it make a sound, is it cold, smooth, rough, shiny, etc. This is a great way to calm your mind because it is impossible to focus on anything else while doing this exercise.
• Practice left side nasal breathing. Breathing slowly in and out
through your left nostril by gently covering your right nostril with your right thumb will help to decrease stress and calm your body.
• Have a daily routine. Having a
routine, getting up at the same time, getting dressed, etc. can help you feel grounded during difficult times.
• Lighten your load. In your per-
sonal life, take things off your plate. Learn to say no. Use my 24 hour rule. When asked to take on something give yourself 24 hours to decide if you can take it on.
• Build your community. Surround
yourself with emotionally healthy people who live the way you want to live.
• Make thoughtful decisions. Take
your time when you need to make big decisions. Weigh your pros and cons. Do some research. Commit to your decision once you’ve made it.
• Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Note them by saying, “anxi-
ety,” “anger,” etc. This allows you to recognize them without becoming too involved with them. The more energy you put into analyzing or trying to get rid of your feelings, the worse you will feel.
• Speak kindly to yourself. Speak to
yourself like you would a friend. Be patient and find positive ways to resolve issues.
• HALT. Don’t get too hungry, angry/ anxious, lonely or tired. HALT reminds you to check in with yourself to see how you are feeling and what you can do to improve your mood.
• Ask for help. Asking for help takes courage. We all need help, especially now.
For more tips on wellness check out the Wellness Portal www.msba.org/wellness-portal
For assistance, please contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling. We have a network of counselors throughout Maryland. Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, Director, (443) 703-3042, email@example.com. Toll Free 1(888) 388-5459. We offer financial assistance for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Please feel free to reach out to our LAP Committee Members and Volunteers www.msba.org/health-and-wellness Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C has over 20 years experience in her field, and extensive experience working with lawyers and judges in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and trauma. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, paddle boarding, sailing, rock climbing and doing triathlons.
MSBA.ORG | 17
Charles A. “Chuck” Borek, JD, MBA, CPA is now Special Counsel to Elville and Associates, and his offices are now located at Elville and Associates’ main offices at 7100 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 190, Columbia, Maryland 21046. As an expert in the areas of business and taxation, a Certified Public Accountant, and a long-time law school professor, academician, writer, and presenter, Chuck brings his vast experience and knowledge to Elville and Associates as the Firm expands its business planning, business transactions, business succession, taxation, and tax controversy practice areas. Firm Principal Stephen Elville is exceedingly pleased that clients will now have access to and the benefit of Chuck’s professional skills and capabilities as Elville and Associates continues its mission and vision of educating and caring for clients in estate planning, elder law planning, special needs planning, and now business planning, though leading-edge legal-technical knowledge.
JDKatz, P.C., a tax litigation and estate planning firm in Bethesda, Maryland and downtown Washington, D.C. has added Isabella Demougeot, Esq. as a senior litigation associate. Bringing eight years’ experience, Demougeot represents a broad range of clients in civil litigation matters, including business disputes, partnership dissolutions and high-profile litigation. She is licensed to practice in both State and Federal Court in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and before the United States Supreme Court. “Individuals and businesses need honest and clear guidance so it’s important to me educate them about the litigation process and their various options in order to make the process less stressful and overwhelming,” Demougeot said. “I am excited to join JDKatz and further develop and strengthen the firm’s civil litigation practice group.”
Miles & Stockbridge, a leading business law firm with more than 220 lawyers in the mid-Atlantic region, announced in May that a highly regarded land use group joined the firm’s Rockville office in March from Linowes and Blocher LLP in Bethesda. Barbara A. Sears, Scott C. Wallace and Phillip A. Hummel are principals in the firm’s Land Use & Zoning Group within the Real Estate & Transactional Finance Practice Group. They specialize in land use, zoning and administrative law and represent landowners, developers and builders in real estate acquisition, development and construction matters involving planning, zoning, entitlements, permitting, and historic preservation. They also represent such clients before administrative boards and agencies, legislative bodies, and state and federal courts. “Barbara, Scott and Phil are highly regarded for helping clients navigate the complexities of land use and zoning law in Montgomery County and its municipalities, as well as in the surrounding Greater D.C. region,” said Nancy W. Greene, chairman of Miles & Stockbridge. “Their experience is very well matched to our firm and will help build our capabilities even further.”
ECONOMIST: Lost income, benefits and life-care plans valued for personal injury, wrongful death and employment cases. University professor with extensive experience. DR. RICHARD B. EDELMAN, 8515 Whittier Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20817. (301) 469-9575 or (800) 257-8626. References and vitae on request. Visa/MC. Please visit at: www.economic-analysis.com. Beautiful offices for rent overlooking city dock in Annapolis. Go to www.loopnet.com/Listing/91-93-Main-St-AnnapolisMD/15518461/ for photos and contact information.
We recognize the importance of assisting individuals with disabilities regardless of age or disability. For the Individual with disabilities we offer a Pooled Special Needs Trust to protect assets and preserve eligibility for benefits. For the Individual’s family, we offer a Third Party Special Needs Trust to help you plan for the future. • We facilitate case management and care coordination as needed. • We distribute funds to increase the Individual’s quality of life and enhance independence. • We provide a corporate alternative to the Individual Trustee, for both Pooled Trusts and Individual Trusts.
The First Maryland Disability Trust, Inc., a Non-Profit organization.
Board of Governors
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
a result of the 3.5 months of virtually no revenue, the MSBA is projected to miss this year’s revenue by approximately 22% as compared to budget.
Board Approves Revised Bylaws Amendments
The Board approved revised recommendations from the Bylaws Committee, which benefited from Section input and the addition of two new Bylaw Committee members: Danielle Cruttenden and Susan Land. The Bylaw amendments will be submitted to the membership for a vote at the Virtual Annual Business Meeting. See page 19 for more information on the MSBA Bylaw Amendments.
18 | BAR BULLETIN
MSBA Cuts $400k in Expenses from 2020-21 Budget; Agrees to Revisit in September 2020
Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSBA Budget & Finance Committee, chaired by Treasurer-Elect, Jason DeLoach worked to cut $400k (a 10% reduction from 2019-20) in expenses for the 2020-21 Budget. Overall, the MSBA’s expenditures have been reduced by over 25% in the last 2.5 years when accounting for this latest budgeted reduction. The Board of Governors approved the 2020-21 Budget, which assumes a 2% increase in revenue (driven by increased CLE programming and Publication sales), a 10% reduction in expenses, and projects a net surplus of $13,044 at the
close of the year. That said, the Board also approved a special meeting of the Budget & Finance Committee for September 2020 that will review the continued impact of COVID-19 and provide recommendations as to any modifications needed for the 2020-21 Budget to the Board of Governors in its October 2020 meeting.
MSBA Receives ‘Clean Audit’ for 201920 Bar year
At the retreat, the Board also heard from Ed Gilliss from the Audit committee. Mr. Gilliss reported that the MSBA received a clean audit from the auditors at Ellin & Tucker, which the Board accepted by unanimous vote.
President-Elect Shares Outlook for 2020-21 Bar Year
MSBA President-Elect, Hon. Mark F. Scurti closed the 2019-20 retreat by providing his outlook for the 2020-21 Bar year. As part of his report, he shared some of his initiatives for his year, including increased Section participation and communication, diversity & inclusion, and Access to Justice, among others. President-Elect Scurti will be sworn in as President of the MSBA during the Virtual Annual Meeting on June 30, 2020.
Access to Justice
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6
that millions of Americans lost their fight to keep their homes, keep themselves safe, provide security for their family - not because they had done something wrong - but because they did not have the legal help they needed. These injustices disproportionately impacted Black, Hispanic and Native American families as those households make up an outsized number of low-income households. Now, even more people will face civil legal problems and need civil legal help - at a time when funding for services will be dwindling; when court processes will be more complicated and challenging to navigate on one’s own; and most critically, when the consequences of not receiving civil legal help will be unspeakably inhumane and dire.
Here, again, communities of color - who are still enduring the trauma of the lethal consequences of racial inequities in the healthcare and criminal justice systems - are expected to bear the brunt. The civil justice system presents the next frontier. An avalanche of evictions is predicted; unemployment filings have skyrocketed, yet many Marylanders still face barriers receiving their unemployment checks; and even as health officials recommend foregoing public transportation to avoid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, consumers are poised to have their vehicles repossessed. In forming this Task Force, we have intentionally brought together high-level and diverse leaders with expertise in a myr-
iad of sectors, including health, disaster recovery, business, government and many others. It will also have an advisory composed of legislators from Maryland’s federal delegation. All will come together to confront this challenge together - with creativity, innovation and resolve. The Task Force is expected to meet three times between now and December 1, in addition to a press conference announcing the launch on June 11 at 11am. The charge of the Task Force is to ensure that when Marylanders encounter the civil justice system, justice is accessible, fair and equitable. Striving for this in the civil justice system will protect public health, spur economic growth and reduce harms to the most vulnerable among us.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15
Student Loans/Higher Education
HB469/SB446 Institutions of Postsecondary Education Disorderly School Closures. A number of for-profit schools have closed suddenly in recent years and left students in difficult financial situations. This bill limits the financial impact on a student if a school closes abruptly. For profit schools would have to return tuition and fees if that occurs. It will go into effect July 1, 2020.
HB593/SB294 Higher Education – Annual Revenues of For– Profit Institutions – Limitation on Enrollment (Veterans’ Education Protection Act). For-profit schools often target students with educational benefits, particularly veterans. This bill will limit for-profit institutions from enrolling new Maryland students when more than 10% of annual revenue comes from federal funds. This bill is the first of its kind in the nation. This bill will be effective July 1, 2020.
reliable, concise authority. Its two volumes include sixteen chapters covering key practice areas of law, with over 1400 pages of practical information and how-to pointers from experienced, accomplished Maryland practitioners. The publication includes more than 300 forms (there is an option to purchase the book with downloadable forms) to give you a valuable head start on drafting almost every basic practice document.
MSBA Board of Governors Approves Revised Bylaws Amendments Latest Update to Bylaw Recommendations Benefit from Additional Section Input
At the MSBA Mid-year Meeting in Bethesda, MSBA President, Dana O. Williams referred proposed amendments to the MSBA Bylaws back to committee for further discussion based on member feedback. In addition, President Williams appointed two new members to the Bylaws committee, Danielle Cruttenden, Chair of the Estate & Trust Law Section and Susan Land, Chair of the Solo & Small Firm Practice Section, to ensure any potential concerns were addressed through the process. Ms. Cruttenden and Ms. Land provided recommendations of potential revisions that would address previous concerns.
Bylaws Committee Submits Revised Recommendations to Board of Governors
The most substantial revision to the recommendations was to restore an existing provision of the Bylaws, which allowed Sections to take positions on legislation within their area of responsibility, so long as that position is not counter to a position held by the MSBA. Given that the Bylaws committee at no time contemplated disempowering the Sections from engaging in legislative activity, and in fact planned to simply move this provision from the Bylaws to the Policy Manual, the committee agreed to leave the provision within the Bylaws as opposed to within its Policies. A few other minor revisions were made and are outlined in comparison copies and a comprehensive spreadsheet available on the MSBA website at MSBA.org/Bylaws.
Board of Governors Approves Revised Recommendations and Agrees to Submit Revisions to the Membership for Approval
At its annual retreat, held virtually on May 15, 2020, the Board of Governors considered the revised recommendations presented by co-Chairs, Marshall Paul and William Carlson. Following the presentation, the Board voted to unanimously approve the revised recommendations, and submit them to the membership at the June Virtual Annual Meeting for final approval. For Further Information: Visit msba.org/Bylaws for more details on the revised amendments. You can register for the Virtual Annual Meeting at msba.org/Virtual-Annual-Meeting.
UNLOCK ALL-ACCESS MEMBERSHIP
ASSPORT Get access at
& Scherr, LLC
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Experts in Elder Law, Estate and Special Needs Planning Medical Assistance Eligibility Planning and Asset Protection Disability Planning / Special Needs Trusts / Veterans Benefits Healthcare Directives / Living Wills Trusts / Estate Planning and Administration Wills / Powers of Attorney / Guardianship
410.337.8900 | www.frankelderlaw.com | 1.888.338.0400
MSBA.ORG | 19
BARBULLETIN Volume XXXVII, Number 6 • June 15, 2020
Board of Governors Reflects on Bar Year During First Virtual Annual Retreat
MSBA Focused on Upgrading Digital Content Page 3 Delivery; Sunsets Bar Bulletin Maryland Access to Justice Commission Chosen to Partner on High-Level Attorney General COVID-19 Task Force
How will you respond?
Our victories don’t make headlines. Our clients don’t boast about our work. But, behind the scenes, lawyers have trusted our responses for years.
When an applicant’s character is under scrutiny, this question may be more difficult than any contained on the bar exam. Bar applicants have the burden of proving their fitness to practice law. That That’s where we come in.
& X KCRAMER ONNOLLY THE LAWYER’S LAWYERS