MSBA Bar Bulletin – March 2020

Page 1

BARBULLETIN Volume XXXVII, Number 3 • March 15, 2020

What’s Inside Alternative Spring Break Page 6

Proposed Improvements to Maryland’s Vacatur Statute Would Provide “True Freedom” to Human Trafficking Survivors Page 10

MSBA Leadership Academy Launches Courtroom Closet Program Page 11

Taxation of Representation Page 13

Clean Up Your Writing: Make it Clear and Concise Page 15


MSBA Supports Bill Allowing for Standard Security Procedures at Courthouses Across Maryland Delegate Erek Barron and Senator Chris West, have both proposed bi-partisan legislation that would provide attorneys in good standing expedited security entry in all Maryland courthouses by presenting an MSBA Attorney Security Pass.


he bills were responsive to MSBA members and other Maryland attorneys that have identified varied approaches to courthouse security by county, expressed issues with the increased amount of time it takes to pass through security, and the invasiveness of some security measures, including the need to remove shoes, belts, and other clothing items to clear security. House Bill 1009 - Adjudicatory Hearings - Attorney Security Passes for Attorneys in Good Standing was heard on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 in the House Judiciary Committee, with Past President Kathy Howard testifying in SUPPORT on behalf of MSBA. On HB 1009, Delegate Barron led a panel of supporters that included Kathy Howard of MSBA, John Giannetti of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association (MCDAA), Delegate Shoemaker (co-sponsor), and Bruce Plaxen of the Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ). Testifying separately was Debra Saltz, also of MCDAA. Delegate Barron and Kathy Howard explained the bill and the MSBA amendments, and addressed concerns raised by the Judiciary and the MD Sheriff 's Association. Additionally, Del. Barron and Kathy Howard expressed the Sponsor's and MSBA's willingness to continue to work with the Judiciary and Sheriffs to craft solutions tailored to each individual court facility, as appropriate. Several lawyer members of the Judiciary Committee recalled easy admittance afforded by Bar cards in the past, but noted that they had merely adapted when they began to encounter facilities where the cards were no longer honored. Testifying in opposition to HB 1009 were Chief Judge of the District Court John MorVIDEO EXCLUSIVE

rissey, Judge Laura Ripken, Administrative Judge for the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County, and the Sheriffs of Harford County, Anne Arundel County, and the Deputy Sheriff of Baltimore City. Much of the opposition’s testimony was related to drawing security ONLINE CONTENT

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distinctions between courthouse security considerations and needs with those of the TSA in an airport environment, and the priority admittance granted to Cabinet Secretaries, lobbyists, and others in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 21



From the Boardroom

March 15, 2020

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 • Executive Director Victor L. Velazquez


Editorial Staff Anna S. Sholl Editor

2019-2020 Officers Dana O. Williams President Hon. Mark F. Scurti President-Elect Delegate Erek L. Barron Secretary

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uring his report, MSBA President, Dana report. During which, Mr. Velazquez, circulatWilliams, provided updates on several recent ed a copy of one of MSBA’s newest initiatives, events, including the MSBA Lobby Day in the State of the Legal Profession report. This Annapolis, the ABA Mid-Year Meeting, and the MSBA report can be viewed on the MSBA website: Professional Excursion. In addition, President In adliams discussed several pressing pieces of legislation dition, Mr. Velazquez also discussed the pending pending in Annapolis, including the elimination of legislation relating to courthouse access, and noted contested judicial elections, taxthat the MSBA is in development ation of professional services inof a new Attorney Security Pass, ATT OR NE Y SEC UR ITY PA SS cluding legal services, and access which will eventually replace the to courthouses. He noted that MSBA Bar Cards. Rollout of these Dana O. Williams, Esq . CPF ID: XXX-XXX-XXXX the MSBA Director of Legislative cards will begin in the upcoming Relations, Richard Montgomery, fiscal year. the MSBA Laws Committee, and President-Elect, Hon. Mark other key members of the MSBA Scurti, also provided a report and legislature, were out in front during the meeting. As part of his of many of these issues. report, he revealed the location President Williams also advised the Board of of his Professional Excursion: Caribe Hilton in San Governors of the bylaws discussion during the MidJuan, Puerto Rico. He noted that the excursion will Year meeting. As discussed in the Mid-Year, President be focused on culture and programming, including a Williams stated that the proposed bylaws would be meeting with the Puerto Rico Bar Association, a meet sent back to committee for further review and that and greet with Puerto Rican judges, service projects, two additional members of the committee would be as well as CLE. Details on how to register for the appointed to represent the interest of the Sections. 2021 Professional Excursion will be available soon. One action item resolved during President Williams' report was the rebalancing of the Montgomery County representatives. Currently, Montgomery County is entitled to two (2) Class I seats elected in odd years and five (5) Class II seats elected in even years. Based on the recommendation of the Montgomery County representatives, the Board elected to hold over one of the current Class II representatives, David Shapiro, and convert it to a Class I seat. As such, Montgomery County will now have three (3) Class I seats and four (4) Class II seats. Following President Williams’ report, MSBA Executive Director, Victor Velazquez, gave his MSBA MEMBE R

M. Natalie McSherry Treasurer


The Board of Governors met on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 in conjunction with the Mid-Year Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland.

Expires: XX/XX/XX

More information about the Board of Governors, including agendas and approved minutes can be found at



Jeffrey Delgado Baltimore City 202-324-5350

Cynthia L. Leppert Baltimore City 410-332-8529

Hon. Syeetah Hampton-El Baltimore City 410-229-4237

Benjamin H. Meredith Baltimore County 410-685-1166

P. David Gavin Montgomery County 301 279-2700

Dolores Dorsainvil Washington, DC 202-638-1501

Clara M. Martone-Boyce Washington, DC 202-637-2200

Hon. Bibi Berry Montgomery County 240-773-3955

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 Opinions of the Ethics Committee are available online at Please consult the Rules and MSBA Ethics Opinion Website before calling.

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19 The MSBA Estate & Trust Law Section Study Group

presents “State Income Tax Considerations in Trust Administration after Kaestner” presented by Lindsay D’Andrea, Esq. of Baker Hostetler. Participants can attend either in Baltimore or Bethesda. For more information and/or to register please visit:

22 Join the MSBA’s Public Awareness Committee and the Frederick County Bar’s YLS as we chop, bake, and serve for those in need of a hot, nutritious meal at the Frederick County Soup Kitchen. Volunteers will prepare, cook, and serve food as well as clean the dishes and kitchen area after the meal is finished. We hope to see you there. For more information and/or to register, please contact Detric Kemp at

23 Join the MSBA Young Lawyers’ Section for its Spring

Open Meeting beginning at 6:30pm at the University of Baltimore School of Law. During the meeting, preeminent leaders in the legal community will discuss their career paths and important decisions they’ve made along the way. Discussion topics will include pro bono work, non profit activities, different job placements, and civic engagement. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask direct questions of panelists. For more information and/or to register, please visit:

Are 'Forever Chemicals' the Next Big Toxic Tort? Plaintiffs lawyer Scott Summy, of Baron & Budd, said "forever chemicals," discovered in the drinking water of several communities, "are probably the largest environmental hazard in the country right now.”

When Must the U.S. Pay Legal Fees? A Vietnam Vet Turns to the Supreme Court A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said Alfred Procopio's case was the very sort of dispute Congress had in mind in the Equal Access to Justice Act. "The government’s position here was plainly wrong," the judge said.

Experts say 23% of lawyers’ work can be automated—law schools are trying to stay ahead of the curve Advances in technology such as artificial intelligence allow modern software to scan legal documents, streamline communications & find relevant casework for lawyers. McKinsey estimates that 23% of work done by lawyers can be automated by existing tech.

26 Join your local MSBA Real Property Section for a

delightful evening hosted by the award-winning Baltimore Improv Group in Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District! The event will include a food and drinks reception (including soft drinks as well as an open bar serving Natty Boh beer), tour of The BIG Theater, and discussion of real estate issues experienced by BIG, and will be crowned by a live comedy improvisation. For more information and/or to register, please visit:

26 Join the MSBA for a new program, Civil Practice and Pro-

cedure in the District Court of Maryland, on Thursday, March 26, 2020 beginning at 8:30am at Ecker Business Center in Columbia, MD! Join The Hon. Norman Stone (Ret.), The Hon. David Carey, The Hon. Robert Cooper, Maureen Denihan, Esq., Kathy Howard, Esq. and Ronald S. Canter, Esq. as they review the nuts and bolts of civil proceedings in the district court. Your esteemed faculty will cover everything from how to handle small claims, to protective and peace orders, to landlord -tenant, to discovery and motions in the District Court. This is a must attend for new attorneys and attorneys new to the Maryland District Court system! For more information and/or to register, please visit:

31 Join the MSBA for the new presentation of Criminal Practice & Procedure in the District Court of Maryland, on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at Loyola Graduate Center in Columbia, MD! For more information and/or to register, please visit:


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Coronavirus and the Occupational Safety and Health Act: What Employers Need to Know As the novel coronavirus (Coronavirus) continues to spread in China and around the world, employers may want to consider steps to take in addressing the Coronavirus in the workplace.



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Alternative Spring Break



ith almost 50% of the slots filled within a day of the start of registration, the 2020 Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is gearing up to be a success! This year, the Access to Justice Commission (A2JC) is partnering again with the University of Baltimore Law School and is excited to have added the University of Maryland Carey Law School to the ASB fold to offer law students in Maryland opportunities to volunteer with local civil legal aid organizations during their spring break. Both law schools have their spring break at the same time this year and ASB volunteer opportunities are scheduled during the week of March 16 - March 20. Student hunger to volunteer with area civil legal aid organizations is high. During the 2020

A2JC and both law schools appreciate the partnership with local civil legal aid organizations that have organized volunteer opportunities tailored to law students. During the 2020 ASB, law students will volunteer with the following organizations: Pro-Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC); Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS); Maryland Legal Aid (MLA); Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP); and for the first time, Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County (CLS). ASB is a win - win for students, civil legal aid organizations and the scores of Marylanders who need legal help, but do not receive it. Swapna Yeluri, the Director of Pro-Bono Programs at HPRP thought “the experience was rewarding and beneficial for both

[Pro-bono] helps shape our perspectives, understand struggles beyond our experience, and sharpen our understanding of equity and equality. ASB, students have a wealth of volunteer opportunities to choose from. Law students could choose to get trained on client interviewing and expectation-setting; do client intake; assist clients in rent court proceedings, consumer affidavit judgment cases or immigration cases; help clients prepare veterans benefit claims or aid with estate planning options; and more.



the law students and HPRP. The students were exposed to veteran benefits law and several students expressed an interest in continuing to volunteer with HPRP in the future.” The Executive Director of MVLS, Susan Francis, noted that “attorneys volunteering at the Homeowner Clinic enjoyed having eager law students shadow them through their client CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

MSBA Holds Mid-Year Meeting in Bethesda


n Tuesday, February 25, 2020, the MSBA held its Mid-Year Meeting at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Bethesda, Maryland. Over 100 MSBA members were in attendance to enjoy a complimentary networking luncheon, and hear remarks from MSBA President, Dana Williams regarding the importance of a state-wide voluntary Bar. As part of his remarks, President Williams highlighted MSBA’s advocacy initiatives in Annapolis, which include opposing the proposal to tax legal services and supporting legislation that would make it easier for attorneys to access courthouses across Maryland. The ability to speak on behalf of the profession, he noted, is based on the strength of the MSBA’s membership. During his remarks, President Williams also stressed the other important work of the MSBA, including the expansion of the Lawyer Assistance Program across Maryland, the increase of substantive CLE programs and publications, and enhancement of MSBA conferences, including the Legal Summit & Annual Meeting and the Solo & Small Firm Summit. He also discussed his experience ensuring that the MSBA is truly a state-wide organization, and noted the many “Connections” events held across the state from Leonardtown, to Columbia, to Bel Air, to Bethesda. In addition, to remarks from President Williams, attendees received a State of the MSBA presentation from Executive Director, Victor Velazquez. During his presentation, Mr. Velazquez featured the improved marketing and branding the MSBA is doing on behalf of sections, recognizing that sections are the life-blood of the MSBA. He also introduced several new initiatives that the MSBA is working on, including the imminent rollout of the MSBA Passport, a new all-inclusive membership option. Following his report, the attendees heard from the cochairs of the Bylaws committee, Hon. Harry Storm and Marshall Paul. After a robust discussion, members voted to table a vote on the Bylaws, and instead return the recommendations to the committee for further consideration. In doing so, President Williams noted that he would

appoint two additional members to the committee to represent the Sections’ interest. At the conclusion of the business meeting, attendees had the option to choose from three complimentary CLEs. The topics available were Cybersecurity,

Electronically Stored Information, and Ethics. The event concluded with a networking reception, and remarks from the event sponsors: Lockton Affinity and Treble.

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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


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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


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



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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

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 southbound Fort McHenry Tunnel toll plaza on Interstate 95 in Baltimore. FILE PHOTO




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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


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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-

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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

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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

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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.’


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Jay Bernstein, Esq.

Government Attorney; PBRC Volunteer What is your area of practice, and with which of PBRC’s projects do you volunteer?

What keeps you coming back to volunteer?

I work for a federal agency, litigating disputes involving government contracts. I volunteer in Baltimore City Rent Court, representing tenants with PBRC’s Courtroom Advocacy Project.

What attracted you to this form of pro bono? Well, a rental lease is just a contract. One thing that is appealing to me about this work is that it’s somewhat similar to what I do every day. I wanted to volunteer in an area of law I could get my hands around, where it wouldn’t take a long time to get up to speed. Also, there have been articles in the paper over the past several years, about tenants not knowing their rights in housing court. So it seemed to be an area where there was a real need for pro bono work.

How many clients have you helped? I’ve been going to Rent Court twice a month for about four months. I might see two clients in a visit. In most of these cases the clients have had better outcomes because they've had representation. I’d say at least 50% of the cases have been dismissed because of simple licensing issues we identify. Sometimes the dispute is about how much money is owed. Of course, sometimes the client owes money, and the advice is on how to deal with it. But every client who has the benefit of legal advice is better off.

PBRC’s featured service opportunity Volunteering with the Courtroom Advocacy Project:

I think it's helpful to try to volunteer on a regular basis. If you’re volunteering intermittently, it’s more likely that every time you go, you’re trying to figure things out. I try to attend on a regular basis so I’m better able to serve the clients and have a more complete understanding of the law, and a better understanding of all the different nuances that come up in court. I definitely feel more comfortable now than I did several months ago.

Do any of the cases stick out in your mind? One area that's a little more complex is a rent escrow hearing. That's a situation where the tenant’s defense is an issue with the property that justifies nonpayment - some health or safety issue. A couple of weeks ago was the first time that I actually represented someone at a rent escrow hearing. Because of that process the landlord actually fixed problems for the tenant. The whole point of the process is to incentivize the landlord to take care of the property. I thought it was an interesting experience.

What message would you give to attorneys thinking about volunteering? I think we as lawyers have a responsibility to give back to the community and to use our skills to help others. It's something which for a long time in my career I haven't been able to do, and now I can. I think it's necessary and appropriate and, besides any satisfaction I get out of doing it, I think it’s something that we as lawyers should be doing. One thing that's great about PBRC is that the time commitment is based on what you can provide. You can volunteer as much or as little as your schedule allows, so that that's great plus! Also, there is always someone from PBRC at the clinic. When I first started, I had a lot of questions and the lawyer was always available to give guidance. So, the resources are available, not just to the clients being served but to us as volunteers as well.

For more information about volunteering in Maryland, contact: Annie Speedie, PBRC Deputy Director:, 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.

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Proposed Improvements to Maryland’s Vacatur Statute Would Provide “True Freedom” to Human Trafficking Survivors BY JESSICA EMERSON, LMSW, ESQ.

Take yourts procedures.


uman trafficking is a crime that often has a life-long impact on its victims, which is magnified if they have had repeated interactions with the criminal legal system while being trafficked. In addition to the abuse, coercive control and manipulation victims of human trafficking routinely face, many survivors are also arrested for and convicted of crimes they are forced to commit by their traffickers. These resulting criminal records can prevent survivors from moving forward with their lives and present an almost insurmountable barrier to obtaining safe housing and gainful employment. Without legal options to address their criminal records, trafficking survivors often remain trapped in poverty and vulnerable to continued exploitation. Maryland’s current criminal record relief law is inadequate to fully meet the needs of criminalized trafficking survivors, but improvements are potentially on the way if the Maryland General Assembly passes the “True Freedom Act of 2020” (HB242/ SB206). There is a growing awareness that victims of human trafficking are often arrested and prosecuted for crimes they are forced to commit by their traffickers. A recent survey by the National Survivor Network assessing the impact of criminal arrest and detention on trafficking survivors found that 91% of survivors reported being arrested during the time they were trafficked, 60% of whom were arrested for crimes other than prostitution. Of that 91% who were criminalized, 80% did not report their trafficking at the time of their arrest out of fear, because of threats made by their trafficker, or because no one ever asked them if they were being trafficked. In addition, 73% of criminalized survivors reported barriers to employment and 58% reported barriers to obtaining housing based on their criminal records, while 76% shared that they were unable to vacate their convictions or could only clear a portion of their record. These alarming statistics confirm how involvement with the criminal legal system can have a continuing impact on survivors and prevent them from moving forward with their lives in safety. In 2011, Maryland became only the second state in the country to respond


Md. Code. Ann., Crim. Proc. § 8-302.


The “True Freedom Act” would improve upon both the intent and spirit of the existing law by acknowledging that prostitution is not the only crime victims are forced to commit.

to this injustice by enacting a “vacating convictions” law1, which allows survivors of sex trafficking to vacate, or set aside, their prostitution convictions, based on the fact that they were not criminally responsible for their actions at the time of their arrest. In the years since the law’s enactment, however, Maryland’s vacatur law has proven inadequate as the law fails to provide relief for trafficking-related

convictions other than prostitution, such as trespassing and drug possession. Additionally, Maryland is one of only three states in the country that requires the written consent of the State’s Attorney in the county that originally prosecuted the victim before that same victim can file a petition for vacatur with the court. Allowing for vacatur of only prostitution convictions is not enough. Too many

survivors have convictions for crimes other than prostitution that are also a result of being trafficked. Without the option of vacating these crimes as well, many survivors of trafficking will find themselves in the same position they were in prior to seeking post-conviction relief, unable to truly heal from the trauma of their experiences. The “True Freedom Act” would improve upon CONTINUED ON PAGE 21


MSBA Leadership Academy Launches Courtroom Closet Program



new program hopes to level the playing field for litigants by offering court-appropriate attire on the day of court. Litigants face several barriers when they have business with Maryland courts, including insufficient knowledge of court processes, an absence of legal knowledge and a lack of legal representation. Another barrier is a lack of court appropriate clothing. The Maryland State Bar Association’s Leadership Academy Class of 2020 has a project to help litigants dress for court. Through their Courtroom Closet project, the Class of 2020 will provide court appropriate clothing to all who require it for day-of-court use in the form of either a blazer or belt in the Bourne Wing of the Upper Marlboro Courthouse. The closet will be open in April on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 8:30am until 11:30am for the morning session and again from 12:45pm until 3:30pm for the afternoon session. Litigants who lack court appropriate clothing may be subject to implicit biases in the courtroom in the event they are not shut out completely by judges or court staff who deem litigant attire as inappropriate. Implicit bias is an unconscious attitude or belief about a person or group of people. Also referred to as unconscious bias, implicit bias most often manifests as negative attitudes or beliefs about a marginalized group based on any factor, including race, sexual identity, or social class. These unconscious beliefs are learned behaviors developed, in part, from schooling, where a person grew up, and with whom they associated. Few people would admit they harbor a conscious bias; however, they may not recognize when they make an unfair judgment or comment. Implicit biases are difficult, if not impossible, to train out of individuals, however, these biases can be minimized by connecting to people on an individual level (McCombs School of Business The University of Texas at Austin, 2018). Such connection may reduce the occurrence of implicit bias, however, brief and infrequent litigant interactions in courtrooms do not provide opportunities for personalization. As a result, implicit bias remains a barrier to access to justice. Generally, litigants appear in court infrequently and for short periods, there is likely no opportunity to rebut any implicit bias held by a judge or court staff. One noticeable implicit bias is one of social class, which may manifest in the clothing litigants wear upon entering the courthouse or appearing before a judge. While a litigant may view their clothing as appropriate, judges or court staff may have different norms or es-

tablished mores of what clothing is considered appropriate. Judges or court staff may express implicit biases about clothing through favoring evidentiary decisions of one party over another; imposing harsher sentencing or fines; or barring access to court services all together by demanding litigants re-appear at a later time or day when dressed appropriately. A delay, however, may create an impediment to justice, for example, by delaying the remedy the person was seeking or making it hard for those who must take time off work to attend court. There is a need to provide court appropriate attire for day of court use and there are a few groups filing that need. The Maryland Judiciary’s Administrative Office of the Courts reported 89% of litigants in domestic cases are unrepresented at some point during their case (Administrative Office of the Court, 2020). As a result, litigants may not receive guidance on court appropriate attire until in front of a judge. Not for profit groups sometimes offer court appropriate attire to clients for day of court use. The House of Ruth provides clothing to clients they represent in family court matters. The Office of the Public Defender maintains clothing for the incarcerated criminal defendants they represent. But some non-profits and other government entities have a limited reach. Those that do help provide court appropriate attire only to their own clients. The MSBA Leadership Academy Class of 2020 is launching their program to help a broader range of litigants. While a blazer to cover exposed shoulders or a belt to cinch sagging pants will

only solve one issue, the future leaders of the profession in Maryland hope that by promoting equality of appearance, they can enhance access to justice. Email msbaleadership2020@gmail. com for more information on the program or to make monetary or clothing donations.


89% of litigants in domestic cases are unrepresented at some point during their case. As a result, litigants may not receive guidance on court appropriate attire until in front of a judge.


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Taxation of Representation A Q&A with Irwin Kramer, Kramer & Connolly

Q. Licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia, I find it challenging to represent consumers and small businesses that can’t afford the legal fees of my competitors. If Maryland levies a tax on legal services, how will that impact my clients and my practice?


If a “professional services tax” is enacted, expect additional administrative burdens, greater overhead, and less profit on fewer clients. As other states seek ways to eliminate economic obstacles for those seeking representation, taxing legal services will make it more difficult for those seeking access to justice in our state. If we were to impose a 5% tax on legal services: • Lawyers charging a very competitive hourly rate of $250 will cost their clients $262.50. Every ten hours billed will add an extra $125.00 to their invoices; • The seriously injured client who settles for insurance policy limits of $300,000 would net significantly less if the State taxes her lawyer’s $100,000 contingency fee. Beyond liens for medical treatment, expert witness costs and other expenses of representation, subtract an additional $5,000 from her recovery; • The State giveth and the State taketh away. Although legislators recently doubled the Maryland Tort Claims Act damages cap to let victims recover up to $400,000 against the State, those that do will have to pay some of their limited recovery back to a state that taxes their lawyers’

contingency fees; and • Beyond taxes on legal fees themselves, services rendered by expert witnesses, private investigators, private process servers, court reporters and a range of other professionals would add further taxes to client bills. If you also retain outside professionals to assist with business operations, this tax will increase your own overhead, reduce your profit margin, and place additional pressure on you to raise hourly rates. This will hit you, other small firms and sole practitioners especially hard. Those practicing in smaller settings frequently outsource services which large firms handle inhouse. If you hire others to assist with clerical and paralegal needs, use a payroll service or retain human resources and pension consultants, tack on another 5% to the cost of doing business with the help of outside contractors. Ironically, the professional services tax itself will increase your own need for professional services – from accountants, bookkeepers and other tax professionals. Beyond your additional accounting and remittance obligations, the multi-jurisdictional nature of your law practice adds a layer of complexity that may be tough to navigate. Unlike the sale of discrete goods, Maryland lawyers who

are licensed to represent clients in other states may have difficulty determining whether their services fall within or outside of the geographical scope of Maryland’s taxing authority. Sorting this out may give rise to tax audits which seek the disclosure of sensitive or privileged information on clients whose confidentiality you must maintain. Hardly an easy tax to administer, most state legislatures that have proposed professional services taxes have rejected them as unworkable and others promptly repealed these provisions due to difficulties in enforcement. The taxman may be the least of your concerns if Maryland enacts the tax. Enter the Attorney Grievance Commission. Lawyers who fail to satisfy tax obligations routinely face professional discipline. Whether through negligent mismanagement or by wilful evasion, problems in reporting or remitting income or payroll taxes have prompted public reprimands, suspensions and disbarments. An additional set of complex tax provisions will give Bar Counsel additional grounds on which to sanction those who fall short. At a time when fewer consumers can even afford to retain counsel, taxing the legal fees incurred would penalize those seeking access to justice. While economists disagree on whether sales taxes reduce sales, few would debate the difficulties which low- and middle-income Americans face amid the skyCONTINUED ON PAGE 23

Elsa W Smith, Esq. and MSBA President Dana O. Williams prepare to testify against HB 1628 in Annapolis on Monday, March 2, 2020.

MSBA Opposes General Assembly Proposal that Would Expand Sales Tax to Include Legal Services A bill introduced in the House of Delegates seeks to expand the sales and use tax to include legal services. House Bill 1628, Sales and Use Tax – Rate Reduction and Services, has not been assigned to a standing Committee yet, but is expected to be assigned very quickly to the Ways & Means Committee, which handles taxation matters. The text of the bill can be found at http://mgaleg.maryland. gov/2020RS/bills/hb/hb1628f.pdf. While there is no Senate version of the bill, it is possible that one may be introduced in the coming days. We must assume that the bill is on a fast track, as an effort to fund the Kirwan education initiative. Paramount among MSBA core issues is opposition to taxation of legal services. As stated in the MSBA State Legislative Program: “A legal services tax is a disincentive for citizens to seek legal advice and falls on the clients—not the lawyers. The MSBA places a high value upon access to justice for all citizens. Clients seeking legal advice on dissolution of marriage, bankruptcy, child support, debt collection and similar matters would pay the tax, but are those who can least afford to pay an additional charge. Moreover, an audit of client fund accounts in order to administer the tax may violate the attorney/client privilege. In some instances, a legal services tax could be a tax on tax advice. And taxing a person’s ability to defend himself or herself in a criminal proceeding could be challenged as unconstitutional.” The MSBA Director of Legislative Relations, Richard Montgomery, and the MSBA Laws Committee, has developed and instituted a strategy to oppose this bill consistent with the language of the Legislative Program outlined above. As part of its strategy, the Committee will call on members of the Profession to testify against the bill, among other advocacy efforts. Updates on the MSBA efforts will be sent by email to all members and posted on the MSBA website at Late on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the Revenue Subcommittee of the House Ways & Means Committee killed House Bill 1628 - Sales & Use Tax - Rate Reduction and Services in part due to the efforts of the MSBA leadership and legislative team.






hile writing about complex issues is a focus of many attorneys' days, between advising clients, researching the issues, going to court, and negotiating contracts, most attorneys have little time to focus on their writing style. Add on a multitude of pressing deadlines, and attorneys find themselves drafting most legal documents at the eleventh hour, leaving just enough time to proofread, but not enough time to revise. To improve your writing style, you must take the time for revisions that include a focus on your writing style. The issues caused by a lack of revision time are exacerbated by how law schools and experienced attorneys train young lawyers. Most aspiring attorneys are trained to write complex prose describing complicated concepts. As a result, legal documents are unnecessarily hard to read. A lawyer’s focus should not be producing documents that are challenging to understand as proof of intelligence and justification for the bill. A lawyer’s focus should be providing counsel and advocacy for his or her clients. The documents should reflect that counsel and zealous advocacy.

Focus on Clear, Concise Language

The focus of most lawyers' revisions should be on simplifying their language. Aim for clear and concise writing whenever

possible. Attorneys notoriously use twenty words when two words would suffice. This “lawyerly approach” to writing is deeply-rooted in tradition and how attorneys believe a legal document should read. To help shake the habit, start by ceasing specific bad practices. Passive Voice There is a time and a place for passive voice, but legal writing is not it. Active voice is more concise and clearer than passive voice. Passive voice occurs when the person or thing acting is not the subject of the sentence. For example: Plaintiff 's leg was broken by the defendant. In this example, the defendant is performing the action (the breaking of the leg), but the defendant is not the subject of the sentence (the plaintiff's leg is the subject). When written in active voice, the sentence reads: Defendant

broke Plaintiff's leg. The sentence length reduced from 7 words to 4 words, is easier to read, and paints a better mental picture for the reader. Catching passive voice is easy. Passive voice always contains a form of the verb "to be" and follows it with a past participle – just watch for sentences using that formula while revising a document. Redundancy Redundancy comes in all forms. From including both written out and Arabic numerals to redundant phrases (e.g., “last will and testament” and “swear and affirm”), lawyers habitually include unnecessary words. Regarding numbers, the habit of following a written number with the Arabic numeral in parentheses is hard to read and increases the possibly of committing malpractice. If there’s a mismatch between the two, the drafting attorney unin-

A lawyer’s focus should not be producing documents that are challenging to understand as proof of intelligence and justification for the bill. tentionally opened the door to litigation over the contract and a possible malpractice claim. Using the Arabic numeral alone makes it easier to ensure that the right number is included and makes the contract easier to read. Phrases such as "last will and testament" and "give, devise, and bequeath" are the norm in estate planning documents. However, "will" and "give" are sufficient; there is no need to add extraneous words. As lawyers continue to use these redundant phrases it perpetuates the belief that they

are required. Needless Words Redundant phrases are not the only time lawyers use needless words in their writing. "Until" becomes "until such time as." "Annual" becomes "on an annual basis." "The fact that" appears frequently in legal writing, yet rarely adds any meaning or clarity to the sentence. Remove unnecessary words for more concise, clear writing. CONTINUED ON PAGE 23



Continuing Legal Education Opportunities

Department of Learning: Raising the Bar for Education

Available Soon


We’re excited to offer the latest presentation of Civil Practice in the District Court on March 26 in Columbia, and also a new Criminal Practice in the District Court on March 31 in Columbia. Learn best practices for handling your civil and criminal cases in the District Court of Maryland. Join The Hon. Norman Stone (Ret.), The Hon. David Carey, The Hon. Robert Cooper, Maureen Denihan, Esq., Kathy Howard, Esq. and Ronald S. Canter, Esq. as they review the nuts and bolts of civil proceedings. Your esteemed faculty will cover everything from handling small and large claims,

to protective and peace orders, to landlord -tenant, to discovery and motions, and judgement enforcement in the District Court. Receive a 10% discount on the new publications covering District Court practice when you register for the live seminars or webcasts! To learn the best strategies for managing a criminal matter in the District Court of Maryland, join The Hon. Nathan Braverman, (retired), Richard A. Finci, Esq. and Thomas C. Morrow, Esq., as they review bail and pre-trial release, plea bargains and plea agreements, postponements and continuances, trial tips and more.

These are must attend programs for new attorneys and attorneys new to the Maryland District Court system! Keep an eye on the MSBA website for all upcoming live programs. If you cannot attend the live program, many are being webcast concurrent with the live program and you can find these programs available online, on-demand approximately 5-10 business days after the live program. Online programming carries CLE credit just like the live programs. See below for details.

UPCOMING LIVE CLE PROGRAMS Registration is open for: • Civil Practice in the District Court | March 26, 2020 | Columbia • Criminal Practice in the District Court | March 31, 2020 | Columbia • Spring Immigration Conference 2020: Removal Defense Skills Workshop | April 2, 2020 | Arnold • 20 Hour Mediation Training in Child Custody and Visitation | April 21-23, 2020 | Columbia • 2020 Employment Law Institute | April 29, 2020 | Columbia • 2020 Advanced Business Law Institute | April 30, 2020 | Columbia • The Maryland Trial Advocacy Institute | May, 4-7 2020 • Finance for Lawyers | May 11, 2020 | Baltimore • 2020 Hot Tips in Workers’ Compensation | May 14, 2020 | Columbia • 40-Hour Basic Mediation Training | September 21-25, 2020 | Baltimore • 2020 Advanced Estate Planning Institute | May 19, 2020 | Columbia Registration Opening Soon! • Hot Topics in Elder Law | June 4, 2020 | Columbia Additional information and online registration available at

NEW ONLINE, ON-DEMAND • Maryland’s New Elective Share Law: Adjustments and Opportunities - presented live on November 4, 2019 • Advanced Real Property Institute - presented live November 7, 2019 • Maryland Federal and State Employment Law Update - presented live November 21, 2019 • Premarital Agreements – Drafting and Negotiating from the Estates/Trusts and Family • Law Perspectives - presented live December 3, 2019 • Financial Issues in Divorce – Taxation, Valuation, Equalization: Navigating Potential Asset and Income Obstacles in Divorce Negotiations - presented live January 30, 2020


Civil Practice in the District Court - March 26, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Criminal Practice in the District Court - March 31, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 2020 Employment Law Institute - April 29, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Finance for Lawyers - May 11, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 2020 Hot Tips in Workers’ Compensation - May 14, 2020 | 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Hot Topics in Elder Law - June 4, 2020 | 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. For more information and to register go to


NEW & RECENT PUBLICATION UPDATES (All titles available in print and electronically)

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. Now Available Maryland Divorce & Separation Law, Tenth Edition— 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-to-follow 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 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. Order your copies today at




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MSBA Lawyer Assistance Program Wellness TipSheet

Make it a Habit BY LISA CAPLAN, LCSW-C

Why are opening the blinds in the morning, brushing your teeth, not touching a hot pot, tying the same shoe first, or getting a cup of coffee when you get to work so automatic that we don’t even think about them? It's because these behaviors are habits that you have developed. A habit is something that is done regularly because it has been cued by something in the environment or a situation and it occurs without thought.


here is some controversy over how long it takes to develop a habit. Some say it takes only 21 days to form a habit; some say years; while others say it can take only seconds depending upon the emotion that goes along with the decision to start behaving in a certain way. For example, if you touch a hot pot or stove when you are young, you will experience pain and therefore you will develop the habit to not touch a hot pot or stove ever again. Another example might be that you have been wanting to lose weight and get fit for several years, but just haven’t been able to do it. Then your doctor tells you that if you don’t lose weight, change your eating habits, and start exercising you most likely will die early of heart disease. Now the emotional discomfort that comes from hearing that you will die early is enough to make you change your behavior. Psychologists refer to this as a “significant emotional experience.” This is any experience that has intense happiness or pain, combined with a behavior,which causes a habitual behavior pattern that may last the rest of the individual's life. According to Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Developing new habits takes work. Here are some tips that may help: 1 Identify your ultimate goal. Make a decision that this is what you want to do with no exceptions. 2 Develop a plan that works for you and write it down. Stick with it. Don’t allow yourself to not do

it during the initial stages of habit development. At least the first 3 months. Knowing what your endpoint is will help you develop the steps needed to reach your goal. Research shows that having a plan will help you stick to your goal. If you want to get up by 6:00am and you currently get up at 10 you will want to create a plan that may have you gradually getting up an hour earlier over a period of time until you have reached your goal. 3 Start with one small goal at a time. If you want to eat healthier start with one small change. Maybe cut out soda or chips. Meal prep ahead of time or meet with a nutritionist for a plan and to be accountable. Taking on too many changes at once can set you up to fail.

Remind yourself frequently why you want to accomplish your goal. Put it as your wallpaper on 4

your phone, write it down or tape it to your mirror. Reminding yourself will help motivate you to accomplish your goal.


5 Visualize yourself doing your new behavior. Visualizing your new habit is powerful and has been shown to accelerate the speed of adopting a new behavior. It will take hold in your subconscious and become a habit.

Look at and Prepare for all the bumps in the road that can get in your way. You are trying to eat 6

healthier and you have a party coming up. Make a plan with intent on how you will handle it. Exercise that day, eat something before you go so you don’t stuff yourself, decide how much you want to drink. Looking at all the obstacles ahead of time will help you figure out how to avoid them. 7 Tell everyone in your support system. When you share with other people you will become accountable for the habit you want to develop. Find a friend or group to support each other on your new habits.

Continue with your new behavior until not doing it feels uncomfortable. 8

Small rewards go a long way. Immediate, small rewards reinforce the pleasure of doing your new habit. Maybe visit the coffee shop right next to the gym after your workout, eat a small snack that you only have after working out, meet up with friends, listen to music you don’t usually listen to. You start to associate the reward with the behavior and this helps to stick with it. The reward reinforces that behavior. 9

10 Try starting a new habit while on vacation. When we are on vacation, our schedule is interrupted, which is a good time to introduce something new that hopefully will stick when you return home.

For more tips on wellness check out the Wellness Portal

For assistance, please contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling. We have a network of counselors throughout Maryland. Jim Quinn, Director, (443) 703-3041,; Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, Associate Director, (443) 703-3042, 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 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.




Ed Kidner

Pamela J. Diedrich

Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny, LLC, one of the region’s leading law firms, announced that Ed Kidner has joined the firm as an attorney, working primarily in its Business and Transactional Practice Group. Ed will serve as general counsel to business clients and will also be an integral part of the firm’s quickly growing M&A practice, where he will focus on assisting business owners with succession planning and exit strategies, and representing them throughout the acquisition or sale transaction. Jackson & Campbell, P.C., located in Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce that Pamela J. Diedrich has been elevated to Director. Pam’s practice focuses on representing health care providers in medical malpractice actions, credentialing matters, and privacy breach issues throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. The Law Office of James A. Hyatt is pleased to announce that MaKayla Hanington has joined the firm as an associate. Ms. Hanington was admitted to the Maryland bar in 2016 after graduating from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She will continue to focus her practice in estate planning, estate and trust administration, and elder law.

MaKayla Hanington

Andrew M. Friedman

Alexis L. Holiday

McMillan Metro, P.C., an AV rated law firm in Potomac, Maryland, is pleased to announce that Andrew M. Friedman has joined the Firm as an Associate attorney. Mr. Friedman is well known to members of the estate planning community for assisting clients with all aspects of estate and tax planning, as well as estate administration. He most recently worked with a boutique DC Firm preparing fiduciary, individual and estate tax returns, handling simple to complex estate planning, and managing probate and trust administration. McMillan Metro is located at 7811 Montrose Road, Suite 400, Potomac, Maryland, (301) 251-1180, The law firm of Turnbull, Nicholson & Sanders is pleased to announce that Alexis L. Holiday joined the practice as an associate attorney in January 2020, focusing her practice on family law matters. Alexis graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law, cum laude, in 2019, and was a member of the Royal Graham Shannonhouse III Honor Society.

Send your latest news and updates for inclusion in Et Alia:



The law firm of Turnbull, Nicholson & Sanders is pleased to announce that Snehal Massey joined the Snehal Massey practice as an associate attorney in February 2020. Snehal graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law with a concentration in Family Law, where she practiced as a Rule 16 Student Attorney in the Family Law Clinic. Snehal is also trained to serve as a Court-Appointed Child Counsel. Mar yland Vo l u n t e e r Lawyers Service (MVLS), the largest provider of pro bono civil legal services to Michael March low-income Marylanders, announced today the election of Michael March, associate attorney at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP, to its Board of Directors. March is an active MVLS volunteer and conducts training sessions to educate other pro bono attorneys about tax challenges that many MVLS clients face. Michael March is an associate attorney at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP, and primarily practices in the firm’s tax controversy group. March focuses on representing individuals, businesses, and exempt-organizations throughout all stages of federal and state tax controversies, tax planning, financial consulting and arbitration, and corporate litigation. Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), the largest provider of pro bono civil legal services to low-income Marylanders, today announced that Amy Hennen has been promoted to director of advocacy and financial stabilization. An MVLS staff member since 2015, Hennen was the organization’s managing attorney for consumer and housing law. Along with Hennen’s promotion, MVLS announced that Aja’ Mallory joined the organization as its new consumer staff attorney.

Amy Hennen

Aja’ Mallory

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APRIL 21-23

Join the MSBA for the newest presentation of 20 Hour Mediation in Child Custody and Visitation, on April 21-23, 2020 in Columbia, MD! Trainers Barbara Williams and Ellen Kandell have 30+ years of experience in mediation practice, conflict resolution training, and teaching. Training format includes small group exercises, discussions, coached role plays, video, and lecture. Training format includes small group exercises, discussions, coached role plays, video, and lecture. For more information and/or to register, please visit:


Join the Estate & Trust Law Study Group for April 2020 Speakers: Don’t Trip Up the Step-Up: The Importance of Basis Adjustment Planning presented by Stephanie Perry, Esq. & Adam Swaim, Esq., Pasternak & Fidis, P.C. The speakers will present live in the Bethesda location, and be live-streamed to the Baltimore location. Both locations will provide a networking lunch. For more information and/or to register in either location, please visit:

24 Join the MSBA Young Lawyers Section for its 29th Annual

Charity Event. This year’s event will benefit MYLaw. Formerly known as the Citizenship Law Related Education Program, MYLAW has actively worked since 1975 to educate Maryland’s youth about the law and legal system. MYLAW strives to foster among youth an appreciation for the American Judicial System and aspires to build the next generation of civic-minded citizens through its programs, such as Mock Trial, Law Links, the City Council Page Program, Baltimore City Teen Court, and Law Academy, which teach youth key life skills like communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. Through its efforts, MYLAW helps youth prepare for college and career pathways. To sponsor or register for this event, please visit:

29 Join the MSBA Labor & Employment Section for the newest presentation of Employment Law Institute on April 29, 2020 in Columbia, MD! Experienced practitioners will present a comprehensive program that will include Federal, Maryland case and legislative, Supreme Court updates and more! The afternoon session will include a Q&A session with an EEOC judge and the general counsel of the MD Commission on Civil Rights. For more information and/or to register, please visit: 30 New technology, legislation, and court rulings are changing the

way we do business faster than ever before. The Advanced Business Law Institute brings together business leaders, policymakers, and experts from the legal field to keep lawyers up to date on all they need to know to better serve their clients and adapt to a changing business environment. Hear from experienced practitioners on topics of Securities Law, Evaluating Franchise Agreements, Drafting and Reviewing Business Contracts, Letters of Intent and more! Stay for the cocktail reception sponsored by SC&H Group. For more information and/or to register, please visit:


Courthouse Security



legislative complex. The Judiciary stated that not only is the interior of the court facility a driving factor in security protocols, but also the surrounding neighborhood. Opponents (mostly the Sheriffs) also stated there are jurisdictional control differences between circuit courthouses

(county control) and District Court facilities (State control), and both the Judiciary and Sheriffs found it inappropriate for the Department of General Services to have regulatory control over any of the facilities contemplated by the bill. Senate Bill 889, is set to be

heard on March 4, 2020 in front of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The MSBA Director of Legislative Relations, Richard Montgomery, along with other prominent members of the MSBA, will be onsite to advocate for the bill.

fulfilling. I would not only recommend others to participate in the future but I would also participate again.” At this point, the ASB model for law students in Maryland is an a-la-carte model where students can pick and choose which days they want to volunteer. A2JC is also working towards adding an offering in 2021 that would be a full week immersive volunteer experience for the entirety of spring break so that students who choose to do so, can delve deeper into one subject matter, with one organization and get to do more substantive work for the duration of their spring

break. Currently, law schools do offer opportunities to do such immersive experiences outside of the state, but A2JC will work to develop in-state opportunities that would both be more affordable for students and build lasting ties between students, civil legal aid organizations and deepen understanding of legal issues and processes in their home state. We look forward to continuing to grow this program. If your organization would like to participate in ASB 2021, please contact Reena Shah, Executive Director of A2JC at

Alternative Spring Break CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6

interviews, and the students were gracious, courteous and friendly to MVLS staff, volunteer attorneys, and most importantly, to our clients.” Sumbul Alam, a student at UB Law who participated in ASB last year reflected that “pro-bono is an integral learning experience and benefits not only the community but the law student. It helps shape our perspectives, understand struggles beyond our experience, and sharpen our understanding of equity and equality.” Candice Miller, a law student at UB Law School who also participated in ASB last year said simply, “[i]t was a great experience and extremely

both the intent and spirit of the existing law by acknowledging that prostitution is not the only crime victims are forced to commit, and by recognizing that the State’s Attorney should not play the role of both judge and jury in the case of a trafficking survivor seeking legal relief. While we do not know the fate of the bill at the time of this publication, it is important to acknowledge how the name for the True Freedom Act came to be. Prior to the 2019 session, anti-trafficking advocates in Maryland were introduced to a sex trafficking survivor who had successfully vacated a number of trafficking-related convictions other than prostitution from her record in a state with a much broader vacatur law. This survivor said that it wasn’t until she was finally able to vacate her convictions that she felt she was “truly free” from her trafficker. Survivors who have been trafficked in the state of Maryland deserve this freedom too.

Jessica Emerson, LMSW, Esq. is the Director of the Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTPP) and Clinic Professor at University of Baltimore School of Law. Heather Heiman, Esq., is the Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTPP) Manager at Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. The HTPP, a partnership between Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and University of Baltimore School of Law, strives to reduce the collateral consequences of criminal legal involvement for survivors of human trafficking and those populations made most vulnerable to exploitation. The HTPP provides free legal representation to help survivors vacate, expunge, or shield prostitution and other criminal records, as well as legal assistance with name and gender marker change, family law, housing, consumer debt, tax, and other civil legal matters.

Matt Grogan


Jim Lanier

More than $10 million recovered for injured workers in 2019

Byron B. Warnken, Jr.

Rebecca L. Smith


FRI DAY, A PR I L 24 , 20 20 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Gertrude’s at the Baltimore Museum of Art Join us for the Young Lawyers Section’s 28th annual philanthropic event, featuring hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, live music and a silent auction.


Maryland Youth & The Law ( M Y L AW )

Formerly known as the Citizenship Law Related Education Program, MYLAW has actively worked since 1975 to educate Maryland’s youth about the law and legal system. MYLAW strives to foster among youth an appreciation for the American Judicial System and aspires to build the next generation of civic-minded citizens through its programs, such as Mock Trial, Law Links, the City Council Page Program, Baltimore City Teen Court, and Law Academy, which teach youth key life skills like communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Get your tickets today at 22




rocketing cost of legal services. As attorney's fees rival the value of their cases, many segments of society have been forced to fend for themselves, or simply give up. Increasing their fees by 5% will increase this hardship even more. Rather than comment on the political issues surrounding this proposal, I believe that any rational debate over the merits of taxing legal services must focus on those who will be hit the hardest – our clients. However unpopular this tax bill may be,

it provides our profession with a golden opportunity to focus on the importance of our work and on the critical need to enhance their access to justice throughout our state. The managing partner of Kramer & Connolly, Irwin R. Kramer represents attorneys faced with grievances. He provides additional information on this process at and may be reached at



Tools to Help

While there is no magic wand to start writing more concisely, there are tools that can help. Previously the bane of most writers' existence, Microsoft Word's grammar checker has become a useful tool for encouraging simplified, easily-understood language. Not all of its suggestions are worth taking, but many of them are worth considering. Grammar checker is included with Microsoft Word. There is nothing to buy and nothing to install. WordRake, an add-in for Microsoft Word (Mac and PC) and Outlook (PC only), simplifies legal writing with the click of a button. Using tracked changes, WordRake cuts through extraneous language and produces clear, concise writing. Attorneys can easily accept or reject the proposed changes with the click of a button. While this tool is a bit pricey, WordRake can be life-changing for those who want to focus on writing more concisely. See www.wordrake. com for more information. Grammarly, another Micro-

soft Word and Outlook add-in, gives users a taste of their magic for free. However, most of their powerful editing features require a premium subscription. When analyzing a document for potential edits, Grammarly frequently proposes two or three alternatives to your existing phrasing, allowing you to select one of the options with the click of a button. Grammarly's suggestions are displayed in a separate pane that also provides helpful guidance on why a change should be made. Grammarly also includes a web-based editor, internet browser add-ins, and mobile keyboards for assistance outside of Microsoft’s desktop Word and Outlook programs. See https:// for more information. Find an editor. Find someone else who writes well who is willing to edit your work. Have them edit your writing, tracking their changes as they go. A second set of eyes is invaluable at catching issues that Word's grammar checker, WordRake, and Grammarly will never catch.

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 | | 3717 Decatur Ave., Ste. 1, Kensington, MD 20895



Maryland State Bar Association, Inc. The Maryland Bar Center 520 West Fayette Street Baltimore, MD 21201

Volume XXXVII, Number 3 • March 15, 2020

Page 1

From the Boardroom

Page 2

MSBA Holds Mid-Year Meeting in Bethesda



MSBA Supports Bill Allowing for Standard Security Procedures at Courthouses Across Maryland


Page 6

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.




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