In the short time since becoming President, a lot has happened which I would like to share. You may recall from the annual meeting that my goals for this year are to better connect us to each other, better connect us to our neighboring bars, and better connect us with the MSBA. I also hope to increase membership and participation in our events. We sent out a survey and while participation and response was not as great as expected, we are studying the results and will be sharing those soon.
The adoption of the new Bylaws has meant changes to some procedures and committees. We had our first Executive Council meeting in late June, and the most pressing issue was reviewing the recommendations from the Committee on Judicial Appointments for how applicants for judicial appointment would be evaluated by our members, and what would be reported to the Judicial Nominating Commission. There has been ongoing dialogue with that committee on which of the recommendations could be implemented now with a new appointment upon us. Some of the recommendations will have to wait until the membership of that committee can be increased, and anyone interested in serving on that committee should contact me. I may be reaching out and drafting some of you as well!
We also had a meeting with the chairs of the Young Lawyers, Social, CLE and Membership committee chairs to brainstorm on how some of my stated goals can be met. Why have some practicing attorneys in Harford County not joined? How can we attract young lawyers to join? Might we reach out to the many attorneys who belong to MSBA and live in our County yet have not joined? Many ideas were exchanged, and all of the participating committee chairs are scheduling meetings of their committees to review the issues, share thoughts with each other, and report to the Executive Council with recommendations.
I reached out to the Cecil County Bar Association about joining together on some events, and received a very favorable response. We are working on setting up a meeting with their President, Executive Director, and social and outreach chairs to see what we can do together. We are also reaching out to the Baltimore County Bar which has offered on more than one occasion to partner with us, including allowing our members to attend some of their events at their member prices, partnering on CLE’s and possibly allowing us to attend their CLE’s without paying non-member fees, etc.
This is the first year that the Executive Council voted to allow sponsors to subsidize the cost of our activities and events. I am happy to report that so far we have three (3) paid annual sponsors whose names and logos you will see on our website and other materials this year. You may also meet them at some of our events. They are Statewide Bail Bonds (Joseph Thompson), Harford County Chiropractic, LLC (Dr. Bill Murphy), and First Mariner Bank (Debi Williams). Let’s try to patronize them if possible!
Due to the revised Bylaws, we are still putting all of the committees together. Some have remained, and some have actually been combined with or become subcommittees of other committees. We still need many more members to be involved, and I will be sending out a list of the committees and asking each of you to agree to serve on one or more. Again, I may be reaching out and drafting some of you to serve where I believe your talents can help HCBA!
Additionally, I am happy report that a Work Group was created about a month ago to start planning a gala event for the Spring. Details to follow!
Finally, if you have not done so, please submit your dues payment which is needed to provide quality CLEs and social events. Please note that the dues are currently $80.00 as there is now a one time ten dollar ($10.00) late fee charged until the end of September, after which time unpaid memberships may be terminated.
Tony DiPaula, President
Harford County Bar Association