“Be careful what you wish for because you are liable to get it.”
You’ve probably heard some variation of this adage, for which attributions range from the formulation above to an 1891 magazine article to the writings of Goethe, the German poet, author and statesman (who died more than fifty years earlier in 1832) to French folk tales and ancient Chinese proverbs. It’s a universal sentiment we all understand, and it can apply to just about anything we desire. Take, for example, the dedicated parking space at our headquarters building shown in the photo—an excellent reason to seek election to BAMC President, right?
Most lawyers like to be challenged. Many not only accept challenges, but seek them out. And a good number of us are downright addicted to challenge. Not satisfied to merely prosecute or defend cases or coordinate transactions while constantly updating and honing substantive legal skills, you challenge yourselves to promote your practices by networking, conferring, writing and presenting. You work within your firm or office to improve its effectiveness and its culture. You also recruit others to join your ranks. Some of these activities are demanded by our profession or the particular legal career path you’ve chosen. But the challenges don’t end there. You devote hours to worthy causes working with community, faith and other groups to donate pro bono legal and other services to charitable endeavors, sometimes integrating them into your social and family life. And many of you pursue these activities by taking on leadership roles.
How is there time for bar participation, much less service to the BAMC as a leader? The fact is that our association works hard to make it easy for you to get and stay involved. Each activity listed above is enhanced, encouraged and facilitated, if not directly sponsored or hosted by BAMC committees, sections or work of its Foundation. Whether you seek opportunities to attend or present CLEs, help in marketing or managing your practice, a forum to join or establish for networking with others in your practice area or ways to pursue of all these while doing pro bono or other charitable work with other lawyers, the BAMC probably has what you’re looking for. If you have a strong interest or serious concern in your professional life, it’s likely our association is aware of it and has someone (or maybe an entire committee) working on it.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn after being elected that the BAMC, in conjunction with the MSBA and ABA, even provides intensive training for bar presidents. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Like every other aspect of our professional life, there’s a committee or section or program for it. While taking advantage of these resources, I’ve received invaluable networking, practice management skills and other benefits that will serve me for the rest of my career. I have a solid foundation upon which to build my presidency with the support and guidance of our excellent BAMC staff. The closely comparable challenge to BAMC officers, Executive Committee members and committee and section chairs is to provide such a foundation on which each member can build a practice and professional life with their support and guidance.
The challenge I accepted this year certainly has increased the number of items on my “to do” list each day, without adding any needed hours to each day. But somehow it all seems to get done. If you’re reading this column, two more challenges have been met (making the publication deadline and getting you to read to this point!). In addition to confessing that I did it all for the dedicated parking space, I confess that I’m one of those who is addicted to challenges. Whether you view it as conquering a fear or meeting a challenge, it’s the best way I know to keep growing and improving with age. I hope you’ll join me and challenge yourself to bar service—and, assuming I ever give it up, there may be a dedicated parking space in it for you!
Two updates since June’s newsletter: First, we recognize my former Lerch, Early partner and Past BAMC President Harry C. Storm, who personifies a newer adage of similarly anonymous origin: “If you want something done, get a busy person to do it.” As if transitioning from a busy law practice to the circuit court bench was not challenge enough, last month Harry followed up his January investiture by accepting the gavel as our Maryland State Bar President at the MSBA’s sold-out Annual Meeting and Bench-Bar Conference in Ocean City. We could not be more proud of Judge Storm, and wish him the best of luck in his challenging new roles.
Secondly, last month I mentioned another source of BAMC pride—the nation’s longest running public service TV program of its kind, our own “Law School for the Public.” The 300th episode was taped in June. It presented an interview with the our County’s Adult Drug Court Coordinator, Jenna Davis, and another busy circuit judge, the Honorable Nelson W. Rupp, Jr. Judge Rupp helped establish the Drug Court over a decade ago, and still volunteers his time to preside over Thursday night court dockets. Our Foundation proudly supports the Drug Court, which has achieved remarkable success with nonviolent offenders whose crimes are driven by drug and alcohol addiction. As “Law School for the Public” nears its 20th anniversary, we thank and congratulate its loyal volunteer crew and also thank YOU, the many BAMC members who have donated your time and expertise to appear on the program since 1997.