Parting is such sweet sorrow…

(Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare)

This is the last message that I will pen as president. I’ve often thought of this day during my ten years serving on the Executive council. The words do not come easily and candidly I will miss it. Our members, over this time, have done nothing short but amaze me at every turn. We should be thankful for our bar association members who have actually become our friends. Despite our phenomenal growth, we have maintained the collegiality that has long been the hallmark of our group.

Upon starting this past year, we were faced with some daunting tasks such as our long standing structural deficit and our hesitation at moving forward toward the future. From day one, our Executive Council members were engaged in working long and hard to accomplish what some thought to be impossible tasks. Truly I am honored to have worked with these bright, articulate, caring and most of all driven members. To these individuals, my heartfelt appreciation goes out for a job well done.

Accomplishments abound as a result of the dedication or our members and board. First and foremost, we took a very analytical look at ourselves and our budget. Immediate action was taken to stem the tide of losses without losing any well respected services. Realignment, readjusting became buzz words of the day. The mantra “work smarter not harder” was at the forefront of our busy days.

We established, through partnerships with the Baltimore County Schools and the Community College of Baltimore County, a Law and Civics Academy. This Academy, with instructors who are judges and practicing lawyers, vaulted to the top of the State in cooperative community efforts.

Our monthly publication The Advocate finally went on line! There was, of course, some grumbling about the lack of print news but we believed in coming on-line and in-line with the future. Sure we had some problems and perhaps a few bugs but our roll out was quite a success story. We didn’t stop there. As you can see, we have made marked improvements to the product as is evidenced by our June launch.

The Crab Fast and Wine Tasting at Maryvale were, indeed, very successful new events. The Golf Outing is just around the corner. We have continually striven to put forth new, innovative ideas. We had a Meet & Greet at University of Baltimore Law not to mention a spectacular event welcoming Judge Kathleen Gallogly Cox to her new position as Administrative Judge.

The Pro Bono Committee certainly reached new heights and its annual event featuring Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera turned into quite the evening. Our Continuing Legal Education once again were numerous and very enlightening as well as thought provoking. From softball to golf, CLE’s to Civics and Law Academy, our members were on the move in the community.

The formal dinner, otherwise known as “The Prom,” saw an increase in attendance. A different format, color scheme, red carpet interviews and a unique speaker all led to an evening not to be forgotten any time soon.

It was a privilege to not only serve as BCBA’s president but also to work closely with so many esteemed members of our association, the staff (Doris Barnes, Rachel Ruocco and Maxine Morrow), as well as the Executive Council. A special thanks to Messrs. McCurdy and Thompson and Judge Ballou Watts for their guidance. You will be in good hands with incoming President T. Wray McCurdy at the helm. He has worked closely with me this past year and has been there time and time again with both his wit and wisdom. To all, my sincere gratitude for all that each of you has done.

It was, as they say, a great ride.
Be well my friends and may God bless.
Philip N. Tirabassi