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New state bar association chief wants more input from minority attorneys


Roger A. Perkins, the new Maryland State Bar Association president, says his organization will seek more input from the state's minority lawyers to broaden its perspective on legal matters.

Mr. Perkins, 49, who was installed as president of the 15,500-lawyer group yesterday, said one of his three main goals will be to recruit minority lawyers as active members and get them to serve on bar association committees.

"I think we need the perspective of minority lawyers," he said during a break in the state bar association's three-day convention last week in Ocean City. "Some minority lawyers are in different practices, and some are government lawyers who represent a different clientele. We need everyone's perspective."

Mr. Perkins said he doesn't want to detract from minority bar associations, such as Baltimore's Monumental Bar Association. But he said members of those organizations could participate in the MSBA as well.

"In the past, we've made an effort to involve minority lawyers in our association," he said. "We've had some success. I think we can have greater success."

Mr. Perkins, a resident of Arnold and whose practice is in Annapolis, replaced Louise M. Gonzales as leader of the organization during a ceremony yesterday.

The new MSBA president said his other two goals during his one-year term will be to help sole practitioners and small law firms obtain the latest legal technology and to build closer ties with the state legislature on matters of interest to attorneys.

"The association doesn't always get its point across to the legislature," he said.

"Our goal is to have a pool of members who are available to speak to the legislature. Since there are fewer practicing attorneys in the legislature, there is less in-house knowledge. We would like to make ourselves available to explain some of the issues that affect attorneys."

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