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Message by Alison D. Kohler

Alison D. Kohler (Dugan, Babij & Tolley, LLC, Timonium) received her J.D. Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University Law School. She is a member of MTLA’s President’s Club as an Eagle and serves on the Executive Committee. She has previously served as Chair

of the Fundraising Committee and is currently a member of the Legislative Committee. Ms. Kohler has previously served on the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of Baltimore City, and the Board of Governors of the MSBA, and was Past President of Executive Women’s Network. Ms. Kohler represents seriously injured children and adults in the areas of medical malpractice, premises and product liability, negligent security, disability insurance, and general tort litigation.

As I write my last column as President of the Maryland Trial Lawyers Associa- tion (MTLA), I am pleased to report that MTLA is stronger than ever and that I leave the organization on solid fiscal and administrative footings. It has been a busy year.

The Education and Program Commit- tee, under the leadership of Rodney Gaston, and with the help of the association’s many committees and sec- tions, sponsored seven half or whole day seminars, six lunch programs, three mem- bership dinners, two teleseminars, multiple section-only meetings and two case evaluation clinics, with topics span- ning the interests of all of our members. These programs have been extraordinar- ily popular and have strongly supported the work of the association.

Equally successful was the work of the

2006 MTLA legislative team in Annapo- lis. Unrelenting attacks on our clients’ rights under the existing tort and work- ers’ compensation systems by the Governor and insurance and big business interests were thwarted. One affirmative piece of legislation designed to preserve fair compensation to doctors treating workers’ compensation victims was passed. Other affirmative legislation de- signed to help obtain substituted service and to promote patient safety made great progress this year, but did not pass both Houses. MTLA’s public outreach program,

chaired by Larry Greenberg, was likewise active this year.

In the fall, the program

expanded by participating with the Balti- more City Fire Department and the Safe Kids Coalition in a neighborhood sweep and helped pay for and install smoke de-

tectors in homes without this critical safety feature. This spring, MTLA again partnered with Safe Kids to fund and dis- tribute bike helmets at elementary schools in Baltimore City and the Eastern Shore. We can all be proud that, as trial lawyers, we work every day, through our practices and through MTLA, to fulfill our motto of “Keeping Families Safe.” We face many challenges ahead. The

November 2006 election will be critical to preserving access to the Maryland courts to all Maryland citizens, regardless of their economic status. For that rea- son, the MTLA Political Action Committee (PAC) has endorsed Mayor Martin O’Malley for Governor. Mayor O’Malley clearly understands that access to the civil justice system is often the only equalizer available to the economically disadvantaged citizen. We are confident that Mayor O’Malley has the experience, the resources and the vision not only to win the election, but also to lead Mary- land on the right path. The MTLA PAC has also distributed a questionnaire to all candidates for the Maryland Legislature and will shortly announce its endorse- ments for the 2006 general election. Please be sure to support the candidates endorsed by the PAC. I cannot end my term as President with- out thanking a number of people. My undying gratitude goes out to the MTLA staff, headed by our Executive Director David Walls, and including Michele Linck, Crista Hakala, Kristin Piasecki and Judith LaVoie. I also want to thank the hardworking Board of Governors, and, es- pecially, my President–Elect Beth Frey, who have supported me throughout the year. By the time you read this column, Beth Frey will have assumed the Presi- dency of MTLA. Beth‘s strengths in leadership, vision and organization will ensure that MTLA will prosper next year. Thank you for allowing me the privi- lege of serving as President of MTLA for the last year. It was a true honor.

4 Trial Reporter Spring 2006

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