I get asked this question quite frequently, “Why should I attend the convention?” So, I’m going to give you the best answer I have.
You are part of an industry that gets along better than almost any other industry I’ve ever encountered. We are like a tribe. If someone needs support, we support them. If someone has a question, we answer it. We have fun together. Some of my very best friendships have come out of my involvement with the MLTA. Lifetime friendships. People I can call on any day of the week with any underwriting, disbursement, recording or auditing question and get an answer. And they know they can call on me. I truly don’t think you can put a price tag on this. I know many times when you are new to this industry, you can get “thrown to the wolves”. You don’t have to be a lone wolf out there, make some friends. You won’t be sorry.
If you haven’t been to a convention for several years, but remember the old conventions with the game shows and the banter between Mark Lynch and Eric Schneider, guess what, they’re both back! Mark will be hosting Title Jeopardy and Eric will be on a panel talking about Ethics. I don’t think we can ever talk too much about ethics. And if you are new and have never seen these two, I’m telling you, you are missing out! They are two of the funniest, smartest, most talented guys in the industry and I can’t thank them enough for their years of service. You owe it to yourself to see them.
If you are an attorney or paralegal, there will be a Title Counsel Committee Meeting led by Sally McCash and Jeff Thompson. Sally and Jeff are also two of the smartest, most respected leaders in the industry. If you haven’t met them, again, you are doing yourself a disservice. These people have been part of this organization for at least 20 years. They are excellent teachers and mentors.
You will also hear from our Lobbyist, Bill Pitcher. Bill is an amazing attorney with a finger on the pulse of all things Annapolis (any political moves that occur at the state level) and a deep understanding of how our industry works and what’s important to us. I’m not sure I truly understood how important Bill is to this organization until I got to work first-hand with him this past year. He’s nothing short of amazing. He is going to talk about the process a bill goes through from the time it is introduced until the time it either dies or becomes law. There are several interesting steps through-out the process that the folks on the Legislative Committee get involved in on your behalf so it would truly help you be a better title person, a better employee and a better advocate for the industry if you understood them.
There will also be a representative from ALTA at the Convention to talk about the BIG PICTURE at the National level. We have several members who also participate in ALTA and feel it is just as rewarding, if not more so, than the MLTA. It would be the perfect time to gain perspective about this organization as well.
AND, I haven’t even mentioned yet that our very own Governor, Larry Hogan is going to join us for breakfast on Friday morning. Governor Hogan is a business man who isn’t afraid to cross party lines. I truly love that about the guy. I feel especially privileged to have the opportunity to meet him, perhaps bend his ear and listen to his ideas and plans for the State’s future.
Another reason to attend the convention is to converse, network and relax with your underwriters. I learned years ago that the convention is the one place the underwriters take their gloves and their never-ending marketing hats off and become one. They laugh together, they teach together, they eat and drink together and it truly makes me feel like we are one big company. It’s truly my very favorite thing about convention.
Have I mentioned the food and drinks yet? A feast fit for Kings and Queens. Thursday evening’s dinner will include all of your Maryland favorites (Maryland Crab Soup, Oysters, Beef Top Round, Fried Chicken, Rock Fish). I can also assure you cocktails will be in abundance!
You will have an opportunity to meet and support some fine folks who work for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children), this year’s chosen charity. These people are so very important in today’s world as they serve to project the best interests of abused and neglected children in our court systems in almost every county in the State. It is always important to give back and MLTA chooses a different charity to give back to each year during our convention. I’m truly honored that our Convention Committee chose CASA to support this year because, as life would have it, child advocacy was one of my areas of concentration when I attended Law School. It is truly vital that someone be the voice for these young children.
You really cannot go wrong by attending this year’s annual convention. It’s local, it’s in one of the most beautiful towns in this great State, you’ll have an opportunity to see old friends, make new ones, meet the Governor, fraternize with your underwriters as well as with industry legends and you’ll most definitely learn a thing or two.
To those of you who have never attended the convention, in the words of Darius Rucker, I leave you with this final thought, “When was the last time, you did something for the first time?”
Hope to see you all there. Register now for the MLTA Convention
-Shelly Fears, Esq., CLTP
MLTA President, 2017-2018