Over the past eight months, three UM Carey Law students worked to re-conceive a static, print version of a valuable business lawyer resource into an updated, dynamic Wikibook that is easy to access and to navigate. The original, hardbound Maryland Entrepreneur’s Guide was the brainchild of former UM Carey Law School Dean Mark A. Sargent in the 1990s. It offered a wealth of information on resources for starting and operating a business in Maryland, but the information in the Guide quickly became outdated.
In 2007 the Emerging Markets Committee of the Maryland State Bar Association decided to update the Guide, but soon realized that the information changed so frequently and it could be out of date not long after publication. It was during the back-to-back blizzards of 2010 that William A. McComas, a partner at Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler, decided to convert the Guide into a Wikibook -- a format that allows for updating and editing by online contributors, much like Wikipedia.
In late 2011 Ameya Paradkar (3L) and Eric Hontz (3L) attended a meeting of the Baltimore City Bar Association’s Business Law Section, chaired by David Mcl. Williams, a partner at Gorman & Williams. His committee was seeking the assistance of anyone who could make the existing outline-style list format of the Guide more user-friendly. Ameya and Eric volunteered for the project and enlisted the help of classmate Garland Rowland (3L), who was active on Wikibooks as a contributor and reviewer of content.
Since the Wikibook’s launch, the students have continued their work with the Business Law Sections of the Baltimore City Bar Association and the Maryland Bar Association to promote the book and enhance its features. Not only did the students make a great contribution to an important project, they’ve also honed their networking skills on practicing Baltimore attorneys—just as Associate Dean Michelle Harner and other faculty in the Business Law Program have encouraged them to do.
Check out the Maryland Entrepreneur Guide Wikibook @ http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/The_Maryland_Entrepreneur's_Guide.
Eric Hontz (3L), Ameya Paradkar (3L) and Garland Rowland (3L)