Board Minutes - May 10, 2002

Capitol Plaza Hotel, Jefferson City

Members Present:
Theresa L. F. Levings, President
Dale C. Doerhoff, President-Elect
Thomas M. Lang, Vice-President
John W. Briscoe, Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary

C. Ronald Baird
Erik Bergmanis
Richard N. Bien
Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.
Thomas M. Burke
Scott Campbell
Thomas J. Casey
Richard J. Collins
Douglas A. Copeland
William M. Corrigan, Jr.
Cathy J. Dean
Tracy Hunsaker Gilroy
Mike Greenwell
Richard F. Halliburton
Charlie J. Harris
Don M. Henry
Bruce F. Hilton
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr.
John S. Johnston
Mark H. Levison
Karen R. McCarthy
Max E. Mitchell
Jack Peace
Hon. Daniel Pelikan
John A. Ruth
Daniel J. Ryan
Wallace Squibb
Richard G. Steele
Thomas R. Summers
F. Dianne Taylor
H.A. Skip Walther
Joe B. Whisler

Also Present:
Alan Gallas
Dean Kenneth Dean
Scott Orr
Millie Aulbur
Catherine Barrie
Cecil Caulkins
Carla Counsil
Wayne Greer
Jim Howard
Kent Hopper
Chris Janku
Dan Lehmen
Linda Oligschlaeger
Delores Shepherd
Robert Stoeckl
Nike Thompson
Gary Toohey
Jack Wax

1. Minutes:

It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Governors of January 25 and April 2 and of the Executive Committee of February 14, March 15, and April 19 be approved. The motion was approved.

2. Finance Committee Report:

Mr. Burke reported that the Bar is in sound financial condition, and revenues and expenditures are where they should be. No action was taken.

3. Legislation:

Catherine Barrie reported that several bar drafted bills were recently truly agreed to and finally passed by the General Assembly: S.B. 786, proposed by the Construction Law Committee, authorizing design-build contracts; S.B. 932 proposed by the Property Law Committee to clarify statutory provisions relating to the notice required to be given by a successor landlord to recover rent from a tenant; and H.B. 1151, a/k/a/ S.B. 742, proposed by the Probate and Trust Law Committee, to correct an intersectional reference in the Principal and Income Act. Ms. Barrie further reported that H.B. 1443, the Safe Place for Newborns Act, proposed by the Children and the Law Commission, was expected to pass within the next day or so. The Uniform Arbitration Act, proposed by the Construction Law Committee, and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, proposed by the Business Law Committee, are not expected to pass this year.

Regarding state funding for legal services, Ms. Barrie reported that $750,000 from the Tort Victims' Compensation Fund was appropriated in this year's supplemental appropriation, which was signed by Governor Holden on April 30, 2002. This appropriation means that state funding for legal services in fiscal year 2002 remains at the same level as the previous year's funding.

Ms. Barrie further reported that the filing fee surcharge proposal, substantially reduced in amount, was included in H.B. 1962, an omnibus judicial bill pending in conference committee with one week remaining in the session.

4. Appointments:

A. Fee Dispute Resolution Committee.

Ms. Levings explained that the terms of members Emily Firebaugh and Michael Svetlic are expiring, and they are not eligible for reappointment. It was moved and seconded that Mr. David Macoubrie and Ms. Anna Marie Wingron be appointed. The motion was approved.

B. Court Automation.

Ms. Levings explained that the Bar's two appointees to this Committee are Diane Howard and Bill Session. Mr. Session has resigned, and the Executive Committee has appointed Joe Bednar to take Mr. Session's place, subject to the Board's review of the appointment. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Bednar be appointed to the Committee. The motion was approved.

C. ABA Delegates

Ms. Levings explained that the terms of Doreen Dodson, Larry Tucker, and Charlie Weiss are expiring. Messrs. Tucker and Weiss are completing their second terms, and Jennifer Gille Bacon and Mike Gunn are the next past presidents who would normally be appointed to serve two terms. Doreen Dodson has served four terms and has been The Missouri Bar's appointee given an extended opportunity to serve in order to advance in the ABA hierarchy. It was moved and seconded that Ms. Dodson be reappointed and that Ms. Bacon and Mr. Gunn be appointed. The motion was approved.

5. Officers' Reports:

A. Executive Director's Report.

Mr. Birkes reported that our electronic communications with our members are very well received. The ESQ. newsletter reaches about 14,000 lawyers each week, and the committee listservers are used effectively by some of our committees. Mr. Birkes introduced Robert Stoeckl, our Director of Projects, who produces ESQ., works with our committees, and works with the Annual Meeting Planning Committee.

B. Vice-President's Report.

Mr. Lang reported that, because of a variety of practice and family health problems, he would resign as Vice-President at the July meeting of the Board of Governors.

C. President-Elect's Report.

Mr. Doerhoff reported that the 2003 Mid-Year Seminar would be held at the South Seas Resort on Captiva Island, Florida, during the third week in January, 2003. This is an outstanding property, and members who attend should have a wonderful experience.

D. President's Report.

1. Funding for Legal Services.

Ms. Levings acknowledged the efforts of several Board members who worked to get local editorial coverage of the need for adequate funding for legal services and support for the filing fee surcharge. She referred members to information about contacting members of the Senate after the meeting recessed.

2. Amicus Brief Involving the Cy Pres Doctrine.

Ms. Levings reported that the Executive Committee has authorized the Board to go forward with filing a brief in the case involving the Cole County Circuit Court. Mr. Doerhoff is involved in the case, and he has not participated in the voting on this question. The application of the cy pres doctrine is the Bar's only issue in this appeal.

3. New Format for Annual Meeting.

Ms. Levings reported that a special committee has been working to develop a new format for the Annual Meeting. Alan Gallas, who played a major role in the success of the Solo & Small Firm Conference, has worked with Penny Curtis, Chair of the Legal Education Committee, and Bob Stoeckl, Director of Projects. An informal survey suggested some changes that would make the meeting more attractive to new and older lawyers alike. One major change is the elimination of evening banquets as part of the meeting other than a Friday night banquet to honor award recipients that will be a by-invitation affair. The Best of Missouri reception will continue. Instead of a Wednesday night banquet, there will be an opening reception. Law school alumni luncheons will be held Friday noon.

4. Media Contacts.

Ms. Levings referred members to the information on media contacts furnished with the agenda materials.

5. Executive Committee Matters.

Ms. Levings reported that the Executive Committee agreed with suggestions received that a new committee for Government Lawyers should be formed. It was moved and seconded that a new, open enrollment Government Lawyers Committee should be formed. The motion was approved.

Ms. Levings further reported that the Executive Committee had considered how best to transition from the resignation of Mr. Lang to the election of a new Vice-President who would move up to President-Elect at the September Board meeting. It was moved and seconded that the election of the new Vice-President be held at the July meeting of the Board of Governors. The motion was approved.

6. Committee Reports:

A. Fee Dispute Resolution.

Chair Scott Orr reported that the committee has developed some proposed changes in the rule governing the operation of the fee dispute resolution program that should simplify the process and be helpful to everyone involved. It was moved and seconded that the proposed changes be adopted. The motion was approved.

Mr. Orr further reported that the committee desires to publish a sample fee agreement booklet on the Bar's web site in the members only area as a resource for Missouri lawyers. The booklet was developed by the committee, by Maridee Edwards of OCDC, and by Chris Stiegemeyer of The Bar Plan. It was moved and seconded that the posting of the booklet on the web site be approved. The motion was approved.

B. Civil Practice and Procedure.

Mr. Steele reported that the committee wishes to propose amending Sections 488.032 and 491.280, RSMo, to provide for a witness fee of $25 for witnesses subpoenaed to testify in court or in deposition.

C. Law Schools.

Mr. Doerhoff reported that the committee did not meet and had not met for some time. The committee appears to have no further need to exist. It was moved and seconded that the committee be discontinued. The motion was approved.

D. Professionalism. 

Mr. Lang reported that the committee had an active meeting and is pursuing a number of projects. One matter in which there is some interest is the possibility of requiring Missouri lawyers to carry malpractice insurance. As a first step, the committee thought it would be helpful to find out how many Missouri lawyers are already insured in the absence of any requirement. The committee proposes that the Supreme Court be asked to include on the 2003 dues statement a simple inquiry as to whether the lawyer is engaged in the practice of law and, if so, whether the lawyer carries malpractice insurance. It was moved and seconded that the Supreme Court be asked to solicit this information on the 2003 dues statement. There was considerable discussion on the matter, and after discussion, the motion was defeated.

E. Other Committees.

The following committees did not request Board action or did not meet: ACCE, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Client Security Fund, Committee on Minority Issues, Construction Law, Criminal Law, Delivery of Legal Services, Editorial Board, Education Law, Elder Law, Environmental & Energy Law, Family Law Section, Gender and Justice, Health & Hospital Law, Insurance Programs, Lawyers' Assistance, Legal Education, Local Government Law, Military Law, Paralegals, Probate & Trust Law, Sports & Entertainment Law, Technology & Computer Law, Tort Law, Transportation Law, and Workers' Compensation.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Keith A. Birkes, Secretary