Board Minutes - November 21, 2003
Capitol Plaza Hotel, Jefferson City
William M. Corrigan, Jr., President
Joe B. Whisler, President-Elect
Douglas A. Copeland, Vice-President
Dale C. Doerhoff, Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary
C. Ronald Baird
Richard N. Bien
Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.
P. John Brady
Thomas M. Burke
Thomas J. Casey
Morry S. Cole
Dana Tippin Cutler
Carol Chazen Friedman
Chad A. Gaddie
Richard F. Halliburton
Hon. Don M. Henry
Bruce F. Hilton
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr.
John S. Johnston
Hon. John F. Kintz
Thomas M. Lang
Mark H. Levison
Karen R. McCarthy
Daniel A. Raniere
John A. Ruth
Daniel J. Ryan
Allan D. Seidel
Robert H. Shaw
F. Dianne Taylor
H.A. "Skip" Walther
Eric J. Wulff
Richard J. Collins
Charlie J. Harris
George E. Kapke
William J. Lasley
Max E. Mitchell
Richard G. Steele
It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Governors on October 1 and of Executive Committee on November 10 be approved. The motion was approved.
Catherine Barrie referred Board members to a list of Missouri Bar committee-drafted legislative proposals to be introduced in the 2004 session of the General Assembly. No action was taken.
3. Committe Reports
A. YLS Council.
YLS Council Chair Trish Sexton reported on projects of the YLS for the coming year, including Junior Judges, which is designed to help children make the right choices in tough situations they encounter in their grade school years and inform them of the consequences they face when they make the wrong decision. Other projects include a new picture contest for children in first through third grades, held in conjunction with the Law Day Essay Contest. The YLS will be introducing the Vote Missouri project into Kansas City this year (the program focuses on registering high school seniors to vote). The Giving Tree, which was done for the first time last year in the area surrounding the Lake of the Ozarks, will be implemented statewide. The program encourages young lawyers to raise money that can be donated to organizations helping families in need around the holidays.
B. Board of Bar Examiners.
Kellie Early, Executive Director of the Board of Bar Examiners, explained the admissions process, particularly the background investigation into character and fitness to practice law carried out on all Bar applicants.
C. Property Law Committee.
Mr. Walther reported for the Committee that the Committee had decided not to seek Board endorsement of the form contract prepared by the Missouri Association of Realtors that had earlier been distributed with a notation of approval by the Bar. The Committee will report further at the January Board meeting.
D. Special Committee Reviewing Fee Dispute Resolution Committee.
David Macoubrie reported on the Special Committee's research into the degree of participation in the fee dispute resolution process in St. Louis and Kansas City and in the rest of the state. The information gathered by the Special Committee suggests that participation is quite good. Mr. Macoubrie outlined several possibilities to increase participation, including requiring participation, but the Special Committee had no recommendation. It was moved and seconded that the report be accepted. The motion was approved.
E. Proposed Animal Law Committee.
Dana Apple and Katharine Porter explained the efforts over the past year to organize a committee on Animal Law. Animal law is a relatively new discipline, but several state and city bars have animal law committees. The proposed scope of the committee is as follows:
"The scope of the committee is to study and consider all aspects of the law relating to animals, including the areas of civil and criminal liability, torts, contracts, property, population protection and control, veterinary medicine, research, and statutory development and enforcement. The committee will also review legislation and case law for the education of the bar and the public."
There was considerable discussion of the need for the committee and the contents of the scope, including whether the focus of the committee would be animal rights. It was moved and seconded that the Board authorize the formation of an Animal Law Committee in accordance with the proposed scope. The motion was approved. Ms. Doctorian and Messrs. Bergmanis, Blanton, Casey, Igoe, Ruth, and Seidel were recorded as voting "no."
F. Legal Services.
Mr. Doerhoff reported that the board for the new statewide legal services entity had been selected. No action was taken.
G. Status of the Tort System.
Mr. Igoe reported that the Committee had met and developed a list of issues that might arise as legislative concerns. The Committee will continue to meet and develop information to serve as a resource for the General Assembly should requests arise.
H. The Retention of Clients' Files Committee.
Mr. Blanton reported that the Committee had met and developed a tentative report. The report will be circulated to the Board for comments, after which the Committee will meet again by conference call and will present a finalized report to the Board in January.
I. Law School for Legislators.
Mr. Ruth reported that the event was scheduled for January 27, 2004, the faculty had been selected, and all indications pointed to a successful first effort. No action was taken.
J. Corporate Pro Bono Program.
Ms. McCarthy reported that a survey will be going out soon to in-house counsel, and information gleaned from the survey will be useful when the web site is developed to assist with the corporate pro bono effort.
Mr. Levison reported that the Committee had met twice and was considering both direct and indirect solicitations. The Committee will make a presentation as part of the Mid-Year Seminar in January and will report further at the May meeting.
L. Lewis and Clark.
Judge Kintz reported that the Committee was focusing on landmark Supreme Court cases. There is a considerable list of activities that will occur during the remainder of the Bar year, climaxing with the arrival of Lewis and Clark in St. Louis for the 2004 Annual Meeting.
M. Other Missouri Bar Committees.
1. Delivery of Legal Services.
Mr. Halliburton reported that the Committee would like to eliminate the $30 fee charged to participants on the lawyer referral panel, as it seems to deter participation without generating significant revenue. It was moved and seconded that the $30 fee be eliminated. The motion was approved.
Mr. Halliburton further reported that the Committee would like to have the Bar set up a fund to educate and inform the private bar about instituting and expanding pro bono services. It was moved and seconded that such a fund be established. After some discussion, it was moved and seconded that the motion be tabled. The motion to table was approved.
2. Gender and Justice.
Mr. Johnston reported that members of the Committee are interested in having a designation of gender added to the annual enrollment form. Mr. Birkes advised that it is too late for this to be done this year, as the statements have already been mailed. However, the issue could be raised with the Supreme Court in the future. No action was taken.
3. Client Security Fund.
Chris Janku reported that the Committee had one claim for which it was seeking Board denial. The Committee feels that the claim in question is a malpractice claim, not properly a matter for the Client Security Fund, and denial of this claim would facilitate consideration of the request by the lawyer in question for reinstatement. It was moved and seconded that the claim be denied. The motion was approved.
N. By-Law/Election of Officers.
Mr. Baird reported that the Committee was spawned out of the contested election to consider whether changes of any kind should be made in the process of electing officers. The Committee's tentative sense was that the process was not broken and not in need of repair. Before proceeding further, the Committee wanted to get a sense of the Board whether a substantial number of Board members considered change necessary or desirable. There was discussion of several issues, including whether the outgoing Board should elect officers rather than the new Board; whether ballots should be secret; and whether commitments should be sought in advance of an election. It was moved and seconded that the Board adopt a bylaw change so that the outgoing Board would elect officers rather than the new Board. It was then moved and seconded that the matter be tabled. The motion to table was approved. The Committee will continue to work. Mr. Levison was added to the Committee.
O. Executive Committee.
1. OCDC Future Plans.
Mr. Corrigan reported expressions of interest by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel in expanding the office space in Jefferson City, in hiring OCDC employees to work in St. Louis and Kansas City, and in seeking an increase of $25 in the yearly amount paid to OCDC from the annual enrollment fee. Mr. Corrigan reported that he had been joined by Messrs. Whisler and Birkes in a discussion with the Supreme Court asking that the Bar be granted input in the making of any decisions regarding OCDC's expansion plans. There was considerable discussion of OCDC's plans and great concern about plans to eliminate the use of volunteers and part-time special prosecutors in favor of a group of full-time prosecutors. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Governors resolve that the Board of Governors believes that the system of using volunteers and part-time special prosecutors in the disciplinary process should be continued, that the Board is opposed to any increase for OCDC, and that these sentiments should be conveyed to the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. The motion was adopted unanimously.
2. Conflicts of Interest.
Mr. Corrigan reported that the Executive Committee had developed a brief conflict of interest policy that was suggested as an alternative to other versions previously circulated. The suggested alternative reads as follows:
"It is the obligation of members of The Missouri Bar, its Board of Governors, Committees and Staff to fully disclose any conflicts of interest that they may have while acting on behalf of, or participating in, the decision-making process of The Missouri Bar."
It was moved and seconded that the foregoing conflict policy be adopted by the Board. The motion was approved.
P. Financial Matters:
1. Financial Report.
Mr. Burke reported that the Bar is in good financial condition and is operating within budget. No action was taken.
2. 2004 Budget.
Mr. Burke reported that the Finance Committee had carefully reviewed the proposed Bar budget for 2004. The budget will show a deficit, as would be expected at this point in the dues cycle. It will be necessary to seek a dues increase within the next two years. It was moved and seconded that the budget be approved. The motion was approved.
3. Bids on Annual Audit of The Missouri Bar.
Mr. Burke reported that the Finance Committee had received proposals from three mid-Missouri CPA firms to audit the Bar. The proposals are included with the agenda materials. The Finance Committee suggests that Williams-Keepers be selected to perform the audit. It was moved and seconded that Williams-Keepers be chosen to audit The Missouri Bar. The motion was approved.
A. Missouri Press-Bar Commission.
Mr. Corrigan reported that Mr. Black's second term is expiring, that he is eligible for reappointment, and that he is in line to become chair of the Commission. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Black be reappointed. The motion was approved.
B. Complaint Resolution Committee.
Mr. Corrigan reported that the Bar has the opportunity to appoint two new people to the committee. The Executive Committee suggests Ruby Bonner from St. Louis and Allan Garner from Independence. It was moved and seconded that they be appointed. The motion was approved.
[Keith: what about the replacement for Charles Hickman?]
5. Officers' Reports:
A. Executive Director's Report.
Mr. Birkes reported that Gary Toohey had recently received the E.A. "Wally" Richter award from the Communications Section of the National Association of Bar Executives. This is an especially high honor as the award is named for a long-time Missouri Bar executive. Mr. Birkes further reported that Millie Aulbur had recently received national recognition for her work in law related education.
B. President-Elect's Report.
Mr. Whisler reported that he and Mr. Birkes would travel to Las Vegas on Saturday to look for a hotel to host the 2005 Mid-Year Seminar.
C. President's Report.
1. Executive Director's Report.
2. Lawyers in the Legislature.
Mr. Corrigan reported that thirteen lawyers have expressed interest in running for seats in the House or the Senate. Luncheons will be held in St. Louis on December 2 and Kansas City on December 4 to discuss with large law firms the idea of supporting firm lawyers who are interested in running for public office.
3. Law School Loan Forgiveness Program.
Mr. Corrigan reported that he would like the Board to consider this idea by showing support for the concept of such a program and by appointing a committee to study the matter and report back to the Board. It was moved and seconded that the concept be supported and the committee be authorized. The motion was approved.
4. Missouri Bar Mid-Year Seminar.
Mr. Corrigan reported that the Mid-Year Seminar is coming along well and should be a great meeting.
5. Pro Se Feasibility and Implementation Committee.
Mr. Corrigan reported that Lori Levine has agreed to chair the Committee.
6. Media and PR Updates.
Mr. Corrigan referred Board members to materials furnished with the agenda materials.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary