Board Minutes - November 18, 2005

Jefferson City Capitol Plaza Hotel
Members Present:
Douglas A. Copeland, President
C. Ronald Baird, President-Elect
Charlie J. Harris, Jr., Vice-President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary
William R. Bay
Erik Bergmanis
Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.
P. John Brady
Hon. Richard Bresnahan
Thomas M. Burke
Thomas J. Casey
Dana Tippin Cutler
Sherry Doctorian
Chad A. Gaddie
Mike Greenwell
Richard F. Halliburton
Edward J. Hershewe
Bruce F. Hilton
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr.
Sylvester James, Jr.
John S. Johnston
Jennifer M. Joyce
George E. Kapke
Hon. John F. Kintz
Thomas M. Lang
William J. Lasley
Karen R. McCarthy
Max E. Mitchell
Matthew M. Mocherman
Douglass F. Noland
Daniel A. Raniere
John A. Ruth
Allan D. Seidel
Walter R. Simpson
Wallace Squibb
Alok K. Srivastava
H.A. “Skip” Walther
James C. Wirken
Eric J. Wulff
Present by Telephone:
Carol Chazen Friedman
Newton C. Brill
Members Absent:
Mark H. Levison
Joe B. Whisler, Past President
Also Present:
Millie Aulbur
Catherine Barrie
James Brady
Clifford Brown
Dr. Greg Casey
Suzanne Creech
Dale Doerhoff
Dr. Rick Hardy
Kent Hopper
Chris Janku
Dan Lehmen
James McConnell
Stephen Murrell
Linda Oligschlaeger
Delores Shepherd
Alan Steinberg
Robert Stoeckl
Gary Toohey
Samantha Ward
Jack Wax
1. “We the People” Demonstration Hearing:
Members of the Westminster Christian Academy provided a demonstration of a typical “We the People” high school competition hearing. The “We the People” program is an annual civics education initiative open to high school students throughout the state. The program is one of many programs sponsored and coordinated by The Missouri Bar law-related education department.
2. Minutes:
It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors September 21, 2005 and Executive Committee’s November 7, 2005 be approved. The motion was approved.
3. Legislation:
Catherine Barrie provided an update on legislative proposals approved by the Board of Governors at the September 21, 2005 meeting, reporting that legislative sponsors have been identified and will be contacted to sponsor the following legislation:
A. Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (2006-1)
B. Uniform Residential Mortgage Satisfaction Act (2006-2)
C. Animal Law Neglect Statute (2006-3)
It was reported that the Animal Law Committee withdrew the second part of their legislative proposal dealing with the time frame, circumstances and methods for killing or capturing a dog found to have injured a person or another animal.
D. Missouri Uniform Trust Code Technical Amendments (2006-6)
Rep. Brian Stevenson, Webb City has agreed to sponsor the Missouri Uniform Trust Code Technical Amendments (2006-6).
The following legislative proposals were reviewed and action taken as indicated:
E. Eminent Domain Committee (2006-5)
This proposal amends 523.205 RSMo., providing for uniform relocation
assistance regardless of the nature of the project or source of funds. It was
moved, and seconded that the proposal was within legislative scope. The
following Board members asked to be recorded as voting “no” on the issue of scope: George Kapke, Joe Blanton, Michael Igoe, Sylvester James, Eric Wulff, and Dana Tippin Cutler. Two-thirds of Board members present voted in favor of scope. It was moved, seconded to support the proposed legislation. The motion to support failed to receive the required two-thirds vote (19-15).
F. Delivery of Legal Services Committee (2006-4)
Richard Halliburton clarified that the committee is asking the Board to support only the portion of this legislative proposal that would amend 488.031 RSMo to
remove the sunset provision on the court filing fee surcharge that supports civil
legal aid programs in Missouri. The provision is currently scheduled to
take effect in It was moved, seconded and approved as being within legislative scope.
After a discussion about removing all future time limits or sunshine provision and the potential effect on access to the courts, it was moved, and seconded to support the proposed legislation. The motion was approved. Eric Wulff asked to be recorded as voting “no.”
G. Elder Law Committee (2006-7)
This proposal addresses giving first priority in the “right of sepulcher” to the
person designated by the decedent. Clifford Brown reported that this legislation had been approved by the Board in 2004. Some changes have been made to the current legislative proposal to make the language and definitions clearer, but substantively the proposal is the same as the 2004 version. It was moved, seconded as within legislative scope and to support the proposed legislation. Both motions were approved.
H. Client Security Fund (2006-8)
The proposal would require insurance companies to provide named plaintiff’s with written notice whenever the company issues a settlement check of more than $5,000 to the plaintiff’s lawyer. Jim McConnell reported that OCDC would suggest including the amount of the check in the notification. He also reported that if this proposal is approved by the Board, the committee would first approach the Missouri Department of Insurance to see if this proposal could be enacted administratively. If so, the legislative option would not be pursued. It was moved and seconded that the proposal was in legislative scope; the motion was approved. Substantial discussion ensued including regarding potential privacy issues, the actual number incidents of the problem within the state, and the necessity for the proposal. A motion was made and seconded to support the proposed legislation, the motion failed.
4. Supporting the Judicial Branch of Government:
Dr. Rick Hardy provided an overview of a study he and Dr. Greg Casey conducted for The Missouri Bar to assess public and lawyer perceptions and attitudes regarding the Missouri courts, particularly the selection and retention of judges within the state. He described the two phased methodology used, which included assembling focus groups in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia and he highlighted some of the general findings contained in the report. Dr. Greg Casey reported and summarized the results of phase two, a Q-study analysis, used to assess the range and structure of the attitudes and opinions on specific topics.
5. Judicial Evaluation Survey:
Mr. Doerhoff, chair of the special committee reviewing The Missouri Bar Judicial Evaluation Survey reported on committee recommendations to improve the survey. He indicated that the committee polled judges regarding improvement ideas and utilized the services of Dr. Greg Casey to review and analyze judicial evaluations used in other states. He provided a written report, outlining nine recommendations including uniformly applying the St. Louis criteria for identify lawyers evaluating trial judges, asking KCMBA to support the cost of the survey, improving dissemination results in the metropolitan areas, eventually converting the lawyer portion of the survey to an online format, extending the review committee through 2008, adding juror evaluations on a pilot project basis, and revising the ballots to reflect new criteria provided in a sample ballot circulated with the report. Some discussion ensued about the change from a numerical rating to a letter rating. It was moved and seconded and approved that the special committee should proceed with the recommendations, taking into consideration the expressed need to define what is meant by each letter grade in the evaluations.
6. Law Practice Management/Law Office Technology Committee Drafted Handbook:
Mr. Alan Steinberg reported on a handbook developed by the Law Practice Management/Law Office Technology Committee to guide and assist lawyers in protecting clients’ rights and resolving their professional obligations in the event of their death or disability. The handbook is called “Planning Ahead, A Guide to Protect Your Client’s and Your Survivors’ Interests in the Event of Your Disability or Death.” It was moved and seconded to approve the handbook for distribution to lawyers within the bar. The motion was approved.
7. Law Student Internship Committee:
Mr. Blanton indicated that a committee report will be made at the January meeting.
8. Client Security Fund:
Mr. Janku reported that the Client Security Fund received 51 claims during 2005. After investigation, the committee recommended payment of 22 claims for a total of 105, 471.13. It was moved, and seconded to approve the recommendation. The motion was approved.
9. Young Lawyers’ Section:
Mr. Srivastava reported on a future initiative to amend the YLS bylaws to allow electronic voting. He also reported on other activities of the section including efforts to make the YLS more visible to young lawyers and law students.
10. Committee Reports:
President Copeland reported on his recent action, appointing an additional committee liaison for each committee. Several committee reports were presented without recommendations and accepted by the Board of Governors.
A. Delivery of Legal Services Committee
Mr. Halliburton reported that this committee heard a request to remove the
lawyer referral component from this committee and that a new separate committee be approved to focus on the lawyer referral efforts of the bar. The committee agreed and recommends approval of the new committee. The recommendation was approved. President Copeland indicated that he anticipates proposing the creation of several new committees to provide more specific focus for other areas currently contained under the delivery of legal services.
B. Military Law Committee
A suggestion was made to consider inactivating the Military Law Committee.
Mr. Copeland indicated that the committee members would be polled,
regarding the suggestion.
11. Appointments
A. November Appointments
(1) Complaint Resolution
Mr. Copeland reported that the term of Gary Lynch is expiring and he is eligible for reappointment. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Lynch be reappointed. The motion was approved.
(2) Missouri Press-Bar Commission
Mr. Copeland reported that the term of Hon. Jerry Venters is expiring and he is eligible for reappointment. It was moved and seconded that Judge Venters be reappointed. The motion was approved.
(3) Client Security Fund
Mr. Copeland reported that the term of Jim McConnell is expiring, and he is not eligible for reappointment. Scott Robbins was recommended. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Robbins be appointed. The motion was approved.
(4) IOLTA Foundation
Mr. Copeland reported that David Gohn’s first term on the IOLTA Foundation is expiring, and he does not wish to be reappointed as the
Board’s non-lawyer appointment. After a recommendation, it was moved and seconded that Mr. Joines be appointed. The motion was approved.
12. The Bar Plan
Ms. McCarthy reported that The Bar Plan experienced increased severity in claims during
2004 and 2005. She indicated that losses grew substantially over the same time in the previous year. A rate study indicated that a base rate increase is needed and that a base rate increase will be put in place in January. She reported that the Bar Plan remains financially stable and anticipates no change in their AM Best “A” rating. She circulated to the Board of Governors a copy of the communication that will be going out with all quotes for 2006 policies.
13. Finances
A. 2005 Budget Report
Mr. Burke reviewed the current financial status summary and financial statements and indicated that The Missouri Bar budget is on track and finances are in good condition. No action was taken.
B. 2006 Budget
Mr. Burke reported that the Finance Committee carefully reviewed the proposed budget for 2006 and had a joint meeting earlier in the day with the Executive Committee. He indicated that the budget shows an approximate 2.7 percent increase in revenues and an anticipated 5 percent increase in expenditures. New lawyer enrollment fees represent the increase in revenues.
Increase in expenditures are found in five or six major categories, including the website overhaul project, an increase approved for the client security fund, some new equipment for the print shop and program presentation equipment. This
will be a deficit budget as anticipated based on the dues cycle.
He reported that the Finance Committee and Executive Committee jointly recommend the approval of the 2006 budget as proposed. The motion was made, and seconded, and after the Board met briefly in Executive session, the motion was approved.
14. Officer Reports:
A. Executive Director’s Report
Mr. Birkes reported on various matters including the Annual Meeting evaluations. He reported that evaluations were very positive, reflecting the committee’s work to enhance the format. He reported on the Mid-Year Seminar coming up in January. He provided an update on the condition of MIS Director Wayne Greer, who suffered a heart attack in September and is currently recovering from bypass surgery. He also reported that the Bar is cooperating in the judicial assessment project, which is currently in progress.
B. President-Elect’s Report
No Report.
C. President’s Report
Mr. Copeland yielded the floor to Ms. Cutler, who described an effort by faculty and deans at the University of Missouri School of Law supporting the nomination of Mr. Lloyd Gaines for an honorary degree from the university. It was moved, and seconded that the Board formally endorse the recommendation. The motion was approved. Mr. Copeland indicated that individual endorsements were also appropriate.
(1) The Public Defender Task Force
Mr. Copeland reported on plans in connection with the Public Defender Task Force, including unanimous support of a proposed $2 million dollar increase for the public defender budget for 2006 and the support for the concept of similar increases for subsequent years to support salary increases to attract and retain staff. The task force will also be looking at reclassifying some offenses, removing the potential “loss of liberty” penalty, triggering the appointment of a public defender. The task force received and accepted the report of The Spangenberg Group, retained to provide an objective assessment of the system and help develop recommendations for operational changes. A caseload analysis is also being developed to help establish a better, more accurate standard for the public defender system.
(2) Elder Law Committee Nursing Home Contract Review Project
Mr. Copeland updated the Board on an effort involving some members
of the Missouri Bar’s Elder Law Committee to review nursing home contracts for compliance with federal and state law. He indicated that some concerns had been raised about this project by the nursing home
industry, and the project has been put on hold while Dale Doerhoff
reviews the concerns and provides recommendations.
(3) 2006 Annual Meeting
Mr. Copeland reported that Jack Challis has been appointed chair of the committee for the 2006 meeting, scheduled at the Renaissance Grand in St. Louis next September. He acknowledged and thanked outgoing Chair Alan Gallas who had served for three year and provided excellent leadership in transforming the Annual Meeting.
(4) Mid-Year Seminar
Mr. Copeland reported that the Marco Island property did not suffer significant damage during the hurricane season, and he encouraged Board members to make an effort to recruit members of their firms and other members of the bar to attend. He noted that the Mid-Year meeting is promoted on a limited basis, so such efforts are very important.
(5) Legislative Dinners
Mr. Copeland reported on the ongoing need for members of the Board of Governors to develop relationships with members of the Legislature. He encouraged Board members to especially get to know their local legislators. He asked Board members to attend upcoming Bar-sponsored legislative dinners scheduled as follows:
Kansas City - November 29
St. Louis - December 9
Springfield - December 14
(6) Legal Research Task Force
Mr. Copeland reported that a task force has been selected to review the legal research products on the market to identify the best product(s) available as a possible no-cost benefit to all members of The Missouri Bar. Mr. Baird is chairing the task force. A recommendation is expected at the July board meeting.
(7) Kansas City Lawsuit
Mr. Copeland informed the Board of a pro se lawsuit filed to abolish The Missouri Bar.
(8) Current PR and Media Coverage
Mr. Copeland referred Board members to additional PR and media materials furnished with the agenda materials.
15. Other Business:
Mr. Birkes reported that Immediate Past President Joe B. Whisler will receive an acknowledgement from the American Judicature Society at the KCMBA Annual Meeting in December. The Missouri Bar will have a table for Board members who are attending.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted,
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary