Board Minutes - January 20, 2006

Marco Island Beach Resort, Florida

 

Members Present:
Douglas A. Copeland, President
C. Ronald Baird, President-Elect
Charlie J. Harris, Jr., Vice-President
Joe B. Whisler, Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary
Erik Bergmanis
Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.
P. John Brady
Hon. Richard Bresnahan
Newton Brill
Dana Tippin Cutler
Sherry Doctorian
Carol Chazen Friedman
Chad A. Gaddie
Mike Greenwell
Richard F. Halliburton
Edward J. Hershewe
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
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:
Daniel A. Raniere

Members Absent:
William R. Bay
Thomas M. Burke
Thomas J. Casey
Bruce F. Hilton
Douglass F. Noland

Also Present:
William Corrigan
Chris Janku
Robert Stoeckl
Hon. Richard Teitelman
Hon. Michael A. Wolff

1. Remarks by Chief Justice Michael A. Wolff:
A. Request for Action on Citizens Commission on Compensation of Elected Officials
Chief Justice Wolff informed the Board of a letter he recently sent to the Governor, Speaker of the House and President Pro Tem of the Senate, requesting that the General Assembly appropriate funds to implement the salary schedule that is currently in effect from the Citizens Commission on Compensation of Elected Officials. The implementation would result in salary increases for judgein the state, as approved when the schedule went into effect in 2001. It would also increase salaries of other publicly elected officials.
He also requested that the Governor and Secretary of State appoint new members to the Citizens Commission as required by the Constitution. He noted that judges had not received pay raises, or cost-of-living increases for the last six years, and Missouri’s judicial salary levels have dropped into the lower range when compared on a per capita basis with other states nationally. He expressed his concern about the negative effect lower salaries are having when it comes to attracting lawyers to the judiciary.
B. Bar’s Efforts Regarding the Public Defender System Crisis
Chief Justice Wolff commended the Bar for its efforts in helping to solve the funding crisis facing the Public Defender System.
C. Judicial Index/Accountability Study
He reported on the progress of a Judicial Index/Accountability Study, which has been underway for several months. He explained that the study set out to assess the effectiveness, independence and accountability of Missouri’s judicial system and the results should be ready in the coming months. A similar process has been used by the ABA to evaluate judicial systems in foreign countries.
2. Minutes:
It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Governors of November 18, 2005 and of the Executive Committee of November 18, 2005 be approved. The motion was approved.
3. Finance Committee Report:
Mr. Walther provided the committee report for Mr. Burke, reporting that the Bar ended year 2005 in sound financial condition. He reported that the Bar ended the year with a deficit far less than the previously anticipated. He reported that reserve balances, however, continue to be reduced. A narrative summary of the end-of-the-year financial situation and statements of receipts and disbursements were distributed to members. It was moved and seconded that the report be approved. The motion was approved.
4. Legislation:
Mr. Birkes directed the attention of Board members to the report containing a list of sponsors for previously approved Bar-drafted legislation. No action was required.
5. Committee Reports:
A. Gender and Justice Committee Survey
Mr. Birkes reported that the Gender and Justice committee has requested $8,000 to conduct a follow-up survey to a comprehensive survey conducted approximately 12-15 years ago. The purpose of this study will be to assess the current status of gender equality within Missouri’s legal profession. He indicated that the funds are already budgeted, so this is not a request for additional money. It was moved, and seconded that $8,000 be approved to develop the follow-up survey and that the survey not be implemented until it is brought back for Board for its review and final approval at the May Board meeting. The motion was approved.
B. Client Security Fund Committee.
Mr. Janku reported that the Client Security Fund payments authorized at the November board meeting are proceeding as planned. He also reported that the Fund may be receiving restitution payments from several lawyers who are being prosecuted. No action was taken.
C. Law Student Internship Committee.
Mr. Blanton reported that his group is looking into the issues necessary to develop a law student internship program within the state. He indicated that the group is in the process of getting input from the law school deans, discussing testing issues with the Board of Law Examiners and considering the ethics issues with the help of Sara Rittman, Missouri Ethics Counsel. He reported that an internship program may require a rule change or an expansion of the current civil ethics rules. He reported that the work continues and he hopes to have a recommendation to the Board in the near future. Judge Teitelman reported that the committee should look into a recent change made to Rule 13.
D. Young Lawyers’ Section Report.
Mr. Srivastava reported that the Young Lawyers’ Section Giving Tree
program raised approximately $10,000 in December. He also reported that
a significant number of YLS members have volunteer as judges for
the We the People finals, a Bar LRE program sponsored by the YLS, taking place at the end of January in Jefferson City.
E. Loan Repayment Assistance Program.
Ms. Doctorian reported that fundraising efforts continue for the LRAP program, and acknowledged the efforts of Mr. Hershewe, which resulted in several new
significant contributions of $5,000 and $10,000 to the program. She reported that the committee is gearing up to make the next round of awards. She indicated that the long term objective for the program is to amass a fund principal, which will allow the funding of awards from earned interest only. President Copeland and the Board commended Mr. Hershewe for his commitment and efforts, and Mr. Copeland encouraged Board members to assist with raising funds for the program.
6. Appointments:
A. January Appointments
(1) Missouri Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline of Judges
Mr. Copeland reported that the terms of Mr. Richard Bruening of Kansas City and Mr. Thomas Plunkert, The Missouri Bar’s two appointees to the Commission, are expiring and they are not eligible for reappointment. It was moved, and seconded that Jennifer Gille Bacon of Kansas City and Sheldon K. Stock of St. Louis be appointed to fill six-year terms on the Commission. The motion was approved. Judge Kintz and Judge Bresnahan abstained.
B. May Appointments
(1) Fee Dispute Resolution Committee
Mr. Copeland reported that the terms of Mr. David Macoubrie and Ms. Anna Marie Wingron are expiring and these appointments will be taken up in May. No action was taken.
7. Officers Report:
A. Executive Director’s Report.
(1) Mid-Year Seminar.
Mr. Birkes reported that this year’s Mid-Year Seminar had the adequate number of registrants necessary to cover meeting expenses.
(2) Spring Committee Meetings.
Mr. Birkes reported that the Spring Committee Meetings are scheduled for May 18-19.
B. Vice-President’s Report.
Mr. Harris reported he is considering St. Thomas, Virgin Islands as a location for the 2008 Mid-Year Seminar. He also indicated that Miami, Florida is considered as a distant second alternative, if necessary.
C. President-Elect’s Report.
(1) Civic Education Project.
Mr. Baird reported that he recently began a civic education project, appointing a committee that will use the extensive Bar LRE programs already in place and potentially develop new or expanded activities to impact civic education within Missouri’s schools, civic groups and communities. He illustrated the need, using the questions and answer excerpts from recent “Jaywalking” segments on the Tonight Show, where average citizens are asked basic civics questions and display their lack the knowledge through their answers. He reported that one committee objective will be to “own” a particular day, related to civics education within the state. Constitution Day and Bill of Rights Day are currently targeted. Other initiatives will include expanding and utilizing current printed educational materials, PSAs, and other resources, including Dialogue on Justice, available through the Bar.
(2) 2007 Mid-Year Seminar
Mr. Baird also reported that the 2007 Mid-Year Seminar will be held at the Loews’ Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson. He distributed a brochure featuring the amenities of the resort. He also reported that the dates are not yet set, explaining that we have reserved the second week of January. Another group has a tentative hold on the third week. If that group does not commit to that week, we will change our dates to the third week. We should know the final date within the next 30 days.
D. President’s Report.
(1) Public Service Announcements.
Mr. Copeland reported that the Bar had commissioned focus
groups to help identify public perceptions of the court system and assist the Bar in identifying issues to help educate the public using the 2006 public service announcements. He called attention to the subject areas and text of the 2006 PSAs:
▪ Missouri State Courts
▪ Non-Partisan Court Plan
▪ Public Defender System
▪ Judicial Evaluation Survey (schedule to come out in the fall)
He also reviewed the extensive playtime of the PSAs throughout the state.
(2) State Funding for the Judiciary.
Mr. Copeland reported that we will be focusing on increasing funding for the Judiciary in light of the improved financial picture for the state. He reported that the Governor has expressed support of a pay increase for clerks, as part of the four percent increase for all state workers. He reported that the Bar’s focus will be advocating a similar pay increase for judges. He will be visiting with local and specialty bars and corporate leaders across the state to coordinate a broad-based effort in support of strong and effective courts.
(3) Nursing Home Agreement Review Project.
Mr. Copeland reported that action has been taken to dissolve The Missouri Bar as the fiscal agent for the project, which removes any ties with the Bar, allowing the program to proceed as originally intended without the potential distraction created by the Bar’s involvement.
(4) Funding of the Public Defender System.
Mr. Copeland reported that the Task Force on the Public Defender System has unanimously approved at least a $2 million dollar increase for the budget of the Public Defender System in the next fiscal year, the first of a three year budget increase initiative being supported by the Task Force.
(5) Legislative Contacts.
Mr. Copeland thanked all of the Board members who attended the recent legislative dinners. He indicated that the dinners are helpful in developing relationships with the legislative leaders. Additional dinners will be planned.
(6) Unauthorized Practice of Law
Mr. Copeland reported that the Executive Committee earlier in the day discussed an invitation from the OCDC to become active and be of assistance in investigating and pursuing the unauthorized practice of law. The program would utilize a base of volunteer lawyers, who would identify and investigate those engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and prepare cases that would then be turned over to OCDC who could pursue appropriate action, either injunctive relief or passing them along for criminal prosecution by the appropriate authority. A task force will be appointed to explore this opportunity. A report will be made at the May meeting.
(7) Rule Change Regarding Compliance with MCLE.
Mr. Copeland reported on a significant change to Rule 15.06(f), adopted by the Supreme Court of Missouri. The change requires the automatic suspension of a Missouri lawyer’s license to practice law if the attorney has not met the MCLE requirements for the reporting year ending June 30, 2005. He reported that the Bar will do its best to publicize the changes to lawyers through its communication vehicles, but also encouraged Board members to be aware of the changes and make an effort to inform lawyers about the new rule and its consequences.
(8) Missouri Bar PR and Media Coverage.
Mr. Copeland called the Board’s attention to the PR and media coverage materials provided in their packets.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted,
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary