Board Minutes - November 17, 2006
Capitol Plaza Hotel, Jefferson City
C. Ronald Baird, President
Charlie J. Harris, Jr., President-Elect
Thomas M. Burke, Vice-President
Douglas A. Copeland, Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary
William R. Bay
Susan B. Bradley
P. John Brady
Thomas J. Casey
Dana Tippin Cutler
Carol Chazen Friedman
Alan B. Gallas
Richard F. Halliburton
H. Lynn Henry
Edward J. Hershewe
Bruce F. Hilton
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr.
John S. Johnston
Jennifer M. Joyce
Hon. John F. Kintz
Thomas M. Lang
William J. Lasley
Max E. Mitchell
Matthew M. Mocherman
Douglass F. Noland
Daniel A. Raniere
W. Edward Reeves
John A. Ruth
Allan D. Seidel
Howard A. Shalowitz
Walter R. Simpson
Patrick B. Starke
Lynn Ann Whaley Vogel
H.A. Skip Walther
James C. Wirken
Eric J. Wulff
Hon. Richard Bresnahan
Mark H. Levison
It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee of September 27, 2006 be approved. The motion was approved.
2. Committee Reports:
Several reports were presented by committee liaisons, requiring no action. Two additional reports – one by Mr. Janku on the Client Security Fund and another by Mr. Jones on a proposed YLS bylaw change – were also presented for action as reflected below.
A. Report on the Client Security Fund
Mr. Janku reported that the Client Security Fund Committee recommends payment of 38 claims for a total of $69,258.40 and the denial of 24 claims. He also reported that additional claims still pending will be investigated in December and additional payment and denial recommendations will be submitted to the Board of Governors in January. It was moved and seconded that the recommendation be approved. The motion was approved.
B. Delivery of Legal Services Committee
Mr. Halliburton reported that the Delivery of Legal Services Committee anticipates developing proposed rule changes and legislation to help enhance pro bono participation in the state, including initiatives designed to remove barriers specific to government attorneys. He also reported that the committee voted to support a recent ABA resolution calling for the establishment “Civil Gideon” right to counsel in some cases.
C. Gender and Justice Committee
Ms. Joyce reported that the committee has continued work on the development of its follow up survey, and they anticipate being able to present it to the Board of Governors for review at the July board meeting. She also reported that the committee would like to be involved in any future efforts to review and/or revise the Judicial Evaluation Survey.
D. Lawyer Assistance Program
Mr. Casey reported that a subcommittee was appointed to explore enhancement of Lawyer Assistance Program services for mental health issues.
E. Young Lawyers’ Section
Mr. Jones reported that the YLS Council of the Missouri Bar voted unanimously to approve a by-law change, establishing a process for the YLS Council or the YLS Council Executive Committee to vote by electronic mail when an issue arises that requires immediate action. It was moved and seconded that the by-law change be approved as proposed. The motion was approved.
F. Special Committee on Public Defender System
Mr. Copeland reported that Gov. Blunt is not allowing the hiring of any additional FTEs in any state agency in 2007, which will result in a change in direction for planned efforts to bolster the Public Defender system through the hiring of additional lawyers. Instead, the focus is likely to turn towards contracting with private practice lawyers to provide needed services.
G. Special Committee on Unbundled Legal Services
Mr. Gallas reported that the committee is working closely with the Pro Se Commission and that the Commission has submitted two proposed rule changes to the Supreme Court of Missouri. He anticipates providing a written report from the committee at the next board meeting.
Catherine Barrie provided written materials on the results of the November election, including an update on the lawyer-legislators in the Missouri General Assembly. She reported that Amendment 7 passed, and the Missouri Citizens Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials will be holding public meetings throughout the state and is expected to make a recommendation on salary increases for state judges, lawmakers and statewide elected officials by December 1.
She reported that she is working with committees to identify potential sponsors for the legislative proposals approved by the Board of Governors at the September 27 meeting.
Ms. Barrie also reported that an additional legislative proposal had been received from a Bar committee requiring consideration and approval by the Board of Governors to introduce as a Bar-sponsored bill in the 2007 session of the Missouri Legislature.
A. Delivery of Legal Services
Ms. Barrie reported on proposed legislation to amend 537.675.5 RSMo by changing the mechanism for distribution of Legal Service’s share of the Tort Victim Compensation Fund from the “Legal Services for Low Income Fund” to the “Basic Civil Legal Services Fund.” It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was within scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members present and voting. It was then moved and seconded that the proposal be approved for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members present and voting.
B. Elder Law Committee
Ms. Barrie reported that the Elder Law Committee is meeting at this time and considering alternative approaches to rewrite proposed legislation that will amend 404.710 RSMo, pertaining to “right of sepulcher.”
A. Client Security Fund Committee
Mr. Baird reported that the term of Christopher E. McGaugh is expiring, and he is not eligible for reappointment. Matthew Devoti was recommended. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Devoti be appointed. The motion was approved.
B. Missouri Press-Bar Commission
Mr. Baird reported that the term of John Black is expiring and he is eligible for reappointment. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Black be reappointed. The motion was approved.
C. Trustees of The Missouri Bar
Mr. Baird reported that the term of Mark Comley is expiring and he is not eligible for reappointment. Mr. John Ruth was recommended. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Ruth be appointed. The motion was approved.
D. ABA House of Delegates
Mr. Baird reported that The Missouri Bar is now eligible to appoint one additional delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Joe B. Whisler was recommended. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Whisler be appointed. The motion was approved.
A. 2006 Budget Report
Mr. Bergmanis reviewed the current financial status summary and financial
statements and reported that The Missouri Bar’s budget is on track and finances are in good condition. No action was taken.
B. Proposed 2007 Budget
Mr. Bergmanis reported that the Finance Committee carefully reviewed the
proposed budget for 2007 and had a joint meeting earlier in the day with the
Executive Committee. He indicated that the budget shows an approximate
4 percent increase. Increases in expenditures are expected in postage rates, paper costs and travel expenses. Travel expenses are expected to rise due to an increase in the mileage expense rate established by the federal government.
He also reported that new association management software and the online research program will be significant budget expenditures in 2007. However, he noted that the Bar has $300,000 resulting from a refund in the health insurance, which may be used to fund some of the online research costs.
He further reported that two additional items were being proposed for amendment to the budget - a $25,000 allocation to hire a contract lobbyist and a $12,000 request by the Supreme Court of Missouri to contribute with the Board of Law Examiners and OCDC to a retirement fund of Tom Simon, the clerk of the Supreme Court of Missouri. Mr. Birkes reported that Mr. Simon, by virtue of his position as clerk of the Supreme Court, is also Treasurer of The Missouri Bar. A fee is currently paid for the services provided in this capacity, but no contribution was made to fund retirement. It has been determined that retirement contributions can be made retroactively on these fees. The $12,000 contribution would apply to past years of service and each of the three entities will then pay an additional smaller contribution of approximately $800 annually.
Mr. Birkes reported further on the proposed amendment to add $25,000 to
engage the services of an additional contract lobbyist to help The Missouri Bar effectively communicate its positions on issues related to areas that include the administration of justice and the integrity of the judiciary.
It was moved and seconded that as part of the amended budget $25,000 would be allocated to contract with a registered lobbyist, who is a lawyer and member of the bar and whose activities on behalf of The Missouri Bar would be subject to the same Board control and oversight as maintained over our staff lobbyists. The motion was approved. The following members of the Board of Governors voted no: Mr. Igoe, Ms. Cutler, Mr. Hilton, Mr. Casey, Mr. Wulff and Mr. Lasley. Ms. Joyce abstained.
It was moved and seconded to amend the budget to include the proposed retirement contribution for the clerk of the Supreme Court of Missouri. The motion was approved. It was noted that ERISA issues will be investigated to ensure that this action is not in violation.
Mr. Bergmanis further reported that the Finance Committee and Executive Committee jointly recommend the approval of the 2007 budget as proposed and amended. A motion was made, and seconded, and after the Board met briefly in Executive session to discuss salary issues, the motion was approved.
6. Officers’ Report:
A. Executive Director’s Report
(1) Proposed Changes to By-Laws and Policy Statement Regarding
Mr. Birkes reported that action was needed on a proposed modification to the By-laws and Policy Statement Regarding Legislative Procedures. The modification, which had been distributed to the Board at the September 27 meeting, provides that the Board of Governors will be notified via the board listserve immediately after the Executive Committee takes positions on legislative issues. Board members can raise issues or questions about the actions at that time, as well as at the next board meeting. A motion was made and seconded to amend the by-laws. The motion was approved.
(2) Midyear Seminar in Tucson
Mr. Birkes discussed the arrangements for the Mid-Year Seminar in Tucson, indicating that reservations have been made for all board members to arrive on Tuesday and depart on Saturday. He asked members of the board to let the office know as soon as possible if different arrangements are needed, so the Bar does not incur penalties for making changes.
B. Vice-President’s Report
C. President-Elect’s Report
Mr. Harris reported that he will focus on several issues during the next year. These issues include considering better methods for wider dissemination of the Judicial Evaluation Survey. He will also focus on issues related to concerns about perceived bias in the Judicial Evaluation. He plans to continue the ongoing efforts to address the crisis within the Public Defender System. He plans to focus attention on opportunities for involvement in existing and new service-related projects and efforts that draw positive attention to lawyers. He is planning to continue and increase efforts related to the loan repayment program for lawyers in public service and will explore ways to expand the role and lay a foundation for continuing the involvement of the members of the Leadership Academy after they have completed their year on the Academy.
D. President’s Report
(1) Online Legal Research
Mr. Baird reported that the Online Research Committee will be meeting with a representative of Casemaker in December. The representative will demonstrate several add-ons discussed during negotiations. It is anticipated that the committee will have a recommendation for the Board of Governors at the January meeting. Once a provider is selected and a contract signed, it is expected to take 30-60 days to be in a position to begin providing the service to members.
(2) Civic Education
Mr. Baird reported that the civic education effort has been progressing very well, citing a very successful program held on Constitution Day and another program planned for Bill of Rights Day in December. He noted that President-Elect Charlie Harris will be participating in the Bill of Rights Day program, an Internet-based interactive program with high schools throughout the state, focusing on music and freedom of speech and also featuring a hip-hop artist, constitutional expert and entertainment lawyer. He further reported that Mr. Bay and Mr. Greenwell co-chair the Civic Education Committee, and they are considering arranging for a summit meeting with other groups to discuss the related issues and opportunities to form coalitions and expand the reach of civic education by combining resources.
(3) Discussion with Supreme Court on Funding and the Independence of the Judiciary
Mr. Baird reported that Amendment 7 passed, and that the Missouri Citizens Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials has been appointed. The Commission is required to hold four public hearings and file its recommendations by December 1. The Supreme Court of Missouri has asked The Missouri Bar to provide economic data to the Commission, related to salary levels in the legal profession. Officers were also asked to attend hearings.
He also reported that threats to independence of the judiciary include both attacks to the Non-Partisan Court Plan and influences that affect partisan judicial elections. The role of The Missouri Bar in these efforts will be under consideration and any suggestions or recommendations will be brought before the Board of Governors at a later date.
(4) New Missouri Bar Committees
(a) Lawyers to Lawyer Dispute Resolution Committee
Mr. Baird reported that Judge Lynch has been leading an ad hoc committee focusing on lawyer to lawyer dispute resolution issues and has asked that The Missouri Bar establish a new committee to address these needs. Judge Lynch indicated that formalizing the committee will help make the efforts more effective and the recruitment of key members easier. A motion was made and seconded to establish a Lawyer to Lawyer Dispute Resolution Committee. The motion was approved.
(b) Immigration Law Committee
It was reported that a request has been made for The Missouri Bar to establish an Immigration Law Committee. It was decided that this request will be communicated to the membership and if a reasonable number of members express an interest to join such a committee, a recommendation to establish a committee will be made to the Board of Governors at the next meeting.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary