Board Minutes - Friday, July 17, 2009

Big Cedar Lodge

Members present:
Thomas M. Burke, President
H. A. “Skip” Walther, President-Elect
John S. Johnston, Vice-President
Charlie J. Harris, Jr., Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary

William R. Bay
Erik Bergmanis
Stephen R. Bough
Suzanne B. Bradley
P. John Brady
Hon. Richard Bresnahan
Thomas M. Burke
Thomas J. Casey
Mark W. Comley
Dana Tippin Cutler
Brian Francka
Carol Chazen Friedman
Alan B. Gallas
Tracy H. Gilroy
John R. Gunn
Richard F. Halliburton
Paul G. Henry
Edward J. Hershewe
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr.
John S. Johnston
Jennifer M. Joyce
Hon. John F. Kintz
William J. Lasley
Mark H. Levison
Neil F. Maune, Jr.
Karen King Mitchell
Max E. Mitchell
Matthew M. Mocherman
Douglass F. Noland
Megan E. Phillips
W. Edward Reeves
Brett W. Roubal
Deanna K. Scott
Allan D. Seidel
Patricia A. Sexton
Reuben Shelton
Walter R. Simpson
Wallace Squibb
Patrick B. Starke
Hon. David L. Vincent
Lynn Ann Vogel
H. A. “Skip” Walther
Raymond E. Williams
Eric J. Wulff

1. Minutes:
Minutes from the Board of Governors’ May 8, 2009, meeting and Executive Committee meetings of May 8 and May 20, 2009, were reviewed and approved. The May 8 minutes were revised to accurately reflect Governor Halliburton’s report from the Delivery of Legal Services Committee.
2. Finances:
Mr. Bergmanis reviewed the 2008 audit report and indicated that no problems were identified by our auditors in our accounting practices and procedures. Mr. Bergmanis summarized the financial status of The Missouri Bar year to date and recommended that a depository agreement with Central Bank be executed. The Board of Governors approved the execution of that depository agreement (see attached). Mr. Bergmanis, on behalf of the Finance Committee, also recommended the approval of the Annual Meeting budget. The Board approved that budget.
3. Legislation:
Ms. Barrie reviewed various actions in the 2008 Missouri General Assembly relative to legislative issues of interest to The Missouri Bar.
4. Committee Reports:
A. Leadership Academy
Mr. Ortbals reviewed the purposes for the manner in which the Leadership
Academy functions and then introduced each member of this year’s class who
identified his/her particular area of interest in assisting with the work of The
Missouri Bar.
B. Client Security Fund Committee
Mr. Janku and Ms. Zerrer reviewed the various recommendations for the
payment/denial of various claims. The Board of Governors approved the
Committee’s recommendations (see attached). Ms. Zerrer also reviewed
a matter of interest to the Client Security Fund Committee regarding
notification of clients when settlement checks are issued. The Board of
Governors had previously considered approving this matter and declined
to consider it. There was a motion made, seconded and approved to
ask the Committee to consider the feasibility of such a notification rule
to clients in Missouri and to report back with its findings and recommendations
to the Board of Governors.
C. Special Committee to Assist Lawyers in a Changing Economy
Ms. Vogel reported on the continuing implementation of MoBar Circle and
that approximately 1,400 bar members had registered and are participating
in various circles. Ms. Vogel also reported that the CLE Committee would
be recommending revisions to their policies regarding scholarships for
economically challenged members attending Missouri Bar CLE programs, and
this was a matter that the Changing Economy Committee had asked the
CLE Committee to review. Ms. Vogel also reviewed The Missouri Bar’s
web page designed to assist lawyers impacted by the changing economy
with the various programs and activities listed there intended to be of
assistance.
D. Proposed CLE Hardship Policy and Revision to Senior Counselor Policy
Ms. Dee Shepherd, Director of CLE Programs, reviewed the CLE Committee’s
recommendations regarding this policy. The Board of Governors approved
the Committee’s recommendations.
E. Special Committee on the MCLE Ethics Requirement
Mr. Wulff reported the Committee’s findings and recommendations and
moved the adoption of an annual two-hour ethics/professionalism
requirement as part of the annual MCLE requirement. Following
discussion, the Board of Governors approved the Committee’s
recommendations. The following Board members asked to be
recorded as voting “no” - Neil Maune, Bill Lasley, Paul Henry
and Allan Seidel.
F. Special Committee on Lawyer Advertising
Mr. Levison summarized the background of the current Committee’s
review and recommendations. Mr. Levison indicated that he would
present the Committee’s recommendations in four groups as follows:
(1) The Committee recommended “the Bar should conduct a
public outreach campaign to educate the public about
lawyer advertising and picking lawyers. Part of the message
of this campaign should include the fact that citizens need
to know their rights, and that lawyer advertising can provide
that important function. The information campaign should
also inform the public of various means to select lawyers.”
It was moved and seconded that recommendation #1 be adopted.
In discussion, Mr. Birkes indicated that, annually, The Missouri
Bar prepares a public information plan, which includes
substantial input from the officers of The Missouri Bar and
takes into account all ongoing projects and activities of the
bar. That annual public information plan is then submitted
to the Board of Governors for its review and approval. The
Board of Governors adopted recommendation #1.
(2) Recommendation #2 is “the Bar should take a more active
effort in educating its lawyers concerning the rules and
responsibilities governing lawyer advertising, as updated in
2006 and 2010 (if applicable), and should endeavor to
enhance professionalism through lawyer advertising. Further,
CLE’s are suggested, as well as Bar articles and enhanced
leadership in this area from the officers of The Missouri Bar.”
Recommendation #2 was moved for adoption and was seconded.
Mr. Birkes indicated response to questions that various committees,
officers and directors have discretion over educational programs,
articles, etc. Specifically, The Missouri Bar’s Legal Education
Committee, with input from staff directors, the various MoBarCLE
programs and materials that are produced each year. Various
articles for the Journal of The Missouri Bar are reviewed and
determined to be appropriate by the Bar Journal editorial
committee. Bar officers determine, consistent with Bar policy
and developing priorities, the issues they would like to focus
on with the Bar membership and the public at large. The
motion passed.
(3) Recommendation #4 in the Committee’s report suggested several
alternatives which might allow enhanced enforcement of the
advertising rules. A motion was made that The Missouri Bar
convey by letter to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel our desire
that the advertising rules, along with all rules of professional
conduct, be enforced as vigorously and efficiently as possible.
The motion was seconded and approved.
Mr. Levison then presented the various substantive changes to the
lawyer advertising rules and reviewed them in depth with the members
of the Board of Governors. Many questions were asked and information
was provided regarding the reasons for and the impact of the proposed
rules. It was moved and seconded that the rules be adopted. The
motion failed by a vote of 27 to 15.
Following the defeat of the proposed substantive changes, there was
discussion that some of the individual proposals contained in the
Committee’s recommendation might deserve further consideration by
the Board of Governors. Mr. Burke indicated that the Board would be
asked to indicate what, if any, individual parts of the proposal they
would like to reconsider in September.
G. Young Lawyers Section Council
Mr. Gunn reviewed the various programs and activities the Young
Lawyers Section Council has pursued to date during the year. Mr.
Gunn also indicated that the YLS Executive Council was meeting
with the Board of Governors and that it would be meeting later in
the day with the Board’s Executive Committee to discuss various
projects and activities.
5. Appointments:
A. Current Appointments:
(1) Greene County Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee
Appointments
The attached recommendations from Greene County were
approved for appointment to the new Greene County judicial
performance evaluation committee.
B. September Appointments
It was noted that Mr. John Ruth’s first term as a Trustee of The Missouri
Bar would be expiring in September and that he is eligible for
reappointment.
6. Officers Report:
A. Chief Justice William Ray Price
Because Chief Justice Price was in attendance, he was asked to offer
comments to the Board of Governors of The Missouri Bar. Chief Justice
Price complimented the Board of Governors on their attention to the
needs of the legal profession in Missouri and the comprehensive programs
and activities we provide to our members. Judge Price reviewed
the potentially dire financial condition of the State of Missouri and the
judicial branch of government, as well as the continuing threats to the
Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan. Judge Price asked the Board of Governors
to redouble its outstanding efforts in this regard to assist the judiciary,
legal profession and the people of Missouri.
B. President’s Report
Mr. Burke reviewed a variety of matters, including the very successful law
school for the public, which has been presented in St. Louis over the past year.
Additionally, Mr. Burke reviewed the various local bars and other gatherings
where he has represented The Missouri Bar during the last several months.
C. President-Elect’s Report
Mr. Walther indicated that his recommendation, with the Executive Committee’s endorsement, is to not have the January meeting of the Board of Governors held outside of the State of Missouri this year because of the numerous pressing issues the Board of Governors has to consider this year. Specifically, the continuing threats to the independence and financial well- being of the judicial branch, as well as the need to develop a new long range plan for The Missouri Bar, as the Board proceeds to consider the process by which a new executive director will be hired. Mr. Birkes has indicated his plans to retire at the end of 2012. Following discussion, during which it was indicated that a midyear seminar would not be possible outside of Missouri if the Board of Governors was not meeting in conjunction with it, the Board approved Mr. Walther’s recommendation that the January meeting of the Board be held in Missouri and that the Midyear Seminar not be organized in 2010.
D. Vice-President’s Report
Mr. Johnston indicated that he was developing plans for his year as president
of The Missouri Bar and would discuss those plans with the Board over the
next year.
E. Executive Director’s Report
Mr. Birkes reviewed various staff reports and indicated that Mr. Eric Wilson
had been hired to assist The Missouri Bar with its legislative and Young
Lawyers Section activities. Mr. Birkes also reviewed the Board of Governors
election process and indicated that the results would be available August 17.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted,
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary