Board Minutes - May 13, 2011
Lincoln Room, Jefferson City Capitol Plaza Hotel
John S. Johnston, President
Lynn Whaley Vogel, President-Elect
Patrick B. Starke, Vice-President
H. A. “Skip Walther, Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary
Bevy A. Beimdiek
Suzanne B. Bradley
P. John Brady
Dennis J. Capriglione
Mark W. Comley
Hon. Charles Curless
Joel R. Elmer
John W. Grimm
Richard F. Halliburton
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr
Jennifer M. Joyce
Hon. James F. Kanatzar
Marie A. Kenyon
J. B. Lasater
Mark H. Levison
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Hon. Karen King Mitchell
Nancy R. Mogab
Hon. Mark H. Neill
Douglass F. Noland
Joseph P. Rice, III
Brett W. Roubal
Deanna K. Scott
Allan D. Seidel
Walter R. Simpson
Raymond E. Williams
Eric J. Wulff
Members by telephone:
Stephen R. Bough
Carol Chazen Friedman
Genevieve M. Frank
Edward J. Hershewe
Neil F. Maune, Jr.
Hon. Richard Bresnahan
Robert J. Buckley
Dana Tippin Cutler
Hon. John F. Kintz
Max E. Mitchell
Hon. Cliff Ahrens
T. Jack Challis
Hon. Mary Russell
Heidi Doerhoff Vollet
Catherine Nelson Zacharias
Dr. Martin Zehr
It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Governors of February 18, 2011, and Executive Committee meetings of February 17, March 8, March 18 and April 19 be approved. The motion was approved.
Mr. Eric Bergmanis reported on the status of The Missouri Bar finances. He reported that the finances are in good shape, citing that budgetary spending as of the end of the first quarter was at 22.5 percent. He further reported that the CLE Department was able to put $82,000 back into its equity account during the first quarter of 2011. He announced an anticipated decrease in external funding for The Missouri Bar’s Law-Related Education program in 2012, due mainly to federal budget cuts. He noted that the anticipated reduction in funding is expected to be approximately $100,000. He further reported that efforts are underway to request a grant from the Missouri Bar Foundation to help offset the decreased funding in this important programming area.
3. Committee Reports:
A. Young Lawyers Section
Ms. Heidi Doerhoff Vollet presented for approval an updated version of The Missouri Bar’s publication offering resources for those affected by domestic violence. She reported that the YLS had worked with the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Missouri Office of Prosecuting Attorneys, utilizing the expertise of both organizations to prepare a revised and updated version of the resource. She further reported that the YLS has received a grant of approximately $2,000 from the ABA for the translation of the resource guide. She indicated that plans are underway to have the guide translated into Spanish, as well as Vietnamese and Bosnian. She further reported that it is their intention to print as many copies as the budget will allow and make the resource widely available within the state. She indicated that there is legislation pending on this last day of the session that could result in changes to provisions of the laws related to domestic violence. She reported that if such legislation passes, any changes required to the content of the publication can be made before printing. It was moved and seconded to adopt the publication and to allow any changes that will be necessary, if cited legislation passes, prior to the printing and distribution of the publication. The motion was approved.
B. Elder Law, Probate & Trust Law and Health and Hospital Law Committees
Mr. Reg Turnbull reported on a cooperative effort of the Probate & Trust Law, Elder Law and Health and Hospital Law Committees to update The Missouri Bar’s DPOA. He reported that the revisions were made by a 12-person committee with members representing each of the three committees involved. He noted that changes had previously been made to update the forms to reflect changes in the law enacted subsequent to the original version. He reported that, in addition to further technical revisions, the subcommittee changed the format and layout of the booklet, making the forms detachable from the instructions and frequently asked questions portion of the booklet. He also reported that with the help of The Missouri Bar staff, the revised publication can now be completed online and then printed for signatures and notarization. David English, chair of the Probate & Trust Committee, Amy Hoyt, chair of the Health and Hospital Law Committee and Dr. Martin Zehr, on behalf of the chair of the Elder Law Committee reported that the revised version was reviewed and unanimously approved at their committee meetings held earlier in the day. A motion was made to approve the newly revised form and packet. The motion was approved. It was further noted that the approved version of the booklet will be translated into Spanish.
C. Legal Education Committee
Mr. T. Jack Challis reported on the Legal Education Committee’s analysis and recommendation regarding the resumption of the Mid-Year Seminar as a stand-alone CLE conference event held out of the state. He noted that the committee reviewed the historical data related to the Mid-Year Seminars held in previous years and analyzed the positives and negatives of such an offering, including attendee needs/demand, financial sustainability prospects, and the impact on CLE resources. He reported that the committee unanimously concluded that the resumption of the out of state Mid-Year Seminar is not recommended. He noted that the committee does recommend that the CLE Department consider exploring whether opportunities exist to partner with other organizations that offer existing CLE offerings at an out of state location, which could provide an option for attendees who are interested in such offerings, while alleviating financial risk and potential demand on the resources of the CLE Department of The Missouri Bar.
D. Delivery of Legal Services Committee
Mr. Dan Glazier requested that the Board of Governors consider endorsing an increase to the state’s pro hac vice fees, which provide funds to the four Missouri Legal Services offices. He reported that an analysis indicates that the fees charged in Missouri are among the lowest in the country and that our pro hac vice fees are lower than adjacent states. Mr. Johnston reported that the Executive Committee is looking at this issue, under the direction of Lynn Whaley Vogel, and it is anticipated that the Executive Committee will have a recommendation for the board to consider at the July meeting.
Mr. Glazier also briefly summarized the 2010 Funding Report of Missouri’s Civil Legal Services. Mr. Glazier expressed appreciation to The Missouri Bar for the support provided through the portion of member dues earmarked to support the four legal services programs in Missouri. He noted that the bar contributed $538,785 from the collection of these fees in 2010, representing 3 percent of the total funding of the legal services programs. He reported that the revenue has helped more than 56,000 clients in 2010; he reviewed areas where the funding was used; and he outlined the efficient and effective use of the revenue. He noted that this stable and significant revenue source is especially critical in light of cuts in federal funding for Legal Services Corporation.
Mr. Glazier concluded his report by thanking the Board for its unanimous support of SB 165, legislation to extend the sunset provision of the Civil Legal Services Fund. He reported that the measure, which extends the sunset provision to 2018, had been approved by the Missouri Legislature.
Mr. Richard Halliburton reported that the DLS Committee has been working to increase pro bono efforts among members of The Missouri Bar and the committee today unanimously supported a recommendation to the Board that The Missouri Bar provide some form of recognition or acknowledgment to attorneys who provide 40 hours or more of pro bono service in a given year. It was noted that an initiative has been launched requesting that lawyers voluntarily report the number of pro bono hours they perform annually. And it was noted that such recognition could be developed in coordination with the Pro Bono website, which is slated for a publicity launch in the next few weeks. An example cited would be plans to include the names of lawyers who have reached the 40 hours per year milestone on a “Wall of Fame” on the website. It was also reported that the YLS is planning to provide recognition to young lawyers for pro bono milestones as well. It was moved and seconded that The Missouri Bar will offer recognition to members who report 40 hours or more of pro bono service in a one year period. The motion was approved.
E. Civil Practice and Procedure Committee
Doug Noland reported that the Civil Practice and Procedure Committee, which met jointly with the Tort and Transportation Law Committees, would like the opportunity to review and study the issues surrounding the use of telephone conferencing for certain civil matters. The committees believe that it would be important to revisit this issue in light of the economy, the high cost of fuel and the positive effect it could have on the burden faced particularly by solo and small firm lawyers. It was moved and seconded to allow the Civil Practice and Procedure Committee to review and study the issue. The motion was approved.
4. Special Reports:
A. Court Automation – Electronic Filing
Judge Mary Russell announced that Missouri courts will begin implementing the initial phase of e-filing. She reported that a pilot project is expected to begin in St. Charles on August 1. The phase in process in St. Charles is expected to last until the end of the year, when it is expected that all new public filings will be done electronically in St. Charles County. OSCA will provide training in June. She further reported that the Supreme Court of Missouri has a target date of September 1 to begin e-filing for all applications for transfer, writs and motions. Judge Cliff Ahrens provided a brief history outlining the process leading up to e-filing, focusing on the components that needed to be in place to take the final step to e-filing. These components included a statewide judicial information network, a statewide uniform case management system and public access via the internet, which was accomplished through CaseNet.
Ms. Cathy Zacharias provided a brief presentation describing specific aspects of e-filing, including 24/7 filing access from anywhere an Internet connection is available. She further described potential savings that may be realized through electronic access for lawyers, court staff and the court system. She discussed the technology/equipment that will be needed to participate in e-filing, which included a scanner and an active email address. She outlined the timeline for implementation, rule changes related to e-filing and potential fee related options under consideration for access and use of the e-filing system. She also discussed plans to provide training to lawyers.
B. Social Media Opportunities and Draft Policy
Ms. Sebrina Barrett provided a brief overview of a proposed Missouri Bar social media development plan and draft policy. She offered a description of the three social media resources under consideration – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. She explained that Facebook and LinkedIn offer a two-way communication option and Twitter offers an additional and valuable method to push information out from the Bar. She further distinguished between the structure, content and uses of Facebook and LinkedIn. Ms.
Barrett reported on the social media presence of other state bars, pointing out that
29 state bars are on Facebook, 24 are on LinkedIn and 31 use Twitter. She briefly described the organizational and member benefits and the potential value of utilizing social media. She reviewed the key points of a proposed social media policy developed to guide a Missouri Bar social media presence, noting that content from The Missouri Bar will be posted by one designated staff administrator and a staff social media committee will continually monitor the organizational presence. She reported that the Bar’s Facebook will be open to members of The Missouri Bar and the public. She noted that only The Missouri Bar administrator can post content and the public and members will be able to comment on content. She further noted that the Bar will have the ability to remove any inappropriate comments. She reported that the LinkedIn site will be restricted to members. And this site also allows options to form interest groups, which should serve as a good alternative to those members who had utilized MoBarCircle. It was moved and seconded to approve the implementation of a Missouri Bar social media presence and the accompanying social media policy. The motion was approved.
Ms. Barrie called attention to a circulated report on bar-drafted legislation. She reported that the legislation to remove the 2012 sunset provision on the Basic Legal Services Fund legislation (HB 256) was already truly agreed to and finally passed. Upon approval by the governor, the sunset provision will be extended to 2018. She further reported that the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) (HB 260) and all of the bar-drafted probate and trust measures (SB 59) also passed. She noted that the final version of this approved legislation included some additional provisions such as the adult guardianship act and an increase in small claims jurisdiction. Ms. Barrie reported that the only bar-drafted measure still pending is the Criminal Law Council legislation dealing with implementation of statutorily authorized diversion programs, which includes court cost a fee to be paid to a fund administered by prosecutors that would not exceed what court costs would be if diversion was not sought and the reclassification of certain misdemeanors. She reported that this legislation had been unsuccessful as a free standing bill, but that the reclassification portion of the original legislation has been added to the Omnibus Judiciary bill (HB 111), which was still viable. Ms. Barrie further called attention to two reports that have been provided in the meeting packet: (1) Summary of Legislative Positions Taken by the Executive Committee and (2) Missouri Bar Committee-Drafted Legislation: 2011 Legislative Session. Mr. John Johnston also reviewed the new steps that had been implemented to promote greater input by board members into the bar’s legislative process and requested feedback regarding the effectiveness of the new procedures.
A. May Appointments
(1) Fee Dispute Resolution Committee
Mr. Johnston reported that the term of Mr. James Larimore is expiring and he is willing and eligible to be reappointed. Mr. Johnston also reported that Adele Holt was appointed previously to fill an unexpired term and is eligible and willing to now be appointed to a full 4-year term. It was moved and seconded to reappoint Mr. Larimore and Ms. Holt. The motion was approved.
(2) Intervention Committee
Mr. Johnston reported that the term of Mr. John Greider is expiring and that he is eligible and willing to be reappointed. It was moved and seconded to reappoint Mr. Greider. The motion was approved.
(3) ABA Delegates
Mr. Johnston reported that the Executive Committee recommends the appointment of Carla Fields Johnson as minority delegate. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment of Ms. Fields. The motion was approved.
B. July Appointments
There are no appointments for July.
7. Officers’ Reports:
A. President’s Report
Mr. Johnston recognized board member the Hon. James Kanatzar on his appointment to the 16th Judicial Circuit.
(1) Status Report on the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan
Mr. Johnston reported that two resolutions were pending, one by Rep. Stanley Cox and another by Sen. Jim Lemke. Both bills propose similar structural changes to Missouri’s Non-Partisan Court Plan. Sen. Lemke’s measure has been referred to a Senate study group. Mr. Johnston reported that neither measure is expected to pass this session. He noted that there appears to be a shift in the approach taken to modify, rather than eliminate, the Plan. Mr. Johnston will report further in July.
(2) Plans for the 2011 Kansas City Annual Meeting of The MissouriBar
Mr. Johnston reported that the co-chairs for The Missouri Bar Annual Meeting are Mira Mdivani and Tom Bender. He noted that the Best of Missouri reception will take place at the Liberty Memorial/World War I monument and the planning committee is currently developing CLE program offerings.
(3) Recent Media Coverage
Mr. Johnston noted that members were provided with a report of media coverage.
(a) National Seminar on the Defense of Merit Selection
Mr. Johnston reported that The Missouri Bar is organizing and will host a national seminar on Defense of Merit Selection Systems to be held in St. Louis, August 29 and 30. He noted that representatives from states that currently have merit selection, as well as any state considering merit selection will be invited. The focus of the seminar will be to share information and experiences related to the defense of non-partisan judicial selection processes. Mr. Johnston will report further in July.
(b) Special Committee on Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights
Mr. Johnston reported that he has appointed a Special Committee on Adoption and the Termination of Parental Rights. He reported that the committee was developed in response to issues that surfaced as a result of an immigration/termination of parental rights case that received media attention by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The committee has representation from the immigration, family and juvenile law committees and is chaired by Family Law Section Chair Larry Swall. The committee met on May 9.
(c) Public Defenders Right to Refuse Cases
Mr. Johnston reported that we are awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court of Missouri on the State Public Defenders System’s right to close offices and refuse cases. In the interim The Missouri Bar is preparing to recruit and train volunteers and the Public Defenders System is hiring part-time coordinators in anticipation of addressing the potential needs. He noted that a decision from the Court may come down this summer.
(d) Transparency of the Disciplinary System
Mr. Johnston reported that a subcommittee of the Supreme Court
Advisory Committee has been created to consider issues related to the transparency of the lawyer disciplinary system. He noted that Doreen Dodson is the chair. Mr. Johnston reported that he will appoint two members to this subcommittee and asked board members to provide recommendations for such appointments.
(e) Review of Board of Governors Meetings
Mr. Johnston remarked on the earlier report from T. Jack Challis, chair of the Legal Education Committee, regarding that committee’s recommendation against reinstating a stand-alone Mid-Year Seminar out of state. He further reported that he is planning to implement a suggestion by Pat Starke to review the current schedule and structure of the meetings of The Missouri Bar Board of Governors, looking at such issues as to how many board meetings should be held each year and the objectives for each of the meetings. Mr. Johnston reported that he intends to engage the Executive Committee in such a discussion at the July meeting.
(f) District-Wide Board Seats
Mr. Johnston reminded board members that nominations for the two district-wide seats from the Western and Southern District on the Board of Governors are due by July 1. He noted that information and nomination requests have been mailed to bar associations throughout the state. He noted that the caucuses for those districts will select at least two candidates from the nominations and membership voting will be done electronically at the same time as the general board elections.
(g) Pro Bono Reporting
Mr. Johnston encouraged members of the Board of Governors and members of the DLS committee to voluntarily report their pro bono hours, using the electronic reporting form on The Missouri Bar website.
B. President-Elect’s Report
Ms. Lynn Whaley Vogel reported that she will announce the location of the January 2012 board meeting when the Board of Governors meets in July. She also reported that she is developing a committee chair orientation process, which is likely to involve some participation by committee liaisons. Ms. Vogel also reported that the Committee to Assist Lawyers in a Changing Economy is working on a mechanism that will allow lawyers to make a tax-deductible contribution to support Missouri Bar CLE scholarship efforts.
C. Vice-President’s Report
Mr. Pat Starke reported on the need and opportunity to help young lawyers attend the upcoming Solo and Small Firm Conference in June. He encouraged members of the board to consider sponsoring the registration of a young lawyer for a contribution of $325. It was noted that there is always a need of financial assistance to help young lawyers attend this and other conferences that exceeds scholarship dollars available.
D. Executive Director’s Report
(1) Purcell Professionalism and Judicial Excellence Award
Mr. Keith Birkes reported that the Missouri Bar Foundation has requested nominations for the Purcell Professionalism Award. He noted that only members of the Board of Governors and the Trustees of The Missouri Bar Foundation can nominate members of the bar for this award.
He also asked board members to submit any nominations for the Theodore McMillian Judicial Excellence Award, noting that only members of the Board of Governors can make these nominations as well, and noting that the selection(s) are made by the Executive Committee. Mr. Birkes reported that nominations for both awards must be made by July 1. He further reported that the Executive Committee will also be selecting recipients for the four Pro Bono Publico Awards in July.
(2) Board of Governors Petitions for Reelection
Mr. Birkes reported that members of the board who wish to run for reelection to the Board of Governor must file their petitions for reelection by July 1.
(3) Electronic Communications
Mr. Birkes reported on an effort to shift dissemination of materials and communication to members of the board away from mail and fax to electronic communication. He reported that board meeting materials will still be sent by mail, but the default method of dissemination for other materials, such as legislative information, will be sent by email, unless a board member requests otherwise. Mr. Birkes reported that the dissemination of information electronically is expected to result in substantial savings.
(4) Deputy Executive Director Transition
Mr. Birkes reported that Sebrina Barrett has been doing an excellent job in developing a broad understanding of the programs, policies and objectives of The Missouri Bar and in assuming specific responsibilities related to current bar initiatives.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary