Board Minutes - May 10, 2013

MINUTES

2012-2013 BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING

Friday, May 10, 2013

Jefferson City Capitol Plaza Hotel


 

Members present:

Patrick B. Starke, President

P. John Brady, President-Elect

Reuben Shelton, Vice-President

Lynn Ann Vogel, Immediate Past President

Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary

 

Thomas V. Bender

Erik Bergmanis

Suzanne B. Bradley

Nicole Colbert-Botchway

Nimrod T. Chapel, Jr.

Mark W. Comley

Hon. Charles Curless

Joel R. Elmer

Brian Francka

Genevieve M. Frank

Michael E. Gardner

Wendy Garrison

John W. Grimm

John R. Gunn

Robert S. Kenney

Hon. John F. Kintz

J. B. Lasater

Mark H. Levison

Gregg F. Lombardi

Neil F. Maune, Jr.

Max E. Mitchell

Nancy R. Mogab

Hon. Mark H. Neill

Douglass F. Noland

Joseph P. Rice, III

Brett W. Roubal

Walter R. Simpson

Antwaun L. Smith

Joan M. Swartz

W. Douglas Thomson

Raymond E. Williams

Eric J. Wulff

 

Present by telephone:

Bevy A. Beimdiek

Dana Tippin Cutler

Wallace Squibb

 

Members absent:

Robert J. Buckley

Hon. Richard Bresnahan

Jim Guest
Edward J. Hershewe

Mira Mdivani

Tricia M. Scaglia

 

Others present:

Millie Aulbur
Catherine Barrie
Lucas Boling
Anne Chambers
Farrah Fite
Kent Hopper
Chris Janku
Norman Lampton
Delores Shepherd
Robert Stoeckl

Bill Thompson
Gary Toohey
Eric Wilson

 

 


 

1.            Minutes: 

               It was moved and seconded that the minutes from the Board of Governors meetings of February 22 and March 8 and the Executive Committee meetings of February 15, February 21, March 1, March 22, April 8 and April 19 be approved. The motion was approved.

2.            Finances:

Mr. Erik Bergmanis reported that Missouri Bar finances are on track for this point in the year with receipts at approximately 63 percent and disbursements at about 23 percent. He reported that total revenue, including enrollment fees, is a little higher than anticipated. He further reported that 2013 expenses are lower in a number of different areas including paper, postage, and salaries associated with the staff transitions during 2012. He noted that the Annual Meeting will be coming up in the fall, producing additional expenses.

Mr. Bergmanis also reported that the annual audit was completed at the end of March and an unqualified opinion is expected based on the exit interview with the auditors. 

3.            Appointments:

               A.           May Appointments

Mr. Pat Starke reported that May appointments are needed for two committees and for seats on the ABA Board of Delegates. It was moved and seconded to approve all the May appointments as recommended. The motion was approved. 
               (1)          Intervention Committee

Mr. Danny J. Curtis’s term is expiring.  Kansas City attorney Dale Irwin is recommended to fill the position. 

 

               (2)          ABA Board of Delegates

The seats of the minority delegate, young lawyer delegate and one past president are expiring.  Past president Doug Copeland has served two two-year terms, and Skip Walther is the next past president eligible, willing and recommended to serve. Carla Fields Johnson has served a one term and is eligible, willing and recommended to serve a second term as the minority delegate.  The YLS Council will be selecting a young lawyer delegate to replace Christina Abate, who is no longer eligible due to age requirements.

(2)          Fee Dispute Resolution Committee

Ms. Mary Lou Martin’s term is expiring, and she is recommended and willing to accept reappointment. 

               B.           July Appointments:

              (1)          JPE Committees

Mr. Pat Starke called attention to vacancies that exist on the Judicial Performance Committee in two circuits and one appellate district as listed below. He encouraged members of the Board to consider making recommendations to fill these vacancies prior to the July meeting of the Board of Governors, when appointments will be made.

             (a)          7th Circuit – One non-lawyer position with a term expiring in 2018.

             (b)          22nd Circuit – Four lawyer positions (one for remainder of a term  expiring in 2014; two for terms expiring in 2016; and one for a term expiring in 2018.)

               (c)           Appellate – One lawyer position who is a resident in the Southern District Court of Appeals for a term expiring in 2018.

4.            Officers’ Reports:

               A.           President’s Report

(1)          Legislative Report

Mr. Pat Starke reported on the latest status of the criminal code bill and the legislation affecting the Missouri Public Defender System.

(a)          Criminal Code Legislation

Mr. Starke reported that the criminal code bill has been passed by the House and is expected to be voted on in the Senate Judiciary Committee early next week. He reported the bill has a slight chance of being passed by the Legislature before the end of the session next Friday, but its voluminous size and complexity may be an obstacle as legislators try to advance a number of measures in the waning days of the session. He reported there are no substantive issues with the bill, but a range of procedural issues that are still being worked out. He commended the sponsors of the bill and supporters within the Legislature who have helped move the measure this far during the 2012 session, and indicated that he will provide a final report to members of the Board of Governors after the conclusion of the session on May 17.

               (b)          Legislation Related to the Missouri Public Defender System

Mr. Starke reported that several bills related to the Missouri Public Defender System are still under consideration in the Legislature, but none are expected to pass by the end of the session. One bill would shrink the size of the MSPD, contracting certain cases out to private attorneys. Another bill revises various laws regarding the MSPD and would require that restitution be paid through the office of the prosecuting or circuit attorney and includes authorization to charge various administrative handling costs.

(c)           Judicial Circuit Redistricting

Mr. Starke reported that it appears the Legislature will pass a bill related to judicial circuit redistricting.  

(2)          Governance Report

Mr. Starke reported that a number of governance issues were discussed in a small group setting at the February board meeting including changes in the number of board meetings held each year, changes as to the size of the Board of Governors, and the status and continuation of the diversity seats on the Board. That group recommended a discussion of these issues by the full Board at this meeting.

(a)          Changes in the Number of Meetings of the Board of Governors


Mr. Starke noted that the Board of Governors currently meets six times, counting the addition of the recent Legislative Day gathering, and asked that consideration be given as to whether the number of meetings could be reduced to four, noting that such a change would provide for a more efficient use of board members’ time. The subsequent discussion focused on a wide range of issues including whether the work of the Board could be completed in four meetings, the impact such a change would have on the actions of the Executive Committee between meetings, which meetings should be eliminated, whether it is necessary for the Board to meet at the Spring and Fall Committee meetings, cost savings related to fewer meetings, and the possibility of expanding the use of technology to conduct meetings without traveling to a central location. A group of Governors will be appointed to review this issue and report back to the Board with a recommendation. Mr. Starke asked anyone interested in participating in this group to let him know.

(b)          Size of the Board of Governors

 

Mr. Starke opened a discussion as to whether consideration should be given to changing the size of the Board of Governors, citing disparities in the number of lawyers represented and counties covered by individual board members by district. He noted that the current districts were created 21 years ago. He also noted that concerns have been raised as to how the size of the board impacts the engagement and active involvement of Board members. Mr. Starke opened a discussion on the issue, indicating that the Board may or may not conclude that a change is needed, but that a review of the issues and an intentional decision regarding the issues is worthwhile.

Questions were raised as to whether a problem actually exists. Additional discussion focused on how the size of the board might have a negative impact including the ability to convene a full board, the comfort level of members to actively participate in board discussions, the need for delegation of board actions to the Executive Committee between meetings, the level of engagement of members of the board in initiatives and programs, and related board expenses. Further discussion focused on the value of the current size of the Board, increased board representation with the growth in the number of lawyers within the state, maintaining a wide range of expertise among members of the board, and having adequate numbers of board members to implement initiatives such as the A-Lex program.

Further discussion considered issues of the relevance of the Bar to sectors of the profession including large firms, small firms, fairness related to outstate representation, types of district models that might be used to improve representation, and the trends in the nonprofit arena as to board size.  A group of Governors will be appointed to review this issue and report back to the Board with a recommendation. Mr. Starke asked anyone interested in participating in this group to let him know.

(c)           Diversity Seat

Mr. Starke reported that when the diversity seats were added to the Board of Governors, a provision was included that the Board would review the need for the seats after six years. Mr. Starke reported that an open discussion would be conducted at this meeting as part of that review with action being taken at a later day. Subsequent discussion focused on whether the diversity seats are still needed, whether they have been successful in adding diversity to the body, and whether the process would benefit from refining the definition used to identify who is eligible to run for one of the seats. Most of the discussion favored keeping the seats in place with a provision to again review in the future. The predominant opinion during the discussion considered the program successful in moving in the right direction, but indicated that some consideration should be given as to revising the definition of those eligible for a diversity seat.  A group of Governors will be appointed to review this issue and report back to the Board with a recommendation. Mr. Starke asked anyone interested in participating in this group to let him know.  

B.           President-Elect’s Report

Mr. Jack Brady reported that he will be working in the coming months to establish plans to address three priority areas during his term as president. Mr. Brady identified the three priority areas as: (1) increasing the relevance of The Missouri Bar to the membership; (2) addressing issues facing aging lawyers who are concluding their professional careers and the issues facing new lawyers as they begin their professional careers; and (3) making The Missouri Bar website more user-friendly and useful for members of the Bar and for the public.

 

C.           Vice-President’s Report

Mr. Reuben Shelton reported that his main focus as Vice-President is to support the work of the current administration. He further reported that he was one of the speakers at a Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) Law Day program. He is scheduled to speak at the Mound City Bar Retreat on June 8. He is also scheduled to address the local chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) at its meeting in early June. At the ACC meeting, he plans to emphasize the importance of ACC members becoming active members of The Missouri Bar, discuss a potential confidentiality issue that may affect ACC members who are not members of The Missouri Bar and to emphasize a cooperative rather than competitive relationship between the two organizations. Mr. Shelton also reported that he had participated in several valuable legislative dinners, one in Jefferson City and another in Springfield.

Mr. Shelton thanked the members of the Board who participated in the legislative initiative in April. He noted that approximately 25 members of the Board of Governors attended. He reviewed the value of the experience including meeting and establishing a connection with legislators, answering questions, and leaving reference materials to reinforce the message that the Bar is available as a resource to legislators. He commended staff for organizing the activity and he indicated that a similar Legislative Day will be planned for 2014.  

D.           Executive Director’s Report

Carol Chazen Friedman Scholarship

Ms. Sebrina Barrett reminded members of the Board of Governors about donations to fund a scholarship to the Solo and Small Firm Conference in June in remembrance of Carol Chazen Friedman. She noted that donations are still needed to fund the scholarship and asked members of the Board to make a contribution.

Summer Meeting

Ms. Barrett reported on several changes for the summer meeting, noting that many members of the Board of Governors brought their children last year. She reported that there will be a buffet dinner prior to the traditional ice cream social on Thursday, July 10 and invited those who arrive between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to attend. She also reported that there will be two pontoon boats available on Friday afternoon and that there will be two shifts for the boats – one shift from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and a second shift from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. – to ensure that everyone is able to participate. She further reported that in addition to the Friday evening dinner with musical entertainment, activities are being planned for the children. She asked members of the Board to share any suggestion for children’s activities. Ms. Barrett also reported that polo shirts will be provided to board members this year and requested that everyone complete the form that was mailed with the information on the summer meeting or the one provided in the packet to help facilitate these initiatives.   

Special Committee on Veterans

 

Ms. Barrett reported that the Executive Committee approved the establishment of a Special Committee on Veterans Issues. She noted that a brief report from the committee’s chair Jim Guest has been included with the meeting materials today. She further reported that the intention is to put together a committee with diverse expertise related to the issues facing veterans and to develop a program modeled after a successful “clinic” approach used by the Oklahoma Bar Association. She noted that the group will focus on complementing, not duplicating efforts of other organizations, including current programs in place at Mid-Missouri Legal Services and Legal Aid of Western Missouri that address the needs of veterans.  

Board Election

Ms. Barrett reminded members of the Board of Governors of the July 1 deadline to file a nominating petition in board districts where terms are expiring this year, noting that a nominating petition was included in the packet of materials for this meeting.

(5)          Bar Center Update

Ms. Barrett reported that the construction at the Bar Center is on target for a late June completion date. She commended the staff for their hard work and patience in the midst of the disruptions caused by the ongoing construction. She reported that it was anticipated that an activity to introduce the space will be scheduled in the fall and that a board activity in the space will be planned for the November meeting.

5.            Media Relations Report:

               Ms. Farrah Fite provided a report on media relations, providing examples of press coverage about The Missouri Bar including profiles about the Bar, interviews, and stories about the criminal code legislation, Law Day and National Healthcare Decision Day activities, along with juror appreciation week promotional efforts. She also reported on the 2012-13 institutional ads – Non-Partisan Court Plan and the anniversary of Gideon v. Wainright decision – noting the value of the program with the Missouri Broadcasters Association which allows our ads to receive more than $600,000 of air time on television and radio for an investment of $30,000.

               Ms. Fite outlined efforts to build the number of users and enhance the value of The Missouri Bar website as a resource. She provided statistical data related to user visits. She noted that the jobs section is the most viewed portion of the website. Ms. Fite further noted that work is continually underway to improve the Bar’s social media presence, utilizing Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. She reported excellent growth in this area through consistent posting on these vehicles and provided examples of posts from National Healthcare Decision Day, Legislative Days, enrollment ceremonies and the Gideon anniversary. She also discussed the leveraging value involved in social media communications and discussed efforts to expand social media in the future including the use of video and an emphasis on providing content compatible with mobile devices. She reported on initiatives to better highlight the value of member benefits and the ongoing presentation of the Mini Law School for the Public held twice a year in conjunction with Saint Louis University School of Law.

6.            Legislation:

 

Mr. Eric Wilson provided additional information on the progress of the criminal code legislation and thanked the members of the Board of Governors for making calls and sending emails to legislators in support of the measure. He noted that the legislation passed the House by a vote of 150 – 7. He also reported that the Probate and Trust Committee drafted legislation that adds health savings plans and inherited accounts to the list of exemptions in bankruptcy proceedings has also been included in several other bills in an effort to get the measure passed by the end of the session. Mr. Wilson also called attention to a report provided in the meeting packet which provides a summary of other legislation that The Missouri Bar took positions on during the 2012 session.

7.            Committee Reports:

               A.           Leadership Academy

Mr. Pat Mobely, representing the Leadership Academy, thanked the Board of Governors for the tremendous opportunity to participate in this year’s class. Mr. Mobely explained that the Leadership Academy has decided to produce a video to promote the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program (MOLAP) member benefit as its annual service project. He noted that the video would focus on four issues that are of particular interest to the younger lawyer and law students – depression, substance abuse, financial pressures, student loan debt and family. He further reported the goal of the video would be to make these services better known to the target audience with a prominent place on the Bar’s website, accessible on the Internet, at law student orientations and through other electronic communications. Mr. Mobely called attention to a draft script for the video, which was included in the meeting materials and noted that the Leadership Academy is asking for Board approval of the script, so production can begin with the University of Missouri. He further reported that the Leadership Academy expects to have the video completed and ready for viewing at the July meeting of the Board of Governors. It was moved and seconded to approve the script and production of the video as described by Mr. Mobely. The motion was approved.

B.           Board Liaison Reports

The following Governors reported on the activities of the committees to which they serve as liaisons:

(a)          Eminent Domain Law Committee

Honorable Charles Curless reported that the Eminent Domain Committee did not meet.

(b)          Criminal Law Committee

Mr. Joel R. Elmer reported that this committee is in the capable hands of two excellent chairs. He noted that the committee meets in both the Spring and Fall, offers two CLE programs a year in conjunction with the meetings and has had as its main focus the passage of the Criminal Code legislation.

(c)           Local Government Law Committee

Mr. Brian Francka reported that this committee typically meets twice a year and held a joint meeting and CLE with the Technology Law Committee today. He reported that Barbara Birkicht is in her third year as chair and has done an excellent job increasing the participation in the committee and launched its webpage on the Bar’s website. He noted that Ms. Birkicht is interested in serving as a co-chair next year to facilitate a transition in leadership.

 (d)         Animal Law Committee, Taxation Law Committee

Ms. Genevieve M. Frank reported that the Animal Law chair cancelled today’s  meeting because the chair had an unexpected family issue arise. She noted that this committee has some unique challenges in that no one makes a living doing animal law and any position the committee takes is controversial. Ms. Frank noted that the chair is planning to research activities of similar committees in other state bar associations to help improve participation.

Ms. Frank reported that the Taxation Law Committee met today and provided a legislative update. She noted that attendance was lower at this meeting because many members are attending the ABA Tax Law Section meeting. She reported that the committee meets regularly and typically has CLE which is well attended.  

(e)          Administrative Law Committee

Mr. John W. Grimm reported that this committee meets at both the Spring and Fall Committee Meetings and the meetings are very well attended, with 100 – 125 attending today’s meeting. He reported that the committee typically includes a CLE and a legislative update and has updated the deskbook several years ago.  
 

(f)           Delivery of Legal Services Committee

Mr. Gregg Lombardi reported that the DLS committee is co-chaired by Jenny Schwendeman and Susan Lutton and that the committee has been focused on improving pro bono services and improving pro bono reporting by lawyers. He noted that pro bono reporting used to be done in conjunction with MCLE reporting and at that time lawyers reported 100,000 hours of pro bono services. He stated that for 2011 only about 15,000 hours were reported. He reported that this is not because less pro bono service is being done, but less is being reported and that this result reflects poorly on the bar. He noted that the committee is trying to make it easier to report, allowing firms to submit hours for all of their attorneys on a single excel sheet. He further reported that the Legal Services organizations in the state will be providing their volunteers with a report of their annual hours and a link to the reporting form on the Bar’s website to also make it easier to report. He noted that the committee hopes that these actions will increase the pro bono reporting figures in the future.

He also reported that the DLS Committee would like to recruit some rural attorneys to join the committee. He asked members of the Board to share any names of attorneys who might be interested and noted that the rural attorneys may be interested in both the pro bono issues and the related pro se issues. He further reported that the DLS Committee plans to propose an emeritus rule designed to reduce the fees for attorneys who move to Missouri for retirement and other retired lawyers who want to volunteer to provide pro bono services.

(g)          Environmental and Energy Law Committee

Mr. Robert S. Kenney reported that this committee, chaired by Aimee Davenport, meets at the Spring and Fall Committee Meetings and offers CLE programming. He reported that the committee has a good cross section of practitioners including private attorneys, members of the DNR, Office of Attorney General, PSC, etc. He noted that the committee continues to talk about how to put more emphasis on the energy aspect of the mission.  

(h)          Minority Issues Committee

Ms. Nicole Colbert-Botchway reported that the Minority Issues Committee met today and focused on the Summer Diversity Summit. She noted that the committee thanks The Missouri Bar for supporting the Summit, now in its fourth year. She reported that the event brings leaders from the specialty bar associations serving the minority members of the bar together, including Mound City Bar, Jackson County Bar, Asian-American bars, Hispanic and LGBT bars, for a one-day meeting and CLE. She also reported that the committee is reaching out to minority members of the bar from outstate communities. Ms. Colbert-Botchway also reported that this committee typically meets at the Spring and Fall Committee Meetings and has decided to focus the fall meeting on providing a CLE program to members, while using the spring meeting to focus on the Summit.  

C.           Other Committee Reports

(1)          Commercial Law Committee

Mr. Norm Lampton, co-chair of the Commercial Law Committee, reported that committee drafted legislation to amend statutes on transcripts of judgments rendered by associate circuit courts was submitted for approval in 2012, but was subsequently withdrawn in November to address concerns raised by the title companies related to workload, cost, and the ability to clear title in real estate transactions. Mr. Lampton further reported that the title companies have subsequently decided not to participate in efforts to revise the legislation as expected and that the bill will be resubmitted for the 2014 session.

Mr. Lampton also commented on timing of the board meetings, noting that the process for submitting bar-drafted legislation would work better if the Spring Committee Meetings were held earlier than May.

Mr. Lampton further reported that his committee anticipates that the Probate and Trust Committee drafted measure to exempt HSAs and inherited accounts in bankruptcy proceedings, if passed during the current session, will be challenged in the bankruptcy courts as unconstitutional.

He also reported that the Commercial Law Committee will be looking into an increase in malpractice claims related to bankruptcy practice.

8.            Other Business:

A.           District 1 CLE and Golf Tournament

Ms. Suzanne Bradley reported that there is a District 1 golf tournament and CLE program planned for June 21.

 

 B.           Picture Request of Board of Governors

Mr. Pat Starke reported that he will be sending an email to members of the Board of Governors asking that each member of the Board provide him with a baby picture for a fun project at the July board meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

            Respectfully submitted,

 

  

              __________________________________________

             Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary