Board Minutes

Board Minutes - January 17, 2003
South Seas Resort, Captiva Island, Florida

Members Present:
Dale C. Doerhoff, President
William M. Corrigan, Jr., President-Elect
Joe B. Whisler, Vice-President
Theresa L. F. Levings, Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary

C. Ronald Baird
Erik Bergmanis
Richard N. Bien
Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.
P. John Brady
Richard Bresnahan
Thomas M. Burke
Scott Campbell
Thomas J. Casey
Morry S. Cole
Richard J. Collins
Douglas A. Copeland
John Cowherd
Carol Chazen Friedman
Chad A. Gaddie
Richard F. Halliburton
Don M. Henry
Bruce F. Hilton
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr.
John S. Johnston
George E. Kapke
Hon. John F. Kintz
Thomas M. Lang
Mark H. Levison
Max E. Mitchell
Jack Peace
Hon. Daniel Pelikan
Daniel A. Raniere
John A. Ruth
Daniel J. Ryan
Wallace Squibb
Richard G. Steele
F. Dianne Taylor
H.A. Skip Walther

Also Present:
Hon. Richard Teitelman
James Spain
Michael Gunn
Cecil Caulkins
Chris Janku

1. Minutes:

It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Governors of November 22 and December 23 and of the Executive Committee of November 22, December 13, and December 20 be approved. The motion was approved.

2. Finance Committee Report:

Mr. Burke reported that the Bar is in very good financial condition. 2002 was essentially a break-even year, and the Bar realized slightly more than budgeted revenue, and the next dues increase will be a few years in the future..

3. Legislation:

Mr. Birkes reported that the major piece of legislation for the Bar this year is the filing fee surcharge. One challenge to the success of this effort has been concerns by Representative Richard Byrd, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, that an informal opinion fro m the Disciplinary Office a few years ago was unfavorable to lawyer-legislators. In the time since the opinion was issued, it has been reversed by a Rule of the Supreme Court of Missouri. Members who know Representative Byrd are urged to contact him and explain the merits of the filing fee surcharge legislation.

4. Committee Reports:

A. Client Security Fund Committee.

Chris Janku reported that the Committee met by teleconference subsequent to the November 22 meeting and had approved an additional 16 claims totaling $35,195.68; 20 claims are recommended for denial. Coffman v. Wise, which was approved for $20,000 at the November 2002 meeting, is now recommended for $4,883.18 as the client has received restitution from the attorney. Asberry v. Summa, which had been approved for $1,400 at the November meeting, is now recommended for denial It was moved and seconded that the claims approved by the Committee be paid. The motion was approved.

B. Ethics 2000 Committee.

Mr. Spain reported that the Committee had met twice and plans to produce a report in April. Mr. Spain will appear at the May meeting to discuss the report. No action was taken.

C. Complaint Resolution Committee.

Mr. Bergmanis reported that the Committee has two recommendations for changes in the guidelines for the program: (1) increase the oversight committee from three members to five, and (2) permit volunteers who are inclined to do so to serve more than two four-year terms. It was moved and seconded that the changes be approved. The motion was approved.

Mr. Bergmanis further reported that volunteers Barbara Hoppe and Joseph Morrey have completed the two-day training and orientation and are ready to serve as facilitators if approved by the Board. It was moved and seconded that they be approved to serve as facilitators. The motion was approved.

D. Statewide Commission on Legal Services.

Mr. Birkes reported on three developments since the November 22 meeting: (1) $700,000 received from the Cole County Circuit Court as a cy pres distribution was given to the four legal services programs; (2) a December 17 meeting of representatives of the four legal services programs, the Commission, and the Board, resulted in an understanding on restructuring legal services in Missouri, and the letter from Judge Robert Russell explaining the understanding has been conveyed to the Legal Services corporation; and (3) Commission Chair Ron Mitchell has requested that the dues revenues generated by the $20 dues increase be set aside in 2003 to fund the implementation of the proposed statewide system.

Mr. Birkes explained that, although the Board had approved a payment of up to $10,000 for mediation, Judge Russell had declined to accept compensation and has requested instead that a donation be made in his name to The Missouri Bar Foundation. It was moved and seconded that an appropriate resolution of appreciation be prepared and forwarded to Judge Russell. The motion was approved.

It was then moved and seconded that the approximately $400,000 in dues revenues attributable to the $20 dues increase for legal services be set aside as requested by Mr. Mitchell. There was considerable discussion of the proposal, including questions whether the legal services programs in Missouri can do without the $400,000; whether grants or other funding from the Legal Services Corporation might be available to help pay for the implementation costs; whether Mr. Mitchell's proposed budget included a significant operating costs component (in which case the Bar might be undertaking to support the statewide entity on a continuing basis); whether the appropriate model should be top-down or a bottom-up management system; whether the scope of the commission's charge included the development of the statewide entity; and whether the Commission was communicating effectively with the four programs.

It was moved that the motion be tabled to the May meeting. The motion to table failed. The main motion was then called, and the motion failed. It was then moved and seconded that revenues from the $20 dues increase should not be distributed until further vote of the Board. The motion failed. There was considerable additional discussion, including the nature of the Board's obligation to account for the expenditure of the dues increase proceeds and the observation that Judge Russell has offered to meet further with the interested parties to work out the details of the statewide program. It was then moved and seconded that the proceeds from the $20 dues increase be distributed to the four legal services programs. The motion was approved. It was further moved and seconded that the Commission and the four legal services programs report to the Board at its May meeting on progress in developing the statewide program. The motion was approved.

E. Property Law Committee.

Mr. Doerhoff reported that, following the action of the Board at the November 22 meeting, the Missouri Association of Realtors had distributed the form contract carrying a notice that the contract had been approved by The Missouri Bar. When the Bar learned of this, the Executive Committee held a special meeting on December 20 to consider the issue. For a variety of reasons, including the contract's effort to disclaim liability on the part of realtors involved in a sale under the contract, the Executive Committee concluded that, if any authority had been granted to proceed with the joint contract, it should be withdrawn. The Property Law Committee has agreed to form an expanded subcommittee with additional members who represent consumer interests to study the contract.

F. Alternate Billing Methods Committee.

Mr. Baird reported that the Committee had met in January and would meet again in February. Dean Ken Dean of the UMC School of Law has agreed to serve as reporter. The Committee has a deadline of June 1 to complete its work and will report further at the May meeting.

G. Endorsement of The Bar Plan's Court Bond Program.

Mr. Steele reported that The Bar Plan Surety & Fidelity Company, established in 1999, is providing a valuable and affordable service to Missouri lawyers, issuing about 20% of Missouri bonds. The Bar Plan asks that the Board endorse TBPS&F as it has the legal malpractice insurance plan. It was moved and seconded that the Bar endorse The Bar Plan Surety & Fidelity Company. The motion was approved.

5. Officers Reports:

A. Executive Director's Report.

(1) Government Attorneys Committee.

Mr. Birkes reported that this new committee has been formed, and a proposed scope statement for the new committee has been drafted for the Board's approval. It was moved and seconded that the proposed scope statement be approved. The motion was approved.

(2) Committee Reports.

Mr. Birkes directed the attention of Board members to the reports for Complaint Resolution Committee, Fee Dispute Resolution Committee, and the Missouri Lawyers' Assistance Program, which were enclosed with the agenda materials.

B. Vice-President's Report.

Mr. Whisler reported on plans to enhance pro bono publico service, including lunches for the 50 largest law firms to try to get better pro bono reporting from these firms.

C. President-Elect's Report.

Mr. Corrigan reported that he and other Bar officers had met with Judge Limbaugh in December to discuss lawyer representation in the legislature. The UMC School of Law is planning to have the senior class spend a day visiting the General Assembly to promote the idea that new lawyers should run for the legislature.

D. President's Report.

(1) Legal Challenge to IOLTA.

Mr. Doerhoff reported that a lawsuit has been filed against the Supreme Court of Missouri challenging the constitutionality of the IOLTA plan in Missouri. It was moved and seconded that an amicus curiae brief be filed on behalf of The Missouri Bar in this lawsuit. The motion was approved.

(2) Conflicts of Interest Policy.

Mr. Doerhoff reported that a Board committee will be formed to draft a policy relating to conflicts of interest that would apply to members of The Missouri Bar in their Bar activities. The committee will be chaired by Ms. Levings and will include Ms. Friedman and Messrs. Squibb and Ryan.

(3) Annual Meeting, 2003.

Mr. Doerhoff reported that Michael Middleton and Betty Wilson of Columbia have agreed to co-chair the planning committee and that the planning work is underway.

(4) Dialogue on Justice.

Mr. Doerhoff invited suggestions from Board members.

(5) Gender and Justice Survey.

Mr. Doerhoff directed the attention of Board members to correspondence included with the agenda materials regarding a ten year follow-up study on this subject.

(6) Media Contacts.

Mr. Doerhoff referred Board members to information on media contacts included with the agenda. An additional initiative in the media is publicizing "lawyers as citizens." The first person to be so honored was Professor Doug Abrams of the UMC School of Law, who has been very active in hockey for young people in mid-Missouri.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Keith A. Birkes, Secretary