Board Minutes

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson, Arizona

Members Present:
C. Ronald Baird, President
Charlie J. Harris, Jr., President-Elect
Thomas M. Burke, Vice-President
Douglas A. Copeland, Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary
Erik Bergmanis
Susanne B. Bradley
P. John Brady
Hon. Richard C. Bresnahan
Thomas J. Casey
Dana Tippin Cutler
Brian Francka
Carol Chazen Friedman
Mike Greenwell
Richard F. Halliburton
Bruce F. Hilton
John S. Johnston
Aaron D. Jones
Jennifer M. Joyce
Hon. John F. Kintz
William J. Lasley
Mark H. Levison
Max E. Mitchell
Matthew M. Mocherman
Douglass F. Noland
John A. Ruth
Allan D. Seidel
Howard A. Shalowitz
Walter R. Simpson
Wallace Squibb
H.A. Skip Walther
Eric J. Wulff

Present by Phone:
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr.
Thomas M. Lang
Daniel A. Raniere
Patrick B. Starke
Lynn Ann Vogel
James C. Wirken

William R. Bay
Alan B. Gallas
H. Lynn Henry
Edward J. Hershewe
W. Edward Reeves

Also Present:
Chris Janku
Hon. William Ray Price, Jr.
Robert Stoeckl
Hon. Richard B. Teitelman

1. Minutes:
It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors of November 17, 2006 and of the Executive Committee meetings of November 17, December 15 and December 18 be approved. The motion was approved.
2. Finance Committee Report:
Mr. Bergmanis reported that the Bar ended the year in a better position
than originally anticipated, with revenues coming in more than expected and disbursements less than budgeted. A narrative summary of the end-of-the-year financial status and statements of receipts and disbursements were distributed to members. It was moved and seconded that the report be approved. The motion was approved.
3. Legislation:
Mr. Birkes directed the attention of Board members to the report containing a list of sponsors for previously approved Bar-drafted legislation. He reported that most of the proposals now have sponsors. All will be introduced in this legislative session. No action was required.
4. Committee Reports:
A. Client Security Fund Committee
Mr. Janku reported that the Client Security Fund payments of $69,258.40 authorized at the November board meeting are proceeding as planned. He also reported that the committee held a meeting in December and is recommending the payment of an additional 19 claims totaling $32,334.92. Four claims were denied at that meeting. He also reported that the Fund received approximately $10,000 in restitution during 2006. It was moved and seconded to approve the additional fund payments as proposed. The motion was approved.
B. Lawyers Assistance Program
Tom Casey directed Board members to a MOLAP Utilization Report contained in their packet, pointing out that 143 cases were opened in 2006 and indicating that the report provides a breakdown of the cases. He commended Jim Brady on his efforts in managing the MOLAP programs. No action was required.
C. Special Committee on the Public Defender System
Mr. Copeland reported that efforts are underway to help provide caseload relief for the Public Defender System. He reported that a Senate Interim Committee was appointed after the 2006 session to look at caseload solutions and that committee is expected to issue its report in the next few weeks. He anticipates that the Senate Interim Committee will not recommend additional FTEs for the Public Defender System. Instead the committee may recommend removing misdemeanor cases from the Public Defender System and contracting with the private bar to handle these matters. He noted that the adding of additional full time staff had been the original approach recommended of the Task Force.
He reported that the Governor does not support the creation of new FTEs in any area of state government. There was some discussion about whether the Bar should publicly oppose this approach and the short-term versus long term ramifications of such action. Additional questions were raised about whether any efforts are underway to change the use, allocation and efficiencies of resources within Public Defender System.
Mr. Copeland also noted that efforts continue to reclassify some offenses, so they do not carry the potential of “loss of liberty” as an additional approach to relieve caseload pressure on the Public Defender System. He indicated that a report on these issues will be circulated to the Board after the Senate Interim Committee recommendations are released, and he will further update the Board at the May meeting.
D. Special Committee on Unbundled Legal Services
Mr. Stoeckl reported for Committee Chair Alan Gallas, providing an update on the work of the committee. He reported that the committee had met on multiple occasions and that a written report is forthcoming. They are awaiting the component focusing on malpractice issues. The report is expected to conclude that the unbundled legal services is an emerging area, that will require rule changes, mainly focused on providing more concrete guidance to lawyers who wish to provide services in this manner. The special committee is working in cooperation with the Supreme Court of Missouri and its Pro Se Commission on the development of rules, several of which are currently under review by the Court’s Civil Rules Committee.
E. Special Committee on Online Legal Research.
Messrs. Baird and Birkes reported on efforts to identify and contract with a vendor to provide online legal research as a new member benefit. Mr. Baird noted that after further investigation, the Special Committee is recommending Fastcase as the provider. A contract has been negotiated and reviewed and is included in the meeting materials. Mr. Baird further noted that the initial contract is for two year, with options that extend to a six year term. Cases will go all the way back to 1886. Missouri Bar deskbooks will be incorporated, and it is anticipated that the new member benefit will be up and running on June 1, 2007.
Mr. Birkes reported that the online research would be provided at no
charge to eligible members. He reported that the cost for the program will be approximately $125,000 annually and that the Finance Committee recommends funding the first three years of online legal research using approximately $300,000 that was part of a major medical stabilization fund turned back over to The Missouri Bar 10 years ago, when the Bar discontinued endorsement of the program. He reported that the Insurance Programs Committee has for the past decade been trying to identify a way to use the money to provide some member benefit related to major medical insurance, but the amount was too low in the major medical environment for any meaningful use. It appears this use of the money would be a good way to benefit a large number of Missouri Bar members.
It was moved, and seconded to approve and authorize staff to finalize and contract on the online legal research as proposed and to approve the use of the major medical stabilization fund for the online research services. The motion passed.
5. Appointments:
A. Current Appointments
There were no current appointments for Board consideration.
B. May Appointments
(1) Fee Dispute Resolution Committee
Mr. Birkes reported that the terms of Ms. Karen Woodall and Mr. J. Fred Waltz are expiring and neither is eligible for reappointment. He directed Board members to a list of current membership on that committee included in their packets and reported that the Board will be asked to approve replacements for both members at the meeting in May.
6. Officers Report:
A. Executive Director’s Report.
(1) Missouri Bar Headquarters Annex Building Renovation
Mr. Birkes reported that the windows are being replaced in the Annex Building to improve energy efficiency. The renovation is being paid for by the Trustees of The Missouri Bar, the entity that owns the Bar’s real property assets. The renovation will benefit The Missouri Bar without incurring any cost.
(2) Mid-Year Seminar.
Mr. Birkes reported that this year’s Mid-Year Seminar had the adequate number of registrants necessary to cover direct meeting expenses.
(3) Spring Committee Meetings.
Mr. Birkes reported that the Spring Committee Meetings are scheduled for May 11. Board members will receive information and details.
(4) New Immigration Law Committee
Mr. Birkes reported that 82 Missouri Bar members responded to notices in ESQ. regarding the proposed formation of an Immigration Law Committee and indicating that they would like to belong to such a committee. The Board had authorized the staff to query the membership, responding to a request from membership. It was moved and seconded that The Missouri Bar establish a new Immigration Law Committee. The motion passed.
(5) Annual Reports for the Complaint Resolution and Fee Dispute Resolution Programs of The Missouri Bar
Mr. Birkes called attention to the Annual Reports of both the Complaint Resolution Program and the Fee Dispute Resolution programs of The Missouri Bar.
B. Vice-President’s Report.
(1) Location for 2009 Missouri Bar Annual Meeting
Mr. Burke reported that dates for the Annual Meeting were not available at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in 2009, requiring the Bar to look at other locations. He noted that the Adam’s Mark Hotel offered excellent facilities, but it was concluded that it would not be appropriate for The Missouri Bar to meet at that location. Two hotel options were left with adequate space needed for the meeting – the Millennium and the Hilton Ballpark. The Hilton Ballpark is adding 6,000 square foot of meeting space in 2007 and we will move forward to contract with that location for the 2009 meeting. He noted that the hotel is directly across from Busch Stadium and will be adjacent to the expected development associated with the “Ballpark Village.”
(2) 2009 Mid-Year Meeting Venues
Mr. Burke reported that a number of different areas are under consideration as the venue for the 2009 Mid-Year Meeting, including Mexico. He encouraged members of the Board to communicate any ideas for locations.
(3) Anticipated Initiatives
Mr. Burke discussed some of the initiatives he expects to undertake during his term as president. He indicated that he will continue to focus and maintain continuity between efforts that require long term action, including: civics education, judicial independence, pay issues, Non-Partisan Court plan, Public Defender System, expanded diversity within the Bar.
C. President-Elect’s Report
(1) 2008 Initiatives/Focus
Mr. Harris discussed the areas and issues that he expects will be a major focus during his term as president in 2008. He foresees a variety of issues related to the judicial evaluation survey. Issue related to what, if any, role the Bar should play in addressing attacks on the judiciary, especially from groups outside of Missouri, a continuing focus on the development of LPAP and addressing the ongoing problems facing the Public Defender System. He noted that he is in a unique situation as the first African American president of The Missouri Bar to address issues of diversity. He plans to address the issue on a number of different fronts, including getting out into the smaller communities within the state, so members of the Bar will have an chance to get to know him, and hopefully, break down barriers.
He reported that African American and Hispanic lawyers throughout the state have been contacting him and he looks forward to a special opportunity to impact the diversity issue.
D. President’s Report.
(1) Judicial Compensation/Funding.
Mr. Baird reported that the Citizen’s Commission met in late November and recommended a modest salary increase for judges. He alerted the Board that there are several efforts underway within the General Assembly introducing resolutions to override the Commission recommendation, which goes into effect on February 1, unless vetoed by a 2/3 vote of the General Assembly. Indications are that the resolutions have support in the House; however, they do not have a high level of support in the Senate. The raises are expected to survive and go into effect. He commended the efforts of Wood Cozad and his work in this area. He reported that this will be an ongoing effort.
He reminded members of the Board that it is very effective for members of the Bar to get to know their local legislators and inform the legislators about their support and interest in this issue.
He also pointed out that The Missouri Bar must continue to consider and discuss how the Bar can directly, and in many cases, indirectly respond to unfair criticism of judges, noting that in some cases where a unified Bar cannot respond, a local or specialty bar can.
(2) Civic Education
Mr. Baird reported that civic education initiative continues. He noted that programs developed for Constitution Day and Bill of Right Day both went very well. He also reported that these programs need to be expanded and that it is an ongoing process that meets a very real need in our community. He reported that the Civic Education Committee plans to meet later in the month and plans are underway to stage a civic education summit, where other organizations outside of the legal profession will be invited and efforts will be developed to leverage the communication of the messages.
(3) Judicial Evaluation Survey
Mr. Baird reported that Chief Justice Wolff, during his State of the Judiciary Address, asked the Missouri Bar to look at way to expand the survey. He reminded the Board that a committee was already in place for the Judicial Evaluation Survey.
Plans are to expand the committee to include appointees from BAMSL and KCMBA and to include lay members. Questions were raised about how to get input from members of the Bar who are from the minority community.
It was noted that judges have not been members of this committee, but that efforts are made to get their input. The last time a review was conducted, a survey was sent to all of the judges in the state.
Concerns were raised that the current distribution system presents one of the biggest problems with the evaluation and needs to be focused on. Other concerns were raised about potential bias issues. Mr. Baird noted that several other states have an expanded system and more extensive process and that this committee will look at systems in Colorado and Arizona, states having an extensive judicial evaluation surveys with broader levels of input from within and outside of the legal profession as well as broader distribution to citizens of the state.
It was proposed that the committee be expanded in the following ways:
• The Missouri Bar would appoint 3 lawyers and two lay members
• BAMSL would appoint 3 lawyers and two lay members
• KCMBA would appoint 3 lawyers and two lay members
Mr. Baird proposed appointing Dale Doerhoff as chair, Dana Tippin Cutler and President-Elect Charlie Harris as the three lawyers appointed by The Missouri Bar. Lay members will be added.
It is anticipated that results may be available by the Annual Meeting in September.
A motion was made and seconded to expand the Judicial Evaluation Survey Committee as proposed. The motion passed.
(4) Springfield Annual Meeting.
Mr. Baird reported that work is underway to develop the Annual Meeting in Springfield. He reported that the Annual Meeting Planning Committee is planning to meet near the end of the month to begin CLE program development.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted,
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary