Board Minutes

Board Minutes - January 21, 2005
Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas Resort

Members Present:
Joe B. Whisler, President
Douglas A. Copeland, President-Elect
C. Ronald Baird, Vice-President
William M. Corrigan, Jr., Past President
Keith A. Birkes, Secretary

Erik Bergmanis
Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.
P. John Brady
Hon. Richard Bresnahan
Thomas M. Burke
Thomas J. Casey
Dana Tippin Cutler
Sherry Doctorian
Carol Chazen Friedman
Chad A. Gaddie
Mike Greenwell
Richard F. Halliburton
Charlie J. Harris
Edward J. Hershewe
Bruce F. Hilton
Vincent F. Igoe, Jr.
Sylvester James, Jr.
John S. Johnston
George E. Kapke
Hon. John F. Kintz
Mark H. Levison
Karen R. McCarthy
Max E. Mitchell
Daniel A. Raniere
John A. Ruth
Allan D. Seidel
Robert H. Shaw
Wallace Squibb
Alok K. Srivastava
Richard G. Steele
Lynn Whaley Vogel
H.A. Skip Walther
Hope Whitehead
James C. Wirken
Eric J. Wulff

Members Absent:
Newton C. Brill
Thomas M. Lang
William J. Lasley

Also Present:
Chris Janku
Delores Shepherd

1. Minutes:

The minutes from the Board of Governors' November 19, 2004, meeting and Executive Committee meetings of November 19, December 3 and December 10, 2004, were reviewed and approved.

2. Finances:

Mr. Birkes reviewed the financial statements and reported that Missouri Bar receipts and expenditures for 2004 were well within the budget. The Board of Governors approved and ratified the 2004 budget. Mr. Birkes did respond to several questions about specific receipts and expenditures. It was also noted that The Missouri Bar's financial health continues to be very good and that it would be several years before a dues increase would be necessary.

3. Legislation:

A status of various Missouri Bar-drafted legislative proposals was reviewed, as well as sponsors who have been secured to introduce that legislation. Proposed legislation from the Animal Law Committee was also considered and deferred to the next Board meeting for further consideration.

Mr. Birkes reviewed a comprehensive analysis of our members' First Amendment Rights, which was prepared by Professor Doug Abrams. The report reviewed appropriate activities for a unified bar and mechanisms by which members can protest activities that they believe are inappropriate for The Missouri Bar. It was noted that The Missouri Bar's Protest and Refund Policy had been amended by action of the Executive Committee to provide that amounts under protest would immediately be deposited into an escrow account so that amounts refunded would include accrued interest from the date those funds were paid over to The Missouri Bar, if refunded. Mr. Johnston volunteered to further consider certain aspects of our refund policy and procedures that might be amenable to mediation. Mr. Johnston will discuss these matters with Professor Abrams and report his suggestions at the next Board meeting.

4. Committee Reports:

A. Young Lawyers Section

Mr. Srivastava reported on various activities of the YLS Council this year.

B. Tort Reform Committee

Mr. Igoe reported on the Committee's continuing review of all proposed tort reform legislation.

C. Lawyer Advertising

Mr. Casey suggested a proposed change to the multijurisdictional practice rule recently approved and submitted to the Supreme Court. The Board asked the Multijurisdictional Practice Committee, in consultation with the Lawyer Advertising Committee, to further consider any possible proposed changes to this rule.

D. Lawyers' Assistance Committee

Mr. Birkes referred the Board to the annual report of all activities conducted by the Lawyers' Assistance Committee.

E. Complaint Resolution Committee

Mr. Birkes referred the Board to the Committee's annual report.

F. Fee Dispute Resolution Committee

Mr. Birkes referred the Board to the Committee's report.

G. Law Practice Management Committee

The Committee's annual report was reviewed by the Board.

H. Loan Repayment Assistance Program

Ms. Doctorian reported on activities in connection with raising further funds for the loan repayment assistance program.

5. Appointments:

It was noted that there were no January appointments for the Board and that, in May, Mr. James Condry's and Ms. Betty Preston's terms on the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee will be expiring. Both are eligible for reappointment at that time.

6. Officer's Reports:

A. Executive Director's Report

Mr. Birkes reviewed the status of the 2005 Midyear Seminar and indicated that actual attendance and any possible additional costs by virtue of hotel room attrition would not be known until after the meeting. It was noted that attendance was somewhat smaller than anticipated, but still substantial.

Mr. Birkes also reported on plans in connection with the May Board and Committee Meetings in Jefferson City and the summer Board meeting at the Lake of the Ozarks.

B. Vice-President's Report

Mr. Baird raised the issue of moving the 2007 Annual Meeting of The Missouri Bar from Tan-Tar-A to Springfield. Mr. Birkes reviewed the various advantages and disadvantages. Because of the relatively small number of lawyers in the Lake of the Ozarks area, the Board did resolve to the move the meeting in 2007 to Springfield from Tan-Tar-A, despite the fact there might be some financial penalties under the existing contract with Tan-Tar-A. Mr. Birkes indicated he felt that any penalties could be negotiated away in the context of other meetings which The Missouri Bar has at Tan-Tar-A. It was also noted that actual costs for the meeting in Springfield are substantially lower than costs at Tan-Tar-A and there would be substantial savings by moving the meeting to Springfield.

(C) President-Elect's Report

Mr. Copeland reported that the site of the 2006 Midyear Seminar had been determined to be the Marco Island Sheraton Hotel. That hotel, which hosted the the meeting several years ago, has recently been completely renovated and has offered a very competitive contract to host the Seminar in 2006.

(D) President's Report

Mr. Whisler reported on the following:

(1) Commission on Judicial Independence

Mr. Whisler reviewed the various appointees he has made to the Commission and reviewed the timetable in which that Commission will function.

(2) The Status of Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions Form

Recent revisions and updates have been made to the form, and Mr. Whisler plans to call attention to the benefits to Missouri citizens in executing advance healthcare directives.

(3) The Status of Funding for the Judiciary

Mr. Whisler reviewed various efforts The Missouri Bar has made to call attention to the need for adequate funding for the judiciary. To date, substantial support from the Governor and from legislative leaders has resulted in the likelihood that the judiciary's budget will not be reduced for the next year. Unfortunately, no increases are possible, given the state's fiscal crisis and judicial salaries will not be increased for the fifth year in a row. It was noted that getting highly qualified attorneys to consider judicial appointments is becoming more difficult with the decreasing value of judicial compensation.

(4) Status Report on the recently proposed Supreme Court Rules

Mr. Whisler reviewed the attached letter from Chief Justice White, responding to various proposed rules from The Missouri Bar.

(5) Media and PR Update

Various articles and media coverage was noted. Mr. Whisler noted that Board member Tom Burke had been hospitalized for emergency medical treatment, however, we understand his condition has been stabilized and that he should be able to return to St. Louis within a few days. Board members were encouraged to express their best wishes to Tom for his quick return to good health. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Keith Birkes, Secretary