Board Minutes

February 26, 2019
The Missouri Bar Center, Jefferson City 


Raymond E. Williams, President
Thomas V. Bender, President-Elect
John R. Gunn, Vice-President
Morry S. Cole, Immediate Past President
Betsy AuBuchon, Treasurer
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary

Amy Bender-Levy
W. Perry Brandt
Robert J. Buckley
Hon. Michael J. Colona
Mark W. Comley
Hon. Joseph Dandurand
Athena M. Dickson
Deborah K. Dodge
Shelly Dreyer
John W. Grimm
Patricia Hageman
Robert E. Jones
Amanda Ketchum
Julia Pusateri Lasater
Andrew Lyskowski
Karen McCarthy
Mira Mdivani
Max E. Mitchell
Joseph A. Morrey
Douglass F. Noland
Jason Paulsmeyer
Megan Phillips
Thomas J. Porto
John E. Price
Jason Rew
Scott Robbins
Tricia M. Scaglia
Deanna K. Scott
Hon. Jason M. Sengheiser
Joan M. Swartz
Stephan R. Tomlinson
Alexandra Wilson
Casey F. Wong
Maria Zschoche

Present by Telephone:
Michael Downey
James McConnell
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Eric Wulff

Members Absent:
Hon. Charles Curless
J. Brent Dulle
Hon. W. Douglas Thomson

Also present:
William Bay
Jason Cecil
Anne Chambers
Prof. David English
Farrah Fite
Kent Hopper
Kim Gerlt
Eric Jennings (by phone)
Meghan Luecke
Garnett Matthews-Campbell
Benjamin Orzeske
Dr. Tony Simones
Robert Stoeckl
Gary Toohey


1.            Welcome:

Ms. Sebrina Barrett introduced Ms. Kim Gerlt, Ms. Barrett’s new executive assistant.


 2.            Minutes:

Mr. Ray Williams requested a motion to approve the minutes. It was moved and seconded to receive and approve the minutes of the Board of Governors meeting of November 15, 2018, and the minutes of the Executive Committee meetings of November 15, 2018, December 6, 2018 and January 18, January 25 and February 1, 2019. The motion was approved.


 3.            Uniform Law Commission Report:

Mr. Benjamin Orzeske (ULC Chief Counsel) and Prof. David English (Missouri ULC commissioner)  provided a report on the history of the Commission, the process used to introduce and approve uniform or model laws, and a review of the uniform or model laws scheduled for action this year and those in the process for future approval. They also described the ways that The Missouri Bar and its memberse can be involved in the process from drafting to supporting enactment in Missouri.  Under the Constitution of the Uniform Law Commission, if “the appointing authority” (the governor) fails to act, the president of the “organized” or “integrated bar” of the state may appoint an individual to serve as commissioner. 


 4.             ABA Update:

Mr. Bill Bay provided an overview of information related to the American Bar Association. He shared a brief video which depicted how the ABA House of Delegates functions. He discussed the trends in gender, ethnicity and firm size and practice demographics of ABA members. He provided examples of the issues addressed by the House of Delegates during the recent mid-year meeting of the ABA and described recent significant changes in the ABA dues structure which included lowering dues rates for the organization. He briefly described the succession process for ABA leadership and expressed appreciation for the support he has received from Missouri’s legal profession as he moves through the ABA leadership succession.


 5.             Finances:

A. 2018 Budget Update
Mr. John Grimm reported on key areas of the end-of-year financial report.  As of December 31, 2018 receipts were down slightly about 1.4% from 2017, but disbursements for the same period were down approximately 4%.  Good financial management practices resulted in a $1.85 million surplus at the end of the year.  Much of this overall difference in year-end receipts and disbursements reflected downward revisions for the CLE budget to more accurately align with market conditions.

Mr. Grimm reported that assets were valued at approximately $14.5 million and investments were approximately $11 million with investment earnings of approximately $250,000 as of the end of 2018.

B. Inactive Fees

Mr. Williams called attention to a report providing a history of inactive status in Missouri, the annual enrollment fee charged for this status, and how this current fee compares to the fee assessed in other states.  He noted that the projected cost to The Missouri Bar associated with each inactive member is currently higher than the fee charged.  The Executive Committee recommends an increase in the current annual inactive fee from $50 to one-third of the Category 1 enrollment fee amount, which would result in an increase to $136.67 annually under the current Category 1 fee level.  It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendation as stated.  The motion was approved.


6.            Appointments:


There were no appointments for February.         


7.             Strategic Planning:

Ms. Amanda Ketchum reported that the Strategic Planning Committee met by telephone and has selected 31 programs for review this year.  She reported that the reviews are scheduled to be completed by March 15, 2019.  The Strategic Planning Committee will meet at The Missouri Bar Center on April 18, 2019, and final recommendations will be presented at the May 9, 2019, meeting of the Board of Governors.



8.            Assessment Committee Report:

Mr. Joe Morrey reported that the Board Division and Committee Assessment Committee met by telephone on February 13, 2019, and has several items to report for action.

A. Expand Access to connect.MOBAR Communities to Local and Specialty Bar Associations

The Board Division and Committee Assessment Committee recommends that the Board of Governors authorize expansion of connect.MOBAR communities to interested local and specialty bar associations throughout the state.  There will be no increase in cost to The Missouri Bar to provide this access which would enhance communication within the membership of these local and specialty bars.  The expansion may also increase communication between The Missouri Bar and those bar associations choosing to utilize this resource.  The committee also recommends that The Missouri Bar draft written parameters related to Missouri Bar access to these communities for approval by either this committee or the Executive Committee or both before the full launch date. It was moved and seconded to allow connect.MOBAR communities for local and specialty bars who may not otherwise have the resources to have an online connect.MOBAR community. The motion was approved.

B. Committee Drafted Survey to Gauge Support for a Senior Lawyers Committee

Mr. Morrey reported that the Board Division and Committee Assessment Committee will draft, distribute and compile the results of a survey to be sent to members of The Missouri Bar who are age fifty-five years old or older to gauge the interest and level of potential support for the establishment of a senior lawyer standing committee of The Missouri Bar and the results will be reported at the meeting of the Board of Governors on May 9, 2019.

C. Member Proposal to Establish New connect.MoBar Community

Mr. Morrey reported that the Board Division and Committee Assessment Committee received the first proposal under the recently approved process allowing for the establishment of connect.MOBAR communities not associated with a committee. The proposal would establish a new community for Religion Law.  The Board Division and Committee Assessment Committee found that the proposal met all the requirements of the application process by the deadline date of February 1 and recommends approval of this new community.  Mr. Williams further reported that the Executive Committee also recommends approval of the community with a revision to the proposed name from Religion Law to Religious Entities and the Law.  It was moved and seconded to approve the proposal as recommended by the Executive Committee.  The motion was approved.


6.            Officers’ Reports:

A. President’s Report

(1)          Uniform Laws Commission Missouri Commissioner Recommendation

Mr. Ray Williams reported that there is a vacant Missouri Commissioner position with the Uniform Law Commission.  Currently, the governor makes this appointment, and Mr. Williams indicated that he will be expressing support for the recommended appointment of Rep. Dean Plocher, who has expressed interest in filling the position.

(2)          Resolution Recognizing Journalist Bob Watson

Mr. Williams called attention to a draft resolution recognizing the valuable work of journalist Bob Watson, noting his years of service covering state government and the Missouri legislature and his high standards of journalistic principles.  If approved, the resolution would be presented to Mr. Watson at the Spring Committee Meetings. It was moved and seconded to adopt the resolution. The motion was approved.

(3)          Annual Meeting Planning Committee

Mr. Williams reported that the work of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee began with a meeting of the full committee held in Columbia earlier this month.  The committee’s work is now underway, with the goal of completing the CLE programming by May 2019. One of the educational tracks is intentionally left undefined every year, with a planning subcommittee charged with defining the track’s focus from year-to-year. There appears to be a strong preference for this year’s “fifth track” to focus on lawyer wellness and mental health.

(4)          Missouri Bar Leadership Institute (MOBLI)

Mr. Williams reported that the inaugural Missouri Bar Leadership Institute (MOBLI) is scheduled for April 4 -5, 2019, in Jefferson City.  The Institute is designed to provide leadership training at a low-cost to officers and members of local and specialty bars within the state who are interested in or who hold leadership positions.  The Institute, which is modeled after the ABA’s Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) attended by Missouri Bar officers each year, will feature presentations by current and former bar leaders from across the state.  He asked members of the Board of Governors to share this information within their districts and encourage local and specialty bar leaders to register.

(5)          Legislative Day Focus
Mr. Williams reminded members of the Board of Governors who are participating in Legislative Day that this annual event focuses on building relationships with members of the Missouri Legislature.

B. President Elect’s Report

Mr. Tom Bender reported that in addition to working with Board committees, he recently provided testimony to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in opposition to Senate Joint Resolution 2 and Senate Bill 9, measures that would alter provisions relating to the impeachment of judges and executive branch officers in Missouri.  He is focusing on a pilot project to make lawyers more available to citizens in rural communities within Missouri, and he noted that similar efforts are underway in other states.  He will report progress at future meetings.

C. Vice-President’s Report

Mr. John Gunn reported that he recently attended the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA) annual meeting; the State Judiciary address and post-address luncheon at the Supreme Court; and the National Conference of Bar Presidents meeting. In addition to unified bar issues, he will focus on many programs relating to wellness for lawyers, which he indicated is a national trend and will be incorporated into our Annual Meeting of The Missouri Bar in September. 

Mr. Gunn reported on the status of CLE by the Sea scheduled for March 6-8, 2019, in Jupiter, Florida. He plans to attend the ABA Bar Leadership Institute in March and the ABA Day in Washington D. C. in April, and he will be working with MOLAP Director Anne Chambers on program enhancements of MOLAP services to lawyers.

D. Treasurer’s Report

Ms. Betsy AuBuchon reported that the Supreme Court of Missouri will issue an order of suspension on March 1, 2019, for lawyers who have failed to meet their annual MCLE requirements, noting that this order will affect more than 600 attorneys. The Supreme Court has deferred attorney enrollment for lawyers affected by the recent government shutdown until April 1, 2019.

The bar examination is underway today in Jefferson City. Use of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is expanding, with Texas adopting the exam last week.  The UBE, which Missouri was the first to adopt in 2011, is expected to be adopted by fourty-eight states within the next two years. She briefly reported on the rebound in the number of students taking the LSAT in recent years.

Ms. AuBuchon briefly addressed plans for the implementation of the recently passed Supreme Court of Missouri pro bono fee waiver rule. The rule, which goes into effect January 1, 2020, will initially be implemented through pilot programs, in order to identify and refine details needed for a more robust implementation. She welcomes input from members of The Missouri Bar and the Board of Governors as the pilot process proceeds. Mr. Williams reported that the four legal services offices in Missouri are participating in the pilot project and encouraged volunteers to contact these offices to participate in the pilot.

D. Executive Director’s Report

(1)          Speaking Engagements and Meetings
Ms. Sebrina Barrett reported that she spoke to students at the University of Missouri School of Law and Southern Illinois University School of Law and attended a host of meetings including the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents, National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP) and the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE), noting that she also serves on the board of NABE.

(2)          Year-End Reports

Ms. Barrett called attention to year-end reports for the Fee Dispute Resolution Program, Complaint Resolution Program and the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Dispute Resolution Program. She cited other reports containing information on projects of interest, website analytics, social media metrics, and public service announcement broadcasts from the Media Relations Department.

(3)          Director Spotlight

Mr. Gary Toohey provided an overview of the primary and secondary responsibilities associated with his position as Director of Communications. He is the editor of the Journal of The Missouri Bar. He outlined the extensive process that he and his assistant utilize to produce the six Journals published annually including work with the Journal’s Editorial Board and committees within that body, the advertising processes, author interaction as well as quality control, editing and production of the publication.

Mr. Toohey also outlined his duties as staff liaison to the Judicial Performance Review Committee (JPRC).  He outlined the composition of the JPRC and the standards used for the evaluation of judges standing for retention; the process used to compile the information needed for the committee to conduct its evaluation, including working with the judges under review to receive relevant biographical information, past judgments, judicial opinions and working with outside entities to collect survey results from jurors and lawyers; and the extensive methodology used to ensure objective evaluations.  He also described the independence of the JPRC as an entity, how Missouri Bar funding supports the non-partisan focus of this entity, and how results are disseminated to the news media and public.

Mr. Toohey also described his duties as staff liaison with the Board of Governors Appointments Committee, detailing the support functions that he provides to facilitate the identification of applicants for vacancies, the information needed for the committee to evaluate the applicants, the information needed for the Board of Governors to act on nominations and notification to applicants of appointment decisions. He also briefly focused on his duties related to notices and on-site materials for the Spring & Fall Committee Meetings and the Annual Meeting as well as updating the Bar’s public information library, The Missouri Bar’s Annual Report, and event photography.

(4)          75th Anniversary of The Missouri Bar

Ms. Barrett reported that activities are planned throughout the year to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Missouri Bar as a unified bar. She reported that the exact anniversary date is June 16. Ms. Farrah Fite reviewed two main objectives for the celebration identified by the 75th Anniversary Planning Committee: (1) reinvigorate the sense of pride and belonging that Missouri lawyers have for the profession and the unified bar and (2) raise public awareness about how Missouri lawyers have worked together to improve laws and the lives of the people of Missouri during the past 75 years. She briefly reviewed some key initiatives to support the goals including a 75th-anniversary logo, a message map, planned activities for conferences such as Solo and Small Firm Conference, the Annual Meeting, and interviews featuring Missouri Bar President Ray Williams scheduled for public release in June. Members of the Board of Governors viewed a PSA for the public, which will begin airing throughout the state in March.


7. Legislation:

A. Bar-Drafted Legislation
Ms. Megan Luecke reported that sponsors are in place in both the Missouri House and Senate for two of the three Missouri Bar endorsed bills introduced in the 2019 General Assembly. Representative Louis Riggs sponsored HB 939, relating to assignments for benefit of creditors (2019-01).  Senator Bill White sponsored the companion SB 422. Representative David Evans sponsored HB 1041, relating to the revised decanting statute (2019-02), and Sentator Bill White sponsored the companion SB 418. 

B. General Legislative Update

Ms. Luecke reported that two potential 2020 legislative proposals have been forwarded to the Legislative Committee for scope review: - Durable Power of Attorney – Certification (2020-01) and Mediation (2020-02).  Almost 1,600 bills arising outside The Missouri Bar have been reviewed by Government Relations staff; 363 of these bills have been sent to the various legislative review subcommittees for review and comment; 162 bills have been reviewed by the Executive Committee.    The Executive Committee has voted to take no position on 144 of these bills, to oppose seven, and to support four.  She referred members of the Board of Governors to the minutes of the Executive Committee meetings for a full list of the bills and positions taken by the Executive Committee.  Some of the notable bills already passed in the House related to the justice system included municipal court reform, criminal sentencing reform, human and drug offenses, and human trafficking. Several tort-related bills, as well as SJR 2 and SB 9 (relating to impeachment) have been placed on the Senate calendar for possible debate during the coming weeks.   

A proposal to increase the court automation fund fee has been heard in Senate committee. Although the legislation proposes to increase the current fee, parallel efforts to secure general revenue funding are also being pursued.   Also, a proposed constitutional amendment would amend the nonpartisan court plan to require the names of all “qualified” applicants (those meeting the constitutional minimum qualifications) to fill judicial vacancies be forwarded to the governor for consideration, replacing the current panel of three names submitted to the governor.  

C. Legislative Day Overview
Mr. Eric Jennings provided an overview of the purpose, resources and schedule of activities for Legislative Day activities. He reiterated that the main objectives are to establish relationships with legislators and ensure that they are aware of The Missouri Bar as a resource.


8. Executive Session
It was moved and seconded to go into Executive Session. The motion was approved.

It was moved and seconded to leave Executive Session and to adjourn the meeting.  The motion was approved. 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.


 Respectfully submitted,



Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary