2015-2016 BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING
Thursday, May 5, 2016
The Missouri Bar Center, Jefferson City
Erik A. Bergmanis, President
Dana Tippin Cutler, President-Elect
Nancy Mogab, Vice-President
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary
Bill Thompson, Treasurer
Bevy A. Beimdiek
Thomas V. Bender
Robert J. Buckley
Nimrod T. Chapel, Jr.
Hon. Nicole Colbert-Botchway
Mark W. Comley
Joel R. Elmer
Genevieve M. Frank
John R. Gunn
Edward J. Hershewe
J. B. Lasater
Gregg F. Lombardi
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Jennifer E. Matthew
Max E. Mitchell
Douglass F. Noland
John E. Price
Joseph P. Rice, III
Tricia M. Scaglia
Deanna K. Scott
Joan M. Swartz
Hon. W. Douglas Thomson
Raymond E. Williams
Eric J. Wulff
Members present by video/telephone:
Suzanne B. Bradley
W. Perry Brant
J. Brent Dulle
James H. Guest
Robert S. Kenney
Hon. John F. Kintz
Hon. Charles Curless
Jennifer Gille Bacon
Hon. Richard B. Teitelman
Dr. Johnnie Washington
Mr. Erik Bergmanis welcomed those in attendance and Ms. Sebrina Barrett called attention to a staff transition, reporting that Gerrie Madsen will be retiring after more than 30 years of service to The Missouri Bar. Ms. Barrett commended the career of Ms. Madsen, noting that she has been an invaluable member of the staff team and expressing the Bar’s grateful appreciation for her service. Ms. Barrett also introduced Ms. Debbie Challenger, who has joined the staff to succeed Ms. Madsen. Ms. Barrett noted that Ms. Challenger brings a significant skill set, as a licensed CPA, MBA and years of experience in manufacturing operations.
Mr. Erik Bergmanis asked if there were any changes needed to the minutes and hearing none, it was moved and seconded to approve the minutes from the Board of Governors meeting of March 2 and Executive Committee meetings of March 1, March 4, March 11, March 28 and April 8. The motion was approved.
Judge Doug Thomson reported that the financial position of The Missouri Bar continues to be very good. He reported that as of March 31, budget receipts were at 67.5% and disbursements were 21.8%, noting that the receipts included 91.6% of enrollment fees. He reported that disbursements also include the use of Pro Hac Vice fees, originally earmarked for IT purposes in 2014, which were disbursed this year as well as disbursements for staff positions that have been filled.
He reported that CLE Programs received 19.6% in receipts and disbursed 20.5% of budget as of the reporting period. He noted that receipts are down and disbursements are up from the same time last year. He indicated that these figures reflect the reallocation of the print shop and filled staff positions. He reported that CLE Publications were about at a breakeven point for the reporting period, noting that figures in this area also reflected reallocation of the print shop and an unfilled staff position.
Judge Thomson further reported that the status of reserves is very good, noting that the reserves at this time in 2015 were approximately $11 million dollars and reserves this reporting period are approximately $13.2 million. He explained that this increase is the result of the enrollment fee increase and that this year is projected to be the breakeven point for dues and budget.
He further reported that the print shop equipment had been sold during this period. He reported that it had been estimated that the sale of the equipment would net between $40,000 and $80,000. The equipment was sold for $58,000.
He provided an update on the funding of The Missouri Bar staff retirement plan, reminding that a soft freeze had been implemented a couple of years ago. He reported that the Bar is at approximately 85% of funding for the plan at this point. He reported that this is a very good level, noting that plan funding below 80% results in restrictions. He further reported that increased funding is the result of a combination of factors including reduction in active participation due to attrition, mortality, as well as maintaining contribution levels at the same rate as before the soft freeze was implemented.
He concluded by reporting that the annual audit was completed in April and should be available and included in the financial report at the July meeting of the Board of Governors.
A. May Appointments
(1) JPE Appellate Committee
Ms. Tricia Scaglia reported that a non-lawyer vacancy exists on the JPE Appellate Committee in the Eastern District. She further reported that the Appointments Committee recommends M. Laura Green of Cape Girardeau to fill the vacancy. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment as recommended. The motion was approved.
(2) Missouri Bar ABA Delegates
Mr. Wulff reported that the first two-year terms of John Johnston, Lynn Ann Vogel and Patrick Starke are expiring and each is eligible to serve another two-year term. He reported that the Appointments Committee recommends the reappointment of the three former presidents of The Missouri Bar for a second term. Mr. Bergmanis also reported that the Executive Committee took up the Appointment Committee recommendation and approves the recommendation to the Board of Governors. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendations as presented. The motion was approved.
Mr. Wulff further reported that the term of the Missouri Bar’s long-term delegate to the ABA is expiring. He reported that former Missouri Bar President P. Jack Brady is currently filling the delegate position after it became vacant when Doreen Dodson was appointed state delegate to the ABA for Missouri. Ms. Doreen Dodson reported that the long-term delegate position was created to appoint a Missouri representative who was interested in playing a stronger role as an ABA delegate which can translate into leadership roles within the national organization. Mr.Wulff reported that the Appointments Committee intends to study this long-term role and Mr. Brady indicated a willingness to fill the current role and also to be flexible to any future decisions or adjustments to this role, should they be recommended and approved in the future. It was moved and seconded to reappoint Mr. Brady as The Missouri Bar’s long-term delegate to the ABA. The motion was approved.
Mr. Wulff also reported that the Appointments Committee seeks authority to review how appointments are made to the ABA delegate positions. Mr. Bergmanis approved a review by the Appointments Committee.
(3) Lawyer to Lawyer Dispute Resolution Committee
Ms. Tricia Scaglia reported that the Appointments Committee recommends the appointment of Mr. David Mayhugh to fill the current vacancy on the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Dispute Resolution Committee. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment as recommended. The motion was approved.
(4) Press-Bar Commission
Mr. Eric Wulff reported that the Appointments Committee recommends the appointment of Mr. John DeMoor, representing the Eastern District geographic area, as one of three Missouri Bar appointees to the Press-Bar Commission. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment as recommended. The motion was approved.
(5) Fee Dispute Resolution Committee
Mr. Eric Wulff reported that the terms of Messrs. Gary Stamper and Kenneth Labit on the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee are expiring. He reported that Mr. Labit is eligible for reappointment and that Mr. Stamper is not eligible for reappointment. Mr. Wulff reported that the Appointments Committee recommends the reappointment of Mr. Labit and the appointment of Mr. Nathan Dulle to succeed Mr. Stamper. It was moved and seconded to reappoint Mr. Labit. The motion was approved. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment of Mr. Dulle. The motion was approved.
(6) Intervention Committee
Ms. Tricia Scaglia reported that the terms of Messrs. Charles “Ross” Rhoades and Gary Burger on the Intervention Committee are expiring and that both are eligible for reappointment and that the Appointments Committee recommends the reappointment of both for another term. It was moved and seconded to reappoint Mr. Rhoades. The motion was approved. It was moved and seconded to appoint Mr. Burger. The motion was approved.
A. 2016 Bar-drafted Legislation
Messrs. Eric Wilson and Eric Jennings provided a review of the current status of bar-drafted legislation. Mr. Wilson reported that the Missouri Commercial Receivership Act (2016-01) is included in bills in both the House and Senate: the original Senate bill (SB 578), which has been returned to the Senate and should be going to conference, and HB 2590.
He reported that the Probate and Trust legislation is moving along well. SB 577 (2016-03, 2016-04, 2016-05, 2016-06, 2016-08, and 2016-09) was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 4. He reported that SB 576, the Uniform Powers of Appointment Act (2016-07), should be voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. He noted that several of the Probate and Trust measures are also included in SB 698, originally a public administrators bill, which has been placed on the House Calendar.
Mr. Jennings reported that the expungement legislation, SBs 588, 603 & 942 (2016-11) had some quick movement recently, noting that it has been third read and passed in the Senate and referred to committee in the House and was scheduled for a committee hearing this afternoon. He reported that the preparation of property descriptions measure (2016-02) has been placed on a number of bills. The language has been modified, in consultation with the original drafting committee, to address concerns from the Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors and other associations, and the language continues to reflect the intent and requirements of the originating committee. He also reported on other bills of interest, including the judiciary and Public Defender System budget (HB 12), the expert witness measure (SB 591), changes to the collateral source rule (SB 847), a repeal of the contingent effective clause in the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (SBs 905 & 992), as well as legislation relating to municipalities, municipal courts, and fines (SB 572), which builds on work done last year in SB 5.
Mr. Wilson reported that all bar-drafted legislation is in good shape to get through this year. He also noted that proposed bar-drafted legislation for the 2017 session was included in the meeting packet for review and future action and includes a Designated Health Care Decision Maker Act proposal (2017-01), a Trust Protector act (2017-02), and the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RFADAA) (2017-03).
6. Status of the Public Defender System:
Mr. Doug Copeland thanked the Board of Governors for the opportunity to regularly report on the status of the Missouri Public Defender System (MSPD) as a way to maintain a level of awareness about the challenges facing the system. He also thanked the Board of Governors for the support and attention that The Missouri Bar has shown to the MSPD. He reviewed the current status of the Public Defender Commission, noting that five of seven positions are filled and represent good diversity among commissioners. He noted that the composition of the commission now includes a prosecutor, a member of law enforcement, a bar executive and two lawyers in private practice. He reviewed a process initiated two and one half years ago to measure capacity through the use of the Delphi data method used to quantify time needed to provide adequate representation. He noted that this process known nationally as “the Missouri Project” has been duplicated in a number of states across the U.S. Mr. Copeland noted that currently 39 MSPD offices are at 200% of capacity and 11 offices are at 280%. He noted to get to 100% capacity would require the hiring of 250 more lawyers, not counting support staff. He reported that turnover, which had decreased during the recent recession, is now at about 20% due to low salaries – exacerbating the caseload problem. He also reported current challenges regarding litigation costs, especially related to the hiring of expert witnesses. He reported that about half way through the fiscal year MSPD is about $1.5 million dollars short of being able to keep offices going and now has a hiring freeze in place with 42 vacancies. He cited a recent DOJ report critical of the system’s ability to provide representation in juvenile cases and he explained a serious challenge faced by public defenders who are obligated to provide representation in all cases where there is potential loss of liberty, while not being able to meet their ethical obligation to be able to effectively represent clients. He reported on a potential funding increase of $4.5 million dollars in this year’s budget, which he hopes will be signed by the governor.
7. Report of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee:
Ms. Jennifer Gille Bacon reported that the Supreme Court of Missouri asked the Advisory Committee to conduct a review of the ABA’s 20/20 initiative and analyze whether any of Missouri’s rules needed to be changed as a result of the comprehensive ABA initiative. She noted that the ABA’s 20/20 initiative focused on changes in the profession related to technology, the increased movement of lawyers among and between firms, conflict issues resulting from that movement and globalization issues.
She reported that the Advisory Committee set up a subcommittee to accomplish the review, which included three representatives from The Missouri Bar and that Doreen Dodson chaired the subcommittee.
Ms. Doreen Dodson reported that the subcommittee conducted its ABA 20/20 review and has produced a draft report that has been approved by the Advisory Committee and has been sent to the Board of Governors for review. She encouraged members of the Board to review the report and send any questions or comments to her, Jennifer Gille Bacon or Missouri Ethics Counsel Melinda Bentley. She reported that she will come before the Board of Governors again in July, before sending a final version of the report to the Supreme Court of Missouri and she hopes that the Board of Governors will at that time consider endorsing the report.
Ms. Dodson gave a brief overview of the structure of the report and mentioned a few of the rules and/or accompanying comments that have been changed as a result of the review. She noted that the report includes a summary of each change, the rationale of the change, what other states have done and are doing and a redline version of the rules and comments.
She reported that most of the changes were made to the comments and the changes within the rules often involved wording changes, modernizing language so it better applies to and includes current technology used in the practice of law. She called attention to changes to rules and/or comments:
Rule 1.1 dealing with the duty of lawyers to be knowledgeable about the benefits and risks associated with the use of technology;
Rules 1.1, 5.2 and 5.3 dealing with outsourcing activities (e.g. outsourcing medical expert document review, use of IT firms for e-discovery, etc.);
Rules 5.5. and 1.05 dealing with multijurisdictional practice issues; and
Rule 1.10 dealing with conflicts including fee apportionment when lawyers change firms.
8. Committee Reports:
A. Connect MOBAR
Mr. Ray Williams reported on recommended changes to the terms of service (TOS) for the connect.MOBAR online communities, the addition of a new socially-focused community and the termination of the SFIG listserv. Mr. Williams provided some background information contrasting the listserv technology with the connect.MOBAR platform provided by Higher Logic, explaining that the listserv technology worked as real time email, while the connect community platform combines the real time listserv option with additional functionality such as document sharing libraries and message archiving. He reported that the Board in March 2015 approved adoption of the connect community platform to replace the then used listserves. He reported that a TOS agreement was implemented with the new system and acceptance of the terms of service is required to use the connect.MOBAR system. He reported that some members of the solo and small firm segment objected to the TOS, which restricted some of the social message content that was a regular part of the SFIG listserv. He explained the Executive Committee formed a working group to review connect.MOBAR and make recommendations on how to improve use of the service to meet the needs of all members. As part of this review process, a survey was sent to 29,000 members which addressed a range of issues including the TOS, particularly the restrictions on social content. He noted that solo and small firm lawyer responses were split about 50/50 on whether restrictions should exist. He also noted that the other committee listserv users did not encounter these issues because they mainly focused on professional content in their message conversations. As a result of the review, the committee agreed that there needed to be one TOS to apply to all connect communities. He reported that the committee recommends the following actions for approval by the Board of Governors: (1) adoption of a revised TOS which incorporates some changes suggested by the SFIG community; (2) approve a new socially focused connect.MOBAR community called “Sidebar” which does not have the same TOS restrictions as the committee-based online communities and requires that members affirmatively join the community; and (3) terminate the SFIG listserv as of May 27. He noted that all other listservs had been terminated in November of 2015 when the connect.MOBAR platform was launched. Mr. Williams briefly discussed statistics related to connect.MOBAR communities, noting that approximately 2,500 users have accepted the TOS. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendations as presented. The motion was approved.
B. Lawyer Referral Service
Mr. Ray Williams reported on recommended changes to the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS). He provided a brief overview of the LRS program, which had been first established in 1974. Mr. Williams noted that a combination of factors contributed to a review that has produced the changes proposed, including a new and rapidly changing legal environment, changes in the way lawyers market their practices and how consumers find legal assistance, the resignation of the long-time LRS coordinator, the volume of calls versus assistance referrals, and alternative options utilizing technological solutions. Mr. Williams reported that a special work group was appointed to evaluate the continued viability of the program in light of the above. He reported that the special working group along with the Lawyer Referral Service Committee agreed on the following recommendations:
(1) Discontinue operating The Missouri Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service program.
(2) Change the name of the Lawyer Referral Service Committee to the “Find a Lawyer Advisory Committee” and refocus the scope.
(3) Approve procedures for staff assistance to callers seeking an attorney and legal advice.
It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendations as presented. The motion was approved.
C. Client Security Fund Committee
Mr. Chris Janku reported that the Client Security Fund Committee met on April 8 to consider claims and has the following recommendations for Board approval. He reported that the Committee recommends the payment of five claims for a total of $5,356, the dismissal of two claims and the deferral of six claims. Mr. Janku reported that the Committee requests that the Board authorize the Committee to submit recommendations on the deferred claims to the Board for action prior to the November 2016 meeting of the Board of Governors. He reported that the 2016 budget appropriated to the Client Security Fund was $275,000 and the balance in the Fund as of February 29, 2016 is $452,628.54. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendations as presented. The motion was approved.
D. YLS Bylaws Changes
Mr. Brandon Corl, chair of the YLS Section Council, reported on a YLS Council recommendation to add a diversity seat on the Council and make the appropriate changes to the Bylaws. He explained that this change is designed to ensure that diverse perspectives are represented on the Council. He noted that the proposed additional seat would have a two-year term and would alternate between the three appellate districts. He reviewed the sections of the YLS Bylaws that would be revised to add this seat as well as the incorporation of some grammatical changes and an additional YLS Bylaw revision which would ensure that a paper ballot would be available for all YLS Council elections to accommodate ADA considerations. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendations as presented. The motion was approved.
9. Legal Services Presentation:
Mr. Gregg Lombardi provided statistical information on the number of people living at the poverty level in Missouri and noted that the ratio of attorneys serving this population is approximately 116 per one million. He noted that legal issues facing those in poverty are often greater than those in the non-poverty population especially in areas of domestic violence, consumer fraud, unlawful evictions and foreclosures and the denial of benefits. He reported that the Legal Services offices are constantly in a state of triage and trying to leverage limited funds most efficiently to provide the greatest amount of assistance to those in need. He provided caseload numbers for the legal issues listed above. He reported that in 63% of cases accepted, Legal Services provides substantive representation and maintains a very high success rate. He noted that in the remaining 37% of cases accepted, Legal Aid attorneys provide brief services, often over the telephone, providing advice to prepare the client to represent themselves. He reported that Legal Services also utilizes hundreds of attorneys who volunteer to provide pro bono assistance as well as PAI attorneys, often located in rural areas, to handle cases in those areas on a contract basis.
He cited a 2003 study that indicated that only about 25 percent of the legal needs of low-income citizens was being met and noted that following the recession of 2008 that this figure has dropped to about 10%. He further reported that if an individual does not receive assistance from Legal Aid, they have no other alternatives.
He reported on some of the successful innovative Legal Services programs supported by special grant funding underway throughout the state including a Legal Services of Eastern Missouri project helping low-income entrepreneurs, a Legal Aid of Western Missouri Adopt a Neighborhood Project, a medical legal partnership for low-income patients in the Cox hospitals with Legal Services of Southern Missouri and a foreclosure prevention program through Mid-Missouri Legal Services. He outlined a list of other projects underway from addressing zombie debt to homeless veterans programs to adequate care for elderly individuals in nursing homes.
He reviewed the range of funding sources for Legal Services both civic and community as well as those from the legal community and expressed gratitude for the funding from enrollment fees and Pro Hac Vice fees.
10. Leadership Academy:
Mr. Bryan Fisher reported that this year’s Leadership Academy project is intended to show new lawyers why they should be involved in The Missouri Bar. He noted that the current members of the Leadership Academy plan to develop a 12-week social media campaign framed around the theme of “So now you’re a lawyer” which will provide advice on practical issues facing young lawyers. The campaign is intended to overcome a new lawyer’s lack of knowledge and understanding about the resources available through The Missouri Bar and the lack of current communication to this group regarding resources and information about issues they face in the very early stages of their careers. He noted that the campaign will also incorporate blog posts supported by posts across the state bar’s social media platforms.
11. MCLE – Mental Health/Substance Abuse:
Mr. Chris Janku reported on a proposed revision to MCLE regulations necessary to implement the amendment to Rule 15 approved by the Supreme Court of Missouri in December 2015 that provided for the accreditation of programs and activities devoted to substance abuse and mental health which now satisfy the requirements of Rules 15.05 (e) and (f) commonly known as ethics education requirements. He reported that the proposed regulation defines the substance abuse and mental health content that will satisfy the requirements of the rule. It was moved and seconded to approve revision to the regulation as presented. The motion was approved.
12. Officers’ Reports:
A. President’s Report
Mr. Bergmanis reported that he has been traveling since the Board last met in March. He noted that he traveled out of state to Washington D.C. to visit our state’s federal representative delegation, focusing on adequate funding for Legal Services and student loan debt relief for law students among other issues. He also reported that he attended the West Virginia Bar Association’s Annual Meeting.
He further reported that he has attended a range of meetings and activities at legal organizations within the state including the Corporate Counsel Institute in both St. Louis and Springfield; BAMSL’s annual luncheon to install officers; the Unity Dinner in St. Louis; the Cole County Bar Association; the lawyer’s media lunch; and new lawyer enrollment ceremonies at the Supreme Court of Missouri. He reported that he is looking forward to the meeting at Big Cedar Lodge in July and thanked the Board for the privilege of serving as president.
B. President-Elect’s Report
Ms. Dana Tippin Cutler reported that she is working on her theme and direction for the next bar year. She provided an update on the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents, which will be hosted by The Missouri Bar this year at Big Cedar. She reported that Lynn Ann Vogel and Jennifer Gille Bacon are leading that effort and it is moving forward very well and a good turnout is expected. She reported on an out of state winter CLE opportunity – “CLE by the Sea” – which is scheduled for January of 2017. She thanked Dee Shepherd and her staff for all the work developing the CLE event. She noted some of the Missouri lawyers who will be presenters and encouraged members of the Board of Governors to promote the program, noting that it will be a financial success if only 55 people register.
She reported on the four Board committees – Strategic Planning, Resource, Appointments and Committee Assessment Committee – noting that these committees were approved on a pilot basis last year. She reported that she intends to ask for approval in July to continue the pilot for one more year in the hopes that they will become permanent in July 2017 and a Missouri Bar Bylaws change would be made for that purpose. She indicated that she would also like to give an opportunity for these committees to meet separately from the Board meetings to develop esprit de corps. She thanked Mr. Bergmanis for his generosity in allowing her the opportunity to focus on this Board committee development.
C. Vice-President’s Report
Ms. Nancy Mogab reported that she also attended many of the activities already reported including the legislative trip to Washington D.C. She commented that the coordination of this year’s visit with the ABA Day effort afforded some additional opportunities for pre-event training. She called attention to the efforts of Supreme Court of Missouri Judge Richard Teitelman during this annual trip and the energy he puts forth on behalf of Missouri efforts. She also commended the participation of a UMKC student who participated to address the student loandebt issue. In addition to the trip to Washington D.C., Ms. Mogab reported that she, Dana Tippin Cutler and Sebrina Barrett attended BLI and praised the excellent programming this provides to bar leaders. She reported that she continues to work on the Strategic Planning Committee with Dana Tippin Cutler and encouraged Board members to share any ideas and thoughts with her as she continues to progress through leadership offices.
D. Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Thompson took a moment to recognize and congratulate long-time staff member Gerrie Madsen on her retirement, noting that he has worked with her regularly as Treasurer. He reported that the Supreme Court of Missouri will announce this week an opening for a new General Counsel. He also reported that the next Missouri Bar Board of Governors election will be conducted electronically. He emphasized that it is especially important that members have accurate information in their official record in order to take part in an electronic election and noted that information encouraging members to make sure their information is updated and accurate will be included in this week’s ESQ – weekly electronic newsletter.
E. Executive Director’s Report
Ms. Sebrina Barrett reiterated the extensive travel schedule. She further reported on the collaboration and strong relationships that are enjoyed by The Missouri Bar and the local and specialty bars within the state, noting that this is somewhat unique to Missouri. She noted that our leaders were joined by leadership from BAMSL, Springfield Metropolitan Bar and KCMBA at BLI, where Missouri legal organizations hold a special lunch each year. She also gave a similar example of a unified front when visiting Missouri’s elected lawmakers in Washington D.C.
She reminded Board members that nominations for the Purcell Professionalism Award are due by May 18 and should be sent to her.
(1) Media Articles
She called attention to a media packet provided with the meeting materials that includes media articles and website statistics.
(2) Social Media Policy
Ms. Farrah Fite reported on a proposed change to The Missouri Bar social media policy originally adopted in 2011. Ms. Fite reported that the proposal before the Board of Governors would add two new social media platforms, Instagram and Snapchat, that would expand the reach to new lawyers and the prospective lawyers now in law school and compliment our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, which is more targeted to lawyers 35 years old and older. It was moved and seconded to change the social media policy as proposed. The motion was approved.
(3) Board of Governors Election Update
Ms. Barrett reported that The Missouri Bar is gearing up for the first electronic election of the Board of Governors. She reminded that the nomination petitions are due by July 1 and reiterated Mr. Thompson’s call for members to check the accuracy of their official record, so they can vote in the correct district. She reported that member voting location will be certified in mid-May and changes after that date can only be made for “good cause” under the rule. It was noted that the options to identify a member’s location in Jackson County is an annual cause of confusion. It was explained that members scroll down county options to “Jackson County” and select that location without scrolling to the second option of Jackson County KC. As a result, many members who should have selected Jackson County KC actually choose the wrong location. It was suggested that the options be changed to first show Jackson County KC and the next option be “Jackson County Not KC.” Mr. Thompson took note of this issue.
13. Task Force on the Future of the Profession:
Mr. Bill Bay reported on the work of the Joint Task Force on the Future of the Profession and called attention to a draft report provided to the Board of Governors. He noted that the Task Force was established in early 2014 at the suggestion of then Missouri Chief Justice Mary Russell and consists of 53 members, one-half appointed by The Missouri Bar and one-half by the Supreme Court of Missouri, and also included seven staff members. He reported that the draft report reflects the work of four subcommittees which focused on the following areas: (1) Access and Sustainability, (2) Legal Education and Entry into the Profession, (3) Legal Technology and (4) Leaving or Limiting the Practice. He reported that no action is requested today. The report is provided as a preview of the final report which will be presented to the Board of Governors in July or September. He explained that the report is viewed not as final action, but instead, as a start of continual measurement and evaluation of a rapidly changing legal environment. He further reported that the final report will include separate and joint recommendations for both The Missouri Bar and Supreme Court of Missouri. However, the recommendations are intended to be left to both bodies as to whether they warrant action.
14. Other Business:
A. IT Audit Vendor Selected
Mr. Bergmanis reported that RFPs were sent soliciting a vendor to conduct an IT audit. He reported that seven companies submitted proposals with costs ranging from $22,000 to $85,000. He reported that the company with the lowest bid – Confluence – is the best fit for the audit project. He reported that they will begin the audit process, which will help identify our strengths and weaknesses with regard to technology including security issues, in the summer. He noted that the final report will be provided to the Board of Governors in the fall.
B. ABA Request Regarding Non-lawyer Ownership of Law Firms
Mr. Bergmanis reported that the ABA has asked for comment from bar associations regarding a House of Delegates Resolution regarding private equity companies’ ownership of law firms. He noted that the ABA has provided a very short deadline to file a comment, so the Executive Committee took the matter up and recommends sending a letter in opposition to non-lawyer ownership. Mr. Bergmanis read a draft of the letter which reads:
“The Missouri Bar Board of Governors is opposed to any regulatory reforms that would allow for non-lawyer ownership/control of law firms for myriad of reasons, but primarily the potential compromise of ethical obligations when introducing control by those guided by for-profit motives who are not also bound by the same ethical requirements and oversight as lawyers.”
It was moved and seconded to approve sending the letter over the president’s signature. Concerns were raised as to whether the letter as drafted conflicts with the further study of this issue and alternative solutions that may result from further study. Additional concerns noted that the letter could be construed as being in opposition to the results of our Task Force on the Future of the Profession report findings. It was suggested that the letter be revised to indicate that the position expressed is for the present point in time and we intend to further study this issue in the future. Further discussion focused on the positives and negatives of lawyer access to private capital and the impact on law firms being able to compete with non-lawyer legal service entities such as Legal Zoom and to respond to the access to justice gap as well as the potential to regulate other non-lawyer innovations such as the LLLTs in Washington State. An amendment was accepted to the motion to add a sentence conveying that the current position of the Board of Governors does not preempt the future study and analysis of these issues and future positions guided by the results of future study and analysis. The motion was approved. Mr. Gregg Lombardi abstained.
C. Request for Amicus Brief
Mr. Bergmanis reported that Mr. Jonathan Sternberg requested that The Missouri Bar prepare and submit an amicus curiae brief on the practice of judges appointing lawyers to represent indigent juvenile clients in the Kansas City area as a taking. Mr. Bergmanis reported that the Executive Committee unanimously recommends denying the request, citing the potential divisiveness of the matter within the membership of The Missouri Bar; the short time period required for the brief; and the issue of identifying and arranging compensation or arranging for the pro bono work to produce such a brief. It was moved and seconded to deny the request because it does not comply with the 1991 requirements for amicus briefs, that they must have a consensus of membership. The motion was approved.
D. Special Recognition of Doreen Dodson’s Years of Service as Missouri Bar Representative to ABA
Supreme Court of Missouri Judge Richard Teitelman commended Ms. Doreen Dodson for her years of service representing The Missouri Bar as The Missouri Bar’s long term delegate to the ABA. It was moved and seconded to develop special recognition in the form of a resolution or plaque honoring Ms. Dodson for her service and presenting the honor at the July meeting of the Board of Governors at Big Cedar. The motion was approved.
15. Executive Session:
The Board of Governors went into Executive Session.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary