2016-2017 BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING
May 11, 2017
The Missouri Bar Center
Dana Tippin Cutler, President
Morry S. Cole, President-Elect
Raymond E. Williams, Vice-President
Erik A. Bergmanis, Immediate Past President
Betsy AuBuchon, Treasurer
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary
Thomas V. Bender
Robert J. Buckley
Michael J. Colona
Mark W. Comley
Hon. Charles Curless
Deborah K. Dodge
J. Brent Dulle
Joel R. Elmer
Robert E. Jones
Jennifer E. Matthew
Max E. Mitchell
Joseph A. Morrey
John E. Price
Tricia M. Scaglia
Deanna K. Scott
Hon. Jason M. Sengheiser
Joan M. Swartz
Hon. W. Douglas Thomson
W. Perry Brandt
Rod T. Chapel, Jr.
Athena M. Dickson
J. B. Lasater
Joseph P. Rice, III
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Eric J. Wulff
Present by telephone:
Genevieve M. Frank
John R. Gunn
Douglass F. Noland
Jerri J. Zhang
Ms. Dana Tippin Cutler asked if there were any changes needed to the minutes and hearing none, it was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the Board of Governors meeting of February 28, 2017 and the Executive Committee meetings of February 28, March 27 and April 21, 2017. The motion was approved.
Judge Doug Thomson provided the financial report as of the end of the first quarter of the annual fiscal year, March 31, 2017. He reported that The Missouri Bar has received about 70% of budgeted receipts as of March 31 including approximately 92% of enrollment fees. He reported that CLE programming year-to-date net income is approximately $133,000, compared to about $8,000 at the same period last year. He noted that expenses related to the closing of the print shop were a significant factor in the difference between 2016 and 2017 year-to-date net income. He reported that CLE Publications net income as of March 31, 2017 is down approximately $3,700. Judge Thomson reported that the reserves of The Missouri Bar were approximately $15.1 million as of the end of the first quarter, up approximately $2 million from the same time in 2016. He noted that most of The Missouri Bar’s investments consist of bonds, certificates of deposit and government securities, noting that the ongoing shift to longer maturities has resulted in an increase in the average rate of return across the portfolio. He concluded by reporting that approximately $9 million is currently invested and it is anticipated that this amount will increase to $10 million by the end of summer.
A. Update on ABA Day in Washington D.C.
Mr. Eric Wilson reported on the participation of officers of The Missouri Bar, Missouri local bar association leaders, and YLS Council Chair Sander Sowers in the 2017 ABA Day held in Washington D.C. in early April, where participants met with Missouri members of Congress. Our Missouri delegation advocated for two main issues: (1) support of funding for the Legal Services Corporation and (2) recently introduced federal legislation relating to access to justice for homeless veterans (H.R. 1993, the Homeless Veterans Legal Services Act).
B. Update on Status of State Legislation
Mr. Eric Jennings provided an update on legislative actions in the General Assembly, noting that two days remained in the 2017 session, which would conclude at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 12, 2017. The General Assembly had already sent thirty-six bills to the governor; eighteen of those bills were appropriation measures. Seven of the thirty-six bills had already been signed by the governor. Twenty-three bills that had been passed by both chambers were currently in conference committee for reconciliation of differences. He noted that, in terms of the number of bills approved at this point in session, the General Assembly was a little behind its typical pace.
Mr. Jennings referred to the most recent legislative update to the Board, which had described ongoing activity on the proposed state budget. He reported that the General Assembly had completed its work on the budget before the required deadline of May 5, 2017, and indicated that Government Relations Counsel would be available to answer any questions from Board members on specific details relating to the judiciary budget.
Several legislative measures of interest to Bar members were still pending before the General Assembly and might or might not move forward before the conclusion of session, including amendments to the collateral source rule (SB 31), the rules of civil procedure relating to joinder and venue (HB 460, HB 461, and HB 462), and legislation relating to arbitration agreements (SB 45).
With respect to Bar committee-drafted legislation, the legislative sponsor of the Designated Healthcare Decision Maker Act (2017-01), Rep. Joe Don McGaugh had added the measure to multiple bills as an amendment. The Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (2017-03) and the Trust Protector-Directed Trusts legislation (2017-02) had both been included in an omnibus judiciary bill (SB 128), which was currently in conference committee and might be finalized before the end of session. Mr. Jennings explained that the Qualified Spousal Trusts legislation (2017-06) was currently in abeyance, after some questions had been raised regarding its exact language, and the measure would require some additional discussion with stakeholders before it could move forward.
A. May Appointments
Ms. Tricia Scaglia provided a brief overview of the work of the Appointments Committee including an overview of the process used to identify and develop recommendations for appointments to available positions by the Board of Governors.
(1) Fee Dispute Resolution Committee
Ms. Scaglia reported that Ms. Mary Lou Martin’s term on the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee is expiring and she is not eligible for reappointment and that Mr. Brian Risley is recommended to fill this vacancy. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment of Mr. Risley. The motion was approved.
(2) ABA Delegates
Ms. Scaglia reported that the Appointments Committee has undertaken an effort to study the workings of the current process to appoint delegates to the ABA and it is anticipated that a written report will be provided to the Board of Governors in July, with the possibility of a restructuring proposal for board action expected at the September meeting.
Ms. Scaglia reported that the first term of Judge Nicole Colbert-Botchway as The Missouri Bar’s diversity delegate is expiring and that she is eligible for reappointment. It was moved and seconded to appoint Judge Colbert-Botchway for a second term. The motion was approved.
Ms. Scaglia reported that the YLS Council will be making a recommendation to fill the YLS delegate vacancy resulting from the expiration of Mr. Jose Caldera’s term.
She further reported that Mr. Skip Walther’s second term as one of the past president delegates is expiring and he is not eligible for reappointment. It was moved and seconded to appoint Mr. P. John Brady to fill this delegate position. The motion was approved.
Ms. Scaglia reported Mr. Brady had last been appointed in May 2016 to fill the Missouri Bar designated long-term delegate seat when Ms. Doreen Dodson vacated that seat upon appointment as state delegate to the ABA for Missouri. She reported that this long-term delegate position has traditionally been designated for a Missouri representative interested in playing a stronger role as an ABA delegate which could translate into leadership roles within the national organization. She reported that Mr. Bill Bay has expressed such an interest in leadership of the ABA and the Appointments Committee recommends his appointment as The Missouri Bar’s long-term delegate to the ABA. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment as recommended. The motion was approved.
(3) Intervention Committee
Ms. Scaglia reported that Mr. Dale Irwin’s first term on the Intervention Committee is expiring and he is eligible for reappointment for a second term. It was moved and seconded to appoint Mr. Irwin to a second term. The motion was approved.
(4) Appointment to Legal Services of Southern Missouri Board
Ms. Scaglia reported that Legal Services of Southern Missouri (LSSM) has requested that the Board of Governors approve the appointment of Mr. Fred Hall to the LSSM Board. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment. The motion was approved.
Ms. Scaglia noted that some questions arose regarding the number of years that Mr. Hall will be eligible to serve on the LSSM Board pursuant to that organization’s Bylaws. She explained that Mr. Hall has previously served on the LSSM board and that the LSSM Bylaws limit eligibility to three, six-year terms. She reported that an inquiry has been made with the Executive Director of the Legal Services of Southern Missouri to clarify this eligibility question and ensure that this appointment is in compliance going forward.
5. Committee Reports
A. Client Security Fund Committee
Mr. Chris Janku reported that the Client Security Fund Committee met on April 17 to consider claims and has the following recommendations for Board approval. He reported that the Committee recommends the payment of ten claims for a total of $27,931.47, the denial of ten claims and the deferral of four claims. Mr. Janku reported that eight of the claims recommended for payment are for less than $2,500. He explained that the remaining two claims recommended for payment, which are for more than $2,500 each, were deferred from 2016 and are submitted pursuant to Board authorization to submit these deferred claims from 2016 prior to the November 2017 board meeting. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendations as presented. The motion was approved. Ms. Dana Tippin Cutler noted that Mr. Janku will be retiring shortly after the July meeting of the Board of Governors and took the opportunity to congratulate Mr. Janku and offer appreciation for his years of dedicated service.
B. Board Assessment Committee
Mr. Robert Stoeckl provided a brief overview of the main purpose and recent actions of the Board Assessment Committee, noting that this committee was created following the committee restructuring process to provide for a systematic and ongoing annual review of the relevance of standing committees within The Missouri Bar. He reported that the Board Assessment Committee, under the leadership of co-chairs Hon. J.B. Lasater and Rod Chapel, developed an annual standing committee review process that was piloted earlier this year. He noted that the process includes the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative information on the actions of each committee in relation to its scope. He reported that approximately one-fifth of the standing committees undergo this review each year under this process. He further reported that the Board Assessment Committee conducted a review of ten Missouri Bar standing committees in March and no action is recommended regarding a change of status for any of the committees reviewed.
Mr. Stoeckl further reported that the Board Assessment Committee anticipates making recommendations for board action on several other committee-related items at either the July or September meeting of the Board of Governors including (1) the probationary status of the Paralegal Committee, (2) issues related to viability of newly created committees, (3) a newly proposed process for the review of a member-initiated request to establish a new standing committee of The Missouri Bar, and (4) establishment of connect.MoBar communities that are not directly associated with a committee of The Missouri Bar.
6. Officers’ Reports:
A. President's Report
Ms. Dana Tippin Cutler reported that she has been traveling extensively since the last meeting of the Board of Governors. She reported traveling to Washington D.C. for meetings with Missouri’s congressional representatives. She noted that she has given presentations at bar associations in Cole County, Kennett and Hannibal and is scheduled to present at Boone County and Mound City Bar events. She reported that she participated in a program related to lawyer involvement in bar work at Washington University School of Law and has been invited to present her Courageous Collaboration CLE program, also known as “Run of the Roar” at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri as well as the 16th Judicial Circuit. She also reported that she will be the speaker at the Saint Louis University School of Law hooding ceremony later this month. She reported that she conducted site visits and selected venues for social events and dinners during the 2017 Annual Meeting of The Missouri Bar and will be traveling to the ABA Annual Meeting in August.
B. President-Elect’s Report
Mr. Morry Cole reported that he has attended executive training in Chicago and media training in St. Louis to strengthen skills related to the communication of Missouri Bar messaging and positions.
He reported that “best practices” will be the focus of his presidency in 2017-18. He noted that this will consist of internal and external practices. He noted that he will establish and make appointments to task forces to implement this focus. He noted that these efforts will be integrated with the new strategic plan and provide an opportunity to review what we find most important, what we do well and also what current activities or programs are less important and consuming valuable time and energy. He noted that governance and bylaws will be one of the internal focus areas. He noted that externally, he would like to focus on an emphasis on building camaraderie. He called attention to a first draft of the notice for the 2017 “CLE by the Sea” conference scheduled for March of 2018. He reported that efforts are underway to build on the success of last year’s meeting in Biloxi, noting that a planning committee is under development to (1) plan the educational programs, (2) secure sponsors, and (3) recruit attendees. He also reported that he is working with Farrah Fite regarding the development of a “rapid response” initiative that would be used to reinforce and extend the dissemination of positive information and developments related to the judiciary, as well as defend against unfair attacks on the judicial branch, utilizing all communication channels with an emphasis on social media. He noted that a perfect example of the value and effectiveness of the Non-Partisan Court Plan was recently demonstrated with the appointment of Judge W. Brent Powell to the Supreme Court of Missouri and the recent appointment of board member J.B. Lasater as associate circuit judge in St. Louis County, pointing out examples of the excellent qualifications both bring to their new positions and noting that both will be a credit to the judiciary.
B. Vice-President's Report
Mr. Ray Williams provided an overview of the extensive flooding impacting the southern part of Missouri, noting the significant damage, displacement and impact on the people, businesses, and government including the courts and court records caused by this disaster. He reported that The Missouri Bar’s Disaster Relief Assistance program has been activated, including activation of a toll-free hotline for citizens affected by the flooding to receive pro bono legal assistance from volunteer attorneys. He noted that this hotline and the assistance efforts are coordinated by Missouri Bar staff members Eric Wilson and Brett Rolwes. He also called attention to a complimentary relief effort of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency which has opened multi-agency resource centers in affected areas. He noted that opportunities exist for lawyers to volunteer and provide pro bono help with both of these response efforts and encouraged members of the board to consider participating.
Mr. Williams further reported that the Special Committee on Select State Bar Activities (“Keller” Committee) is expected to meet now that the legislative session is finished. He reported that this committee is expected to have a report at the July meeting of the Board of Governors.
Mr. Williams noted that he also joined other members of Missouri Bar leadership, traveling to Washington D.C. to meeting with our state’s congressional representatives.
He further reported that Clerk of the Supreme Court of Missouri Betsy AuBuchon will give a presentation at the West Plains Chamber of Commerce. He thanked Ms. AuBuchon for agreeing to discuss the Supreme Court of Missouri with the citizens in this part of state.
Ms. Dana Tippin Cutler thanked Mr. Williams for his service and efforts to assist others in the areas devastated by the flooding, noting that he has been providing such assistance and support while his own practice has been directly affected by the flooding. She also commended the work of the Government Relations Counsel during the 2017 legislative session.
C. Treasurer’s Report
Ms. Betsy AuBuchon reported that Judge W. Brent Powell was officially seated on the Supreme Court of Missouri last week. She also reported that the Supreme Court of Missouri recently held a portrait hanging to officially add the portrait of the late Judge Richard B. Teitelman to the Supreme Court building. She further noted that the judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri officially elected Judge Zel Fischer as the next chief justice with his two-year term starting July 1.
She reiterated the issues that flooding within the state has created at courthouses and with the protection of court files and she noted that the Secretary of State Division of Archives has been very helpful in efforts to rescue files with water damage.
She further reported that the Supreme Court of Missouri is going to be starting work on a review of criminal and civil court pretrial practices. She reported that the work in the criminal area will include looking at the role of economic status in the jailing of citizens; private probation services within the state; and how fines, fees and bail are being handled. She noted that the Court will also focus on how civil dockets are handled and whether they are efficient and serving the people of the state of Missouri.
She reported that 600 lawyers were suspended this week for non-payment of licensing enrollment fees or non-payment of taxes, with about half of those suspended correcting this status within 24 hours.
D. Executive Director's Report
Ms. Sebrina Barrett gave a brief overview of the schedule and timing related to the filing and voting in the upcoming Missouri Bar Board of Governors elections. She noted that the elections will be conducted electronically as had been done in 2016. She reported that members are being encouraged to make sure that their official record is up-to-date and accurate, including their county of vote, so the correct ballot is sent from OSCA. She reported that members interested in running for the Board will have until July 3 to submit a petition, noting that the date was extended from the traditional July 1 deadline because it falls on a weekend this year. She further noted that petitions will be accepted electronically. Ms. Barrett reported that voting will begin July 20 and to avoid confusion an email containing a link to the ballot will be emailed that morning with instructions that the link will become accessible approximately one half hour after transmission. She reported that voting will be open until August 15 and she will make telephone calls to convey results to candidates in each election when results become final and prior to dissemination to the membership.
Ms. Barrett also explained that during this same time period, The Missouri Bar will be conducting an election to fill the Appellate District/diversity seat on the Board of Governors for lawyers in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District and Southern District. She described confusion that resulted last year when members in board districts within the Eastern District of the Court of Appeals received a separate ballot via email to cast a vote for this seat. She reported that efforts are underway to have a combined electronic ballot sent to members eligible to vote in both a board election and for an Appellate District/diversity seat as a way to address potential confusion.
Ms. Barrett also called attention to the media relations packet provided in the meeting materials and introduced Ms. Farrah Fite and Mr. Brett Rolwes to provide a report on Missouri.Free Legal Answers.org, a recently implemented ABA online resource to provide low-income citizens with legal assistance, noting that the The Missouri Bar is the state coordinator for this resource. Ms. Fite and Mr. Rolwes provided a brief overview of Missouri Bar participation in the program, which began in January of 2017. They provided a review of how the tool works, noting that qualified members of the public post their questions on the website. Lawyers who have volunteered to take part in the program can choose whether or not to answer any of the questions posted at a time convenient to their schedule. Ms. Fite and Mr. Rolwes provided examples of positive feedback received from some of the lawyers who have volunteered for the program as well as statistics related to the number of questions posted, answered and the number of lawyers who have volunteered to participate since the launch of the website in January. It was noted that a recent ABA report indicates that the Missouri website has recorded the largest percentage increase in activity of any state participating in the program, with 380 questions posted, 211 questions answered and 56 lawyers volunteering to participate. It was further noted that publicity for this resource has been limited to date. Ms. Fite reported that a Public Service Announcement has been created to promote the resource and is expected to be distributed for broadcast in June. Other publicity efforts include social media and printed resource cards to be distributed to libraries and circuit clerk offices. Mr. Rolwes and Ms. Fite encouraged members of the Board of Governors to consider volunteering and to encourage other Missouri lawyers to participate. A request was made that staff create and distribute information as part of Dialogue e-newsletter so that members of the Board of Governors can notify lawyers in their district to assist with the volunteer lawyer recruitment effort.
Ms. Barrett reminded the Board that each board meeting agenda would include a Directors’ Spotlight segment, where one or more of The Missouri Bar directors will be asked to briefly talk about their areas of responsibility at The Missouri Bar. Ms. Barrett introduced Director of MCLE Chris Janku to briefly describe his duties and responsibilities and the work of his department which administers The Missouri Bar’s MCLE program, including accreditation of CLE programs, the maintenance and compliance of the annual reporting of MCLE hours for Missouri lawyers as required by Supreme Court Rules as well as procedures and actions relate to noncompliance. Mr. Janku also reported on his duties as they relate to the management of the Client Security Fund. Ms. Barrett called attention to the upcoming retirement of Mr. Janku this July and she and the Board of Governors offered sincere thanks for his outstanding years of service as a member of The Missouri Bar staff.
Ms. Barrett next introduced Missouri Bar’s Director of CLE Dee Shepherd to describe her department and its efforts to provide ongoing, high-quality substantive legal education to members. Ms. Shepherd distributed a brochure outlining the many facets of the CLE Department’s work and briefly elaborated on the wide range of substantive programming delivered to Missouri lawyers annually. She further outlined the variety of delivery methods offered to take part in educational programming, including live programs, telephone seminars, webinars and, most recently, webcasts hosted from The Missouri Bar Center. She reviewed the close relationship that the CLE Department maintains with standing committees of The Missouri Bar and the collaborative efforts with such committees to produce the relevant substantive programs needed by lawyers in the state. She also described the valuable relationship with the Legal Education Committee, which serves both a strategic direction and oversight role for the CLE Department.
Ms. Barrett also introduced Jason Cecil, new Chief Technology Officer for The Missouri Bar, to provide a technology update. Mr. Cecil provided a brief overview of the technology projects being planned and/or implemented related to needs identified by the IT audit. He reported that an analysis of the needs has resulted in a list of about 100 projects, which should take approximately three years to complete. He noted that the initial focus is on several core projects that are required to lay the necessary foundation to move forward in other areas, including upgrading the current network, wiring, internet connection and replacement of the telephone system. He noted that all or a major portion of these projects should be completed by the end of May. He noted these projects will result in an annual savings of approximately $24,000, explaining that significant capability will be realized with the new internet connection and phone system at a lower cost – as much as double the internet speed for less than half the cost as an example. He reported that the next major project will focus on updating the iMIS database software, which will allow for additional improvements directly impacting members of The Missouri Bar.
Ms. Barrett reported on several upcoming deadlines, noting that the Leadership Academy nomination deadline is May 19. She noted that 27 nominations have already been received. She reported that the deadline to submit nominations for the Missouri Bar Foundation Purcell and Spurgeon Smithson Awards is May 22 and she encouraged Board members to consider making nominations. She reminded the Board that the Supreme Court of Missouri is hosting the 29th Annual Conference of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts in St. Louis, May 15-17, and encouraged members of the Board of Governors to attend.
Ms. Barrett reported that she had an opportunity to present at the Lincoln County Bar Association.
7. Strategic Direction of The Missouri Bar
Mr. Morry Cole thanked all who took part in the strategic planning retreat held in Columbia. He and Mr. Ray Williams reviewed the actions that took place during that meeting and briefly summarized the actions going forward, noting that these include tentative approval of the strategic direction at this meeting, followed by the addition of a three-year action plan to be added by staff between now and July with the goal of reviewing a comprehensive draft at the July meeting of the Board of Governors.
Mr. Marc Smiley provided a conceptual overview of the overall strategic planning approach, detailing the next steps going forward to develop a final strategic plan which will serve as both an aspirational plan that speaks to what The Missouri Bar would really like to accomplish but lives within the reality of current resources by incorporating a base and a contingent element. He recommended that the Board of Governors tentatively approve the strategic direction developed at the retreat, which includes goals and strategies for six key areas and empower the staff to develop the next iteration by adding a framework of action steps under each of these goals and strategies, which can then be reviewed and, if necessary, further refined at the July meeting of the Board of Governors, ultimately producing a final plan to be incorporated into the budget for the next bar year for approval at the November meeting of the Board of Governors.
It was moved and seconded to approve tentative adoption of the strategic direction of The Missouri Bar as provided in the board materials subject to refinements and details to be added by staff which will be reviewed at the July meeting of The Missouri Bar Board of Governors. The motion was approved.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary