Board Minutes

July 18, 2014
Big Cedar Lodge, Branson


Members Present:
P. John Brady, President
Reuben A. Shelton, President-Elect
Erik A. Bergmanis, Vice-President
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary

Bevy A. Beimdiek
Thomas V. Bender
Amy Bender-Levy
*Suzanne B. Bradley
Nicole Colbert-Botchway
Morry S. Cole
Mark W. Comley
Hon. Charles Curless
Dana Tippin Cutler
Joel R. Elmer
Brian Francka
Genevieve M. Frank
Wendy Garrison
*John W. Grimm
James H. Guest
John R. Gunn
Edward J. Hershewe
Hon. John F. Kintz
J. B. Lasater
Mark H. Levison
Gregg F. Lombardi
Karen McCarthy
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Mira Mdivani
Max E. Mitchell
Nancy R. Mogab
Douglass F. Noland
Joseph P. Rice, III
Brett W. Roubal
Tricia M. Scaglia
Deanna K. Scott
Walter R. Simpson
Zachary R. Thompson
*W. Douglas Thomson
Raymond E. Williams
Eric J. Wulff

*Present by Telephone

Members Absent
Robert J. Buckley
Michael E. Gardner
Neil F. Maune, Jr.
Patrick B. Starke
Joan M. Swartz

Also Present
Millie Aulbur
Catherine Barrie
Lucas Boling
Anne Chambers
Farrah Fite
Kent Hopper
Chris Janku
Cindy Neagle
Delores Shepherd
Robert Stoeckl
Hon. Richard B. Teitelman
Gary Toohey
Eric Wilson

1. Minutes: 

It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the Board of Governors meeting and the Executive Committee meeting of May 9, 2014 be approved. A motion was made to amend the Board of Governors minutes to show that Walter R. Simpson was present by telephone. The motion to approve the Executive Committee minutes as presented and the Board of Governors minutes as amended was approved.


2. Finances:

A. Financial Statements

Mr. Doug Thomson reported that the financial position of The Missouri Bar is on track with the annual budget, noting that most of the receipts including enrollment fees revenue have been collected. He reported that as of the end of May, expenses were on target at about 35%. He reported that the Bar currently has about $2 million being invested, earning a rate of return of about 1.5%. He further reported that the annual audit has been completed and that the auditor’s opinion letter is included in the meeting materials indicating that the financial accounting fairly represents the financial status of the Bar in all material respects for the year ending December 31, 2013. It was moved and seconded to accept the financial report. The motion was approved.

B. 2014 Annual Meeting Budget

Mr. Thomson reported that the financial operating policy calls for the Board of Governors to approve an updated budget for the Annual Meeting during this meeting of the Board. He reported that the revised budget indicates a projected increase in revenue of approximately $27,500 and a decrease in expenses of approximately $500. It was moved and seconded to approve the revised budget for the 2014 Annual Meeting. The motion was approved.


3. Appointments:

A. July Appointments

(1) Judicial Performance Evaluation Committees

Mr. Jack Brady reported that the July appointments require approval of a non-lawyer member of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee in St. Louis County.

(a) 21st Circuit (St. Louis County)  It was moved and seconded to appoint Mr. Mark Helmsing to fill a non-lawyer vacancy for the remainder of a term expiring on December 1, 2014.  Mr. Helmsing will then be eligible to serve a full six-year term. The motion was approved. Mr. Gunn abstained.

(b) 22nd Circuit (City of St. Louis) – Mr. Brady reported that one non-lawyer vacancy to fill the remainder of a term expiring on December 1, 2016 still exists for the JPE Committee in the City of St. Louis.

It was noted that increased efforts are needed to ensure that the Judicial Performance Evaluation is relevant including the wider dissemination of results. It was noted that increasing the relevance is very important when asking and appointing members to serve on these committees and not addressing this issues is a disservice to those appointed. Mr. Brady reported that efforts are underway to work with the Judicial Performance Evaluation Chair Dale Doerhoff and the National Center for State Courts to address ways to make the evaluations more relevant, including utilizing focus groups and ensure the evaluation process is uniformly applied across the state. 

B. September Appointments

Mr. Brady provided an informational reminder that the Board of Governors will make appointments to the Press-Bar Commission and to the Trustees of The Missouri Bar at the meeting in September.


4. Legislation:

Ms. Catherine Barrie reported that this is the time of year when the Legislative Department solicits next year’s legislative proposals from Missouri Bar committees and sections. Four proposals have been received for the 2015 legislative session, two Commercial Law Committee proposals and one each from the Probate & Trust Law and Animal Law Committees.  The proposals have been included with the agenda for informational purposes.  Under the Board’s Legislative Policy, no action is taken until the annual meeting. Ms. Barrie noted that the legislation materials provided today include a breakdown of the total number of committee members who voted to recommend the legislation being proposed and the specific vote count on the measure.  The proposed measures are sent to local and specialty bars, chairs of other Missouri Bar committees and the Legislative Committee for comment prior to the Annual Meeting. At that time, either the chair or a designate of the chair of the respective committee proposing the legislation will make a presentation to the Board of Governors.

Ms. Barrie noted that, as of the time of her last report to the Board, the Criminal Code had passed, however, four bills drafted by the Probate & Trust Law Committee were still pending. Three of these four bills were included in SB 500, which was passed and was signed by the governor. One of the four, dealing with granting attorney-client privilege for attorneys who represent the trustee, did not pass. She also noted that the $3.4 million allocated for the Missouri Public Defender System to contract outside lawyers for conflict cases and salary increases appropriated for members of the judiciary were both vetoed.  

Mr. Brady noted that the Executive Committee discussed ways to improve the legislative review process, noting that the Executive Committee benefits when the review and comments on legislation include input from lawyers who have specific expertise in the subject area of the legislation under consideration. He noted that efforts will be made to have committee chairs identify and facilitate reviews by attorneys with expertise in the appropriate area and convey this information to the Executive Committee. In addition, he encouraged members of the Board of Governors to participate in the meetings of local bar associations, providing the members of these organizations with a more systematic and regular reporting of the activities of The Missouri Bar, including legislation, as a way to open and improve communication and relationships with local bar associations and to benefit from the feedback derived from this involvement.


5. Committee Reports:

A. Leadership Academy

Each individual member of the 2013-14 Leadership Academy present at this meeting reported their two-year commitment to the Bar, which commences at the conclusion of their term. Michelle Schwerin provided a report regarding the group’s annual project which involved developing curriculum for the Mini Law School for the Public on the role of lawyers and the differences between civil and criminal law. The two presentations  include perspectives on what it means to be a lawyer, how one becomes a lawyer, a lawyer’s obligations within the profession and within society, and the difference between civil and criminal law. She thanked the Board of Governors on behalf of the members of this year’s Leadership Academy and the staff for their assistance with the annual project.

B. Committee on Committees

Ms. Dana Tippin Cutler provided an overview of the Committee on Committees proposal to reorganize the current Missouri Bar committee structure. She noted that a report providing details and background information on the proposal had been sent to members of the Board of Governors in advance of the meeting. She reported that the development of the proposal began with a review of the current committees and sections, including their level of activity, committee initiatives and their role as a resource to members of the committee and to all members of The Missouri Bar. The report also included a review of practice area trends and structuring within law firms as well as a review of the committee structures of other bar associations around the country. She reported that the reorganization is intended to create a structure that is similar to the practice trends lawyers are seeing in the profession. It is anticipated that actions to reorganize the committee structure to better reflect the current practice of law will increase participation in committees, create better lines of communication and synergy among committees as well as improve the communication and coordination of committees and sections with the Board of Governors.

She reported that the proposed reorganization would be implemented in phases over a two-year period. She noted that within the reorganization, some new committees will be created, others will have their names changed to better reflect the current practice represented, still other committees will be merged or separated, one committee will be made inactive and a number of committees will remain unchanged. She noted that one of the major changes will be the establishment of practice area divisions and the alignment of related committees within these divisions.

She described the role of divisions, noting that a chair will be appointed for each division and this chair will play a role as a liaison with the Board of Governors, chair meetings with the committee chairs within the respective division, serve on the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, facilitate and foster communication and coordination among committees, and institute a regular and ongoing annual review of committees within each division.  

She reported that the first phase will take place starting with the next bar year and will mainly focus on establishing the divisions. The second phase will focus on the addition of a number of new committees mainly in the Business and Corporate Division and will also allow for any readjustments that may be identified as needed after the first phase is implemented.

She responded to a number of questions related to the reorganization including whether it would be more appropriate to include the procedure committees in the litigation division, how the Committee on Diversity will be defined, and how the reorganization will impact the work of the staff at The Missouri Bar. It was noted that the alignment of committees within each division is open for comment and consideration will be given to the suggestion related to the positioning of the procedure-related committees. She noted that the Committee on Diversity is intended to focus more broadly than race, ethnicity and gender and include the LGBT community and other segments representative of a diverse bar. It was noted that it may become necessary in the future to add staff support for committees. It was further reported that the implementation will begin right away with the identification and appointment of division chairs and a meeting with these new leaders. Efforts will be made to include input from committee chairs, as well as members of the Board of Governors as to these appointments. It was noted that full implementation will take time and will require significant work.

It was moved and seconded to authorize the Committee on Committees and leadership to move forward on the reorganization of the committee structure as proposed. The motion was approved. It was moved and seconded to put the current Missouri Bar Paralegal Committee on inactive status. The motion was approved. It was moved and seconded to removefrom the bylaws Section 6 of Article X relating to the establishment of a section of The Missouri Bar known as the Law Office Employees Section for law office employees of lawyer members. It was reported that the notice required for a change in the bylaws had been properly fulfilled. The motion was approved.                              

C. Relevance Committee

Mr. Reuben Shelton reported on the effort of the subcommittee addressing relevance to the public. He reported that a new public website will be launched in August as part of the effort to increase The Missouri Bar’s relevance to the public. He thanked staff for their efforts on this initiative. He reported that the Mini Law School for the Public, which has been a very popular and successful program led by Ms. Nancy Mogab in St. Louis, will be expanded to Kansas City and Columbia this fall. He further reported that The Missouri Bar will be partnering with the National Bar Association on a constitutional law citizenship education program. He noted that the NBA will utilize The Missouri Bar’s excellent citizenship education materials for this effort, which will be nationwide in scope, and contribute to the positive branding of The Missouri Bar.

Mr. Erik Bergmanis reported on efforts to increase relevance to members of The Missouri Bar. He reported that the effort to provide a library of how to videos offering guidance and training on specific areas of law is well underway. How-to videos are being produced and put up on the Bar’s website at a rate of one per month with the most recent focusing on how to start a law practice. He reported that additional presenters and topic areas are needed to continue project development at this rate and encouraged members of the Board to participate and/or recommend other lawyers to participate in generating content for a how-to video. Mr. Brady encouraged members of the Board to suggest topic areas based on their experience and area(s) of practice. He also noted that this would be a good initiative for committee and section involvement and suggested working with each committee to produce one video per year.

Mr. Bergmanis further reported that the Dialogue newsletter, used as a communication vehicle between a member of the Board of Governors and the lawyers in his/her respective district, has been converted from a print to an electronic format.

Mr. Bergmanis also reported that changes are underway for The Missouri Bar website to make the functionality of the website more user-friendly for members. He noted that this is the first phase of a website enhancement effort and explained that a second phase will focus on making technical improvements intended to make content more mobile and smart phone friendly.

He reported that plans are being developed to work on enhancing the relevance of The Missouri Bar with the corporate law segment of membership. He noted that meetings will be arranged between members of the Board of Governors and corporate law practitioners in the near future as part of this initiative.


6. Officers’ Reports:

A. President’s Report

Mr. Brady reported on the leadership’s visit with Missouri’s legislative delegation in Washington D. C. He reported that this annual trip is a worthwhile way to maintain good relationships with Missouri’s representatives in Congress. He reported that discussions focused on support for increased funding of Legal Services Corporation, opposition to a current bill that would require businesses at a certain level of revenue to utilize the accrual method of accounting versus the cash basis of accounting and the negative impact this requirement would have on law firms. Discussions also focused on The Missouri Bar’s initiative to assist veterans with legal issues.

Mr. Gregg Lombardi expressed appreciation to the Board of Governors for efforts in support of Legal Aid programs with Congress. He noted that other states organized similar efforts to educate members of Congress about the significant need, noting that in the first six months of this year Missouri’s Legal Aid programs have turned away 800 individuals who are in relationships where domestic violence is a threat. He noted that new funding has allowed Missouri’s Legal Aid programs to help hundreds of people with Social Security Benefit cases and to provide significant help to homeless veterans. Mr. Brady noted how important it is to compile and have these statistics available when talking with the senators and representatives. He further noted that it is important to also convey the support that the legal profession provides to legal aid efforts in Missouri through Missouri Bar enrollment fees and pro hac vice fees, as well as the pro bono work of lawyers.

Mr. Brady also reported that the Joint Task Force on Lawyers Helping Lawyers, a cooperative effort with other bar associations in Missouri, is underway and all Missouri Bar appointments have been made to the task force. He noted that the group will hold its first meeting next week.

He further reported that he has asked the leadership of The Missouri Bar Criminal Practice and Procedure Committee to recommend how The Missouri Bar should move forward in addressing the issue of criminal record expungements. The Committee is expected to meet in the coming months to discuss potential recommendations.

Mr. Brady recognized the recent appointment of Mr. Joel Elmer as the new Deputy Director of the Missouri State Public Defender System.

He further reported that a new contract has been negotiated with The Bar Plan and that a draft copy of the contract will be distributed to members of the Board for review. He further reported that the contract will be voted on at the September meeting of the Board of Governors.  

Mr. Brady reported that the Executive Committee received recommendations for the 2014 Theodore McMillian Judicial Excellence Award, noting the recommendation of two members of the Board of Governors - Erik Bergmanis and Wendy Garrison – to posthumously honor Judge Mark E. Orr, who recently passed away. He reported that the Executive Committee nominates Judge Cynthia L. Martin of the Court of Appeals, Western District and Judge Mark E. Orr of the 38th Judicial Circuit Court. Mr. Eric Wulff also placed into nomination Judge Richard Zerr of the 11th Judicial Circuit. Discussion focused on the number of judicial excellence awards that should be presented each year, the need to recognize jurists throughout the state, the value in limiting the number of these awards annually, the consideration of designating that one award be awarded to an appellate judge and one to a trial judge annually and the consideration of designating one award recognizing a jurist posthumously each year. The Board of Governors voted to approve the selection of Judge Martin and Judge Orr for this year’s award.

B. President-Elect’s Report

Mr. Shelton provide an overview of his activities representing The Missouri Bar within the state and nationally. He reiterated the citizenship education partnership established with the National Bar Association and the nationwide exposure this initiative will have for The Missouri Bar. He encouraged all members of the Board of Governors to be active in their local and specialty bar associations and to act as ambassadors for The Missouri Bar with organizations in their local communities. He reported that he spoke at the 32nd Judicial Circuit Bar Association meeting and attended and spoke at the Solo and Small Firm Conference. He reiterated the value of the annual visit between leaders of The Missouri Bar and Missouri’s legislative delegation in Washington D. C. He also reported that he had a meeting with the directors of Missouri’s four Legal Services offices and together concluded that it would be valuable to provide a periodic update about how the funding provided to these organizations through enrollment and Pro Hac Vice fees is translating into services for those in need. Mr. Shelton reported that Mr. Lombardi will provide such an overview to the Board of Governors on a regular basis. Mr. Shelton further reported that he will be attending a meeting of Missouri’s Legislative Black Caucus where the issue of expungements and concerns about the impact of the revised Criminal Code on the African American community are expected to be on the agenda.

Mr. Shelton reported that he plans to focus on strengthening the brand of The Missouri Bar during his 2014-15 presidential term and outlined the key tenets he believes are the critical foundation to the brand. They are: integrity, dialogue both within the bar and with the public, transparency, sharing, respect, benefits, acting as owners to achieve results, creating an environment for an all-inclusive bar association and promoting equal access to justice for all. He noted that some of his key programs will include meeting with corporate lawyers and large firm lawyers at summits around the state to identify how to increase relevance to this segment of the bar; continuing the Bar’s strong legislative outreach initiatives; holding a Diversity Summit at Saint Louis University School of Law next spring; expanding the Mini Law School for the Public; collaborating with other bar associations to promote relevant programs such as the partnership with the NBA; and recognizing the lawyers in Missouri’s legal community who are “unsung heroes.”

C. Vice-President’s Report

Mr. Bergmanis reaffirmed the success and value of the recent meetings between Missouri Bar leadership and Missouri’s delegation in Congress, noting the support of Legal Services, the opposition to the measure that would impose an accrual accounting requirement on some law firms, and establishing good contacts for our initiatives to assist veterans with legal needs. He reported that he attended the Solo and Small Firm Conference and participated on a panel program for law students. He noted that this is probably the largest and best conference held by The Missouri Bar, larger than the Annual Meeting. He reported that he toured both Four Seasons and Tan-Tar-A Resorts and evaluated both as potential venues for the 2016 Annual Meeting. He further reported that he has selected Four Seasons as the venue for 2016. He noted that The Missouri Bar will be the host for the 2016 meeting of Southern Conference of Bar Presidents and that this meeting will be held at Big Cedar Lodge. He also reported that he is scheduled to attend a leadership training conference in Boston in August.

D. Executive Director’s Report

Ms. Sebrina Barrett reported the annual Board of Governors orientation will take place on August 28 at the Bar Center in Jefferson City. She noted that the agenda will include a speaker from the American Bar Association, Bar Services Group and she encouraged all members of the Board to attend. She noted that in addition to the sharing of information, this meeting allows an opportunity for members of the Board to interact with members of the Young Lawyers’ Section Council and the new members of the Leadership Academy.

Ms. Barrett reported that ballots for the Missouri Bar Board of Governors elections were mailed today. She noted that there are contests in Districts 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12 and the ballots are due on August 15.

She further reported on a number of housekeeping projects underway at the Bar which include updating the employee handbook, development of formal staff job descriptions and two bar committees addressing a document retention policy and print shop needs. She also provided a review of activities for the rest of the day.


7. Other Business:

Mr. Brady opened the floor to any member of the Kansas City delegation of the Board of Governors who would like to announce their candidacy for Vice-President of The Missouri Bar for 2014-15. Ms. Dana Tippin Cutler asked members of the Board to support her candidacy for the office of Vice-President when the vote to fill this leadership position comes before the Board of Governors in September. She briefly described her belief and commitment in servant leadership and outlined several key objectives that she would like to accomplish as a member of The Missouri Bar’s leadership including successfully implementing the committee reorganization plan approved at this meeting and identifing and developing future leaders of the bar.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,


Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary