2014-2015 BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING
October 7, 2015
St. Louis Hilton at the Ballpark Hotel, St. Louis
Reuben Shelton, President
Erik A. Bergmanis, President-Elect
Dana Tippin Cutler, Vice-President
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary
Bevy A. Beimdiek
Suzanne B. Bradley
Rod T. Chapel, Jr.
Hon. Nicole Colbert-Botchway
Morry S. Cole
Mark W. Comley
Hon. Charles Curless
J. Brent Dulle
Joel R. Elmer
John W. Grimm
James H. Guest
John R. Gunn
Hon. John F. Kintz
J. B. Lasater
Gregg F. Lombardi
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Max E. Mitchell
Nancy R. Mogab
Douglass F. Noland
John E. Price
Joseph P. Rice, III
Tricia M. Scaglia
Deanna K. Scott
Walter R. Simpson
Joan M. Swartz
Hon. W. Douglas Thomson
Raymond E. Williams
Eric J. Wulff
Members present by telephone:
Thomas V. Bender
Genevieve M. Frank
Edward J. Hershewe
Robert J. Buckley
Robert S. Kenney
Gwenda R. Robinson
1. Welcome and Introduction of New Board Members:
Mr. Reuben Shelton welcomed the new Board members taking their seats at the conclusion of this meeting: Deborah K. Dodge, Jennifer E. Matthew and W. Perry Brandt.
Mr. Reuben Shelton asked if any changes were needed for the minutes from the Board of Governors meeting of July 10, 2015 and the minutes of Executive Committee meetings held July 9 and September 8, 2015. It was moved and seconded that the minutes be accepted and approved without changes. The motion was approved.
A. Financial Statements
Judge Doug Thomson provided the financial report, noting that the current financial status is very good and right on target for the year. He reported that the return on investments has been increasing and that the Finance Committee will continue to explore options to continue improved investment returns.
He reported that several policy actions are being requested. He reported that the Finance Committee recommends a change in Section 6 of the Fiscal Operating Policy to eliminate the summer review and approval of an Annual Meeting budget. He explained that the Board of Governors reviews and approves an Annual Meeting budget during the annual budget process each November and will continue to do so. However, no additional information is available by summer, as may have been the case when the policy was likely put into effect. As a result, a second approval is not useful or necessary. It was moved and seconded to revise Section 6 of the Fiscal Operating Policy as proposed. The motion was approved.
Judge Thomson reported that the Finance Committee also recommended two revisions to the Investment Policy of The Missouri Bar. He noted that the Finance Committee recommends formalizing the policy adopted in early 2014 regarding operating reserves, revising the current investment policy to require operating reserves equivalent to a minimum of three months’ operating expenses, and under normal circumstances endeavoring to maintain an operating reserve equivalent to at least six months’ operating expenses. It was moved and seconded to revise the Investment Policy as proposed. The motion was approved.
Judge Thomson explained that the current Investment Policy, Internal Controls Section does not include equities as approved investments. At the time that the policy was adopted, The Missouri Bar had equities on hand, so a paragraph was added to the policy providing that equities currently held will be managed, retained and sold as determined by the Finance Committee and this committee will oversee any sale of equities by The Missouri Bar. Judge Thomson reported that subsequent to the addition of the paragraph, all equities have been sold and recommends the deletion of this paragraph in the Internal Controls Section of the Investment Policy as presented in the report provided. It was moved and seconded to approve the deletion to the Investment Policy as proposed. The motion was approved.
A. October Appointments
(1) Judicial Performance Evaluation Committees
Ms. Sebrina Barrett reported on nominations to fill vacancies on three different Judicial Performance Evaluation Committees.
(a) 16th Circuit (Jackson County)
She reported that Mr. Eddie Henderson has been nominated to fill one non-lawyer vacancy on the 16th Circuit Judicial Commission.
(b) 22nd Circuit (City of St. Louis)
Ms. Barrett reported that Ms. Ruby Harriman Christian has been nominated to fill one non-lawyer vacancy on the 22nd Circuit Judicial Commission. She also reported that Ms. Debra Price has been nominated to fill the lawyer vacancy on the Commission.
(c) Appellate Committee
Ms. Barrett reported that Ms. Susan Appelquist has been nominated to fill the lawyer vacancy on the Appellate Judicial Commission for the Southern District. She noted that no nominations have been received for a non-lawyer vacancy in the Eastern District.
It was moved and seconded to approve all of the nominees presented. Mr. Wulff noted that it is difficult for the Board of Governors to continue supporting appointments for the JPE committees, knowing the time and effort asked of these appointees, without efforts and attention to making their work more relevant and more widely known, including publishing the results throughout the state. Mr. Lasater and Mr. Wulff voted no. The motion was approved.
(2) Press-Bar Commission
Ms. Barrett reported that Hon. Jerry Venters’ term on the Commission is expiring and he has requested not to be reappointed. She reported that Missouri Bar Past President C. Ronald Baird has been nominated to fill this vacancy. It was moved and seconded to approve the appointment of Mr. Baird. The motion was approved.
(3) Trustees of The Missouri Bar
Ms. Barrett reported that Steve Newman’s first term on the Trustees of The Missouri Bar is expiring and he is eligible for reappointment. It was moved and seconded to approve the reappointment of Mr. Newman. The motion was approved.
(4) Complaint Resolution Committee
Ms. Barrett reported that the terms of three members of the Complaint Resolution Committee are expiring and only one of the three members, Mr. Albert Crump, is eligible for reappointment. She reported that Ms. Angela Habeebullah and Ms. Lisa Herder have been nominated to fill the two vacancies. It was moved and seconded to reappoint Mr. Crump and appoint Ms. Habeebullah and Ms. Herder to the committee. The motion was approved.
(5) ABA House of Delegates
Ms. Barrett reported that Ms. Doreen Dodson has been appointed as the ABA Interim State Delegate for Missouri, completing the remainder of Joe Whisler’s term, after Mr. Whisler had been elected to the ABA Board of Governors. This action created a vacancy for the remainder of Ms. Dodson’s term, which expires at the end of 2016 ABA Annual Meeting. It was moved and seconded to appoint Immediate Past President Jack Brady to fill this vacancy. The motion was approved.
B. November Appointments
(1) Client Security Fund Committee
Ms. Barrett reported that Scott Robbins’ second five-year term on the Client Security Fund Committee is expiring, and he is not eligible for reappointment. An appointment to fill this vacancy will be made at the November meeting.
5. Report of the ABA Interim State Delegate:
Ms. Doreen Dodson provided a report on programs and initiatives of the American Bar Association. She reviewed her longtime involvement as a member of the House of Delegates representing The Missouri Bar and the opportunities this involvement has afforded her including participation in both leadership and as a member of a wide range of committees addressing issues facing our profession.
She reported that Paulette Brown has recently been elected as the first African-American female president of the ABA. She noted that the President-Elect of the ABA, Linda Klein, recently visited Missouri as part of a listening tour and outlined some key initiatives leading up to her term as president next year. These include creating a direct line of communication and encouraging all lawyers to communicate directly with her, sharing their thoughts about what they do and do not like about the ABA; what the ABA should be doing as well as concerns regarding the profession. Ms. Klein has created an email address to facilitate this communication which is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Klein also expressed a goal to increase membership within the ABA and shared a new ABA program which offers a 50% discount off the annual membership fee for any new ABA member. Ms. Dodson also noted the lower rate structures available for solo practitioners and public interest lawyers continue. Ms. Dodson added that those interested in taking advantage of the 50% discount can do so by using a promotional code: FOKLEIN15 and can use the following web link to take advantage of this offer: www.ambar.org/friendsofklein. Ms. Dodson noted many benefits of ABA membership including 18 hours of free CLE annually and valuable resources such as the ABA Journal.
6. Officers' Reports:
A. President's Report
(1) Citizens Advisory Task Force
Mr. Shelton noted that he has consulted with President-Elect Bergmanis and that they seek the approval for the continuation of the Citizens Advisory Task Force for the 2015-16 bar year. Mr. Shelton reported that the Task Force members have provided invaluable input to him while president of The Missouri Bar.
Questions were raised as to the mission, cost, and accomplishments of the Task Force. It was requested that this information be provided to the Board of Governors in a written report. It was moved and seconded to approve the extension of the Citizens Advisory Task Force for another year. The motion was approved. The following members of the Board of Governors voted no: Eric Wulff, Nancy Mogab, Joan Schwartz, and Joe Rice.
(2) Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness
Mr. Bill Thompson reported that the Supreme Court of Missouri will be creating a Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness to study whether barriers exist in the practice of law and to the judiciary and, if so, to identify recommendations to address such barriers. He reported that the Commission’s initial term will be for 18 months and that it is anticipated that the Commission will provide a report at the conclusion of this time frame. He noted that the Commission will receive $25,000 in funding from the Supreme Court of Missouri, Office of State Courts Administrator, through independent fundraising initiatives to firms and organizations and that the Supreme Court is requesting funding of $25,000 from The Missouri Bar. It was moved and seconded to amend the current 2015 budget, taking funds currently included in the budget and reassigning them to a new line item for this purpose. An amended motion was made and seconded to authorize transferring $25,000 from reserves to the current 2015 budget and creating a new line item for this purpose. The amended motion was approved.
B. President-Elect's Report
Mr. Bergmanis provided a review of his agenda for the 2015-16 bar year focusing on the 20/20 plan, which encompasses three components:
(1) Modernizing the Courts
He outlined an increase in cases being tried in rural areas combined with a lack of resources available to courts to effectively handle these cases as an example of the modernization need.
(2) Improving Access to Justice
He noted the need to expand DWI and drug courts and improving the effectiveness of these models statewide. He also described the creation of a task force to review and analyze the impact of legislation expected in 2016 session to create a Daubert standard in Missouri.
(3) Modernizing the Profession
He noted the many disruptive changes facing the profession including the significant impact of technology, non-lawyer competition, and issues related to entry and exit from the profession as some examples.
He also noted his commitment to current programs including law-related civics education, efforts to help lawyers practice law and pro bono efforts which include the veterans clinics. He, once again, thanked the Board for the opportunity to serve.
C. Vice-President's Report
(1) Governance Update on BOG Committees
Ms. Dana Tippin Cutler reported on a recommendation to establish four new committees within the Board of Governors. These committees are:
Division/Committee Reassessment Committee
Strategic Planning Committee
Resource Development Committee
Ms. Cutler further reported that, based on input from Ms. Mogab, the recommendation would be to pilot these four committees for one year. The committees will then be reviewed and evaluated and, if necessary, revised before action will be taken as to seek approval as permanent Board of Governors’ committees. She noted that approval of permanent committees would require a revision of the bylaws. It was noted that the role and purpose of the Resource Development Committee will be to identify and explore options for the development of future programs to generate non-dues revenue which are allowable under IRS regulations and within the restrictions imposed on mandatory bars by Keller. It was moved and seconded to approve the establishment of the four pilot committees listed above for a one-year pilot trial period. The motion was approved.
(2) Committee Reorganizations/Revisions
Ms. Tippin Cutler reported that several changes are being recommended to the original committee reorganization plan approved the Board of Governors in 2014. She explained that the recommendations were based on requests from the committees being affected.
The current Environmental and Energy Law Committee was slated to be split into two separate committees under the original reorganization plan. The leadership of this committee recommends that the committee remain a single committee with a co-chair appointed from the environmental areas and another from the energy areas. She further reported that the original reorganization plan called for the dissolution of the Property Law Committee and the establishment of a number of new property related committees. The Property Law Committee leadership noted that the reorganization plan did not account for a committee to serve the general real estate practice including the important landlord/tenant practices and requested that the Board of Governors consider renaming the Property Law Committee as the Real Estate Practice and Procedures Committee, rather than dissolving this committee. Ms. Cutler also reported that the newly renamed Health and Hospital Administration Committee requested that the newly established Health and Life Science Committee name be changed to the Biotech and Life Sciences Committee to better distinguish the two committees. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendations as stated. The motion was approved.
D. Treasurer's Report
Mr. Thompson reported that he is working with staff to make the MAI-CR (Missouri Approved Instructions – Criminal) available to members of The Missouri Bar free-of-charge and anticipates that this should be accomplished by the end of the year. He also asked for input related to a more effective process for members of the bar to inform the Court of changes in address, name, etc. He noted that the objective is to identify and implement a solution where all of these changes can be taken care of at one place. He further asked for input from lawyers regarding senior judges who they have appeared before along with any thoughts on devising a better system for assigning senior judges to cases and monitoring senior judge performance. Mr. Bergmanis also expressed the need to consider pay allocations available for senior judges.
E. Executive Director's Report
Ms. Sebrina Barrett thanked Mr. Thompson for regularly providing a report to the Board of Governors meetings. She noted the value of the Supreme Court’s decision to provide the MAI-CR instructions free to members and added that this is one of three key benefits scheduled for launch during the fall through the end of the year. She noted that The Missouri Bar Private Insurance Exchange is now available to members offering health, dental, vision and other insurance benefits for firms within Missouri. She also reported that Higher Logic, a new online community resource, is set to launch in mid-November.
Ms. Barrett called attention to the mid-year reports of the Complaint Resolution, Lawyer-to- Lawyer Dispute Resolution and Fee Dispute Resolution Programs included in the meeting materials as well as media articles related to The Missouri Bar.
She informed the Board that in addition to the traditional events associated with the Annual Meeting, such as the Best of Missouri reception at Union Station, a reception will be held for the first time for the Fellows of The Missouri Bar Foundation. She also encouraged board members to attend a hearing of the Joint Task Force on the Future of the Profession scheduled as part of the Annual Meeting.
Ms. Barrett reported that the Pro Hac Vice funds approved at the last meeting of Board of Governors have been disbursed to the approved organizations and she called attention to thank you correspondence received from some of those organizations included in board materials.
Ms. Cindy Neagle reported that the 2014 Economic Survey has been completed and was provided in the meeting packet. She reported that the survey has been conducted every two years since 1958.
Ms. Neagle reported that the survey, which is administered and compiled by the University of Missouri, was distributed to 4000 members of The Missouri Bar and approximately 1,400 of this group responded. She called attention to the executive summary, which provides an overview of the results and described the extensive detailed information within the report including data related to particular categories of interest such as solo practitioners, billable hours and office overhead. She noted this year’s results show that 60% of respondents experienced an increase in income from 2013 to 2014. She noted that median income level increased 6% overall. She also reported that median income among women lawyers increased 6.5%; however, the median income of all women lawyers was 66% of the total median income for all male lawyers. The results indicate that unemployment during 2014 remained at about 3%, reflecting little change from 2012, but down from 5% in 2010. She encouraged members of the Board to review the report and contact her with any questions.
7. Report of the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession:
Ms. Megan Phillips and Mr. Bill Bay, co-chairs of the Commission, provided a report. Mr. Bay called attention to the draft report of the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession, noting that the report contains a wide range of data and information compiled during the two years since the Commission was established. He noted that no action is requested, but indicated that the Commission will seek approval of the report in November.
Ms. Megan Phillips called attention to the review section of the printed report, outlining the meetings and events held since the Commission’s inception. She also thanked the Board of Governors for supporting the Commission’s recommendation to change the annual attorney enrollment form, adding gender information. She also reported on two additional actions initiated by Commission constituents. First, there was the successful change to Supreme Court Rule 6.06 removing barriers and burdens associated with the reactivation of licenses to practice for those who had voluntarily changed to inactive status. She noted that the Supreme Court of Missouri and OCDC approved changes that removed the burdens that had often inordinately impacted women in the profession, creating a much more effective, efficient and less costly process. Second, there was the Commission’s review of the maternity leave rules for all state employees, researching the rules from other states and making recommendations to improve the FMLA rules related to this area for state employees. She reported that these recommendations have been submitted to the Office of Administration and a response is anticipated soon.
8. Legislation – Bar Committee-Drafted Legislation:
Mr. Eric Wilson reported that two legislative proposals, originally expected to be presented at this meeting, have been removed from the agenda at the request of the drafters. These proposals related to the Missouri Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act and the Designated Health Care Decision-Maker Act. Mr. Eric Wilson reported that the Executive Committee had approved the Property Law Committee proposal to be advanced through the expedited approval process.
A. Property Law Committee
Ms. Kim Diamond reported on legislation drafted by and approved by the Property Law Committee to amend Section 327.272 RSMo. Ms. Diamond explained that the current law requires that all property descriptions must be prepared only by a licensed surveyor. This amendment would clearly exclude licensed attorneys and licensed title companies from the 2014 changes to the law, allowing them to continue to provide services related to the drafting of legal descriptions of real property. It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
B. Estate Planning and Probate Administration Committee
(1) Guardianship - Chapter 475 Revision
Mr. Reg Turnbull provided an overview of the guardianship laws in Missouri, noting that the Estate Planning and Probate Administration Committee has formed a subcommittee to review the current law and identify where updates are needed. He reported that updates will focus on incorporating how the law in this area coordinates with resources such as the DPOA and the DPOA for healthcare decisions along with other trends in the use of guardianships and conservatorships since this chapter was last updated. Additionally, the committee is expected to propose a reorganization of the chapters and changes in some terminology used in the statute. He reported that the committee will review the changes, send the final draft for comment from the bar and provide a revised version for later action by the Board.
(2) Trust Modification after Settlor's Death - Section 456.04B-411(B) RSMo
Mr. Michael Magliari reported on a proposed amendment to Section 456.04B- 411(B) RSMo, noting that this Section is juxtaposed with 456.590 RSMo. He reported that the proposed amendment would reflect the committee’s position that Section 456.04B-411(B), RSMo, should be the standard for modifications of irrevocable trusts and that 456.590, RSMo, should be repealed. It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
(3) Judicial Discretion to Remove and Replace Corporate and Individual Trustees – Section 456.007-706, RSMo
Mr. Michael Magliari reported on proposed legislation that would amend Section 456.007-706, RSMo, clarifying the court’s authority and discretion to remove and replace a corporate trustee with any successor trustee it finds suitable. He noted that this authority was not granted to Missouri courts when this statute was initially taken from the Uniform Trust Code and incorporated and codified into the Missouri Uniform Trust Code in 1985. It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
(4) Applicability of the Uniform Principal and Income Act – Section 469.467, RSMo
Mr. Michael Magliari reported on proposed legislation to amend Section 469.467, RSMo, which clarifies that the statute applies to trusts existing on or after August 28, 2001. It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
(5) Clarification of Virtual Representation under 456.1-111 and 456.4-411(A), RSMo (Trust Modifications) – Section 456.3-304, RSMo
Mr. Michael Magliari reported on proposed legislation to make a technical correction addressing the need to specifically refer to 456.4-411(A) for purposes of virtual representation under Section 456.3-304, RSMo. It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. Mr. Wulff opposed. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
(6) Technical Correction to Trust Protector’s Ability to Direct Investment Decisions – Sections 456.8-808 and 456.1-103(13) RSMo
Mr. Michael Magliari reported on proposed legislation to amend Sections 456.8-808 RSMo, providing a technical correction delineating a trust protector’s ability to direct the investment decisions and administrative actions of a trustee as well as defining an “investment decision” and an “investment advisor.” It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
(7) Clarification of Time Limits for Applying for Letters Testamentary; Wills Presented for Probate – Section 473.050, RSMo
Mr. Magliari reported on proposed legislation to amend Section 473.050, RSMo, clarifying that if a will has been timely presented and admitted to probate, that an application for letters testamentary, or letters of administration with will annexed, can be filed and letters granted, even though more than one year has elapsed since the date of death of the testator. It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
(8) Uniform Powers of Appointment Act
Ms. Susan Teson reported on proposed legislation to initiate a Missouri Uniform Powers of Appointment Act, noting that the Act provides statutory guidance regarding an area of Missouri law which is currently inadequate. She reported that the committee working on this legislation attempted to make no substantive changes to Missouri law when revising the act for adoption in Missouri. She mentioned that the committee is also recommending modification to certain other statutory provisions to ensure consistency among related statutes in Chapter 404. It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
(9) Standing to Bring a Claim and Standard for Liability under the Power of Attorney Statutes – Sections 404.710 and 404.717, RSMo
Mr. Bob Selsor, chair of the Fiduciary Litigation Committee, reported on proposed legislation to amend Sections 404.710 and 404.717, RSMo, clarifying the standard of liability as well as standing to bring a claim under the existing statute. It was moved and seconded that the proposed legislation was in scope. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting. It was moved and seconded to approve the legislation for filing. The motion was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Board of Governors present and voting.
(10) “Small Estate” Threshold; Legal Effect of a Small Estate Affidavit – Section 473.097 and 473.100, RSMo
Mr. Magliari reported on proposed legislation to amend Section 473.097 and 473.100, RSMo to increase the threshold of a small estate from $40,000 to $100,000 and to ensure that the small estate affidavit will have the legal effect the banking industry requires. A motion was made and seconded to table this legislation until November. The motion was approved.
C. Criminal Law Committee
(1) Changes to the Laws Regarding Petitions for Expungement of Criminal Records
Ms. Gwenda Renee Robinson and Mr. Jason Lamb reported on legislation that allows for the expungement of certain infractions, ordinance violations, and/or some felony offenses, excluding serious offenses such as offenses requiring sex offender registration, offenses where death is an element, felony assaults, and kidnapping among others. The legislation also creates a timeline for when each category of offense is eligible for expungement; provides information required to petition for expungement and creates a presumption in favor of petitioner meeting all criteria. Questions were raised regarding whether this should be called expungement or “sealing.” A motion was made and seconded to table this legislation until November. The motion was approved. Mr. Wulff voted no.
9. Committee Reports:
A. Client Security Fund Committee
Mr. Chris Janku reported that the Client Security Fund Committee met on September 23 and 24 and recommends the denial of the Steven Scaglione v. James Martin and Louis Basso claim. It was moved and seconded to approve the denial as recommended. The motion was approved. Mr. Janku also reported that the committee will meet again on October 20 and the recommendations, denials and dismissal of claims from this meeting as well as from the meeting of September 23 and 24 will be submitted to the Board of Governors at its November 20 meeting.
10. Proposed Pro Bono Program:
Ms. Cindy Neagle reported on a national initiative of the ABA Pro Bono & Public Service Committee to provide a potential online tool to help address a significant justice gap utilizing technology. She noted that the ABA program goal is to establish and maintain a 50-state interactive pro bono website through which low-income people can post legal questions and have those questions answered by pro bono volunteer lawyers licensed in the state in which the client resides or in which the legal matter arose. She reported that the initiative, which will be supported by staff at the ABA, is based on a successful model that originated with the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and has since expanded to Alabama, Indiana, Minnesota, South Carolina and West Virginia. She noted that under the ABA’s initiative to launch the site nationally, approximately 25 states, including New York, California, Florida, Illinois and Ohio, are expected to join the program and the ABA has asked Missouri to consider opting into the national resource.
Ms. Neagle briefly described how the program and technology model would work including how the public can access the website, the safeguards in place to ensure that those participating understand and agree with the limited scope representation restrictions, the procedures in place to qualify users, how lawyers volunteer and participate as well as how the questions and answers are monitored. She also reported that arrangements have been made by the ABA to provide malpractice insurance. She conveyed that the Tennessee Bar Association reports positive feedback from users of that site (lawyers and the public) as well as support of the Tennessee Legal Services as well as the endorsement of the president of the Legal Services Corporation nationally. She noted that if The Missouri Bar would be interested in opting into this program, annual cost will be minimal and the program has the potential to compliment the current Lawyer Referral Service program as well as supplement other pro bono efforts such as the Veterans Clinic initiative implemented during the past year. She further noted the ABA has requested that states commit to participation by Nov. 15, 2015. Mr. Shelton reported that the Executive Committee recommends approval.
Questions were raised regarding the training for volunteer lawyers answering questions, handling of posts not answered by volunteer lawyers, conflicts of interest checking, and monitoring the answers provided by volunteers.
A motion was made and seconded to table the matter to address the concerns raised. The motion was approved.
11. Board of Governors' Elections:
Mr. John Gunn reported on several amendments to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 7 to allow for electronic voting in elections to the Board of Governors of The Missouri Bar. He called attention to draft rule changes provided in the meeting materials. He reported that a proposed amendment to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 7.07 is being proposed to allow for the use and filing of electronic nominating petitions. He further reported that a new draft Missouri Supreme Court Rule 7.075 provides for the Clerk of the Supreme Court to use electronic voting and the distribution of ballots, in whole or in part, under procedures developed in conjunction with The Missouri Bar and approved by the Supreme Court of Missouri. It was moved and seconded to recommend the amendments to Rule 7 as drafted and proposed to the Supreme Court of Missouri. The motion was approved.
12. Acknowledgement of Retiring Board Members and Outgoing President Shelton:
Mr. Reuben Shelton offered comments and presented plaques honoring the retiring Board members for their service on the Board of Governors. The following Board members were recognized: P. John Brady, Wendy E. Garrison and Walter R. Simpson.
Mr. Erik Bergmanis recognized Missouri Bar President Reuben Shelton for his leadership during the 2014-2015 bar year.
13. Other Business:
A. Probationary Reinstatement of Paralegal Committee
Dana Tippin Cutler reported on a request from the former chair of the Paralegal Committee, along with supporting letters from other stakeholders, requesting the reinstatement of the Paralegal Committee, which the Board of Governors voted to dissolve last year. Ms. Cutler recommended that the Paralegal Committee be reinstated on a probationary basis for a period of two years at which time a decision would be made as to whether to permanently reinstate the committee. It was recommended that the committee be provided with criteria for permanent reinstatement. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendation. The motion was approved.
B. 50th Anniversary of Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC)
Judge Nicole Colbert-Botchway reported that the Administrative Hearing Commission is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. She noted that staff is working with the Administrative Law Committee to provide for special recognition at the Fall Committee Meetings in November. She indicated that this is expected to include recognition at the luncheon as well as arranging for a breakfast gathering during the meeting of the Administrative Law Committee meeting during the morning of Nov. 20. She encouraged members of the Board of Governors take part in recognition activities when possible.
14. Executive Session:
The Board of Governors went into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary