2018-2019 BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING
November 15, 2018
The Missouri Bar Center, Jefferson City
Raymond E. Williams, President
Thomas V. Bender, President-Elect
John R. Gunn, Vice-President
Morry S. Cole, Immediate Past President
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary
Thomas V. Bender
W. Perry Brandt
Robert J. Buckley
Michael J. Colona
Mark W. Comley
Hon. Joseph Dandurand
Athena M. Dickson
John W. Grimm
John R. Gunn
Robert E. Jones
Julia Pusateri Lasater
Joseph A. Morrey
Douglass F. Noland
Thomas J. Porto
John E. Price
Deanna K. Scott
Stephan R. Tomlinson
Raymond E. Williams
Casey F. Wong
Present by Telephone:
Hon. Charles Curless
J. Brent Dulle
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
Tricia M. Scaglia
Joan M. Swartz
Eric J. Wulff
Deborah K. Dodge
Max E. Mitchell
Hon. Jason M. Sengheiser
Hon. W. Douglas Thomson
Eric Jennings (by phone)
Dr. Tony Simones
Mr. Ray Williams and the Board of Governors recognized Ms. Diana Gerling on her retirement from The Missouri Bar after 44 years of service.
Mr. Ray Williams requested a motion to approve the minutes. It was moved and seconded to receive and approve the minutes of the Board of Governors meetings of September 26, 2018, and the minutes of the Executive Committee meetings of September 26, September 27, October 10 and October 29, 2018. The motion was approved.
A. November Appointments
(1) Client Security Fund Committee
Ms. Athena Dickson reported that Ms. Julie Grus is completing her second term on the Client Security Fund Committee and is not eligible for reappointment. She reported that the Appointments Committee recommends the appointment of Ms. Erica Mynarich to fill the vacancy. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendation. The motion was approved.
(2) Missouri Press-Bar Commission
Mr. Douglass Noland reported that the current term of Mr. C. Ronald Baird is expiring, and he does not wish to continue serving. He reported that the Appointments Committee recommends the appointment of Hon. Robert M. Clayton II to fill the vacancy. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendation. The motion was approved.
4. Committee Name Change:
Mr. Ray Williams described the purpose underlying the formation of a Special Committee to Assist Lawyers in a Changing Economy, noting that this committee was created about a decade ago to specifically respond to the impact of the economic crisis on Missouri lawyers with an emphasis on addressing the decreased job opportunities for young lawyers. He called attention to the wide range of member benefits that are currently available to all members of The Missouri Bar which resulted from this committee’s work during the past decade. He reported that the committee’s role evolved since its inception to focus more broadly on identifying, reviewing and recommending member benefits and resources to help lawyers better serve their clients. Mr. Williams reported that this evolving role has proven to be valuable and recommends action to formalize this committee as a standing committee and change the name to better reflect its current purpose. It was moved and seconded to change the name of the Special Committee to Assist Lawyers in a Changing Economy to the Members Services and Resources Committee and establish it as a permanent committee of the Board of Governors. The motion was approved.
5. Client Security Fund Committee:
A. Client Security Fund Report
Ms. Cindy Neagle reported that the Client Security Fund Committee met in October and reviewed 32 claims. She reported that the committee recommends the payment of 14 claims for a total of $45,085.74, the denial of 14 claims, the deferral of four claims and authority for the committee to make recommendations on the deferred claims before the November 2019 meeting of the Board of Governors. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendation of the committee. The motion was approved.
Ms. Neagle further reported on total claims for the year. She reported that the committee paid 73 claims for a total of approximately $150,000; denied 24 claims and deferred seven claims.
Ms. Neagle provided a brief description of how the committee processes claims. She also explained that claims are deferred for a range of reasons citing examples such as a rule requirement to exhaust all legal remedies before proceeding or awaiting the conclusion of an active investigation by OCDC. She noted that the committee has recently allowed claimants to refile a claim, rather than accept and defer cases to minimize the need for deferrals.
B. Proposed Revisions to Rule and Regulations of Client Security Fund Committee
Ms. Cindy Neagle reported on proposed revisions to the Rules and Regulations of the Client Security Fund Committee. She reported that the proposed revisions, which were approved by the committee in October, are intended to formalize some procedures; adjust limitations related to the payment of claims; and further define claims. She called attention to a red-lined version of the proposed changes. She noted that the proposed revisions would change definitions in Article 1.5 and Article 1.6; increase the amount that the committee may consider immediately without deferring the claim until legal remedies are exhausted under Article 2.5; revise the notice requirement for a hearing by a committee member or subcommittee under Article 2.7; increase the limit on the amount of a claim payment that can be submitted to the Board of Governors throughout the year under Article 2.10; and raise the cap on full payment of claims to $5,000 under Article 3.1. She also noted that the changes propose the deletion of Article 4.7 to eliminate potential conflict with Missouri Bar financial policies and procedures. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommended revisions. The motion was approved.
6. Officers’ Reports:
A. President’s Report
(1) Civics Education Partnership with Missouri Press Association
Mr. Ray Williams called attention to a recent article in the West Plains Quill related to Missouri’s Non-Partisan Court Plan, illustrating an example of a long-running partnership with the Missouri Press Association to support civics education. Ms. Farrah Fite provided a brief report on this program which is designed to draft, distribute and publish articles on civics topics. She reported that the articles are distributed for use by newspapers nationwide, not just in Missouri. She reported that the program, created by former Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Director Millie Aulbur more than 20 years ago and continued by current director Dr. Tony Simones, is specifically intended as a resource for teachers to use in educating students, but has the dual purpose of offering civics-related information to newspaper readers of any age.
(2) Impact of Amendment 1 – Legislature Gift Limitations and Sunshine Law
Mr. Eric Jennings provided a report on the recent passage of Amendment 1, focusing on the two areas most likely to impact Bar-legislative interactions: gift limitations and the Sunshine Law. Effective on December 6, 2018, the Missouri Constitution will prohibit legislators and legislative employees from receiving (directly or indirectly) any gift in excess of five dollars per occurrence from a paid lobbyist or lobbyist principal. This limitation will apply to the following Missouri Bar activities: Legislative Dinners; the traditional State of the Judiciary luncheon at the Capitol; and complimentary registration for Missouri Bar CLE programs. These activities will be suspended, beginning December 6, 2018.
Amendment 1 also provides that all legislative records and proceedings shall be public records and proceedings subject to the state open records / open meetings law (Sunshine Law). This provision will require some definitional analysis and clarification, but Board members were advised that every communication with a legislator or legislative employee should be considered an open record. There are many legal questions surrounding Amendment 1, and court challenges appear likely. The redistricting components of Amendment 1 are also expected to face court challenges between now and the next redistricting in 2020.
(3) Judicial Performance Review
Mr. Williams reported on the Judicial Performance Review (JPR) resources provided to Missouri voters about judges standing for retention under Missouri’s Non-Partisan Court Plan in advance of the November general election. He commended the work of the Judicial Performance Committee under the leadership of Dale Doerhoff and the efforts of The Missouri Bar to disseminate this information to the public as required under Supreme Court Rule. He reported that widespread dissemination included extensive communication through traditional and social media campaigns to drive the public to the judicial performance evaluations on the YourMissouriJudges.com website. He commented on the high voter participation indicated by ballot “roll off” statistics. Ms. Farrah Fite provided additional statistical information related to the success of the extensive communication campaign including marketing efforts across all media – traditional, digital and social – noting that 84% of voters who cast votes in the top statewide races also cast votes on the two Supreme Court of Missouri judges appearing for retention on the ballot. Mr. Gary Toohey discussed the committee evaluation process which includes surveys of lawyers, jurors, litigants and other sources. Members of the Board of Governors were encouraged to provide any positive or negative feedback on the process and evaluations to the Judicial Performance Review Committee so that this feedback can be considered during its post-election review.
(4) Board Committee Update
Mr. Williams reported that appointments are being made to Board committees, noting that members of the Board of Governors will receive appointment letters soon. He reported that the current committees would be kept active this year with some minor changes in member composition. He reported that in addition to the current committees, he is interested in identifying a committee to explore recording and archiving oral histories with lawyers and judges famous for their work within Missouri’s legal profession. Mr. Williams indicated that there are questions related to the logistical viability of such a project that need to be assessed before going forward. He reported that Messrs. Max Mitchell and John Price will lead a small group to make such an assessment and the consideration of a committee will be based on their conclusions.
Mr. Williams also reported that he would like to explore establishing a committee to encourage and facilitate lawyer involvement in public service, including developing presentation materials and tools to facilitate lawyers becoming more involved in these opportunities. He reported that Ms. Tricia Scaglia and Mr. Mark Comley will lead an effort to look at this area.
He noted that Mr. Lucas Boling will be working with Member Benefits to explore options related to health insurance as a member benefit.
Mr. Williams also reported consideration of findings in the report of the Joint Task Force on the Future of the Profession. He reported the Board Committee/Division Assessment Committees will be asked to examine the need for a senior lawyer open enrollment committee of The Missouri Bar.
He further noted that some consideration will be given to questions and needs related to the formation of a committee focusing on practice transition questions.
Mr. Williams reported that he will reach out and involve the Young Lawyers Section in the strategic planning process, noting that this seems to be the next logical step in the strategic planning process.
B. President Elect’s Report
Mr. Tom Bender reported that he recently attended the National Conference of Bar Presidents, noting that these conferences offer an opportunity to hear about initiatives of bar officers and bar association boards from other states, including successes and failures. He noted that a challenge facing many states, including Missouri, is ensuring access to a lawyer for those living in rural communities. He reported that this challenge requires new ideas and initiatives and noted that this will be an area of focus during his term as president.
Mr. Bender reported that he spoke at the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association, the Annual MOLAP Conference in Kansas City and presented Missouri Bar media awards recognizing journalists for stories informing the public on law-related issues. He also reported on his work with committee leaders at KCMBA to get them involved with The Missouri Bar and to foster cooperation among bar associations.
He noted that Board members often attend other conferences and meetings and hear good speakers who may be of interest for one of The Missouri Bar’s conferences. He encouraged members of the Board to share this information with him. Mr. Bender also reported that he recently had the opportunity in his work with another organization to present awards to lawyers for good work and philanthropy. He expressed the value of recognizing these lawyers frequently through the website or through other communication vehicles to remind everyone of the good people who make up the legal profession. He encouraged members of the Board to assist him with this effort by sharing information related to lawyers who deserve such recognition.
C. Vice-President’s Report
Mr. John Gunn reported that the Committee on State Bar Activities is focusing on continuing the work to ensure that The Missouri Bar is operating under best practices. He noted that the committee consists of seven current members of the Board of Governors and five past presidents.
He also reported that CLE by the Sea is scheduled for March 6 – 9 in Jupiter, Florida. He noted that The Missouri Bar is partnering with BAMSL for this year’s conference and promotional brochures are out. He reported that sponsorships are available and the program topics are excellent. He encouraged members of the Board of Governors to attend as well as promote the conference. It was noted that discussion is welcome as to other venues for this event such as Arizona during Kansas City Royals spring training or other venues not associated with spring training.
Mr. Gunn reported that he attended lex Port, The Missouri Bar’s technology conference, in October. He commended the excellent educational programs featured at the conference and noted the strong attendance. He encouraged members of the board to attend next year.
Mr. Gunn reported that he spent the previous day at The Missouri Bar Center talking with staff directors. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to visit with the directors and staff and commended the entire staff on the level of talent, professionalism, and teamwork they bring to their duties and the volume of work that is accomplished by this team.
D. Executive Director’s Report
(1) Year-End Report
Ms. Sebrina Barrett called attention to a detailed 2018 Year-End report included in the meeting materials and highlighted some of the programs and initiatives cited in the report. She reported on several projects that are part of the implementation of the technology audit, highlighting a new application which offers members an e-check payment option to pay their 2019 enrollment fees online for a convenience fee of just $.50, compared to the current convenience fee of 2.15% or approximately $8.80 when using a credit card. Ms. Barrett also highlighted one of the next major projects in this area, the replacement of the online MCLE application used by members.
Noting that the strategic plan was designed to be an adaptable working document, Ms. Barrett reported that the next round of the strategic plan program and activity review would begin soon, so recommendations for the Board’s consideration will be ready by the spring meeting.
Ms. Barrett highlighted recent actions related to the security plan approved in 2018, noting that 10 security cameras have been installed in common areas of the main building at the Missouri Bar Center as recommended by a Jefferson City Police Department assessment.
Ms. Barrett highlighted some of the rule changes that were proposed by the Board of Governors and approved by the Supreme Court of Missouri during the past year including changes to Rule 15 related to MCLE; modification of the trust accounting rule for more efficient use of law firm fees; and the rule on military spouse admission. She also called attention to the adoption of a new parental leave policy approved for the staff of The Missouri Bar, and she thanked the Joint Commission on Women Lawyers for assistance and the endorsement of this new policy.
Ms. Barrett reported that for the first time the Missouri Lawyers Assistance Program (MOLAP) has a presence in all four law schools in Missouri, noting that MOLAP Director Anne Chambers is offering office hours to help law students with a range of mental health issues. Ms. Barrett noted that in addition to offering assistance and resources to law students, she hopes this presence and early involvement with future lawyers will help erase the stigma that can prevent lawyers from asking for help.
She highlighted two of the many Citizenship Education activities cited in the year-end report, reporting that The Missouri Bar was recognized with the 2018 Naomi Crouch 4-H Volunteer Leadership Award in September. She also reported that The Missouri Bar has established a partnership with the Girl Scouts to create a mentoring program that will link members of the bench and bar with young Missourians.
Ms. Barrett highlighted and recognized the work of the Judicial Performance Review program and the staff assistance provided by The Missouri Bar. She also reported on the Veterans Legal Information Clinics held in conjunction with the St. Louis and Columbia Legal Services offices and the Veterans Administration, noting that five clinics were held in St. Louis during 2018; two clinics were held in Columbia; and more than 170 veterans were served.
(2) Director Spotlight
Ms. Anne Chambers provided an overview of the Missouri Lawyers Assistance Program (MOLAP), explaining that this program offers professional, free counseling to members of The Missouri Bar, immediate family members who reside with the member and law students. She reported that the free services strive to assist those eligible in areas that include substance-related issues, depression, stress and burnout. She noted that MOLAP is partially funded by The Bar Plan. She explained that she is a licensed clinical social worker and that the MOLAP Department is provided administrative support from Michele Fritchey.
Ms. Chamber reported that the MOLAP individual services are available by telephone and in-person 24/7 and offers unlimited access to services which include assessment/evaluation, counseling, resources and information, referrals, crisis intervention, skills coaching and case management. She noted that MOLAP also assists with support for individuals impacted by suicide and can assist with crisis intervention for individuals and law firms. She further reported that attorney volunteers are also available to provide peer support for members in recovery.
Ms. Chambers reported that MOLAP maintains an outreach and communications presence on The Missouri Bar’s website, provides professional presentations about MOLAP related topics to bar groups, law schools and at conferences, publishes a quarterly newsletter and conducts an annual conference.
She reported that MOLAP has served almost 3,000 members since its inception. She further reported that MOLAP has served 196 members this past year of which 145 were new clients and made 46 volunteer assignments during the same period. She noted that MOLAP holds office hours at all four law schools in Missouri as of October 2018. She reported that the most common presenting problems are substance-related issues, followed by depression, marital issues and other mental health challenges.
Ms. Chambers suggested that members of the Board of Governors can help promote this member benefit by (1) sharing information about these services within their local legal community, during interactions with individual members and through social media; (2) adopting the Model Policy for Law Firms; and (3) discussing the value of self-care with new lawyers inside and outside of the board member’s firm.
(3) Member Services and Enrollment Information
Ms. Barrett reported that annual enrollment fee statements will be going out soon and called attention to resource materials included in the meeting packet which can be helpful to board members when providing information to constituents. She reported that these materials include a member benefits message map, a member benefits and services list, a state bar comparison infographic and an infographic depicting where a member’s fee dollars go. Mr. Williams noted that board members can also contact Farrah Fite for additional materials and resources to support the development of outreach presentations.
(4) Missouri Bar PSA
Ms. Barrett reported that the new PSA featuring Missouri Bar President Ray Williams is currently in post-production. She noted that it is expected to begin airing in December and focuses on the good that lawyers do in their communities.
A. 2018 Financial Report
Mr. Williams reported that following a brief financial report from John Grimm and action related to Pro Hac Vice funds, the Board will go into executive session to discuss 2019 budget and salary matters before reconvening to take action on the proposed 2019 budget. Mr. Grimm reported that overall receipts are down slightly compared with the same period in 2017 but noted that disbursements are also down for the same period, resulting in a higher net budget position compared with the same period last year. Mr. Grimm noted that the CLE Department is doing a very good job of adapting to a rapidly changing business environment and increased competition. Mr. Grimm reported that budget deficit spending was projected for 2018; however, a strong budget performance in both 2017 and 2018 forestalled the need for deficit spending and the strong investment balance continues to delay the need for an enrollment fee increase.
B. 2018 Pro Hac Vice Funds Allocation
Mr. John Grimm noted the designated uses for pro hac vice funds allocated to The Missouri Bar under Rule 6.07 (a). Mr. Grimm reported that The Missouri Bar portion of pro hac vice fees for 2018 is expected to be approximately $85,000.
Mr. Williams reported that the Executive Committee recommends the allocation of one-half of the 2018 pro hac vice fees to The Missouri Bar Foundation to be used to offer grants to 501(c)(3) organizations chosen by the Foundation that provide free civil or criminal legal services to indigent Missourians and that do not already receive Missouri Bar funds and allocating one-half to the Justice System Education Fund. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendation. The motion was approved.
B. 2019 Proposed Budget Overview
Mr. Grimm highlighted key areas of the proposed 2019 budget and called attention to the detailed written overview included in the meeting packet. He reported that the proposed budget for 2019 projects a deficit of approximately $668,000 but noted that both the 2017 and 2018 budgets were also projected for deficits. Mr. Grimm called attention to some changes to budget schedules, noting that some schedules were combined, and several miscellaneous categories were reduced or eliminated. He noted that enrollment fee revenue is projected slightly higher for 2019 and the overall salary budget is lower for the third year in a row.
It was moved and seconded for the Board of Governors to go into Executive Session for a 2019 budget and salary discussion. The motion was approved.
Returning from Executive Session, it was moved and seconded to approve the 2019 proposed budget as presented. The motion was approved.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Sebrina A. Barrett, Secretary