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Minutes from prior fiscal years

10/20/05| 5/23/06 | 9/28/06 | 11/30/06 | 1/18/07 | 2/22/07 | 4/17/08 | 9/18/08

Minnesota State Bar Association
Pro Se Implementation Committee
September 18, 2008
Present:               Sara Sommarstrom, Andrea Nordick, Susan Ledray, Sam Glover, Candee Goodman, Jon Del Vecchio, Jean Lastine
By telephone:   Sara Galligan

    • Introductions
    • Possible committee focus for coming year
    1. Update research on existing pro se resources, identify gaps
      1. Court could provide information on programs it has identified. Self-Help Center is continuously updating its research on available resources.
      2. Committee could supplement court’s research, explore ways to fill gaps.
    2. Forms – continuing challenge to keep existing forms updated, develop new ones.
    3. Coordinate services with, self-help center.
    4. Identify role of bar associations in other states.
    5. Look at developing resources in criminal law (pre-charging, where PD not available).
      1. Jon and Sara will assemble information they have developed. Law libraries have some info as well (per Sara Galligan).
    6. Develop materials to educate clients on when a contingency lawyer could be available (e.g. debt collection, landlord/tenant), how to hire a lawyer, info on ranges of fees.
      1. Article in Bench & Bar, HCBA magazine
      2. Explore with solo/small firm section
    • Model documents
      1. Jon and Sam will work on combining their retainer agreements
      2. Jean will circulate Lew Linde’s retainer agreement
      3. Sample agreements also in Risk Management packet
      4. Where should materials be posted? Committee website, practicelaw, mypractice.
      5. Post multiple versions of forms?
      6. Include a form notice of withdrawl.
      7. Special issues for criminal matters
        1. Sara will recruit an MJF volunteer to identify areas where withdrawal may be an issue once a lawyer has made an initial appearance.
      8. MSBA unbundled referral service – need to develop data on number of lawyers that would be interested.
    • Members to review documents and circulate comments by email.
    • For next meeting:
    1. Identify existing pro se services, gaps. Sara Sommarstrom will circulate request for people to identify resources they are aware of, and can recruit a law student to help if needed.
    2. Review available pro se materials on criminal matters.
    3. Discuss issues raised in email comments on draft model forms, Risk Management packet.
    • Unbundled CLE
      • MJF will do a presentation in Mankato (October 2) on marketing unbundled services, efforts of this committee. Ask for input on needs. Suggestions for ways that self-help center can refer clients to lawyers that do unbundled services.
        • Sara will draft agenda for meeting and get comments/input from Susan.

        Pro Se Implementation Committee

        April 17. 2008


        Present: Jean Lastine, Pat Dolan, Kathleen Murphy, Sara Sommerstrom, Bev Anderson, Steve Hirsh (MSBA staff)

        1. Introductions
        2. Tel-Law update
        a. Kathleen Murphy presented script
        b. Vetted by Pat Burns at LPRB
        c. Local Bankruptcy Rule disallowing unbundling not relevant
        d. Pat Dolan had comments, has submitted them to Duane
        3. Letter of support for Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota technology grant application: approved.
        4. Ramsey County CLE on unbundled services - June 3
        a. Will include presentation on marketing
        b. Pat Burns will present on ethics issues
        c. Use Sue Talia dvd and materials
        d. Susan Ledray will present on assisted pro se
        e. Important to emphasize need for clarity in retainer, withdrawal notices, etc
        5. Retainers and other forms
        a. Bev reviewed and changed a few terms
        b. Bev will do one more review and forward her suggestions to Steve for circulation to committee
        c. A goal is to have a revised retainer that would work in MN as a handout for the Ramsey CLE.
        6. Self-Help Center update
        a. Looking for grant opportunities in case SHC is cut in court budget
        b. Look for opportunities to replicate law library partnership being piloted in St. Cloud
        c. MJF students would be available to help
        7. St. Cloud update
        a. Library board considering adding staff
        8. Anoka County
        a. Might consider financial partnership with CMLS to staff self-help center
        9. Meeting schedule
        a. May 15
        i. Reports back from Equal Justice Conference and Self-Represented Litigants pre-conference
        ii. Brainstorm goals for committee for next year
        1. Rules changes?
        2. Review 2006 report to MSBA Assembly
        b. June 19
        i. Report on Ramsey County CLE (if needed)


        Minnesota State Bar Association
        Pro Se Implementation Committee
        February 22, 2007


        Present: Jean Lastine, Gary Debele, Sara Sommarstrom

        1. Unbundling CLE at MSBA convention:
        The program will 90 minutes long, on Thursday afternoon. The survey conducted by the MSBA found interest from 25-30 members. Sue Talia will be the only speaker. The convention budget will cover her expenses. She'll come in the night before and is available to visit with committee members. Sue will focus on business aspects of an unbundling practice. We should send notice of the program to the family law and solo/small firm sections. The committee will still sponsor a longer program later this year, maybe in the fall. That program would be a half day with an emphasis on ethics. We will discuss with Sue whether we should bring her back for the longer program. Jean will get Sue's bio, session title and agenda. Steve will forward them to MSBA convention staff and see about sending them out to the family and solo/small firm sections.

        2. Unbundled LRIS:
        Re-visit after the convention, and after we have results from the Bench & Bar survey. Steve will check on survey results and update committee.

        3. Bench & Bar article:
        Committee thinks it was well done. Sara will send letter to Bench & Bar about MJF involvement with pro se issues.

        4. Supreme Court Law Library project:
        Report is complete and has been forwarded to the Judicial Council for adoption. The report recommends more resources for pro se. It found that the public is the biggest user of county libraries - not lawyers. It recommends establishing a core collection for each library. Issues: only about half of counties have useable libraries, and adequate resources. Report could support creation of unbundled LRIS. Jean will check whether report can be shared - Steve will distribute it to committee when it is available.

        5. Future planning:
        We will wait to see the reaction to the Bench & Bar article and the unbundled CLE. Other issues besides unbundled services?

        6. Jean's tenure as chair ends this year and she is not eligible to serve again. Steve will check on deadline/procedure for appointing the next committee chair.

        7. March 22 meeting cancelled because of Equal Justice conference. The April meeting will be rescheduled to April 19. Committee members will report back from the EJ conference.

        NEXT MEETING: APRIL 19, 12 - 1:30, AT THE HCBA

        Minnesota State Bar Association
        Pro Se Committee
        January 18, 2007


        1) Present: Jean Lastine, Liz Carlson, Sara Sommerstram, Gary Debele, Sara Galligan (telephone), Pat Burns (guest), Steve Hirsh (MSBA staff)

        2) Unbundling CLE
        a) Sue Talia
        " Is interested in being a speaker and willing to come to Minnesota
        " The thrust of her presentation would be about the business side of unbundled representation - that it's good for business.
        " Sue is not available in spring, so her trip can't be coordinated with the spring family law section.
        " The court in Contra Costa County maintains a referral list of lawyers who have taken an unbundled CLE. Sue was involved in starting it along with other local lawyers. The lawyers wanted the court's support of unbundled legal services.
        b) Risk management and Unbundled Legal Services
        " Pat Burns can present on this topic subject to scheduling. He's presented on the topic before. The basic question is easy: unbundled services are allowed if done in appropriate circumstances with adequate disclosures to client. There are other less obvious issues, like the ethics of a waiver of malpractice. Forty-five minutes would be enough for the presentation. Or a 1-hour joint panel with an insurance carrier, plus 1/2 hour for questions.
        c) Sample materials
        " Gary Debele looked at the sample limited scope retainers. He felt that it was not necessary to draft a new document; a sample could be adapted from Sue Talia's materials for use in the CLE.
        " Sue said she has a lot of materials and the Pro Se Committee should not have to reinvent materials for a CLE.
        d) Steve reported on the logistics of MSBA and MCLE sponsorship. Scheduling the CLE for the MSBA convention in June in St Paul is a possibility.
        e) Next steps:
        " Jean and Steve will put together details of program and budget and schedule meeting with Tim Groshens. Gary will attend the meeting too.
        " Sara can get law student help.
        " Jean will plan a date around Sue's schedule. Possibly coordinate with HCBA?
        " Steve will check with convention planning committee about doing CLE during the MSBA convention.

        3) Unbundled LRS
        " Bench & Bar article will be published in February issue. Article will be accompanied by a website where lawyers can discuss issues raised by the article. There will also be a survey to help the MSBA determine the amount of interest in participating in the LRS.
        " Potential market: LRIS lawyers, Chrysalis volunteers
        " Suggested survey questions
        (1) Are you providing unbundled services?
        (2) Do you advertise it?
        (3) Are you interested in learning more?
        (4) Do the Professional Responsibility rules provide enough guidance on ethical issues?
        (5) Would you be interested in participating in a LRS?
        " HCBA has included unbundled services as a category for its LRIS. They've gotten a good response from lawyers.

        4) Equal Justice Conference
        " Susan, Sara S, Sara G and Jean will be attending the meeting of the self-represented litigant's network.

        5) County LawLlibrary Self-Help Project
        " Its report is now in draft form. It mentions the need for staffing and services in rural counties, which might be addressed by a circuit riding law librarian.
        " West Publishing is creating an interface on WestLaw for pro se litigants.

        NEXT MEETING: February 22, MSBA. Noon

        Pro Se Implementation Committee

        November 30, 2006


        Present: Jean Lastine, Susan Ledray, Sara Sommarstrom, Sara Galligan (by telephone), Sarah Shella-Stevens (by telephone), Steve Hirsh (MSBA staff)

        1. Unbundled services CLE agenda items:
        " The consensus of the Committee was to go forward with a plan that the MSBA sponsor the CLE. The benefits include that the materials can be freely offered and distributed and we want to present it at many locations around the state.
        " Sue Talia for main presenter. She has experience in family law which is an area the Committee thinks can be appropriate for some unbundled services. She also is committed to limited scope representation generally and is familiar with the various issues. Jean will contact her to confirm availability, check on her preferred topics, format, and what materials she has.
        " History of Pro Se committee, 2006 committee report, national history of unbundled services. Include materials:
        i. retainer agreement
        1. have a Minnesota version available of limited scope retainer agreements
        2. have it vetted by Minnesota Lawyers Mutual, Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board
        3. Jean will ask Gary to do initial draft
        4. Jean will invite Todd Scott and Pat Burns to the next meeting
        " Resources and related projects
        i. Self-help centers
        ii. MSBA unbundled referral service
        " Marketing and practice management (Sue?)
        " Ethics
        i. Pat B and Todd Scott
        ii. Ethics CLE approval
        " Length: ½ day/ 3.5 hours
        " Timing: possibly schedule day before Family Law section meeting so that Sue could speak there as well.
        " Sponsorship
        i. MSBA: Steve will find out about MSBA process
        ii. Post materials on practicelaw?
        iii. Court might cosponsor? Bar Association sections might cosponsor?
        iv. Law schools?
        v. Video tape to take outstate w/ a live presenter?
        vi. Use pro bono coordinators, district bar assn's to publicize and generate support. Steve will check on schedules and mailing labels for district bars. Bar outreach program was in Eagan was very successful - free CLE was a draw. Possible model for greater MN presentations.

        2. Unbundled Referral Service
        " what is MSBA approval process - budget, Council, Assembly? Steve to find out.
        " ongoing support - forms development (through practice law), develop unbundled brochure
        " motion to support Unbundled Services LRIS as described in Purpose Statement drafted by Steve, with MSBA to create, maintain service. Second, approved.
        " Pro Se Committee will be responsible for ongoing education on unbundled services for the bar, public, bench

        3. Next steps:
        " finalize CLE agenda at January meeting
        " develop outreach plan to generate support for lawyer referral list
        i. identify MSBA sections/committees (possibly including small firm/solo, family law, real estate, bankruptcy, civil litigation
        " invite small firm section rep to next meeting. Steve will get info on chair to Jean, who will make the invitation.

        Minnesota State Bar Association Pro Se Implementation Committee
        September 28, 2006


        Present: Jean Lastine (co-chair), Gary Debele (co-chair) Sara Sommerstrom, Valerie Lemaster, Susan Ledray, Sara Galligan (by telephone), Steve Hirsh (MSBA staff)

        1. MSBA Convention
        Gary and Jean presented the Committee report to the Assembly. Response was favorable, including supportive comments from out-going President Sue Holden and new President Pat Kelly. Some reactions from the Assembly indicated a need for further education for the bench and the bar.

        2. Midwest Regional Pro Se Conference
        Jean, Susan, Sara Galligan, and Steve attended the conference in Des Moines. Eleven state teams attended the conference. The Minnesota team had representation from the courts, the bar, legal aid and law librarians. The team drafted a plan relating to legislative funding for the statewide expansion of the self-help center.

        Steve has copies of the conference materials if anyone is interested.

        One of the sessions addressed ways to approach and educate judges who are hostile to pro se litigants. There are resources on pro se and ethics issues available at the American Judicature Society website:

        The committee thanks the MSBA Council for paying the cost of Jean and Steve's attendance at the conference.

        3. Unbundling CLE
        Iowa and Indiana have similar trainings planned. Jean has contacted them for information and agendas for their sessions. Maine has unbundled rules in its lawyer ethics rules. Copies of the Maine rules were circulated. Jean sent a copy of the Committee's report to the Assembly to Todd Scott at Minnesota Lawyer's Mutual; Scott will probably be invited to speak at the CLE. We are looking at scheduling the CLE for spring 2007. We will apply for ethics and possibly elimination of bias credits. The plan is for the session to be "portable" so it can be offered around the State. It will include a segment on the economics of offering unbundled services. Possible presenters in Forrest Mosten (Gary will contact), Sue Talia and Liz Scheffe.

        Jean and Gary will draft an agenda for the Committee to consider. They will circulate it by email before the next meeting.

        4. MSBA Unbundled referral list
        Steve will speak with Tim Groshens about MSBA support for the CLE, coupled with the creation of a referral list for MSBA members. The referral list should be ready for rolling out at the CLE.

        5. Recruitment
        Steve will contact the Professional Pro Bono Coordinators about recruiting law firm attorneys for the committee. He will also send out a message on the Coalition Directors listserve inviting legal aid lawyers to participate on the Committee.

        6. Announcements
        " Susan discussed progress on the self-help center. ICANN - pro se forms for dissolutions with children - is about ready to be launched.
        " Jean reported on Central Minnesota Legal Services - St. Cloud office's partnership with the Stearns County law library. CMLS received funds from the library's reserves to hire an attorney to provide procedural assistance similar to the assistance provided by staff attorneys employed by the Hennepin County Self-Help center. Someone filed a complaint with the State Auditor about the library using its funds for this partnership. It is unclear if the State Auditor has any jurisdiction since the law library funds are county money. The project is a two year pilot. The attorney began seeing pro se litigants in August.

        Next meeting: November 30th at noon.

        Minnesota State Bar Association Pro Se Implementation Committee
        May 23, 2006

        Meeting Notes

        Members present: Gary Debele (co-chair), Jean Lastine (co-chair), Sara Galligan, Susan Ledray, Heather Vlieger (by telephone). Staff: Steve Hirsh

        Report to the MSBA Assembly (Jean)
        Discussion as to whether the report would be offered for information only, or whether it should be submitted to the Policy Committee for approval by the MSBA. The committee wants to develop the pro se program as an effort of the MSBA. Steve will check with Tim Groshens about this. If the report needs approval, Steve will work with Jean to get it to the Policy Committee in time to be considered for the June 23 MSBA meeting.

        Pro se CLE (Gary)
        Gary is preparing a detailed proposal for MCLE. Initial indications from Vince O'Brien and Frank Harris are favorable. MCLE will work with the committee to design the CLE. Ideas for the CLE include having it on video for state-wide distribution, having it cover the full range of pro se issues in a modular format that could be used for various purposes. Include speaker on ethics and malpractice issues, and apply for ethics and possible elimination of bias CLE credits. Gary is investigating possible speakers. Susan will investigate other resources that could be incorporated.

        The committee would also like to make this program available to the bench. Discussion of various ways to reach judges. Steve has a meeting coming up with Justice Hanson, and will ask his ideas about this. There was also discussion about identifying a contact in each judicial district or MSBA district who could help with implementing the program locally.

        Committee Membership (Jean)
        Discussion about adding/recruiting members to the committee. Jean will speak with Pat Burns to see if he will remain on the committee after July 1. If he will not, Jean will ask for a suggestion for a replacement from the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. The committee decided to wait until it has established its agenda for next year before recruiting new members.

        Issues pending for the committee
        Developing retainer forms
        Recruiting new members
        Developing the CLE
        Meet with malpractice carriers to get their position on unbundled and pro se services. Jean will check with Pat Burns as to whether Minnesota Lawyers Mutual is the primary carrier. The committee agreed that the conversation with the insurance companies should happen before the CLE is developed.

        " Law library/self-help collaborative (Sara)
        They are working to identify best practices. They are developing a survey and expect to complete their recommendations by October.
        Jean mentioned that CMLS is discussing with the Stearns County Law Library using a full-time CMLS staff attorney at a self-help center in the library. The law library has funds that could be used to support this service

        " Hennepin County Self-Help Center and State Court Strategic Planning (Susan)
        They are continuing the development of the self-help website. They will seek funding from the legislature for new staff and equipment for a statewide call center based in Hennepin County. The plans include purchasing computer stations for the public at the courthouse in each county, possibly in law libraries or public libraries if there is no county law library available. They are studying various systems for document creation/production/filing, including systems provided by vendors that could create, print, and electronically file documents. These are fee-based system, with fees possibly paid by the court or by the pro se litigant.

        MSBA Prose Implementation Committee
        Meeting Summary
        October 20, 2005

        Members present: Jean Lastine, Co-chair; Pat Burns, Valerie LeMaster, Heather Vlieger, Sarah Galligan, Duane Stanley, Director of the HCBA's LRIS Program also attended.

        1. Committee goals. Jean Lastine initiated a discussion of the committee goals for the year. She noted that one major goal would be to follow up on the recommendations for education about unbundled legal services, including the completion of a committee report to the MSBA Assembly.

        Pat Burns raised the idea that the committee help promote and develop models for developing pro se self-help centers. He noted that outside Hennepin County the Volunteer Attorney Program in Duluth has established self-help clinics. The Volunteer Attorney Program's Director, Patty Murto, may be of assistance in developing models for others to use. Sarah Galligan noted that Dakota County has a model of a center using volunteer attorneys. She also said that she believed that the law librarians in Scott County and Wright County would be interested in learning more about models that may work in their counties. It was also noted that Washington County is planning to use Dakota County's model in establishing a self-help center.

        This proposal will be reviewed at future meetings.

        2. Jean Lastine informed the committee that the MSBA is seeking proposals for education programs at the 2006 MSBA convention, which will be held at Madden,'s in Brainerd. Since the goal of the committee is to promote education of unbundling, there was consensus that the committee co-chairs should pursue the development of a CLE program on unbundling at the convention, possibly in collaboration with the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committees. That committee desires to have an access to justice CLE on the topic of a civil Gideon. Potential outside speakers were discussed including Sue Tallia and Forrest Moston. Since proposals may be due to the convention committee before the next meeting for the Pro Se Committee, next it was agreed that the co-chairs should pursue the development of an education program with the MSBA's convention committee.

        3. Review of draft report. The committee then reviewed the draft report summarizing the committee's work over the last two years. It was noted that the deadline for materials for the June convention is May 1. The committee discussed additional information to be included in the report including information about the impact of pro se litigants on law libraries and an enhanced section on unbundled panels through lawyer referral and information services.

        4. Duane Stanley advised the committee that he brought up the issue of unbundling at a recent HCBA LRIS meeting. He said that many of the attorneys stated that they already do unbundling. He said their feeling was that that they, as family law attorneys, wish to make the decision about whether an unbundled service is appropriate for the client. It was noted that Forrest Moston has a different approach. He offers various services to the client and lets the client decide what they want for services. He states he ends up with additional business when clients realize that they need more services than they initially chose. Duane stated his staff would be able to get some additional information on unbundling efforts at different bar associations around the country and would be willing to report back to the committee at its next meeting.

        Pat Burns said that another use of unbundled panels would be as a resource for volunteers at the self-help centers. It was noted that the purpose of these panels would be to offer some legal services to people who could not pay for full representation but the committee also hopes that promoting unbundled legal services would increase pro bono services for low-income people.

        5. Committee meeting dates. Committee meeting dates are scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at the MSBA's office on:

        January 19
        February 10
        March 16
        April 20
        May 18

        Next meeting. Committee members gathering additional information for the committees report were asked to provide it to Jean Lastine by mid November.

        - Last Updated 10/5/065 -