Minnesota
State Bar
Association

Board of Governors and
General Assembly
Minutes
2000-2001 Bar Year

Scroll or jump to the minutes of these sessions:

General Assembly
June 22, 2001

President Kent Gernander called the meeting to order at 2:10 p.m. and asked for a moment of silence to commemorate lawyer colleagues who died within the past year, including former MSBA presidents Conrad "Mack" Fredin of Duluth (1980) and Sheldon S. Larson of Winthrop (1966).

Secretary's Report
Secretary Jim Baillie reported that a quorum was present, the delegates had been certified, and the report of the Rules and Calendar Committee had been submitted. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the report of the Rules and Calendar Committee. The motion carried.

State of the Judiciary
President Gernander introduced Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz of the Minnesota Supreme Court, who delivered an address on the "State of the Judiciary."

Justice Blatz identified four strategic areas that focus the current efforts of the Minnesota court system: 1) ensure greater access to justice for citizens; 2) improve technology; 3) improve public trust and confidence in the judiciary; and 4) the Children's Justice Initiative.

In the area of access to justice, she highlighted a major structural change in the courts from local funding and control to centralized state funding, indicating that she anticipates greater court efficiency, effectiveness, and improved access to justice will result. She noted that additional judges, staff, and full funding for legal services will be needed to realize these goals, given the rapid rates of increase in case filings, and acknowledged with thanks the efforts of the MSBA, and particularly President Kent Gernander, in support of the Court's funding bill at the Legislature.

In the area of improving technology, she indicated the Court is moving ahead with several projects to facilitate more effective scheduling, electronic filing, storage and retrieval of information. Included is a utility to provide Internet-based access to public case records.

Justice Blatz mentioned a recent survey of public trust and confidence in the judiciary, conducted by the National Center for State Courts, and reported on several initiatives in this area. Whereas 78 percent of Minnesotans trust the courts and have confidence in the judiciary, there is still work to be done. Accordingly, the courts are collecting data on the race of persons involved in the court system at all stages to provide an empirical basis on which sources of bias in the system can be identified, improving jury procedures, developing procedures for assisting pro se litigants, and using the Court's web site to communicate more with the public.

The Court's fourth focus area, the Children's Justice Initiative, is designed to provide better outcomes from the system for abused and neglected children, including permanent home placements and better child protection systems.

The Three Judges
Actors from the Great American History Theater entertained the Assembly with a musical presentation based on the early history of the Minnesota territorial courts developed as part of the Supreme Court's sesquicentennial celebration. Portraying three early justices of the territorial court, the actors recounted salient issues in the life of the early court, including the fact that these justices -- serving both as the district court and the supreme court -- on occasion were obliged to review their own decisions.

Action on the Joint Recommendation of the MSBA Task Force on Multidisciplinary Practice and the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee to Adopt Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct Permitting a Limited Form of Multidisciplinary Practice
Rebecca Egge Moos, chair of the Multidisciplinary Practice Task Force, presented the draft rules, which propose allowing lawyers and nonlawyers to partner in certain limited circumstances. She explained that under the proposed rule changes such arrangements would be permitted provided that lawyers retain majority ownership and control of the entity, conflicts of interest are imputed firm-wide, only lawyers are permitted to engage in the practice of law, and nonlawyers in the entity commit in writing not to interfere with the professional judgment of the lawyers. The proposal provides further that nonlawyers in such an entity must be active professionals, not passive investors, and must be members of a licensed profession with its own code of ethics.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the proposed amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct as contained in the report and recommendations.

Fred Finch, on behalf of the Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct, indicated that that committee had reviewed the proposed rules changes and recommended their adoption. Following discussion, the motion carried.

State of the Federal Judiciary
President Gernander introduced Chief Judge Paul Magnuson of the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota, who offered a report on the "State of the Federal Judiciary."

Judge Magnuson reported that within the past year more cases have been resolved by the court than were filed and that the ratio of criminal filings to civil filings continues to increase. He indicated that the court will soon implement electronic filing.

"Expedited trial" is the name of a new program being implemented in federal court to enable more rapid and cheaper resolution of civil disputes within the court system. Features of the program identified by Judge Magnuson include: a 120-day limit on discovery; an option to adjust application of the Rules of Civil Procedure if the parties agree to various alternative steps; a requirement that counsel seek permission to file dispositive or nondispositive motions. Those who elect the expedited trial as assured of trial before a district judge within six months of the pretrial conference or before a magistrate judge within 120 days of pretrial. Trials can be either to the court or to a jury and there is a limit of eight hours of trial time for presentation of each side. Decisions are promised within 30 days of trial.

In closing, Judge Magnuson observed that he is very concerned by the absence of so many lawyers from the Bar Convention, indicating that nothing is so important as to be involved in the profession.

Report of the Pro Se Feasibility & Implementation Committee
President Gernander introduced Chief Judge Edward Toussaint of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, cochair of the Pro Se Feasibility & Implementation Committee, to give an update on the work of the committee.

Chief Judge Toussaint acknowledged the work as cochair of the committee of President-Elect Jarvis Jones, who, he observed, has kept the committee focused on its goals, objectives and tasks in the year just past and in previous years. In the coming year the committee will be cochaired by Eric Magnuson of the Rider Bennett law firm. The judge reported that the objective of the committee is to ensure equal access to justice for all litigants. In pursuit of this end the committee has divided its work among four subcommittees: Judiciary, Lawyers, Meaningful Access, and Implementation. The Judiciary subcommittee seeks to arrange better access to the courts for litigants who are self-represented; the Lawyers subcommittee is focused on the pro bono work of lawyers and how to publicize this resource; the Meaningful Access subcommittee concerns itself with how to get the necessary information to people who need it, overcoming issues of language and technical barriers to communication; and the Implementation subcommittee is working to develop pilot projects to test the ideas of the committee in practice.

Report on "Superior Justice" in Minnesota
Lisa Wilde, MSBA director of public education, reported that Minnesota will host the National Mock Trial Tournament in May 2002 in St. Paul. The case that is being developed for use in the mock trials involves deciding responsibility for the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a ship that sank during a storm on Lake Superior in November 1970. Organizers of the tournament are seeking 350 volunteers to serve as judges, as well as financial support from attorneys and law firms in the form of donations and sponsorships. Ms. Wilde assured the delegates that no familiarity with admiralty law is required to participate.

Action on the Petition of the Minnesota Client Security Board Regarding an Amendment to Rule 3.14(c), Rules of the Minnesota Client Security Board, to increase the maximum payment per claimant from $100,000 to $150,000
President Gernander introduced Tim Kuntz, chair of the Minnesota Client Security Board, who presented the report and recommendation of the Board. (See attached) A motion was made and seconded to endorse the petition of the Client Security Board to change the Rules of the Client Security Board to increase the maximum payment per claimant from $100,000 to $150,000. Mr. Kuntz reported that the Board annually receives revenue of approximately $325,000 from attorney licensing fees, currently levied at a rate of $17 per attorney per year. Formerly the levy was $20 per attorney per year. Additionally, the Board receives some $80,000 to $100,000 per year in interest on its investments. Mr. Kuntz observed that no increase in the licensing fee is being proposed at this time and that the Board believes that increasing the maximum amount payable on a claim will not have a negative impact on the Board's fund balance. He observed further that increasing the maximum amount payable would put Minnesota among the leading states in terms of commitment to reimbursing clients victimized by dishonest lawyers. The motion was voted and carried.

Adjournment
President Gernander expressed appreciation to the MSBA staff for their work on the Convention and the meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

James L. Baillie, Secretary


Board of Governors
June 22, 2001

Pursuant to notice, a regular meeting of the Board of Governors of the Minnesota State Bar Association was held on June 22, 2001, at RiverCentre in St. Paul. President Kent Gernander presided. Secretary James Baillie served as secretary.

Annual Meeting of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation

The members of the Board of Governors convened at 1:45 p.m. as members of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation. MSBA President Kent Gernander yielded the chair to Bar Foundation president Judith Oakes.

President Oakes offered the annual report of the Foundation, noting that the work of the Foundation has three principal dimensions, gifts, growth, and grants. She expressed appreciation to President-Elect Jarvis Jones for his support of the Foundation.

She turned then to the election of Foundation directors. Standing for election were the following: Sharon Benson (incumbent), Judy Harris Brown (incumbent), Gerald Freeman, Nancy Kiskis (incumbent), and M. Jacqueline Regis. President Oakes called for additional nominations from the floor. There were none. A motion was made and seconded to close nominations and to declare the slate elected. The motion carried.

Board of Governors Meeting

President Gernander convened the Board of Governors to consider the agenda previously published.

1. Routine Business

1.01 Roll Call
See attached sheet.

1.02 Approval of the minutes of the April 21, 2001 meeting
A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes of the meeting of April 21, 2001. The motion carried.

1.03 Treasurer's Report
Treasurer Jon Duckstad summarized the current revenues and expenses of the Association as presented in the meeting materials. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the report.

1.04. President's Report
President Gernander, on behalf of the Association, expressed appreciation to members of the Board of Governors who have completed their term of service. President-Elect Jones joined him in presenting certificates to the departing members of the Board.

2. Action Calendar

2.01 Election of 2001-02 Officers
A motion was made and seconded to elect the following officers of the Association for 2001-02: President-Elect - Jon Duckstad; Treasurer - James Baillie; Secretary - David Stowman. It was reported that the Outstate Nominating Committee nominated Mr. Stowman. The motion carried.

2.02 Election of at-large members to the Executive Committee
President Gernander noted that the Executive Committee includes, in addition to the officers and the chair of the New Lawyers Section, three members-at-large elected from the Board of Governors: one from Hennepin County, one from Ramsey County, and one from outstate Minnesota.

A motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect Bradley C. Thorsen to the at-large seat for Hennepin County.

A motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect Richard Burns to the at-large seat for outstate Minnesota.

A motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect Phyllis Karasov to the at-large seat for Ramsey County.

2.03 Action on recommendations of the Real Property Law Section
Lorens Brynestad, representing the Real Property Law Section, presented three amendments and one new standard approved by the Section for inclusion in the Real Property Title Standards. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to ratify the proposed changes to the Title Standards.

2.04 Action on resolution waiving the 60-day filing requirement and forwarding to the General Assembly the Recommendation of the Multidisciplinary Practice Task Force
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to waive the requirement and forward the recommendation of the MDP Task Force to the General Assembly.

3. Consent Calendar
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the entire consent calendar as it appeared in the meeting materials and as reprinted below:

3.01 Action on the Recommendation of the President-Elect regarding the 2001-02 Master Calendar

3.02 Action to approve the Recommendations of the President-Elect regarding 2001-02 Committees

4. Report Calendar
President Gernander reported that at the September Board meeting nominees to the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, the State Board of Legal Certification, the Lawyer Trust Account Board, and Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services will be elected. He noted in particular that one member of the Professional Responsibility Board whose term is due to expire is ineligible to serve an additional term and underscored the interest of the MSBA in identifying suitable candidates for this position.

5. New Business
There was no new business to come before the Board.

6. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

James L. Baillie, Secretary


Board of Governors
April 21, 2001

Pursuant to notice, a regular meeting of the Board of Governors of the Minnesota State Bar Association was held on April 21, 2001, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center. President Kent Gernander presided. Secretary James Baillie served as secretary. Treasurer Jon Duckstad served as treasurer.

Prior to the business session, President Gernander presided over the presentation of several awards:

" David Graven Public Service Award: Henry J. Savelkoul
" Minnesota Legal Services Coalition 2001 Pro Bono Publico Awards: J. Scott Braden, Bricker Lavick, Tom Miller, and Tom Spence
" Bernard P. Becker Awards: Luther Granquist, Mary Stoos, and Brian Geis

The Board also heard five informational reports:

Nancy Kleeman, MSBA access to justice director, provided an overview of legal services programs. She described the network of Minnesota legal aid programs delivering services and their funding mechanisms, as well as the volunteer attorney programs. In addition to these formal programs, she also noted the importance of contributions by individual volunteer attorneys. Ms. Kleeman also provided statistics on the clients served by these programs. Housing and domestic issues represent the largest needs.

Minneapolis attorney Tom Gallagher spoke on access to justice issues involved in running a small law firm offering criminal and family law services. He spoke about the need to correct conceptions that attorneys are unaffordable, particularly in light of the risks and costs of going without counsel. All attorneys can help in this education effort, he said. Solo and small firms lawyers - who represent the majority of the practicing bar - should explain issues affecting access to justice.

Larry McDonough, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, spoke on the housing crisis facing Minnesota. The rental vacancy rate in Minnesota is among the lowest in the country, he said, which drives monthly rents up higher than many low-income people can afford. Some 40 percent of the state's homeless population are employed, he said, but still unable to afford monthly rents. He suggested that attorneys can play a role by supporting existing housing programs, and by working to increase funding for legal aid services and levels of pro bono work.

Stephen Gottschalk, an attorney with Dorsey & Whitney and a member of the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors, spoke on the need for affordable housing and the work of that organization. He discussed the MSBA's current Habitat project. Volunteers do the majority of the construction of a Habitat house. The program assists new homeowners with financing and maintenance issues common to all homeowners. Mortgage payments on Habitat houses are made to Habitat for Humanity, providing an ongoing source of funding.

Convention Committee Cochairs Gretchen Otto and Dan O'Connell discussed highlights of the June 2001 MSBA convention, to be held at RiverCentre in St. Paul.

At 11 a.m., President Gernander turned to the business agenda as published previously:

1. ROUTINE BUSINESS

1.01 Roll Call

See attached sheet.

1.02 Approval of minutes of the December 1, 2000 meeting
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve these minutes as they appeared in the meeting materials.

1.03 Treasurer's Report
Treasurer Jon Duckstad summarized the current revenues and expenses as presented in the meeting materials. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the report.

1.04 President's Report
Mr. Gernander discussed his appearance before the Campaign Finance Board in response to a complaint filed against the MSBA. The Board did forward their findings to the Ramsey County Attorney. The County Attorney's Office has indicated that they do not intend to take any action, so the issue may be concluded.

The construction of the MSBA Habitat for Humanity house is well underway and we have had a great response from volunteers, as well as financial contributors. It is anticipated that the house will be completed by June 15.

Increased funding for legal services funding is a major priority this year. The MSBA is working on several initiatives, including working with the Legislature, exploring the establishment of an endowment, use of cy pres funds, and IOLTA.

President Gernander recognized Jarvis Jones, president-elect. Mr. Jones announced that he has accepted a new opportunity with his employer, St. Paul Companies, the creation of a new e-business. This job change will require his moving to Atlanta. After discussions with the Executive Committee and some former MSBA presidents, he has concluded he will still be able to perform the responsibilities of president of the MSBA. Mr. Jones stated that he is committed to being in Minnesota when necessary and fulfilling the duties of the presidency.

2. ACTION CALENDAR

2.01 Action on the recommendations of: (a) the Governance and Finance Committee regarding the 2001-2002 budget for the General Fund; and (b) the MCLE Board of Directors regarding the 2001-2002 budget for the MCLE Fund.
Jon Duckstad directed attention to the budget materials as distributed. He noted that Governance and Finance followed a new approach, dividing into subcommittees and reviewing the performance standards and user satisfaction for each budget area. There are a few significant changes from the three-year plan: funding for practicelaw.org has been added to the Technology Resource Center budget, the copy center assistant position will not be filled in 2001-02, a drop in budgeted revenues in the MSBAdvantage program, and Bench & Bar advertising revenues are down. Governance and Finance Committee co-chair Jim Baillie added that the Committee looked at the reserve level. The Board has approved a reserve level of 25-30% of operating expenses, and the Committee continues to support this reserve goal. Currently the reserve is lower due to several factors, including unbudgeted expenses and lower than anticipated investment returns. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the General Fund budget.

Bill Kuhlmann, Chair of the Minnesota CLE Board presented the CLE Fund budget. The primary goal is to continue the same level of programming at the lowest possible cost, while preserving discounts to members. In addition, the Board wants to maintain reserves. A small increase in fees has been budgeted. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the CLE fund budget. The Board discussed the proposed budget. After a voice vote, a division was called. The motion carried 18-6.

2.02 Election of representatives to outside boards
The meeting materials outlined openings on five outside boards. Qualifications & Interest Statements of candidates for each position were distributed. Mr. Gernander called for nominations from the floor; hearing none, he called for a motion to elect the entire slate of candidates. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect the following candidates:

" Client Security Board - Michael Rengel
" State Board of Continuing Legal Education - Sean Hade
" Legal Services Advisory Committee - Terrance Newby
" Central Minnesota Legal Services - Sara Runchey
" Delegates to the ABA - Rebecca Anderson, Judge Jon Stafsholt and Teresa Jones

2.03 Action on the recommendation of the Convention Committee regarding the rotation of future conventions
Convention Committee co-chair Dan O'Connell presented a recommendation to implement a five-year rotation schedule for the convention as follows: Year 1 - Ramsey County, Year 2 - Duluth, Year 3 - Hennepin County, Year 4 - Duluth, Year 5 - Open. A motion was made, seconded and carried to approve the recommendation.

2.04 Action on the request of the Appellate Practice Committee to become a section
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve this request.

3. CONSENT CALENDAR

3.01 Action on the recommendation of the Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Section to amend its bylaws
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve this recommendation.

3.02 Action on the request of the following sections for an increase in dues as outlined
A motion was made and seconded to approve the increases in section dues outlined in the meeting materials. The motion carried.

4. REPORT CALENDAR

4.01 Update on the Legislative Session
MSBA lobbyist Lloyd Grooms reported on the Association legislative activities. All MSBA sponsored bills have passed one or the other body. Substantive parts of the legislative agenda are expected to be completed by next week. April 25 is the deadline for bills to be out of finance committee, after which the Legislature will turn to money issues. During the final week of the session we may also see some numbers on legal services funding appropriations. The proposed sales tax on services does not have support in the House, but the Senate is still considering an expansion of sales tax to selected services, which could include legal services. The next two weeks may be critical.

4.02 Notice of election of three MSBA Executive Committee At-Large Members
Section 8 of the MSBA Bylaws provides for an Executive Committee composed of the officers and three members of the Board of Governors; one from the outstate area; one from Hennepin County; and one from Ramsey County. The election for these positions will take place at the June 2001 meeting of the Board of Governors. Members of the Board of Governors should encourage any qualified MSBA Board member who is interested in being nominated to submit a Qualifications & Interest Statement to the MSBA office before May 30, 2001.

4.03 Notice of Minnesota State Bar Foundation Election
The Board of Governors sitting as the members of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation will elect directors of the Foundation. The three-year terms of the following directors expire on June 30, 2001: Ted Collins, St. Paul, Marvin Anderson, St. Paul, Sharon Benson, St. Cloud, Judy Harris Brown, Duluth, and Nancy Kiskis, Minneapolis. Ms. Benson, Ms. Brown and Ms. Kiskis are eligible and interested in serving an additional term. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Collins are not interested in serving an additional term.

President Gernander noted that the Outstate Nominating Committee would be meeting immediately following adjournment in the President's Room of the MSBA office.

5. FUTURE MEETINGS
Friday, June 22, 2001 - St. Paul RiverCentre

6. ADJOURNMENT
A motion to adjourn was made, seconded and carried at 12:00 noon.

Respectfully submitted

James L. Baillie
Secretary

 



Board of Governors
December 1, 2000

 

Pursuant to notice, a regular meeting of the Board of Governors of the Minnesota State Bar Association was held on December 1, 2000, commencing at 1:35 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. President Kent Gernander presided. Secretary James Baillie served as secretary. Treasurer Jon Duckstad served as secretary during a portion of the meeting in Mr. Baillie's absence.

1. ROUTINE BUSINESS

1.01 Roll Call
See attached sheet.

1.02 Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Jon Duckstad directed attention to summaries of revenues and expenses as printed in the official meeting materials and as posted on the MSBA website prior to the meeting. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve Mr. Duckstad’s report subject to audit.

1.03 President’s Report
President Gernander reported on a complaint filed against the MSBA with the Campaign Finance Board, as well as other items of interest to the Board.

2. ACTION CALENDAR

2.01 Action on the recommendation of the Bylaws Subcommittee to amend Article 13 of the MSBA Bylaws relating to legislative action
Brian Melendez presented this recommendation on behalf of the Bylaws Subcommittee. Article 13 addresses MSBA support and endorsement of legislative initiatives. Existing Bylaw provisions allow the Association to take a stand only on specific, pending legislative proposals. Since proposed statutory language is often not available for review by the MSBA prior to the start of a given legislative session (and since drafts are subject to change at any time), the subcommittee recommended that this language be struck. Mr. Melendez highlighted other proposed revisions to Article 13, which would strike language stating that the Bar’s response was limited to approving, opposing, or taking no action; and extending the length of MSBA endorsement to six years.

A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the revisions to Article 13.

Mr. Melendez also presented a proposal to delete provisions in Article 17 covering transitional rules governing the rotation of MSBA officers. These provisions, implemented in 1992 to facilitate a restructuring of MSBA governing bodies, were no longer needed, according to the subcommittee. Following discussion clarifying that the provisions were indeed no longer in effect, a motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the revisions.

2.02 Action on the resolution of the Diversity Committee to support the law schools’ initiative to increase minority admissions/retention at the law schools
Diversity Committee cochairs Ron Schultz and Ben Omorogbe provided background on this initiative, which involved members of the MSBA, deans and other law school representatives, and individuals from each of the state’s minority bar associations. Based on this input, as well as a review of initiatives taken by other states, principally Indiana, the committee presented the Board with a resolution containing the following recommendation:

Following a motion and second to approve the report, President Gernander presided over discussion, which included questions relating to the "educationally disadvantaged" phrase. The committee cochairs noted their support of programs in Indiana and some other states which provided initial assistance prior to first-year enrollment for law school applicants who were deficient in some academic skills. They stressed that such assistance was not intended to create openings for unqualified candidates, nor was it available to applicants who did not qualify on the basis of LSAT scores or other traditional measures. Rather, it was an attempt to open doors to candidates who might not otherwise be admitted -- an attempt which the committee said, in its recommendation, would "foster a richer learning environment and nurture creativity, innovation, and unity."

President Gernander called the question. After an uncertain voice vote, he called for a division vote by show of hands. The motion then carried by a vote of 31 in favor and 14 opposed.

2.03 Action on the resolution of the Multidisciplinary Task Force to authorize the Task Force to develop amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct consistent with the recommendations in the June 2000 MDP Task Force Report
Task Force member Fred Finch provided background on this issue, which had been addressed by both state and national bars and was one of the key topics at the June 2000 MSBA convention. Responding in part to the work of an ABA Commission, the MSBA undertook its own study in 1999-2000 on the merits of so-called "multidisciplinary practice" entities, which would permit attorneys to enter into professional partnerships with other professionals, including financial planners, accountants, insurance providers, and others. Such partnerships are not permitted under most existing state ethics rules, but the concept has generated considerable interest -- both pro and con -- within the profession and among the public.

In June 2000, the MSBA House of Delegates approved a report of the MSBA Task Force on Multidisciplinary Practice. Mr. Finch characterized that resolution as being in support of the general concept of MDPs, while still expressing some reservations. One of those key reservations involved a belief by the Task Force that attorneys should retain control over decisions by the MDP entity that might be based on business expediency or profitability, and might therefore violate ethics rules.

The MSBA resolution was to be presented before the July session of the ABA’s House of Delegates, but did not reach the floor of that body. Instead, the ABA’s House of Delegates, responding to criticisms of MDP organizations from several of its constituencies, voted to disband its own commission. The ABA also passed a resolution calling on individual state bars to disband their own MDP task forces and to increase efforts to enforce rules against the unauthorized practice of law. Mr. Finch said some individual states, among them Colorado and Arizona, have continued to examine the issue and are developing recommendations to change their local rules to permit such entities. At the request of President Gernander, the MSBA’s MDP Task Force reconvened to consider its response. Mr. Finch said that the Task Force believed it required authority from the Board to proceed with any specific recommendations. He asked the Board to approve the report appearing in the meeting materials, which included the following recommendation:

A motion was made and seconded to approve this report and recommendation. President Gernander noted that the Real Property Law Section had submitted a separate resolution opposing this task force report and urging instead that the MDP Task Force continue to monitor the issue, with instructions to report back to the General Assembly in June 2001. Mr. Gernander then called the question on the main motion, which carried by voice vote.

2.04 Election of an MSBA nominee to the Client Security Fund Board
President Gernander noted that the Board had received one Qualifications and Interest Statement to fill this position, which was left vacant following a resignation. He called for additional nominations. Hearing none, a motion was made, seconded, and carried to close nominations and declare John Watson as MSBA nominee to the Client Security Board.

2.05 Action on the recommendation of the Executive Committee to approve $8,371 in unbudgeted expenditures for legal services funding project
This recommendation was developed by the Executive Committee to implement key elements of President Gernander’s initiative to increase funding for civil legal services, including volunteer attorney programs. The initiatives include increasing legislative funding by $2 million per year, enhancing IOLTA revenue, encouraging cy pres awards to legal services, and developing a statewide endowment. The dollar figures did not include staff support, which had been approved previously by the Executive Committee.

A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the expenditures as presented in the meeting materials.

2.06 Action on the recommendation of the Executive Committee to support the Supreme Court’s legislative agenda
President Gernander noted that this agenda item consisted of three parts, each in support of the Supreme Court’s summary of fiscal needs to ensure access to justice during the coming biennium. He then presided over three separate presentations. (The full texts of the Supreme Court’s report, as well as the separate recommendations (a) through (c), appeared in the printed materials as well as on the MSBA website.)

2.06(a) Action on the resolution of the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee to support legislation to increase funding for legal services
In her presentation, Barbara F.L. Penn noted that the $8.4 million in state appropriations being requested ($2 million more than the amount currently appropriated) would bring state expenditures in line with those recommended in the 1995 report of the Joint Legal Services Access and Funding Committee.

2.06(b) Action on the resolution of the Court Rules Committee to support increased compensation for state court judges
Larry Rocheford presented highlights of this recommendation, citing figures measuring judicial salaries against inflation. Since the last major changes in salary structure in 1993, inflation has outpaced increases, a disparity that makes it difficult to attract and retain talented jurists, he said.

2.06(c) Action on the resolution of the New Lawyers Section to support increased compensation for state court judge’s clerks
Natalie Wyatt-Brown presented this resolution on behalf of the section. She said that current clerk salaries of $27,000 were lower than those in neighboring states, and well below the $16-per-hour compensation levels recommended by the court system. She urged that the Board support efforts to increase minimum compensation to this $16-per-hour level.

A motion was made and seconded to approve all three resolutions as they appeared in the meeting materials. Following discussion, an amendment was made and seconded to eliminate paragraphs six and seven of resolution 2.06(b), both of which cited salary levels of first-year associates in the Twin Cities and nationally, and to change a reference in paragraph nine from "1999 law school graduates" to "some recent law school graduates." The maker of this amendment maintained that these changes would not affect the substance of the resolution, and were intended to eliminate unnecessary clauses. The motion to amend carried.

President Gernander then called the question on the main motion. Following discussion, the motion carried.

2.07 Action on the resolution of the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee to support Congressional action dealing with Legal Services Corporation reauthorization and funding
Barbara Penn thanked the MSBA for its longstanding support of civil legal services programs at both the state and the national levels. She urged that the Board continue to demonstrate such support as federal lawmakers prepare to consider reauthorization and appropriations for the Legal Services Corporation. She directed attention to the LAD Committee’s printed report, and moved the following:

The motion was seconded and carried.

2.08 Action on the resolution of the Executive Committee to oppose legislation taxing legal services
At-Large Executive Committee member Fred Finch presented the following resolution, upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee:

The resolution was in response to tax reform initiatives expected to be proposed to the Legislature by Gov. Jesse Ventura. Revenue Commissioner Matt Smith, speaking to the Board during a luncheon prior to the business session, summarized the rationale.

A motion was then made and seconded to approve the Executive Committee resolution. Discussion centered on what Mr. Finch had characterized as a "misery tax" feature of the governor’s proposal: levying additional burdens on people at a time when they are most vulnerable, and placing low-income clients at a competitive disadvantage with more affluent opponents. As part of this discussion, a friendly amendment was made stating that this issue be considered the MSBA’s top legislative priority for the upcoming session. That friendly amendment was defeated.

President Gernander then called the question on the main motion to oppose legislation that would impose a sales tax on legal services. The motion carried.

2.09 Action on the resolution of the Administrative Law Section to support stable and adequate funding for the Office of Administrative Hearings
Judge George Beck and Judge Ken Nickolai, both of the Office of Administrative Hearings, summarized this resolution. They noted that while some of the office’s appropriations come from the general fund, work performed for state agencies and for state and local governments is billed at an hourly rate. With that rate scheduled to increase, the office and the section were concerned that agencies might be less likely to seek hearings, and that the public might misconstrue the funding mechanism. Judges Beck and Nickolai moved the following:

The resolution did not contain specific funding provisions, but Judges Beck and Nickolai suggested possibilities ranging from general fund allocations to a combination of fees and general fund monies. Following discussion, the motion carried.

2.10 Action on the resolution of the Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Section to support adoption of the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act
Section Chair Rebecca Picard summarized the differences between the current Uniform Arbitration Act, which has been law in Minnesota since 1955, and the revised Act. The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws -- authors of the original Act -- have revised this document to meet the needs of contemporary society, community, and current standards of due process.

Ms. Picard made the following motion:

The motion was seconded and carried.

2.11 Action on the resolution of the Human Rights Committee to repeal the reporting requirements of Minn. Stat. §256J.32 Subd. 7a, the SAVE legislation
Legislation enacted last year to help identify immigrants qualifying for public programs has had an unexpected negative effect and should be repealed, according to Human Rights Committee Cochairs Julie Ann Fishel and Michelle Garnett McKenzie. The two presented a report and recommendation urging the repeal of reporting requirements contained in the 1999 Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements system. Under the SAVE act, undocumented persons uncovered under routine investigations must be reported.

The committee report was supportive of the goals of the SAVE legislation, but said that the reporting requirement went too far into the area of immigration law enforcement. No other state requires such reporting; here in Minnesota, the legislation has had a chilling effect on individuals who are thinking of applying for benefits, according to the committee.

The following motion was made and seconded:

The motion carried.

2.12 Action on the resolution of the Family Law Section
This resolution contained two parts:

2.12(a) To support an amendment to Minn. Stat. §518.54 Subd. 11 relating to the definition of "Public Pension Plan"
Mary Drummer presented the first resolution on behalf of the section. Under the existing statute, ex-spouses may not receive a share of public pensions until the employee spouse begins receiving benefits. The section’s proposal was to delete the final clause of the statute reading "except that no defined contribution plan shall be considered a pension plan."

The following motion was made:

The motion was seconded and carried.

2.12(b) To support enactment of new legislation, Minn. Stat. §518.174 "Effect of domestic abuse on custody and parenting time decisions"
Maria Pastoor told the Board that this resolution was intended to address problems arising in the current statute. The existing language states that no joint custody will be permitted in the event of abuse, but says nothing about sole custody. The existing statute also fails to cover instances in which both parents have abused the children, said Ms. Pastoor. The section intended the resolution to clarify both of these issues, and to grant greater direction to judicial officers. A motion to approve the following resolution was made:

The motion was seconded and carried.

2.13 Action on the resolution of the Real Property Law Section
Chuck Parsons presented all three parts of this resolution:

2.13(a) To support enactment of new legislation dealing with the creation of easements

2.13(b) To support amendments to Minn. Stat. §508, 508A, and 515B related to Torrens/Registered Land

2.13(c) To support amendments to Minn. Stat. §541.023 related to the 40 Year Law to Exempt Torrens/Registered Land from its effect
Mr. Parsons noted that the section had approved these resolutions as they appeared in the meeting materials. A motion to approve all three resolutions was made, seconded, and carried.

2.14 Action on the resolution of the Probate and Trust Law Section

2.14(a) To support an amendment to Minn. Stat. §144.225 dealing with persons who may obtain copies of birth and death certificates. This resolution was also endorsed by the Real Property Law, Family Law, and Elder Law sections

2.14(b) To support an amendment to Minn. Stat. §524.6-301(5) dealing with the definition of a "security account" under the Uniform Transfer-on-Death (TOD) Registration Act

214(c) To support an amendment to Minn. Stat. §519.11 and enactment of new Minn. Stat. §519.11 dealing with marital agreements.

214(d) To support the repeal of Minn. Stat. §524.2-603 and enactment of new Minn. Stat. §524.2-603 dealing with the antilapse statute

214(e) To support amendments to the Uniform Principal and Income Act (UPIA)
President Gernander told the Board that, barring objection, four of these five items would be considered first, followed by a separate presentation and vote on the fifth. He then recognized Andrea Breckner, who spoke on items 2.14(a), 2.14(b), 2.14(d), and 2.14(e). As presented in the meeting materials, those recommendations would amend statutes dealing with copies of birth and death certificates; the definition of "security accounts" under the Uniform Transfer-On-Death Registration Act; the antilapse statute; and the Uniform Principal and Income Act.

Following discussion, a motion was made and seconded to approve items a, b, d, and e. The motion carried.

President Gernander then recognized Dale Schoonover for a presentation on item 2.14(c), which was to support the repeal of Minn. Stat. §519.11 and enactment of new Minn. Stat. §519.11 dealing with marital agreements. Mr. Scoonover said that the proposal had been under development for some four years, during which time the section had worked with representatives of the Family Law Section and the Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys. He summarized highlights from the full proposal as it appeared in the meeting materials, which also included a list of eight proposed changes. A motion was made and seconded to approve the report and its recommendations.

During discussion, one representative of the MSBA Family Law Section said that while that body had been aware of the Probate and Trust Law Section’s work on this issue, the Family Law Section opposed the resolution contained in 2.14(c).

Following additional discussion, President Gernander called the question. After a close voice vote, he called for a division vote. The main motion was defeated 15-12.

2.15 Action on the resolution of the Construction Law Section to support amendments to Minn. Stat. §573.31 Subd. 2 (a) and (b) dealing with the limit of time to bring action for claims on payment bonds
Dean Thomson presented this resolution on behalf of the section. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the resolution as it appeared in the meeting materials.

2.16 Action on the resolution of the Diversity Committee to support legislation requiring police agencies to record and report the race and ethnicity of people arrested or stopped
Diversity Committee Cochair Ron Schultz described the "racial profiling" controversy at the local and national levels that led to this resolution. He noted that various government agencies, organizations, and others were studying this issue, which questions whether law-enforcement personnel rely more on appearance than on behavior in deciding whether to question or detain individuals. Critics of this "racial profiling" charge that it leads to a disproportionate number of minorities brought into the criminal justice system for behaviors that would be overlooked if committed by others.

A motion was then made and seconded to approve the committee’s resolution, which contained the following clause:

During discussion on this main motion, one delegate directed attention to a preceding clause stating that the MSBA "supports efforts to eliminate racial profiling and other forms of racial injustice in Minnesota," and questioned whether the MSBA had in fact taken such an official stance. A friendly amendment was then accepted to include the language, but to redraft the resolution to incorporate this clause into the final "resolving" clause.

President Gernander then called the question on the motion as amended. The motion carried.

2.17 Action on the Human Rights Committee resolution to amend the Minnesota Human Rights Act to clarify that a tenant’s guest is entitled to the MHRA’s protections
In their presentation, committee members Kevin Reuther and Julie Ann Fishel said that the resolution was in response to the treatment of an apartment tenant’s guest by security personnel employed by the apartment complex. The resolution, which was supported by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, was to amend the statutes to provide guests of tenants with the same human rights protections extended to the tenants themselves.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the resolution as it appeared in the meeting materials. The motion carried.

3. CONSENT CALENDAR
Referring to the first item in the consent calendar, President Gernander noted that the Executive Committee, in a session held just prior to the Board meeting, had elected the slate of LawPAC trustees appearing in the printed agenda. A motion was then made, seconded, and carried to approve the entire consent calendar as it appeared in the meeting materials and as reprinted below:

3.01 Ratification of LawPAC Trustees.

3.02 Approval of the minutes of the September 14, 2000 meeting

3.03 Action on the recommendation to terminate the membership of those persons with dues unpaid as of December 1, 2000

3.04 Action on the recommendation of the Executive Committee to approve the Insurance for Members Committee recommendation for a Catastrophe Major Medical Insurance Plan

3.05 Action on the resolution of the Insurance for Members Committee regarding the life insurance dividend

3.06 Action on the recommendation of the Executive Committee in support of the resolution of the Insurance for Members Committee regarding the approval process for annual life insurance dividends

4. REPORT CALENDAR
President Gernander directed attention to the report calendar as it appeared in the meeting materials.

5. NEW BUSINESS
President Gernander noted that David Stowman had proposed an item of new business. Before Mr. Stowman was recognized, the floor questioned whether a quorum was still present to consider new business. A motion was then made and seconded to adjourn due to the lack of a quorum. That motion failed. President Gernander announced that, while no action would be taken on Mr. Stowman’s proposal, he would preside over a brief discussion of the issue. He then recognized Mr. Stowman, who presented this resolution:

Mr. Stowman reported on the issue. President Gernander reminded the Board that individual MSBA committees or sections could adopt their own positions on this issue to be presented to the Legislature during the coming session.

6. FUTURE MEETINGS
Saturday, April 21, 2001 -- Minnesota CLE Center
Thursday, June 21, 2001 -- St. Paul RiverCentre

7. Adjournment
A motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and carried at 4:15 p.m.

 

James L. Baillie, Secretary
Jon Duckstad, Treasurer


 

Board of Governors
September 14, 2000

Pursuant to notice, a regular meeting of the Board of Governors of the Minnesota State Bar Association was held on September 14, 2000, commencing at 2:55 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. President Kent Gernander presided. Secretary James Baillie served as secretary.

 

1. ROUTINE BUSINESS

1.01 Roll Call
See attached report

1.02 Approval of minutes of the June 23, 2000 meeting
A motion was made and seconded to approve these minutes as they appeared in the official meeting materials, distributed electronically prior to the session and available onsite in printed form. The motion carried.

1.03 Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Jon Duckstad directed attention to financial statements prepared by MSBA staff, as well as an audit report on the General Fund and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Fund prepared by the accounting firm of Wilkerson, Guthmann + Johnson, Ltd. Each of these documents appeared in the official meeting materials.

Mr. Duckstad presented highlights from the report, and a representative from the accounting firm discussed several items unique to the recently completed fiscal year, among them expenses related to the MSBA’s For the Record publication, the office relocation, and the acquisition of new database software.

A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the Treasurer’s Report as well as the auditor’s report.

1.04 President’s Report
President Gernander opened his report by announcing that James R. Coben and Peter N. Thompson were the recipients of the Elmer H. Wiblishauser Author’s Award for their article entitled "Minnesota’s Phantom Menace: The Civil Mediation Act." The piece appeared in the September 1999 issue of Bench & Bar. Mr. Thompson accepted the award on behalf of himself and Mr. Coben.

President Gernander then touched on several items of interest to the Board and to the MSBA:

2. ACTION CALENDAR

2.01 Action on the recommendation to accept the general audit of the MSBA General Fund and MCLE Fund for the year ending June 30, 2000
As noted above, this item was approved in conjunction with the Treasurer’s Report.

2.02 Action on the recommendation of the Executive Committee to approve unbudgeted expenditures for the FILE program, the New Lawyers Section, and legal services funding project
President Gernander directed attention to a memorandum appearing in the meeting materials. A recommendation in that document summarized Impact Fund expenditures approved by authority of the Executive Committee, and asked the Board to approve additional unbudgeted expenditures for the programs noted above.

A motion was made and seconded to approve this recommendation. The motion carried with one abstention.

2.03 Action on the recommendation of the Bylaws Subcommittee regarding a bylaw amendment to adopt procedures for elections by the Board of Governors
President Gernander recognized Tom Roe and Brian Melendez, chair and member of the Bylaws Subcommittee, to present a recommendation to adopt "proportional voting" during Board elections involving multiple candidates and multiple contested seats. One version of this voting procedure -- permitted under Robert’s Rules of Order -- had been utilized at a previous session of the Board of Governors.

The Subcommittee recommended that the MSBA Bylaws be amended to incorporate the voting system for future elections. During their presentation, Mr. Roe and Mr. Melendez argued that the procedure would be more efficient than traditional multi-balloting, and would ensure greater representation by the Bar’s increasingly diverse membership.

Two versions of the proposal were contained in the meeting materials. The committee’s recommendation was characterized as a simpler version of proportional voting as detailed in Robert’s. Meeting prior to the Board of Governors session, the MSBA Executive Committee had agreed with the Bylaws Subcommittee that proportional voting represented a fairer and more efficient approach, but felt that a "pure" version of the concept would be even better. Under this "pure" version, votes in excess of a threshold identified for each candidate would be distributed under a formula to the voters’ subsequent choices.

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the proportional voting procedure as recommended by the Bylaws Subcommittee. Following discussion, a motion was then made and seconded to substitute a motion to approve the "pure" approach as approved by the Executive Committee. This motion to substitute then carried by a voice vote.

Discussion followed on the new main motion to amend the bylaws to permit "pure" proportional voting in future Board elections. The motion then carried by a two-thirds vote.

2.04 Election of representatives to outside boards
Meeting materials listed openings on five outside boards, as well as the names of members submitting Qualifications and Interest Statements for the positions. Of the five boards, the only contested seats were on the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. President Gernander asked Board members to review the statements prepared by all nominees, and invited nominees for the Lawyers Board to make oral presentations. Speaking on their own behalf for these seats were Regina Chu, Wood R. Foster Jr., Richard J. Harden, Neal M. Meyer, Judith M. Rush, and Cindy K. Telstad.

Ballots were then distributed for this election. President Gernander reminded Board members that they would be voting under the proportional system approved just prior to this agenda item.

Noting that all of the other elections were uncontested, President Gernander called for additional nominations. Hearing none, he called for a motion to close nominations and declare all of these candidates elected. A motion to this effect was made, seconded, and carried, with the following election results:

Later in the meeting, President Gernander announced that the following individuals had been elected as nominees to the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board:

2.05 Action on the recommendation of the Professionalism Committee that the MSBA petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to adopt Professionalism Aspirations
Committee members Julius Gernes and Tom Vasaly presented this recommendation. In January 2000, the MSBA House of Delegates approved a set of Professionalism Aspirations developed by the committee. Since that time, district court judges and administrative law judges across the state have also approved the aspirations. The recommendation at hand asked the Board of Governors to petition the Supreme Court to adopt the same aspirations, an action that the committee said would send a message to attorneys, students, clients, judges, and the public, and would help to instill professionalism and civility within the profession. Mr. Vasaly noted that one sentence had been added to the Preamble stating that "The Professionalism Aspirations are not intended to be used as a basis for discipline by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board."

A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the recommendation.

2.06 Action on the recommendation of the Diversity Committee regarding a request to Minnesota corporations to adopt "Diversity in the Workplace: A Statement of Principle"
President Gernander recognized committee cochair Ron Schultz to present this recommendation. Mr. Schultz noted that several large corporations in recent years had adopted documents stating their commitment to workplace diversity, and had presented these statements to the outside law firms representing them. The statements were intended to encourage firms to demonstrate a similar commitment to the hiring, retention, and promotion of qualified minority attorneys.

The committee had prepared a formal statement to the same effect, as well as sample letters that could be sent to both corporations and law firms. The recommendation asked the Board of Governors to approve these drafts as they appeared in the meeting materials, and to distribute them as called for in the report.

A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the committee’s recommendation.

2.07 Action on the recommendation of the Convention Committee regarding a convention location for 2002
Committee cochair Gretchen Otto invited all Board members to attend the 2001 convention slated for June 20-22 in St. Paul, and asked the Board to approve the committee’s recommendation to hold the 2002 convention in Duluth.

A motion to this effect was made, seconded, and carried.

3. CONSENT CALENDAR

3.01 Action on the recommendation to terminate the membership of those persons with dues unpaid as of September 2000
This item had been struck from the agenda.

3.02 Action to authorize carryover of unused Impact Fund monies
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve this recommendation as contained in the meeting materials.

4. REPORT CALENDAR

4.01 Notice of confirmation of selection
President Gernander directed attention to openings and nominees for four positions as LawPAC trustees. MSBA Bylaws call for the Executive Committee to elect these trustees, subject to ratification by the Board of Governors.

The elections were slated for the November 30 meeting of the Executive Committee, subject to ratification December 1 by the Board of Governors.

5. NEW BUSINESS
There was no new business.

6. FUTURE MEETINGS
Friday, December 1, 2000
Saturday, April 21, 2001
Thursday, June 21, 2001

7. ADJOURNMENT
The meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

James L. Baillie, Secretary

- Last Updated 11/01/05 -