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Minnesota State Bar Association

Assembly Minutes 2004-05 Bar Year

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June 17, 2005
April 15, 2005
December 3, 2004
September 17, 2004

Minnesota State Bar Association | June 17, 2005 | Assembly

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, June 17, 2005, at the Town Hall, Madden’s on Gull Lake, near Brainerd. President David Stowman presided, with Secretary Brian Melendez recording.

I.  Memorials
President Stowman asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of MSBA members who died during the past year.

II.  Annual Meeting of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation

A.  Annual Report
James P. Barone gave the Annual Report for the Bar Foundation noting the Foundation has funded $95,200 in awards averaging $3,140 per award during the first three quarters of this fiscal year. The year’s giving goal is $140,836. Mr. Barone thanked the Bar Foundation Board and MSBA Assembly for their support this year.

B. Election of Board Members
Judge Jon Stafsholt reported that the Elections/Appointments Committee is recommending the following candidates for the Board: Linda C. Barbe, James P. Barone, Richard Hendrickson, Cynthia Jokela Moyer, Warren Ortland, and Pamela Waggoner. Judge Stafsholt moved approval of the candidates. The motion was seconded and carried.

ASSEMBLY MEETING

III.  Award Presentations and Special Recognitions
A.  President’s Award
President Stowman presented the President’s Award to Timothy Kuntz in recognition of his work on the Governance Task Force and to Karna Peters in honor of her work with the Operations Committee and Minnesota CLE Board.

B.  Professional Excellence Award
The 2005 Professional Excellence Award was given to Charles E. Lundberg in recognition of his dedication to promoting the legal profession and administration of justice.

C.  Recognition of Outgoing Assembly Members
President Stowman and President-elect Holden recognized 17 outgoing Assembly members.

IV.  Routine Business

A. Roll Call
The Secretary reported that a quorum was present (see attached list).

B. Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Patrick Kelly directed attention to the summary report appearing in the meeting materials. He noted that as of April 30, 2005, 101% of budgeted dues revenue had been collected compared with 100.6% at the same time in 2004. Total dues revenues were at 93.4% of budget for the fiscal year, compared with 97.1% at the same time the previous year. Expenses were at 70.4% of budget, compared with 74.1% at the same time in 2004.

C. President’s Report
President Stowman reported on several items:
·         Visits to individual district bars provided an opportunity to observe the professionalism and conscientious work ethic of Minnesota’s bar.
·         The organization is in good financial condition.
·         Membership goals have been met for the year.
·         An effective grassroots network has been developed over the past year.
·         practicelaw.org is a valuable tool for members and continues to grow and improve.
·         The pro bono initiative started under former MSBA President James Baillie continues and all ten judicial districts awarded pro bono awards this year.
·         President Stowman recognized the Council members he has worked with and thanked them for their support.
·         The sections continue to provide a wealth of leadership for the organization.
·         The commitment and service of the MSBA staff was recognized and the involvement of the Assembly was noted.

V.  Housekeeping

A.  Action, pursuant to Bylaw 4.10.3, authorizing, by 75% vote, consideration of items on this agenda that were not included in the original notice and purpose of the Assembly meeting distributed May 13

President Stowman noted that two items, one a report regarding ABA governance and the second, the location of the 2006 MSBA Convention, had not been distributed by the deadline specified under the Restated Bylaws. It was moved and seconded to add these items to the Action Calendar. The motion carried by the required 75% margin.

B.  Action to remove items from the Consent Calendar

President Stowman invited motions to remove items from the Consent Calendar. Hearing no such motions, he proceeded to the next item on the agenda.

VI.  Assembly Committee Reports

A.  Legislative Committee
Sue Holden reported that all bills introduced by the MSBA at the legislature passed.  Also, the surcharge on real estate transactions will provide more than $5 million for legal services to the disadvantaged.  Four new district judge units were approved, two in the 7th Judicial District and two in the 10th Judicial District. Ms. Holden thanked Jerry Lane and Bruce Beneke for their work at the legislature this year.

B.  ABA Report
Fred Finch, the Minnesota state delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, reported that every ten years the ABA investigates its governance structure. This year there is a proposal to increase section representation on the Board of Governors. There is also a proposal to limit the number of terms of the representatives. Mr. Finch recommended that the MSBA not take a stand on the proposals. President Stowman asked for motions. There were no motions. 

VII.  Consent Calendar
In accordance with MSBA Bylaws, President Stowman called for a motion to approve the Consent Calendar in its entirety:

A. Approval of April 15, 2005, meeting minutes
B. Action on the Recommendation of the Governance Committee to approve the request of the Civil Litigation Section to amend its Bylaws
C. Action to approve the recommendations of the President-Elect regarding the 2005-06 committees
D. Action on the recommendation of the President–Elect regarding the 2005-06 Assembly meeting schedule
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the Consent Calendar.

VIII.  Action Calendar

A.  Election of the following officers of the Association for fiscal year 2005-06

President-Elect – Patrick J. Kelly
Treasurer – Brian Melendez
Secretary – Michael J. Ford

A motion was made, seconded, and adopted to elect the slate of officers.

B.  Resolved that the Assembly approve the following recommendations of the Elections/Appointments Committee:
1.    that the Assembly elect Judge Edward Cleary, Lorie Gildea, and Judge George Perez as at-large Assembly
Representatives to the Council
2.    that the Assembly elect Carol Klaphake to the Central Minnesota Legal Services Board of Directors
3.    that the Assembly approve the amendments to the Constitution of the Lawyers Public Affairs Committee
A motion was made and seconded to approve the recommendations of the Elections/Appointments Committee.  The motion carried.

C.     Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendations of the Council to:
1.    Amend Bylaw Section 18.2 authorizing any Committee of the Assembly to propose amendments to the Bylaws.
2.    Amend Bylaw Section 4.1(e)(7) defining the MSBA’s responsibility for electing LawPAC Trustees
3.    Amendment to Bylaw Section 9.3.3 related to election of the nominee for Secretary.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the recommendations of the Council.  The motion carried.

D.  Action on the Recommendation of the General Policy Committee on the Report of the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee on Rule 10
Brian Melendez reported that the General Policy Committee was not making a recommendation on the Report of the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee on Rule 10 because of a lack of a quorum.  

Ken Kirwin and Fred Finch reviewed the report and recommendation of the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee and moved approval.  The motion was seconded.  During discussion, a motion was made and seconded to amend the proposed rule as follows:

RULE 10. REPORTING PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE
Each lawyer admitted to the active practice of law shall certify to the Minnesota Supreme Court on the annual attorney registration form (1) whether the lawyer represents private clients; (2) if the lawyer represents private clients, whether the lawyer is currently covered by professional liability insurance, and  (3) whether the lawyer intends to maintain insurance during the next twelve months. Each lawyer admitted to the active practice of law in this jurisdiction who reports being covered by professional liability insurance shall identify the primary carrier and shall notify the Minnesota Supreme Court Attorney Registration clerk in writing within 30 days if the insurance policy providing coverage lapses, is no longer in effect, or terminates for any reason, unless the policy is renewed or replaced without substantial interruption.

The motion to amend the proposed rule carried. 

The motion carried to approve the proposed rule as amended.

E.  Action on the Petition of Members and the Recommendation of the Human Rights Committee to support:  Resolution that the MSBA should address the increasing attacks on the Judiciary
Brendan Cummins presented a petition of members supporting a resolution that the MSBA address the increasing attacks on the Judiciary.  A motion was made and seconded to approve the resolution.  The motion carried.

F.  Action on the Petition of Members and the Recommendation of the Human Rights Committee to support:  Resolution that the MSBA should affirm the legal profession’s commitment to civil liberties
Brendan Cummins presented a petition of members supporting a resolution to affirm the legal profession’s commitment to civil liberties.  A motion was made and seconded to approve the resolution.  The motion carried.

IX.  New Business

A.  Annual Convention
A motion was made and seconded to hold the next two annual conventions at Madden’s Resort.  During discussion a motion was made and seconded commit the issue to the Council for a final decision following a review of the finances related to the 2005 convention. The motion carried.

B.  Success at the Legislature
Jeremy Lane thanked the MSBA President, leadership, Assembly members and LAD Committee for its support and collaboration in getting the real estate surcharge approved by the Legislature.

X.  Passing of the Gavel
President Stowman presented Susan Holden, MSBA president for the 2005-06 year, noting her many leadership qualities and urged support for her in the coming year.  Ms. Holden thanked President Stowman for his service.  She went on to discuss her plans for the coming year:
Ÿ     Join the Chief Justice’s efforts in responding to attacks on the judiciary and lawyers;
Ÿ     Promote diversity through a minority law student internship program and task force to look at gender and racial diversity in the profession;
Ÿ     Improve the MSBA legislative program by putting additional resources towards the lobbying efforts and grassroots action network;
Ÿ     Continue support for funding the courts, public defenders, etc.;
Ÿ     Increase member services for solo and small firm members including continued development of practicelaw.org; and
Ÿ     Provide outreach to districts through regional roundtable meetings.

XI.  Announcements
President Stowman directed attention to announcements of upcoming elections as they appeared in the meeting materials.

XII.  Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 2:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Brian Melendez
Secretary


Minnesota State Bar Association | April 15, 2005 | Assembly (Top)

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 10:35 a.m. on Friday, April 15, 2005, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center in Minneapolis. President David Stowman presided, with Secretary Brian Melendez recording.

I. Award Presentations
President Stowman recognized individual speakers to present the following awards:

President Stowman followed these presentations by recognizing the time that all Assembly members devote to the profession and to the MSBA. He then asked each of the Assembly members in attendance to introduce themselves and provide brief statements on their practice areas and Bar activities.

II. Routine Business

A. Roll Call
The Secretary reported that a quorum was present (see attached list).

B. Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Patrick Kelly directed attention to the summary report appearing in the meeting materials. That report noted that, as of February 28, 2005, 100.8% of budgeted dues revenue had been collected, compared with 100.5% at the same time in 2004. Total dues revenues were at 89.7% of budget for the fiscal year, compared with 91.4% at the same time the previous year. Expenses were at 56.6% of budget, compared with 58% at the same time in 2004.

C. President’s Report
President Stowman recognized Executive Director Tim Groshens, who introduced several MSBA staff members present at the meeting.

President Stowman then reported on several items:

III. Housekeeping

A. Action, pursuant to Bylaw 4.10.3, authorizing, by 75% vote, consideration of items on this agenda that were not included in the original notice and purpose of the Assembly meeting distributed March 16.
President Stowman noted that one new action item -- concerning the eligibility of judges to serve as MSBA president -- had not been distributed by the deadline specified under the Restated Bylaws. It was moved and seconded to add this item to the Action Calendar. The motion carried by the required 75% margin.

B. Action to remove items from the Consent Calendar
President Stowman invited motions to remove items from the Consent Calendar. Hearing no such motions, he proceeded to the next item on the agenda.

IV. Assembly Committee Reports

A. Elections/Appointments Committee
Judge Jon Stafsholt, Committee Chair, reported that the Committee had drafted guidelines governing the Committee’s process, together with rules to follow in interviewing and recommending candidates for election by the Assembly. He moved approval of the guidelines. The motion was seconded and carried.

Judge Stafsholt then directed attention to the candidates that had been reviewed by the committee, noting that the full Assembly would be asked to elect these individuals as part of the Action Calendar. He also noted that, prior to the June Assembly meeting, the Committee would interview candidates for openings on the Bar Foundation Board and Central Minnesota Legal Services Board of Directors.

B. General Policy Committee
Committee Chair Brian Melendez directed attention to the new report approved for consideration by the Assembly. He then presented highlights of the report, entitled "May a Judge Serve as President of the Minnesota State Bar Association?"

Mr. Melendez noted that the report followed a 2002 advisory letter from the director of the Board on Judicial Standards. That letter suggested that it may be inappropriate for a judge to serve as president of the MSBA, or, by implication, to hold other offices or leadership positions within the Bar. An ad hoc committee examined the issue at that time, but did not make recommendations. In early 2005, the MSBA Council was advised that one Minnesota judge had expressed an interest in running for MSBA Secretary, a position that would normally lead to election as MSBA president. The Council asked the ad hoc committee to study the previous letter and to develop a report and recommendation.

Mr. Melendez praised the work of the committee. In his summary of its report, Mr. Melendez noted that the Board on Judicial Standards had characterized the MSBA, in part, as a trade association serving its members. The committee believed that the MSBA should be defined instead as an integral part of the court system committed to improving justice. After examining the Code of Judicial Conduct, as well as comparable codes in force in other states, the committee's interpretation was that the Minnesota code did allow judges to participate at all levels of leadership within the MSBA. Mr. Melendez moved that the Assembly approve the report. The motion was seconded.

During discussion, Mr. Melendez clarified that the motion was intended to advise the Board on Judicial Standards that the MSBA Assembly interpreted the canons to permit judges to serve as MSBA president. In response to a separate question, President Stowman reminded Assembly members that if a judge serving as MSBA president were called upon to testify before the legislature on issues affecting the judiciary, that individual would likely recuse or appoint another officer to testify.

President Stowman then called the question. The motion to approve the report carried, with Judges Edward Cleary and Jon Stafsholt abstaining. Mr. Stowman noted that notice of this position would be provided to the Board on Judicial Standards, which was meeting on the same day as the MSBA Assembly.

C. Governance Committee
Committee Chair Dan O’Connell reported that the Committee had reviewed and approved recommended changes to the bylaws of the Probate and Trust Law Section and the Health Law Section, noting that action on these recommendations would occur when the Assembly turned to the Consent Calendar.

Mr. O'Connell also noted that three proposed bylaw amendments had been reviewed and approved by the Governance Committee and Council, and would be presented to the Assembly at the June 2005 MSBA Convention. The Committee also reviewed amendments to the LawPAC Constitution.

Turning to items appearing in the Action Calendar, Mr. O'Connell presented proposed dues changes for the following sections: Agricultural Law, Construction Law, and Employee Benefits. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve all proposed dues changes.

Mr. O'Connell then turned to Action Calendar item "C." MSBA Bylaws state that the Assembly has the authority to interpret issues arising from the transition to the new governance structure implemented at the start of the 2004-05 fiscal year.” Noting that new Assembly and Council terms were to start July 1, 2005, Mr. O'Connell said that the Governance Committee had reviewed the issue of the terms of former Board of Governors members. He presented the Governance Committee recommendations stating that:

A motion was made and seconded to approve these recommendations.

During discussion, a motion was made and seconded to revise the first bullet point to read "It was approved that 50% of the terms of members of the Board of Governors . . ."  The motion was seconded. During discussion, one Assembly member pointed out that new Assembly members would still be eligible to serve six year terms; the motion would not limit new terms beginning July 1, 2005. President Stowman called the question on the motion to amend. The motion failed.

President Stowman then called for additional discussion on the main motion to approve the Governance Committee's recommendations. Hearing no discussion, he called the question. The main motion carried.

D. Legislative Committee
President-Elect Sue Holden presented this report on behalf of Committee Chair John Dornik. The Committee report contained no action items or recommendations. Ms. Holden reported that the Committee met weekly with MSBA lobbyist Lloyd Grooms and MSBA staff, and prepared and distributed regular updates on legislative initiatives. She characterized the 2005 session as productive, with all MSBA-endorsed bills out of committee and on the floor. She noted an upcoming April 22 deadline for budget bills. The court system's recommended funding level was $7 million higher than that of the governor, but Ms. Holden expressed confidence that a compromise could be reached. She also noted that hearings had been held on a proposal to generate additional funding for legal aid programs through new real estate filing fees.

E. Operations Committee
Treasurer Patrick Kelly noted that the 2005-06 budget was slated for consideration during the Action Calendar. He indicated that he would present his report at that time in the meeting.

V. Consent Calendar
In accordance with MSBA Bylaws, President Stowman called for a motion to approve the Consent Calendar in its entirety:

A. Approval of minutes of the December 3, 2004 meeting
B. Resolved that the Assembly approve the following recommendations of the Governance Committee:
a. to approve the requests of the Probate and Trust Law Section and the Health Law Section to amend their Bylaws

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

VI. Action Calendar

A. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendations of the Operations Committee regarding the 2005-06 budget for the General Fund
Treasurer Patrick Kelly presented the 2005-06 proposed General Fund budget as it appeared in the meeting materials. In his presentation, Mr. Kelley noted that operating reserves remained within projected ranges. Prior projections had called for an increase in membership dues for the 2005-06 fiscal year, but the Operations Committee concluded that such an increase was not necessary.

Mr. Kelly then turned to individual budget lines. He noted that the budget called for a reduction in data export fees for sections, districts, and affiliated organizations, reducing the charge from $0.10 per name to $0.04 per name. He also provided background on several key MSBA programs, including Bench & Bar, practicelaw.org, Legal News Digest, and section coordination.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the 2005-06 General Fund budget. The motion carried.

B. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendation of the MCLE Board of Directors regarding the 2005-06 budget for the MCLE Fund
President Stowman recognized Karna Peters to present the 2005-06 MCLE Budget. In her presentation, Ms. Peters described a prior survey indicating the value of MCLE programming, and provided background on statewide programming and presentations, as well as publications and written materials. She also described a growing online library that provides archived CLE materials through yearly subscriptions or on a per-article basis.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the MCLE 2005-06 budget. The motion carried.

C. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendations of the Governance Committee on the Interpretation of the MSBA Bylaws
President Stowman noted that this item had been acted on during Assembly Committee Reports.

D. Resolved that the Assembly approve the following recommendations of the Elections/Appointments Committee:
1. that the Assembly adopt guidelines for the Elections/Appointments Committee
2. that the Assembly nominate Harriet Sims, Hennepin County, to the Client
Security Board
3. that the Assembly nominate Laura Hage, Ramsey County, and Judge James Rogers, Hennepin County, to the State Board of Continuing Legal Education
3. that the Assembly nominate Joseph Dixon, Hennepin County, and Scott Richardson, Mower County, to the Legal Services Advisory Committee
4. that the Assembly nominate Samuel Hamer, Hennepin County, to the Bar Admissions Advisory Committee
5. that the Assembly elect Tara Ulmaniec, Swift County, to the Central Minnesota Legal Services Board of Directors
6. that the Assembly elect Teresa Jones, Hennepin County, Mary Deutsch Schneider, Clay County, and David Stowman, Becker County, as delegates to the ABA

Noting that he was one of the candidates, President Stowman called upon President-Elect Sue Holden to preside over this agenda item. Ms. Holden indicated that Judge Stafsholt's report and presentation constituted a motion to approve all of the committee's recommendations. She called for additional nominations; hearing none, a motion was made to close nominations and declare all individuals named above to be elected by acclimation. This motion was seconded and carried.

VII. New Business
Convention Committee Chair Aaron Biber presented highlights of the 2005 Annual Convention June 15-17 at Madden’s. He described a newly designed format that included five tracks: Associate, Sections/Committees, Second-Half Career, Small Firm, and Golf. He encouraged MSBA members and their families to attend, stressing the educational, social, and networking opportunities available at one of the state's premier resort facilities. President Stowman thanked everyone involved with developing the new direction and tracks, and presented an Unconventional Convention Planning Award to members of the Convention Committee.

VIII. Presentations

A. After the JD -- A National Study of Legal Careers
Ronit Dinovitzer of the University of Toronto and AJD project manager, presented highlights of this longitudinal study conducted by the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. The project will track more than 5,000 1998-2000 law school graduates during their first ten years in the profession. The first such longitudinal study of its kind, the project includes large markets, small markets, and intermediate markets throughout the country, drawing upon a sample that reflects the demographics of all new lawyers.

Ms. Dinovitzer presented data describing the employment settings, personal lives, compensation, and career satisfaction levels of participants. Highlights of the report appear at: http://www.abf-sociolegal.org/NewPublications/AJD.html

After the presentation, two new attorneys described their recent experiences in the profession.

IX. Announcements
President Stowman directed attention to announcements of upcoming elections and the draft 2005-06 Assembly Meeting Schedule as they appeared in the meeting materials.

X. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Brian Melendez
Secretary


Minnesota State Bar Association | December 3, 2004 | Assembly (Top)

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, December 3, 2004.  The President, David Stowman, presided.  The Secretary, Brian Melendez, recorded.

I.  Presentation of Elmer Wiblishauser Award
President Stowman introduced Publications Committee Chair Mark Hansen, who presented the Wiblishauser Award to Doug Kelley for his article “Constitutional Crossfire: Federal Judge Draws Congressional Ire,” which appeared in the July 2003 issue of Bench & Bar magazine.

Convention Report
President Stowman introduced Convention Committee Co-chair Aaron Biber, who encouraged attendance at the 2005 MSBA Convention at Madden’s in Brainerd on June 15-17.  The theme is “It’s a Mad, Mad, Madden’s World.”

Legislative Report
President Stowman introduced and gave a special welcome to Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, who previewed some of the legislative issues that will be part of the upcoming legislative session.  Senator Johnson indicated that money will be tight, since Minnesota has had budget deficits for the past 4 years and he projects that the year will end with a $750 million deficit.  It will be a session of priority-setting, with the basic question being “what services are the people of Minnesota willing to pay for on a long-term basis?”  Senator Johnson feels that it may be time to reassess the “no new taxes” pledge by the Governor, in order to provide the money necessary to invest in the state’s infrastructure, especially education and transportation.  The Senator reported that the Senate is committed to passing a bonding bill in the month of January, that the public defender funding bill will be introduced next week for early hearings, and that he expects the issues of gambling and ballpark funding to be significant this session.

II.  Routine Business

A.  Roll Call
The Secretary reported that a quorum was present.  (See attached list.)

B.     Approval of minutes of the September 17, 2004 meeting
President Stowman presented the minutes of the September 17, 2004 meeting, which were unanimously approved.

C.  Treasurer’s Report
Patrick Kelly reported that 98.1% of budgeted dues revenue has been collected compared to 97.0% at this time last year and expenses are at 25.7% of budget compared to 28.7% in 2003.

D.  President’s Report
President David Stowman discussed the following:
1.  Anyone visiting the DetroitLakes area is invited to stop by his office. 
2.  The MSBA Fair Response Committee responded to a newspaper story several weeks ago regarding a judge’s decision about the custody of a child; the Committee’s work helped counter a potentially negative public perception of the judiciary.
3.  The MSBA is supporting the nomination of Judge Cara Lee Neville for the ABA Margaret Brent Award.
4.  The Insurance for Members Committee is considering creating a separate pool for health insurance for members in order to address the problem of escalating insurance costs.  He noted that the MSBA will be offering a program in March at which various health care insurance options will be discussed. 
5.  Grassroots legislative efforts will be increased during the upcoming legislative session and all members are encouraged to get involved.
6.  He has attended numerous meetings of various law-related groups and has stopped to visit law offices he passes while driving.  He appreciates the perspectives being shared with him about issues facing the bar and he invited members to continue to share their thoughts with him.

III  Housekeeping

A.  Action, pursuant to Bylaw 4.10.3, authorizing, by 75% vote, consideration of items on this agenda that were not included in the original notice and purpose of the Assembly meeting distributed November 4
Upon motion duly made, the action was approved.

B.  Action to remove items from the Consent Calendar.
None.

IV.  Assembly Committee Reports

A.  Elections/Appointments Committee
Judge Jon Stafsholt, Chair, reported that the Committee has met several times working to develop procedures for the Committee and to interview candidates.  He reviewed the Committee’s recommendations that are on the Consent Calendar.  Judge Stafsholt also noted that the Committee procedures will be reviewed by the Governance Committee before being acted on by the Assembly, and therefore will be removed from the Consent Calendar (Item V. A. a).

B.  General Policy Committee
Chair Brian Melendez reported that there were no matters referred to this committee since the last Assembly meeting and that it remains ready to work with sections and committees to address any matters that arise.

C.  Governance Committee
Chair Dan O’Connell reported that the Committee was withdrawing recommendations V. B. b. and e. from the Consent Agenda.

D.  Legislative Committee
Chair John Dornik reported that the committee has met three times since September.  The Committee has approved a plan to proceed with the grassroots legislative effort referred to by Mr. Stowman in his President’s Report.

E.  Operations Committee
Chair Patrick Kelly reported that the committee has started preparing the MSBA budget for 2005-06.

V.  Consent Calendar

A.  Resolved that the Assembly approve the following recommendations of the Elections/Appointments Committee:  a.) that the Assembly adopt procedures for the Elections/Appointments Committee; b.) that the Assembly nominate Richard Diamond to the State Board of Legal Certification; c.) that the Assembly elect Edward Blomme to the Minnesota State Bar Foundation Board of Directors; and d.) that the Assembly elect Judge George Perez as a delegate to the ABA

B.  Resolved that the Assembly approve the following recommendations of the Governance Committee:  a.) that the Assembly approve the report and recommendations delegating responsibilities for the audit functions identified by the MSBA auditors to the Operations Committee; b.) that the Assembly approve the revisions to the Bylaws of the Probate and Trust Law Section; c.) that the Assembly authorize all sections to revise their bylaws to change any reference from “Board of Governors” or “Executive Committee” to “Assembly” or “Council”; d.) that the Assembly authorize the Animal Law Section to provide free membership to Law Students and charge new admittees dues of $10.00; and e.) that the Assembly revise the LawPAC Constitution
President Stowman noted that three items had been removed:  A.(a), B.(b) and B.(e) and that the other items would be voted on in their entirety.  In response to a question, Mr. Stowman indicated that the Elections/Appointments Committee nominations for the open positions on Boards and Committees reflected their choice of the nominee but that the Assembly could select someone other than the recommended nominee.  This process was questioned since the meeting materials that were distributed did not contain Qualifications & Interest Statements from the other candidates for these positions so the Assembly members would not be able to make an informed choice about who to vote for.  President Stowman agreed to separate items A. b. A. c. and A. d. from the motion to approve the Consent Calendar. 

The remainder of the Consent Calendar passed unanimously. 

Further discussion of the nominations for outside boards revealed that five candidates had applied for the State Board of Legal Certification, one candidate had applied for the Bar Foundation, and that two candidates had indicated interest in being selected for the ABA delegate position.  There were no responses to President Stowman’s call for nominations from the floor for each of these positions.  A motion made and seconded to approve all candidates by acclamation passed unanimously.

VI.  Action Calendar

A.  Resolved that the Assembly approve the following recommendations of the Legislative Committee:  
John Dornik and David Johnson, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Legislative Committee, requested action on the Legislative Committee recommendations.

1. that the MSBA endorse recommendations of the Real Property Section:  a.) Amendment to 500.20, the 30 year law, to eliminate the current window; b.) Amendment to 559.217, the residential real estate cancellation provision; c.) Amendment to 580.041, the special advice in foreclosure notice; and d.) Amendments to the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act
Real Property Law Section Legislative Liaison Chuck Parsons summarized the recommendations and Mr. Dornik moved the Legislative Committee’s recommendation for MSBA endorsement.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously

President David Stowman presented a special award, “The Short & Sweet Award,” to Mr. Parsons in recognition of his 20 years of work to make the Real Property Law Section’s legislative proposals concise and understandable.

2. that the MSBA endorse the recommendations of the Probate and Trust Law Section on:  a.) Proper venue; b.) Issue of omitted children; and c.) Principal and income rules
Bob McLeod, Legislative Coordinator of the Probate and Trust Law Section, reviewed the recommendations and Mr. Dornik moved the Legislative Committee’s recommendation for MSBA endorsement.  After being seconded, the motion passed unanimously.

3. that the MSBA endorse a resolution supporting the history and tradition of a strong, independent bench at the Office of Administrative Hearings
John Dornik moved the Legislative Committee’s recommendation that the MSBA endorse a resolution supporting the history and tradition of a strong, independent bench at the Office of Administrative Hearings.  Mr. Dornik introduced Eric Swanson of the Administrative Law Section, who explained the process for selecting Administrative Law Judges. Despite the fact that a specific legislative proposal has not yet been introduced, the MSBA Administrative Law Section expressed concern about proposed changes to the selection that would make all ALJ positions appointed by the Governor.  During discussion it was noted that the effect of the resolution was to place the MSBA on record as favoring a strong and independent administrative law bench.  The MSBA was not opposing a change in the current process so long as the strength and independence of the Administrative Law Judges was protected.  After discussion, the motion carried.

4. that the MSBA endorse the recommendations of the Legislative Committee on adequate funding for the Justice System
John Dornik moved the Legislative Committee’s request that the MSBA endorse the Committee’s recommendations on adequate funding for the Justice System. 

Two corrections were made to typographical errors in the proposal:  (1) to remove the “a” in the second “Whereas” clause under the MSBA heading; and (2) moving the third “Whereas” clause under the Civil Legal Services heading to be the third clause under the MSBA heading.

A motion to amend the recommendation to specifically include law clerks in addition to judges and other personnel by amending the last paragraph to read as follows:  “Be it further resolved that the MSBA commend the judges and other court personnel, including judicial law clerks, the public defenders, and the legal aid attorneys and pro bono attorneys providing civil legal services.

The motion to amend was approved. 

The amended resolution was adopted unanimously.

5. that the MSBA endorse the recommendation of the Legislative Committee relating to the civil justice system
A motion was made and seconded to adopt this resolution.  Paul Peterson, a member of the MSBA Legislative Committee, gave some background information on the rationale for this proposal, which is designed to preserve the status quo (e.g., allowing the MSBA to oppose lowering the damages cap or to restrict the awarding of attorney’s fees in certain cases).

During the ensuing discussion, concerns were voiced about this type of general proposal, which does not contain specific language and seeks to take a position without having given MSBA sections or other law-related groups an opportunity to react or respond.  Members of the Legislative Committee identified the need for the Association to be able to offer an opinion on legislative proposals that relate to the practice of law as they are introduced, which has not happened in the past.

A motion was made to postpone further consideration of the resolution pending comment by sections and other groups related to the content of the proposal, since some of these groups did not learn of the proposal until recently and did not have time to review it. 

President Stowman called the question.  A voice vote was close so he called for a division.  The standing vote then resulted in a tie so it was taken a second time. The resolution failed due to a tie vote.

Discussion on the main motion then continued.  A motion was made and seconded to send the proposal to the Civil Litigation Section and any other interested groups for comment, and then to authorize the Council to take a position for the upcoming legislative session, with further consideration as necessary by the Assembly at its April meeting. Following discussion, President Stowman called the question, which passed on a voice vote. A division was called which resulted in the resolution passing by a vote of 24 in favor and 17 opposed.

6. prohibiting the Family Law Section from taking a position on the amendments to:  a.) Minnesota Statute 518.58 related to pensions until such time as the Section submits the proposal to the Employee Benefits Section for review. Once the Employee Benefits Section has favorably reviewed the bill, the Family Law Section may take a position in its own name; and b.) Minnesota Statute 518.19 related to division of real property until such time as the Real Property Section has favorably reviewed the bill. Once the Real Property Section has favorable reviewed the bill, the Family Law Section can take a position in its own name
Mr. Dornik reviewed the recommendations of the Family Law Section and the Legislative Committee’s action.

7. that the MSBA adopt the following legislative housekeeping resolutions:  a.) that the attached document reflects the current MSBA legislative positions; and b.) that the authority to allocate the lobbyist’s time be delegated to a subcommittee of the Legislative Committee so that the lobbyist’s time can effectively be allocated among the MSBA endorsed positions, section or committee endorsed positions, or other bills that may arise as the need arises during the legislative session
Mr. Dornik and Ms. Holden reviewed the current positions and the subcommittee established to coordinate the allocation of the lobbyist’s time throughout the upcoming legislative session.

President Stowman thanked the Legislative Committee for their work.

Ellis Olkon spoke on behalf of the Animal Law Section supporting repeal of the Mourning Dove Hunting Law that was passed during the last legislative session.  The Legislative Committee declined to refer this to the Assembly.  Mr. Olkon indicated that the Section sees the resolution as appropriate for action by the Assembly because it is related to “quality of life issues” relevant to lawyers.

President Stowman received the motion as one to put a resolution approving the repeal of the mourning dove hunting law on the Assembly agenda thus requiring a 75% approval; the motion was seconded.  The motion failed.

B.  Resolved that the Assembly approve the following recommendation of the Governance Committee:  1. that the Assembly approve the following separation of responsibilities:  all of the President’s appointments to Assembly Committees require Assembly approval; all Assembly members and Alternates are eligible to serve on Assembly Committees; only Assembly members are entitled to appointment to an Assembly Committee; and that Alternates could not substitute for an Assembly member on an Assembly Committee
Mr. O’Connell reviewed the recommendation of the Governance Committee and moved approval.  The motion was seconded.  Mr. O’Connell clarified that Alternates can serve on an Assembly Committee if they are appointed by the President, but they do not have an absolute right to serve on a Committee.  There was unanimous consent to add the word “non-member” before the word “Alternates” following the final semi-colon, after which the motion carried. 

VII.  New Business
None.

VIII.  Announcements
President Stowman called attention to items printed in the materials.

IX.  Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Brian Melendez
Secretary



Minnesota State Bar Association | September 17, 2004 | Assembly
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Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 17, 2004.  The President, David Stowman, presided.  The Secretary, Brian Melendez, recorded.

1.         Routine Business

1.01      Roll Call
The Secretary reported that a quorum was present. 

1.02      Minutes of the June 10, 2004 Board of Governors meeting
The minutes were approved as read.

2.         Reports of Assembly Committee Chairs
President Stowman introduced the chairs of the Assembly committees and invited their reports.

Chair Brian Melendez of the General Policy Committee reported that the responsibility of the committee is to deal with substantive matters to come before the Assembly that are not of a legislative nature.  He indicated that the committee will set up liaisons with MSBA sections and committees.

Chair Dan O’Connell of the Governance Committee reported that the Lavender Bar Association had asked for an interpretation of the bylaws regarding their representation in the Assembly for 2004-05.  The Lavender Bar Association had no representative on the Board of Governors to become a member of the Assembly at its creation.  Mr. O’Connell reported that the Lavender Bar Association will be entitled to membership in the Assembly in 2005-06 and had requested membership for the current year.  A motion was made and seconded to seat a representative of the Lavender Bar Association as a member of the Assembly for 2004-05.  The motion carried.

Chair Patrick Kelly of the Operations Committee reported that the committee expects to meet four to six times in the current year to frame the 2005-06 budget and that they do not anticipate significant changes from the 2004-05 budget.

Chair John Dornik of the Legislative Committee reported that the committee had formulated its charge, which will be presented to the Assembly for approval.  He then moved adoption of the following resolution:

 

Whereas, the MSBA Legislative Committee has divided the work of the committee into three subcommittees:  (1) legislative priorities, (2) grassroots development, and (3) fundraising; and

Whereas, the Legislative Committee recommends limiting only the legislative priorities subcommittee to members of the Assembly and allowing broader participation on the other two subcommittees by nonmembers of the Assembly; and

Whereas, the Legislative Committee recommends expanding the members who may participate on the Legislative Committee to include an unspecified number of non-Assembly members.

Now, therefore, the Assembly hereby authorizes:

1.       participation by an unspecified number of MSBA members, who are not members of the Assembly, on the grassroots development subcommittee of the Legislative Committee; and

2.       participation by an unspecified number of MSBA members, who are not members of the Assembly, on the fundraising subcommittee of the Legislative Committee.

The motion was seconded.  Members questioned how additional members would be appointed to the subcommittees, noting that Assembly members are appointed to committees by the president.  Mr. Dornik replied that since the committee wanted any MSBA member who is interested to be able to participate, they would prefer that the committee chair have authority to appoint subcommittee members.  He noted that they would not vote on legislative priorities and would not be members of the Legislative Committee.  A question was raised whether a bylaw amendment was needed to effect the resolution.  The chair ruled that the resolution did not raise an issue requiring a bylaw amendment.  The question was called and the motion carried.

Judge Jon Stafsholt, chair of the Elections/Appointments Committee, reported that the committee had set up a Bylaws Subcommittee to propose nominating and election procedures.  The committee plans to meet in November to adopt operational rules.  Judge Stafsholt noted that the MSBA is entitled to elect an additional ABA Delegate this year.  The committee would prefer that the position be filled by a minority lawyer, whose name and credentials should be submitted to the committee for screening.  Judge Stafsholt then urged members of Minnesota’s ABA delegation and others to nominate candidates for the new position.  Finally, noting that there is a vacancy on the Bar Foundation Board of Directors, Judge Stafsholt recommended that MSBA advertise the opening.  He indicated that the committee will meet in December to screen candidates for the position.

3.         Action Calendar

3.01      Action on the recommendation to accept the audit of the MSBA General Fund and MCLE Fund for the year ending June 30, 2004
Treasurer Patrick Kelly introduced Randall Kroll of Wilkerson Guthman & Johnson, which conducted the annual audit. Mr. Kelly noted that Mr. Kroll had presented the audit report to the Council and that the firm has performed the audit for the past seven years.  Mr. Kroll summarized the report as distributed.  A motion was made and seconded to accept the audit report.  The motion carried.

Mr. Kelly reported that based on the audited accounts through June 30, 2004, the MSBA’s financial position has improved over fiscal 2003. Reserves have increased together with revenues while expenses have been held at budget or below.

3.02      Update on plans for the 2005 MSBA Convention
President Stowman announced that the 2005 Convention will be held in Brainerd at Madden’s Resort and invited Executive Director Tim Groshens to report on plans for the Convention.  Mr. Groshens reported that the dates for the Convention are June 15-17, 2005.  The Convention program is being planned in terms of multiple “tracks,” each designed to appeal to a different interest group.  Tracks being considered include: 1) a solo/small practice of law track; 2) a section/committee track covering current developments in various substantive areas; 3) a policy/governance track; 4) a “second half of your career” track; 5) a professional development track for new lawyers; and 6) an “extreme golf” track for those who would rather spend their time golfing.  Mr. Groshens noted that the cost of this year’s Convention will be higher than for conventions in Duluth or Minneapolis since this is a premier resort location.  He urged all Assembly members to participate -- register early and attend the Convention.  The Association needs to have filled its block of reserved rooms by May 15.  Therefore, it will be necessary for members to register for the Convention in April.

3.03 Action to Approve Assembly Committee appointments
A motion was made and seconded to approve the Committee appointments as distributed, with the addition of the following members:

 

Ÿ  On the Operations Committee:  Thomas Anderson, Terry Bartz, Judge Gary Bastian, Michael Bradley, Tom Gilligan, Thomas Roe, Scott Rusert, Robert Rydland, Brian Toder, and Terry Votel

Ÿ  On the Governance Committee:  Timothy Kuntz

The motion carried.

3.04      Approval of Position Statement Related to Judicial Elections
President Stowman then introduced Mary Vasaly, of the Judicial Elections Committee, who in turn introduced Committee Chair Steve Besser, who participated by telephone.  Mr. Besser and Ms. Vasaly presented the report and recommendations of the committee, including a proposed position statement, criteria for voters to use in assessing the qualifications of judicial candidates, and a list of suggested questions for voters to ask judicial candidates.  Mr. Besser advised the Assembly that the proposed statement, criteria, and questions had been approved by the District Judges Association.  He then advised the Assembly of a Supreme Court order dated September 14, 2004, in which the Court declined to adopt amendments to the Code of Judicial Conduct governing judicial candidate speech in the midst of a political campaign. 

A question was raised regarding the use of quotation marks surrounding the phrase “rule of law” in paragraph three of the proposed statement.  Given assurance that the quotation marks could be removed without objection from the committee, the questioner moved adoption of the position statement subject to removal of quotation marks from paragraph three.  The motion was seconded.  During discussion the chair ruled that the suggested questions did not require approval, but that the list of criteria for assessing judicial candidates’ qualifications constituted a statement of official position which requires Assembly action.

In response to a question of whether there was anything about the position statement that would open MSBA to legal action along the lines of Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, Mr. Besser and Ms. Vasaly affirmed that they do not believe that the MSBA, by presenting its views on the process for determining the qualifications of judicial candidates, could incur liability.

The question was called and the motion carried.

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the proposed judicial selection criteria.  The motion carried.

3.05      Action on the Recommendation of the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee related to Rule 1.10(b)
Representatives of the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, including Chair Ken Kirwin and members Bill Wernz and Lucinda Jesson, presented the report and recommendations of the Committee regarding proposed changes to Rule 1.10(b) regarding the imputation of conflicts of interest when an attorney is hired from one firm to another.  Presenters noted the perceived need to balance the need to foster public confidence in the profession with attorneys’ need for ease of employment mobility.  A motion was made and seconded to adopt the report and recommended rule amendments as presented.  The motion carried.

3.06      Action on ABA Request for MSBA Support of the ABA position on legislation on unsolicited faxes
Executive Director Tim Groshens advised the Assembly that the MSBA has been asked to support the American Bar Association’s position on legislation to regulate unsolicited fax communications.  He noted that the Council had approved the request.  A motion was made and seconded to endorse the Council’s decision in this matter.  The motion carried.

3.07      Election of representatives to outside boards 
Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board - President Stowman announced two openings on the Lawyers Responsibility Board and noted that Cindy Telstad and Ken White have expressed interest.  He then called for nominations from the floor.  Hearing none, a motion was made and seconded to close nominations and elect the slate.  The motion carried.

State Board of Legal Certification -- President Stowman announced one opening on the Board of Legal Certification and identified five persons who have expressed interest in serving.  As ballots were being distributed for this contested election, a motion was made and seconded to dispense with the election and refer the election of representatives to outside boards to the Elections/Appointments Committee for action.

In discussion, it was observed that the Assembly should retain authority to elect these representatives and should be prepared to vote.  It was noted further that there is time to get the recommendations of the Elections/Appointments Committee prior to the next Assembly meeting if this is desired.  The movant then withdrew the motion.

A motion was made and seconded to refer the credentials of the candidates for election to the State Board of Legal Certification to the Elections/Appointments Committee, with the request that the committee return its recommendation to the Assembly prior to the deadline for the December Assembly meeting and invite the candidates to be present at the December meeting.  The motion carried.

Lawyers Trust Account Board -- President Stowman announced one opening on the Lawyers Trust Account Board and reported that Thomas Mielenhausen remains willing to serve.  He then called for nominations from the floor. There being none, a motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect the incumbent to another term.

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services --President Stowman announced one opening on the board of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services and noted a Qualifications and Interest Statement had been submitted by Thomas Hatch.  He then called for nominations from the floor. There being none, a motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect Mr. Hatch.

Minnesota Volunteer Attorney Program --President Stowman announced five openings on the board of the Minnesota Volunteer Attorney Program: three being openings for attorney directors and two openings for client representatives. The incumbent attorney directors, Bruce Beneke, Jerry Lane and Floyd Pnewski, are eligible and willing to serve an additional term and the name of one nominee for the post of client representative, Doris Slaughter Christopher, was put forward.  The president then called for nominations from the floor. There being none, a motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect the three attorney directors to additional terms and to elect Ms. Christopher to a term as client services representative.  One client services representative post remains unfilled.

Loan Repayment Assistance Program -- President Stowman announced openings on the board of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program for one member of the public interest community and one representative from the legal community at large, noting that Jerry Lane, the incumbent representative of the public interest community, is eligible and willing to serve and additional term.  He then called for nominations from the floor. There being none, a motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect Mr. Lane to another term.  The opening for a representative from the legal community at large remains vacant.

4.         New Business
ABA Delegate Fred Finch observed that because the ABA has determined that the MSBA is entitled to elect an additional delegate to ABA House of Delegates, this gives MSBA more clout than many states of similar size.  He encouraged anyone who is a member of a racial or ethnic minority who is interested in being considered to contact the ABA Delegates for information and seek election to this role.  It was further observed that the Elections/Appointments Committee has not decided to limit eligibility for election to this post to racial or ethnic minorities.

5.         Future Meetings
The president announced that subsequent Assembly meetings in this fiscal year are scheduled for Friday, December 3, 2004; Friday, April 15, 2005; and Thursday, June 16, 2005.

6.         Adjournment
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to adjourn at 3:40 p.m. The meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Brian Melendez
Secretary