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Assembly Minutes 2006-07 Bar Year

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June 29, 2007
April 26, 2007
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Minnesota State Bar Association | June 29, 2007 | Assembly

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:50 p.m. on Friday, June 29, 2007, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.  President Patrick Kelly presided, with Secretary Leo Brisbois recording. 

Mr. Kelly announced that Fred Finch had been appointed parliamentarian for the meeting.

I.  Memorials
The members observed a moment of silence in memory of MSBA members who died during the past year.

II.  Annual Meeting of the Bar Foundation
Bar Foundation Board Chair J.P. Barone summarized the written report distributed prior to the meeting. He also gave a reminder to contribute to the Foundation – last year only 27% of members contributed. Members should be sure to tell their finance offices not to cross off the dues check-off without the attorney’s permission when filling out Association dues statements.  Mr. Barone then moved the nomination of the five names recommended for election to the Foundation Board.  No further nominations were made.  The nominees, Ed Blomme, Erin O’Toole Tomczik, Alan Ruvelson, Jill Prohofsky and Pat Trask, were elected.

III.  Awards and Special Recognitions
A.  President’s Award – The 2007 President’s Award was presented on Thursday to the Wills for Heroes Task Force – Susan, Link, Jennifer Anderson, Andrea Bischoff, Michael  Ostrem, Jennifer Raykowski, and Warren Steincross. 

B.  Professional Excellence Award – Hank Shea was presented with the Professional Excellence Award on Thursday.
C.  Mr. Kelly recognized the Criminal Law Section for its efforts to educate the community about meth addiction; Rebecca Rhoda Fisher reported that it will be a statewide campaign. A 30-minute video was made and there are 20 copies available for viewing.
D.  Recognition of Outgoing Assembly Members – Mr. Ford presented the outgoing members of the Assembly.

IV.  Roll Call.
Report attached.

V.  President’s Report
Patrick Kelly thanked the officers, members, and staff, and he highlighted several programs that were started during the past year, including Wills for Heroes and computer assisted legal research.

VI.  Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Ford summarized the report which was distributed prior to the meeting.

VII.  Consent Calendar
A.  Election of Michael J. Ford as President-elect; Leo I. Brisbois as Treasurer and Terrance W. Votel as Secretary (nominated by the Ramsey County Bar Association)
B.  Approval of minutes of the April 26, 2007 meeting
C.  Action to approve the recommendations of the President-Elect regarding 2007-08 committees
D.  Action on the recommendation of the President-Elect regarding the 2007-08 Assembly meeting schedule

 

 

Date

Time

Friday, September 28 w/ Bar Leader Conference

TBD

Friday, December 14

12:00 noon

Thursday, April 24

TBD

Friday, June 20 or 27 at the Convention

12:00 noon

Upon motion made, and seconded, the Consent Calendar was approved.

VIII.  Additional Agenda Items
On behalf of the Council Mr. Ford moved that the Report and Recommendation of the Insurance for Members Committee on the Disability Insurance Policy be added to the agenda.  The motion carried by three-fourths of the members in attendace.

VIII.  Elections/Appointments Committee
The Committee recommended that the Assembly elect Judge Edward Cleary, Justice Lorie Gildea and Judge George Perez as Assembly Representatives to the Council.  The three recommended candidates were elected.

IX.  General Policy Committee
A.  Lisa Montpetit Brabbitt discussed the work of the General Policy Committee.  She acknowledged and thanked Nancy Mischel for her support and hard work.

B.  Action on the Recommendation regarding a proposal from the Insurance for Members Committee to endorse Life Line Screening
The Committee move adoption of the proposal.  The motion was seconded.  The motion carried.

C.  Action on the Recommendation regarding a proposal of the Life and the Law Committee to increase the attorney registration fee allocation to the lawyers assistance program
The Committee recommended support of the proposal.  It was moved, seconded, and approved.

D.  Action on the Recommendation to the ABA House of Delegates regarding a policy that would waive dues and CLE requirements for members serving in the Armed Forces and performing services in a Combat Zone
The resolution was moved, seconded, and adopted.

E.  Action on the Recommendation to review the Office Max contract.
The Committee recommended that the MSBA President review the Office Max contract and, if appropriate grounds exist, take action to terminate the contract.  The recommendation was approved.

X.  Governance Committee
Terry Votel reported on the Committee’s work.  Aaron Biber will become chair on July 1 and there will be some modest changes proposed to the MSBA Bylaws.  

The Committee provided the Assembly with a handout on Special Rules for Consideration of the Report of the Citizens Commission for the Preservation of an Independent Judiciary. The rules were proposed to provide for an orderly discussion on the Report and related actions later in the Assembly agenda.  Mr. Votel moved adoption of the rules.  The motion carried.

XI.  Legislative Committee
A.  Susan Holden presented the report of the Committee. At the Committee’s last meeting they reviewed the Quie Commission Report and received input from members. The unanimous sentiment of the Legislative Committee was that change needs to happen and that the MSBA should take a position that does not oppose the minority report or the Quie Commission Report. The Committee recommends that the MSBA Assembly take a position – one or the other – but not oppose either one of the positions. There will be many bills on judicial selection in the next legislative session so the MSBA should be prepared and present a united front at the legislature.

 

B.  Update on Legislative Session
Lloyd Grooms summarized the past legislative session. The Probate, Real Property and Construction Law sections brought forward bills and all passed. The MSBA also worked on adequate funding for the court system and at the end of the session there was increased funding for public defenders and legal aid as well as the court system; there were also funds allocated for three new court of appeals and seven district court judges as well as additional funds for court administration. Looking to the 2008 session it is likely the judicial selection issue will be on the agenda.

C.  Action on the resolution of the MSBA Judicial Elections Committee regarding the Report of the Citizens Commission for the Preservation of an Impartial Judiciary (Quie Commission) 
Fred Finch presented the report of the committee. The majority sentiment was that any action that the MSBA takes is going to be reviewed often in the next legislative session. The Legislature will ultimately determine what action will be taken. The Committee voted to recommend to the Assembly that it adopt the minority report of the Quie Commission as the MSBA position.  

Mr. Melendez offered the following substitute motion for the purpose of clarifying the Legislative Committee recommendation.

Resolved, That the Minnesota State Bar Association supports and prefers the method of judicial selection proposed in the first minority report to the final report and recommendations from the Citizens Commission for the Preservation of an Impartial Judiciary (commonly known as the “Quie Commission”) dated March 2007.  But the Association also finds acceptable, and does not oppose, the Commission’s majority report.

The motion to substitute was seconded.  Following discussion the substitute motion was approved.

Mr. Melendez then moved the following amendment regarding the performance evaluation process. The motion was seconded and approved.

§ 2.       Performance-evaluation commission’s features.
The Association supports and seeks the following features in any commission that evaluates judges with respect to their qualifications, performance, reappointment, or retention:

  1. The commission must focus strictly on public and professional considerations without regard to partisan or other political concerns.
  2. The commission must not second-guess or otherwise evaluate the correctness of a judge’s rulings, which is the proper province of appellate review. But the commission may take into account a judge’s abuse of discretion or improper conduct that an appellate court or a disciplinary body identifies.
  3. The commission will evaluate each judge eligible for reappointment according to criteria that the commission develops and publishes, and such other criteria as may be established by law. These criteria should include the factors like the ones that the merit-selection commission now considers: “integrity, maturity, health if job related, judicial temperament, diligence, legal knowledge, ability and experience, and community service.”
  4. The commission may gather information from lawyers who practice before ajudge being evaluated, from litigants over whose cases the judge has presided, from direct observation, by public hearings, and in any other appropriate way. The judge being evaluated should have the chance to review and respond to any such information that the commission considers.
  5. The commission should be subject to the open-meeting law. Any information that the commission receives or considers should be a matter of public record.

 

§ 3        Performance-evaluation commission’s composition.
The Association believes that any commission that evaluates judges with respect to their qualifications, performance, reappointment, or retention should consist of members chosen in a diverse manner, by multiple appointing authorities that check and balance each other (such as the executive and legislative branches, the bench, and the bar), so that no single appointing authority controls a majority or nearly a majority of the commissioners. The Association also believes that any such commission should include lawyers and at least some judges along with other citizens, so that the commission as a whole more fully appreciates the judicial office whose tenants it evaluates. The Association therefore opposes the Quie Commission’s recommendation of a commission “the majority of whom will be nonattorney members of the public.”

Following this action, the Assembly discussed the merits of the amended substitute motion. 

After discussion, Mr. Finch restated the motion before the body.  The motion carried, 33-31 with Justice Lorie Gildea abstaining.

XII.  Operations Committee

  1. Report on Committee Work

Mr. Ford summarized the Committee’s work.

  1. Action on the Recommendation regarding the request from the Judicial Elections Committee for $10,000 to publicize the position taken by the MSBA on the future of judicial selection

This recommendation was approved.

  1. Action on the Recommendation regarding the request of the Women in the Legal Profession to use 2006-07 budgeted funds in the 2007-08 year

This recommendation was approved.

  1. Action on the Recommendation regarding the request for funding for the 2008 Equal Justice Conference

This recommendation was approved.

  1. Action on the Recommendation regarding the request of the Diversity in the Legal Profession Task Force for funding to support its implementation plans

This recommendation was approved.

XIII.  Other Business
A.  Action on the Recommendation to approve a change of carriers for the Association’s Disability Insurance & Business Overhead Expense programs
Mr. Ford outlined the history behind this proposal and why more notice of this action had not been provided.  The recommendation was approved as presented.

B.  A motion was made to reconsider the resolution regarding educating legislators on judicial selection.  The motion was seconded.  The motion to reconsider carried on a 28 to 19 vote.

A motion was made and seconded to add the language “and the public” after “education of legislators” so it reads “education of legislators and the public.”  Members discussed the potential costs and agreed that we can and should spend some money on this, but we can’t bankrupt the Bar Association.  The motion to amend carried.  The amended motion was then adopted by the Assembly.

XIV.  Reports
A.     Military Law Committee
With a large number of soldiers are coming back this summer the committee is trying to coordinate efforts to educate the profession with an hour seminar at Minnesota CLE’s Solo/Small Firm Conference in Duluth.  In addition, the MSBA has a listserv where people send in requests for assistance seeking pro bono services.  Members are encouraged to join the listserv to take cases.  

B.     Civic Education Committee
Eldon Kaul reported on the work of the Committee and the importance of increasing awareness of civic participation.

C.     Report of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission on a new research project regarding racial disparity in prisons
Judge Gomez asked to defer her report on the Minnesota Sentencing Commission to the next Assembly meeting.

XV.  Passing of the Gavel
Mr. Kelly presented Brian Melendez as the new president.  Mr. Melendez acknowledged Patrick Kelly’s presidency.  Melendez vowed to carry on Mr. Kelly’s work and plans to focus on three areas: judicial selection, civic education, and pro bono service.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Leo I. Brisbois
Secretary

Minnesota State Bar Association | April 26, 2007 | Assembly (Top)

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 3:40 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, 2007, at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in Saint Paul. President Patrick Kelly presided, with Secretary Leo Brisbois recording. The Roll Call is attached.

I. Award Presentations
A. David Graven Award
John "Mac" Lefevre of the Kennedy & Graven law firm presented the Graven Award to 4th Judicial District Judge Pamela Alexander. The award recognizes a MSBA member who exemplifies the high standards of the profession in combination with a commitment to public or community service.

B. Bernard Becker Awards
President Kelly presented the Becker Awards, which recognize dedicated service and outstanding achievements of legal services staff and volunteer law students. Legal Services Staff awards went to Kathleen Davis of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, Minneapolis, and Robert Youngerman of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Winona. The Volunteer Law Student Award went to Sarah Pollex, a student at the University of Minnesota Law School.

II. President's Report
President Kelly reported that he and other officers will be traveling to district bar association meetings in coming weeks to gather input and discuss the Quie Commission Report on judicial selection. He advised that the MSBA has not taken a position on the Report. President Kelly, Executive Director Tim Groshens, and several officers traveled to Washington, D.C. for ABA Day, where they met with legislators to discuss funding for the Legal Services Corporation, issues of attorney-client privilege, due process for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, judicial compensation, and immigration. President Kelly also noted the recent meeting of National Hispanic Bar Association in Minneapolis.

III. Treasurer's Report
Treasurer Michael Ford presented the report as contained in the meeting materials. Mr. Ford noted that revenues and expenses are in line with expectations and that the MSBA is pursuing the decision made several years ago to reduce reserves rather than increase revenues to cover increasing expenses. The target is to have reserves totaling 25 to 30 percent of annual operating expenses.

IV. Consent Calendar
A. Approval of minutes of the December 15, 2006 meeting
The minutes were approved as presented.

B. Action on the Recommendation of the Governance Committee regarding the Elder Law Section Bylaws.
The recommendation was approved as presented.

C. Action on the Recommendation of the Governance Committee regarding the Computer Law Section Bylaws.
The recommendation was approved as presented.

V. Elections/Appointments Committee
Rebecca Anderson, chair of the Elections/Appointments Committee, described the process by which the Committee receives and reviews candidates' qualifications and moved election of the candidates recommended for the following uncontested openings:
" Client Security Board - Timothy O'Brien
" Central Minnesota Legal Services Board - Jon Saunders
" MSBA Delegates to the American Bar Association - Michael Miller, Mary Schneider, and David Stowman
" Minnesota Volunteer Attorney Program Board - Michael Klinkhammer, Jeremy Lane, and Floyd Pnewski
The motion was seconded and carried.

Ms. Anderson then presented the Committee's recommendations for contested openings on the Board of Continuing Legal Education and the Legal Services Advisory Committee for which several applicants had submitted Qualifications and Interest Statements. President Kelly asked for nominations from the floor for the openings on the CLE Board. Hearing none, he declared the recommended candidates, Marlene Garvis and Glen Jacobsen, elected. He then asked for nominations from the floor for the opening on the Legal Services Advisory Committee. Hearing none, he declared the recommended candidate, Nicholas Slade, elected.

VI. General Policy Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, chair of the General Policy Committee, reported on the work of the Committee involving policy matters included in the day's agenda.

B. Action on the Recommendation regarding the Reimbursement Policy
Ms. Brabbit reported that the Committee had heard and seriously considered the concerns expressed by a number of sections, committees and individual members in the course of drafting the policy, which the Committee recommends for adoption. There being no discussion, the Committee's recommendation was voted and approved.

C. Action on the Recommendation regarding the Model Pro Bono Policy and Procedures for Government Attorneys
Ms. Brabbit reported the Committee's recommendation that the Pro Bono Policy and Procedures for Government Attorneys be approved. The recommendation was voted and approved.

D. Action on the Recommendation regarding a proposal from the Insurance for Members Committee to endorse Life Line Screening
Action on this proposal has been deferred to the June meeting.

VII. Governance Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Terry Votel, chair of the Governance Committee, reported that while the Committee had no items to submit for separate action, two items it had reviewed, involving bylaws for two MSBA sections, had been included on the Consent Calendar. He further reported that the Committee is working with district bar associations to update their articles and bylaws and to gather and preserve their records.

VIII. Reports
A. Current Issues in Legal Education
Deans Fred Morrison of the University of Minnesota Law School, Alan Easley of William Mitchell College of Law, and Jon Garon of Hamline University School of Law, reported on developments at their institutions and their perspective on current issues facing legal education. All reported significant hiring of new faculty for the coming year, including a number of new positions. They further agreed that the cost of legal education and the debt load of graduates are key areas of concern, with implications for both the diversity of the profession and the ability of graduates who wish to do so to enter public service upon graduation. Dean Morrison noted in this regard that the University of Minnesota Law School is now being financed largely by tuition, endowments, and alumni giving, with minimal state involvement.

A question was raised regarding a proposal before the American Bar Association (ABA) to amend the law school accreditation standards to require a higher bar passage rate among graduates for accreditation. Concern was expressed that such a change would have an especially adverse impact on the five law schools nationally that have the largest enrollment of African-American students. Concerned individuals were urged to write to the ABA.

B. Minnesota's Sesquicentennial Celebration
Justice Paul Anderson of the Minnesota Supreme Court reported on plans for the state sesquicentennial. A planning committee has been formed in the Executive Branch. A counterpart committee in the Judicial Branch is being formed and seeks to work cooperatively with the MSBA to celebrate the role of lawyers in Minnesota history. An exposition to mark the sesquicentennial is planned for early summer in 2008 and additional celebrations are planned for the State Fair in August.

C. MSBA Convention
Brian Toder and Dan O'Connell appeared on behalf of the MSBA Convention Committee to highlight plans for the Convention, June 27-29 in Saint Paul. Highlights of the Convention are expected to include a portrayal of Clarence Darrow by actor Gary L. Anderson, remarks on "The Lawyer as Artist" by criminal defense attorney and author Phillip Margolin, and a Minnesota History Theatre presentation of scenes from Harper Lee's, To Kill a Mockingbird. Three CLE tracks will be offered. The Convention will open with a Mississippi River barbecue and dinner cruise; the Presidents' Reception will be held the following evening at the former Minnesota Club, and a bike ride and golf tournament will afford opportunities for outdoor recreation. Proceedings were temporarily disrupted by the arrival of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival Vulcans, who called on President Kelly to step forward and be "knighted" in recognition of his contributions to community spirit in St. Paul.

IX. Legislative Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
John Dornik and James Speckmann presented the report of the Legislative Committee, noting that the MSBA's bills were moving well through the legislative process. Mr. Dornik called on Lloyd Grooms, the MSBA's lobbyist, to elaborate.

B. Legislative Update
Mr. Grooms reported that the MSBA agenda had passed off the Senate floor and was now under consideration in the House. The courts' budget is in conference committee and expected to be on the governor's desk in a few weeks. The tax bill has not been resolved and there are calls for study of changes to sales tax. Mr. Grooms observed that expansion of the sales tax on services is likely to reemerge as an issue in 2008. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 21.

C. Report on the Work of the Quie Commission
President-elect Brian Melendez reported that the Quie Commission Report was released in April. He called on Robin Wolpert, who served as reporter to the Commission, who gave a summary of the composition and work product of the Commission, which was established to examine the threat to an impartial judiciary in the wake of Republican Party of Minnesota v. White and to explore means by which an accountable judiciary could be maintained. Mr. Melendez described the Minority Report, which is included with the Commission Report on the MSBA website. He then recognized Judge Charles Porter, representing the Minnesota District Judges Association, who reported on that organization's review of the Commission Report and plans for further study of the issues of judicial selection and evaluation.

X. Operations Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Chair Michael Ford delivered the report of the Committee's work and offered the following recommendations for action by the Assembly:

B. Action on the recommendation regarding funding for the Criminal Law Section's Meth Education Video
The Committee is recommending that the Assembly allocate $3,000 to support this project. The motion carried.

C. Action on the Recommendation regarding funding for a reprint of the Civil Litigation Section's Statute of Limitation Manual, Time's Up
The Committee recommends approval of the request to allocate $6,000 to cover roughly one-half of the cost of printing an additional 750 copies of the manual. The motion carried.
D. Action the Recommendation to approve changes in section dues
The Committee is recommending approval of the following requests to change dues: Tax Law Section from $25 to $20 per year and Children and the Law Section from $25 to $15 per year. The motion carried.

E. Action on the Recommendation regarding Computer Assisted Legal Research
Mr. Ford noted that the Committee recommends that the Assembly authorize contracting for a new computer assisted legal research program that will require annual funding in the amount of $120,000 or more. He called on Ken White, chair of the task force reviewing computer assisted legal research programs, to describe the work of the task force. Mr. White said that the task force seeks to contract with a vendor who will provide low-cost searchable case law to members and he noted that several other bar associations now provide these services to their members. Members could use the service to do research without charge, but the service would not include head notes or links, nor would it permit shepardizing. MSBA would agree to provide the service to members via its website and to market and publicize the service to members. The recommendation was approved.

F. Action on the proposed Budget for 2007-08
Mr. Ford presented the Committee's recommendation for the 2007-08 budget included in the materials and noted that, after some debate, the Committee elected to balance the budget by pursuing a previously adopted policy to reduce the reserves to 25-30% of annual operating expenses rather than by making further cuts in expenses. The recommendation was approved.

G. Action on the proposed Minnesota CLE Budget for 2007-08
Mr. Ford presented the Committee's recommendation for adoption of the 2007-08 budget for Minnesota CLE included in the materials and noted that MCLE is pursuing a new Strategic Small Firm Initiative, seeking to enhance services to small firms through new programming and web seminars. The recommendation carried.

H. Action on the Recommendation of the Committee regarding a Policy on Suspected Financial Theft, Dishonesty or Other Financial Misconduct
Mr. Ford presented the Committee's recommendation for adoption of the Financial Misconduct Policy for the MSBA included in the materials. The recommendation carried.

XI. Announcements
A. Notice of Elections
Secretary Leo Brisbois announced that elections will be held at the June 29, 2007 meeting of the Assembly for openings on the Council and on the Board of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation and encouraged any eligible member of the Association who wishes to be nominated to submit a qualifications and interest statement. He noted that members of the Assembly whose terms are ending at the end of this fiscal year remain eligible for election to the Council.

B. Draft 2007-08 Meeting Schedule. Mr. Brisbois called members' attention to the proposed schedule of meetings for 2007-08 included in the agenda.

XII. New Business
President Kelly called for any new business to be brought to the floor. There was none to be considered.

XIII. Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 5:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Leo I. Brisbois
Secretary


Minnesota State Bar Association | December 15, 2006 | Assembly (Top)

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, December 15, 2006, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center, Minneapolis. President Patrick Kelly presided, with Secretary Leo Brisbois recording. The Roll Call is attached.

I. Presentation of Elmer Wiblishauser Award
President Kelly presented the Elmer Wiblishauser Award to Jeffrey Post of Fredrickson and Byron and Melissa Baer of Lindquist & Vennum for their article in the August 2005 issue of Bench & Bar entitled "Limits of Urban Development? Kelo, Walser and Condemnation in Minnesota".

II. President's Report
President Kelly introduced Brian Toder who presented an update on the 2007 Convention. Mr. Toder reported that he and co-chair Dan O'Connell plan to increase attendance substantially and make it an event to remember. Some highlights include the History Theater's 40-minute presentation of To Kill A Mockingbird for CLE credit and a reception on a paddlewheel boat with live music.

III. Treasurer's Report
Treasurer Michael Ford presented the report as contained in the meeting materials. Mr. Ford noted that section funds were higher than normal due to reduced fees being charged by the MSBA for staff time. Mr. Ford also noted that in the upcoming annual budget process there will be an attempt to use up some of the reserve.

IV. Consent Calendar
A. Approval of minutes of the September 15, 2006 meeting
The minutes were approved as presented.

V. Legislative Committee Report
A. Report on Committee Work
Chair John Dornik reviewed the Committee's work and presented the following proposals:

B. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA support the efforts of the Minnesota Realtors Association to repeal or amend Minn. Stat. 360.065, subd. 3 as outlined in the proposal of the Real Property Section dealing with airport zoning regulations and certain disclosure requirements on sale or other transfer of real property and allocate up to 25 hours of legislative counsel time to pursue this objective
Kevin Dunlevy presented the proposal. A motion was made that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.

C. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA endorse the proposal of the Probate and Trust Law Section to amend Minn. Stat. 48A.03 to reflect current nomenclature for fiduciaries and allocate up to 15-20 hours of legislative counsel time to pursue this objective
Tom Rauenhorst presented the proposal. A motion was made that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.

D. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA endorse the proposal of the Construction Law Section to amend Minn. Stat. 514.12 dealing with mechanic's liens and allocate up to 15-20 hours of legislative time to pursue this objective
Joe Springer presented the proposal. A motion was made that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.

E. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA approve the recommendation of the Council to renew expiring legislative position #1 opposing a sales tax on legal services
A motion was made that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.

F. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA adopt the following legislative housekeeping resolutions:
1. That the attached document reflects the current MSBA legislative positions
2. That the MSBA approve a general allocation of the legislative counsel's time as follows in order of priority: 30% to budget-related issues; 20% to judicial election/selection issues; 20% to general reserve and 30% to specific agenda items approved by the Assembly, with the understanding that the lobbyist's time can be redistributed by the President and his designee(s) as the need arises during the legislative session
John Dornik presented the current positions of the MSBA and authority to allocate the lobbyist's time. No action was needed.

VI. 2007 Mock Trial Judge Recruitment
Judge Kathleen Sanberg presented information on the current mock trial season and the need for attorneys to volunteer to judge trials. Ken White also spoke and encouraged members to check the trial schedule and sign up to judge, noting that training is provided.

VII. Report from Minnesota CLE
Karna Peters, Chair of the Minnesota CLE Board, presented an update on Minnesota CLE to the Assembly on all that MCLE offers, which can be a good recruiting tool for new members.

VIII. Elections/Appointments Committee Report
Action on the Recommendation that the Assembly approve the nomination of Renee Ursprung to the Minnesota Volunteer Attorney Program Board
Dyan Ebert reported that the Committee received one Qualifications and Interest Statement for this position from Renee Ursprung. After review, the Committee is recommending Ms. Ursprung be elected. The motion was seconded and approved.

IX. General Policy Committee Report
Action on the Recommendation of the General Policy Committee regarding a contract with OfficeMax
Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Chair, reported on the work of the Committee and moved that the MSBA approve the Committee's recommendation that OfficeMax be the endorsed provider of office products and services. The motion was seconded and approved.

X. Governance Committee Report
Action on the Recommendation of the Governance Committee to amend the Bylaws of the Tax Law Section
Terry Votel, Chair, reported on the work of the Committee and moved that the Committee's recommendation to amend the Bylaws of the Tax Law Section be approved. The motion was seconded and passed.


XI. Operations Committee Report
A. Report on Committee Work
Michael Ford reported on the work of the Committee and presented the following proposals:

B. Action on the request for funding assistance for the National Moot Court Competition of the National Native American Law Students Association
Mr. Ford reported that the request to the MSBA was for $2,500; the Minnesota State Bar Foundation approved $2,000, bringing the request down to $500 for Assembly approval. Following a presentation by Shauna Coons, a motion was made that the MSBA approve $1,500. The motion was seconded and passed.

C. Action on the request for funding for the Wills for Heroes program
Mr. Kelly summarized the status of the Wills for Heroes program which serves first responders such as firefighters and police officers. Mr. Ford reported that the Probate section has contributed $1,500 towards the purchase laptops and a printer for the program and is asking the MSBA to contribute a matching amount. A motion was made, seconded and approved to contribute $1,500.

B. Action on the recommendation to amend Bylaw 1.4.1(d) regarding membership dues
Mr. Ford moved that the MSBA approve a recommendation from the Membership Committee raising the maximum earning level from $25,000 to $35,000 in order to qualify for the discount membership rate of one-fifth the regular dues rate. The motion was seconded and approved.

C. Action on the recommendation to revise the Investment Policy
Mr. Ford moved that the Investment Policy of the MSBA be amended as set forth in the materials. The motion was seconded and approved.

XII. New Business
Mr. Ford presented a recommendation from the Council that the MSBA budget be amended in the amount of $9,000 to conduct two additional district outreach programs before the end of the 2006-07 bar year. The motion was seconded and approved.

XIII. Announcements
President Kelly reminded members to review the announcements included in the agenda, highlighting that the April Assembly meeting will be held at the Ordway in St. Paul, just prior to the annual Senior Counselors Recognition event.

XIV. Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m. for holiday treats.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Leo I. Brisbois
Secretary


Minnesota State Bar Association | September 15, 2006 | Assembly (Top)

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 1:40 p.m. on Friday, September 15, 2006, at the Minnesota CLE Center in Minneapolis. President Patrick Kelly presided, with Secretary Leo Brisbois recording.

I. Roll Call
See attachment.

II. President's Report
President Kelly reported on several developments:
" President Kelly provides the MSBA Council weekly emails summarizing his MSBA activities; in August 2006, those activities totaled more than 150 hours. He thanked Council members for their prompt feedback on Bar initiatives.
" At the ABA's August meeting in Hawaii, the MSBA was presented with the prestigious Harrison Tweed Award in recognition of its multi-faceted Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. He thanked 2005-06 President Sue Holden and all other Bar leaders involved in this effort.
" The MSBA's new Civic Education Committee is now up and running. One component of this effort, sponsored by the Probate and Trust Law Section, will employ interactive document assembly technology to prepare simple wills for police, fire fighters, and other first responders. This "Wills for Heroes" program will coordinate volunteer efforts by retired attorneys and other members.
" The "Quie Commission" -- formed to disseminate information about the value of an impartial judiciary -- has held public hearings at three sites.
" The Bar's Military Law Committee reaches out to some 2,600 service personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
" The MSBA is monitoring issues related to the fall 2006 judicial elections, and will attempt to provide information to the public regarding these races.
" The current issue of Bench & Bar includes information on pro bono programs and initiatives, in an attempt to build awareness of the need for donated services as well as volunteer opportunities.
" President Kelly has met with several other states regarding the needs of outstate attorneys. Membership levels remain a common concern for all of these state bars. On a related front, President Kelly has met with Minnesota law school deans to consider reduced MSBA dues for Minnesota law students.
" President Kelly directed attention to a report on diversity slated to be considered later in the Assembly session. He noted that Minnesota has been regarded as a leader in examining this issue and developing recommendations, and expressed his commitment to continue these efforts.

III. Treasurer's Report
Treasurer Michael Ford presented this report. He noted that, after interviewing five prospective auditing firms, the MSBA had retained new auditors. He expressed satisfaction with the process and the results, and told Assembly members that plans were in place to cover an upcoming sabbatical leave by the MSBA's Director of Finance.

Mr. Ford then moved that an action item regarding the audit be moved up in the agenda to permit a presentation by a representative of the audit firm. President Kelly asked if there were objections; there were none.

Mr. Ford then directed attention to the audit as presented in materials distributed prior to the meeting. The executive summary of that report was characterized as a clean opinion for the MSBA. Other portions of the materials provided complete statements for both the MSBA General Fund and the CLE Fund. He also noted a decline in membership dues, which the Bar intended to address through its current drive to increase market share, and directed attention to graphs showing growth in assets and liquid reserves.

This report had been presented previously to the Audit Subcommittee and to the full Operations Committee. Both of these bodies approved the report and recommended its approval by the MSBA Assembly. After noting that this approval by the Operations Committee constituted a motion to approve, President Kelly called the question. The motion to approve the audit carried.

IV. Consent Calendar
A. Approval of minutes of the June 23, 2006 meeting
B. Action to approve Assembly Committee appointments
President Kelly indicated that in this and following agenda items, he would defer to President-Elect Brian Melendez for rulings on parliamentary questions.

President Kelly then directed attention to listings of Assembly committee appointments as they appeared in the meeting materials. He reported that the following revisions had been made after the printed materials had been distributed:
" Elections/Appointments: Jori Whitehead's name was removed from the list
" General Policy: Sonia Miller VanOort was added to this list
" Governance: Anthony Branch was added to this list
" Operations: Scott Rusert was removed from this list

President Kelly also noted that MSBA policies state that the president is to appoint members of the Legislative Committee, and invited Assembly members to volunteer to serve on this and other Assembly committees. Barbara Gislason expressed interest in serving on the Legislative Committee. The president then called for a motion to approve these appointments as well as all other items appearing on the Consent Calendar. The motion was seconded and carried.

President Kelly then reported that he had received a request to add a new District Outreach Proposal to the agenda. Because this request was received after the meeting materials had been distributed, it required a favorable vote by 75% of the Assembly to be added to the agenda. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to add the District Outreach Proposal to the agenda.

V. Elections/Appointments Committee - Rebecca Anderson, Chair
A. Report on Committee Work
Ms. Anderson reported that the committee had reviewed Qualifications and Interest Statements submitted by candidates prior to the meeting, and presented the Assembly with its recommended candidates for the boards that appear below. President Kelly called for additional nominations. Hearing none, he indicated that there was no need to conduct a vote, and ruled that the following candidates were deemed to be elected:

B. Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board: Vincent Thomas, Hennepin County; and Stuart Williams, Hennepin County.

C. State Board of Legal Certification: Richard Diamond, Hennepin County; and James Sherburne, Hennepin County.

D. Lawyer Trust Account Board: Charles Reynolds, Polk County.

E. Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services: Thomas Hatch, Hennepin County

VI. Governance Committee - Terry Votel, Chair
A. Report on Committee Work
Mr. Votel reported that this committee had just held its first meeting of the new Bar year. The Convention Subcommittee reported that convention locales had been set for upcoming years. He also noted the following agenda item regarding the Public Law Section's bylaws, and indicated that the Governance Committee would continue its ongoing fiduciary responsibilities to ensure sound governance of the Association.

B. Action on the Recommendation to approve amendments to the Bylaws of the Public Law Section
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve these amendments.

VII. General Policy Committee - Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Chair
A. Report on Committee Work
Ms. Montpetit Brabbit reported that the committee had met and developed recommendations regarding agenda items B-D, and would submit one additional item for approval by the Assembly.

B. Action on the Recommendation regarding limited CLE credit for pro bono work as developed by the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee
Pat Burns and Tom Conlin presented highlights of this proposal as it appeared in the meeting materials. The proposal included the following recommendation:

RESOLVED that the Minnesota State Bar Association petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to revise Rule 6 (Special Categories of Credit) of the Rules of the Minnesota State Board of Continuing Legal Education to include limited continuing legal education credit for pro bono legal services, using the suggested language provided herein, and recommend to the Court that it adopt the proposed rule.

Mr. Burns indicated that this proposal would grant up to six credits during each three-year reporting period for attorneys providing qualifying pro bono services through specified organizations. Each six hours of such pro bono service would qualify for one credit, up to the three-year limit of six credits. Mr. Burns characterized this proposal as consistent with the intent of mandatory continuing legal education, noting that pro bono work often takes attorneys outside of their regular practice areas, and provides an opportunity to "learn by doing." The proposed CLE credits could also provide incentive and recognition for Minnesota attorneys to provide volunteer services that would address the unmet legal needs of Minnesotans. Mr. Burns noted that the proposal had garnered support from several sections and committees, as well as the Hennepin and Ramsey county bar associations. Six other states had previously approved limited CLE credit for specified pro bono activities.

In his remarks, Mr. Conlin said that in those states that had approved similar CLE proposals, levels of pro bono activity had increased. He characterized the current proposal as an effective means to heighten pro bono activities by Minnesota attorneys and to encourage lawyers to meet aspirational standards set forth in the Rules of Professional Conduct. The cap of six earned credit hours each three years would not detract from classroom credits intended to enhance legal education and professional development.

Karna Peters, chair of the CLE Board, expressed support for the LAD Committee's efforts to boost pro bono services, but indicated that the CLE Board opposed the current proposal to offer CLE credit for pro bono work. Ms. Peters characterized the proposal as a departure from the historical classroom model for continuing legal education, and questioned whether other worthwhile legal and community programs -- including those intended to reduce domestic violence -- might present similar proposals for earned CLE credits. She also questioned whether the proposed CLE credits would actually increase pro bono activities, noting that much of the evidence presented in support of this claim was anecdotal.

She then recognized Kent Gernander, past MSBA president and past CLE Board chair. Mr. Gernander noted that while the Bar's CLE division was subject to oversight, it also operated under a recognized degree of autonomy, and that proposals such as this should spring from that body, not from the MSBA. He noted that at the time Minnesota adopted mandatory CLE, some parties had proposed credits or exemptions for individual attorneys performing public service, but that those proposals had been rejected. While recognizing the value of pro bono work, Mr. Gernander indicated his belief that such work should be undertaken as a professional obligation, performed without expectation of compensation. Finally, he repeated Ms. Peters' concerns over whether this proposal would serve to increase levels of pro bono involvement.

President Kelly then called for discussion. During that discussion, a motion was made and seconded to amend the proposal as follows:

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the petition to the Supreme Court should request adoption of proposed Rule 6D on a three-year trial basis. The Court should be asked to request a report from the MSBA or a Court-appointed committee on whether the Rule has increased participation in pro bono activities and whether it has caused negative impacts on CLE participation and programming prior to making the rule permanent.

Following discussion, a subsequent motion was made and seconded to recommit the proposal to the General Policy Committee to allow further discussions between the LAD Committee and Minnesota CLE. President Kelly ruled that this motion to recommit took precedence over the motion to amend, and called for discussion. Following that discussion, a motion was made and seconded to close discussion on the motion to recommit. That motion carried, and President Kelly called for a vote on the motion to recommit. The motion to recommit failed.

President Kelly then returned to the motion to amend the proposal to provide for a three-year trial basis as detailed above. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to close debate on this motion to amend. The president then called for a vote on the motion to amend, which failed following a division vote of 54-31.

The Assembly then turned to the original motion to approve the proposal by the LAD Committee. The motion carried. Justice Lorie Gildea abstained.

C. Action on the Recommendation of the Insurance for Members Committee regarding signatory powers
Ms. Montpetit Brabbit directed attention to the committee's report, which included the following recommendation:

RESOLVED: The Executive Director of the MSBA has the approval of the Assembly to authorize insurance program contracts and amendments with the exceptions of initial product offerings and carrier endorsements for those program contracts and amendments recommended and approved by the Insurance for Members Committee.

The motion carried.

D. Action on the Recommendation on the report of the Task Force on Diversity in the Profession
Ms. Montpetit Brabbit directed attention to the report, which summarized results of studies conducted in 1999 and 2002 as well as a separate three-part research study conducted in 2005-06. The newer research included surveys of law firms and non-firm employers as well as individual lawyers, along with focus groups of lawyers in diverse communities. It was intended to update and expand information from previous SAGE (Self Audit for Gender Equity) reports and the HCBA's Glass Ceiling Task Force Report, and to continue efforts to further the elimination of bias against minorities and on the basis of gender in the legal profession in Minnesota. The report included the following recommendation:

RESOLVED: That the MSBA appoint an implementation task force to develop specific recommendations for action based on the report of the Task Force on Diversity in the Profession. Each MSBA committee and section should review the report and make recommendations to the implementation task force to be considered for its final report. The implementation task force's recommendations should provide law firms, law schools, corporations, legal aid organizations, public law offices, and courts with practical strategies and tactics they can use to increase the effectiveness of their diversity efforts.

The motion to approve this report and its recommendation carried.


Ms. Montpetit Brabbit then presented the following new motion from the General Policy Committee:

RESOLVED: That the MSBA thank the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee and the Diversity in the Legal Profession Task Force for their yeoman efforts in an attempt to bring needed change to our profession.

The motion carried.

VIII. Legislative Committee - John Dornik and James Speckmann, Co-Chairs
A. Report on Committee Work
Mr. Speckmann reported that the committee had met earlier in the day to set deadlines for proposals under development for the next legislative session. November 6, 2006 was identified as the deadline for proposals to be submitted to the Legislative Committee. Individual sections and committees were required to distribute their proposals to other Bar entities affected by their requests by November 24, 2006. The full Legislative Committee was slated to review all proposals on November 27, 2006.

IX. Operations Committee - Michael Ford, Chair
A. Report on Committee Work
Mr. Ford reported on committee meetings conducted to fulfill its bylaw responsibilities regarding annual budgets, audits, and operations. He then turned to the following agenda items.

B. Action on the recommendation to accept the audit of the MSBA General Fund and Minnesota CLE Fund for the year ending June 30, 2006
Mr. Ford directed attention to executive summaries and financial statements appearing in the meeting materials. The motion to accept the audit of the General Fund and MCLE Fund had carried previously in the session (See "III. Treasurers Report").

C. Action on the Recommendation to adopt a Policy on Suspected Theft, Dishonesty or Other Misconduct
After a brief presentation and discussion on this report, CLE Board Chair Karna Peters reported that, during debate of a similar policy under consideration for the CLE Board, some members had expressed concern that specific language might be overbroad. Floor discussion on the proposal before the Assembly also identified issues that some delegates believed warranted additional study.

A motion was then made, seconded, and carried to recommit this report to the Operations Committee, with a suggestion that the committee consult with the CLE Board.

Mr. Ford then presented a new district outreach proposal. The proposal called for funding for meetings in Detroit Lakes and Dakota County. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve funding for the program.

X. Announcements
A. Notice of election of two client representatives to the Minnesota Voluntary Attorney Program Board.

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


Respectfully submitted,

 

Leo I. Brisbois
Secretary