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Minnesota State Bar Association | June 17, 2008 | Assembly
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:37 a.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 2008, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in Duluth. President Brian Melendez presided, with Secretary Terry Votel recording. The Roll Call is attached.
I. Memorials: Remembrance of MSBA Members who have died during the past year.
II. Awards and Special Recognitions
President Melendez noted that the President’s Award had been presented to Susan Holden and the Professional Excellence Award to Chief Justice Russell Anderson and Justice San Hanson.
IV. President’s Report
V. Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Leo Brisbois presented the report as detailed in the meeting materials.
VI. Consent Calendar
A. Election of Leo I. Brisbois as President-elect; Terrance W. Votel as Treasurer; and Aaron F. Biber as Secretary (nominated by the Hennepin County Bar Association)
Mr. Brisbois, Mr. Votel and Mr. Biber were approved to serve.
B. Approval of minutes of the April 24, 2008 meeting
The minutes were approved as presented.
- Action to approve the recommendations of the President-Elect regarding 2008-09 committees
Mike Ford reported that he does not yet have a chair recommendation for the Governance and Human Rights Committees. Members approved the recommended chairs as presented.
D. Action on the recommendation of the President-Elect regarding the 2008-09 Assembly meeting schedule
Friday, September 19 w/ Bar Leader Conference
Friday, December 12
Thursday, April 30
Friday, June 26 at the Convention
The meeting schedule was approved as presented.
VII. Elections/Appointments Committee – Terry Votel, Chair
Action on the Recommendation that the Assembly elect Elizabeth Schmiesing, to the Anishinabe Legal Services Board
Mr. Votel moved election of the candidate. The Assembly approved election of Elizabeth Schmiesing to the Anishinabe Legal Services Board.
VIII. General Policy Committee – Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Chair
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 a proposal from the Insurance for Members Committee expanding Long Term Care Insurance offerings
Ms. Brabbit reported the Committee’s recommendation that the long term care insurance proposal be approved. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
C. Action on the Recommendation of the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee to adopt the Pro Bono Standard
Ms. Brabbit reported the Committee’s recommendation that the pro bono standard be approved. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
D. Action on the Recommendation of the Diversity Implementation Task Force to adopt the Diversity Best Practices Guide
Ms. Brabbit reported the Committee’s recommendation that the Diversity Best Practices Guide be approved. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
E. Action on the Recommendation from the Professionalism Committee regarding adding a Student Observation Rule to the Student Practice Rules
Ms. Brabbit reported the Committee’s recommendation that the proposal to add a student observation rule be approved. Ms. Brabbit called upon Marlene Garvis, a member of the Professionalism Committee, to provide further detail on the proposal. A question was raised concerning how the proposal affects ADR practitioners, noting that no one from the ADR Section was consulted. Ms. Brabbit reported that many people have weighed in on the process, including ADR practitioners. She indicated that there may well be room for more wordsmithing; but the proposal is really a recommendation that the MSBA petition the Supreme Court. A motion was made to commit the proposal to the ADR Section for further consideration. The motion was seconded. Members spoke against the motion to commit noting the importance of the timing with the school year about to begin. It was noted that the current proposal could move forward and the ADR Section given an opportunity to review the petition. The motion to commit the proposal to the ADR Section failed. The motion to approve the recommendation of General Policy carried.
IX. Governance Committee – Aaron Biber, Chair
A. Action on the Recommendation to amend MSBA Bylaws Section 2.3(b) to change the reference from Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association to Minnesota Association for Justice
Mr. Biber reported the Committee’s recommendation that the Bylaws change be approved. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
C. Action on the Recommendation to amend MSBA Bylaws, various sections of Article 9, related to succession and conflicts of interest of MSBA officers and to direct the Governance Committee to report back to the Assembly with recommended policies and rules implementing the new provisions at the September 2008 Assembly meeting
Mr. Biber reported the Committee’s recommendation that the MSBA Bylaws change be approved. Mr. Biber clarified that acting on the proposed changes does not extinguish interim policies. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
D. Action on the Recommendations to amend MSBA Articles of Incorporation and to create a subsidiary corporation for the operation of Minnesota CLE
Mr. Biber reported that the Committee reviewed various ways to structure the MSBA/Minnesota CLE relationship with the goal of maintaining MCLE’s effectiveness. The Committee believes the best option is to reconstitute Minnesota CLE as a wholly owned subsidiary of the MSBA. This provides advantages to both organizations; for example, if one is sued, the assets of the other are not available to the plaintiff. Mr. Melendez reported that the MCLE Board unanimously approved the change at their last meeting. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
E. Action on the Recommendation to approve changes to the Bylaws of the ADR Section and Appellate Practice Section
Mr. Biber reported the Committee’s recommendation that the bylaw changes be approved. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
X. Legislative Committee – Susan Holden, Chair
A. Report on Committee Work
Ms. Holden reported that the Committee has not met since the end of the session. She asked Mr. Grooms to provide an update on the legislative session.
B. Report on Legislative Session
Mr. Grooms reported that the MSBA’s legislative agenda passed for the most part and he thanked sections for all the time they spent on their proposals. Besides section proposals, other items of concern to the MSBA were judicial elections and significant cuts to the court budget. These will continue to be issues for the next session; particularly in light of the budget deficit projected for next year. Sales tax on legal services may be back, in part to help resolve the deficit. Mr. Grooms stated there will be a concerted effort in the next few months to expand the Grassroots Network for next session. Both the MSBA and Quie Commission proposals regarding judicial selection were discussed at the legislature; legislators gravitated more towards retention elections, with changes to the performance evaluation commission as recommended by the MSBA.
XI. Operations Committee – Leo Brisbois, Chair
A. Action on the Recommendation to authorize the Investment Subcommittee to contract with an investment advisor
Mr. Brisbois reported on the Committee’s recommendation to authorize the Investment Subcommittee to contract with an investment advisor at Bremer Bank & Trust in a fiduciary relationship. The Investment Subcommittee will continue its work; this is tool intended to reduce risk and improve performance. There are additional costs of approximately $6,000 but it will be well spent for the benefits. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
C. Action on the Recommendation to approve the budget developed by the Diversity Committee to maintain mnlegaldiversity.org
Mr. Brisbois reported the Committee’s recommendation to approve the budget of Mnlegaldiversity.org, a website tool used to recruit minority students to study and work in Minnesota. The MSBA has been the fiscal agent for the website, but the website is now under the MSBA’s Diversity Committee’s purview. The purpose of funds is to update and maintain website. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved
D. Action on the Recommendation to lease approximately 2,500 square feet of additional conference space with MCLE at an annual cost to the MSBA of $25-30,000
Mr. Brisbois reported the Committee’s recommendation to lease 25,000 square feet of additional conference space with MCLE. The agreement in principle with MCLE is that use of the space would be split 50/50; with the cost also split equally between MSBA and MCLE. This is the last space available to the MSBA on the third floor of City Center. It was asked whether the Minnesota CLE Board had taken any action on this issue. Frank Harris noted that it had been discussed. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
E. Action on the Recommendation to amend MSBA Bylaws, Section 1.4.1 (p) to create a group membership for certain government offices
Mr. Brisbois reported the Committee’s recommendation to approve the bylaws change to create group membership for government offices. This was considered by both the Operations and Governance Committees. The primary focus of the Operations Committee was the fiscal impact on the MSBA. Despite the recommended 50% discount, the Committee believes the change will increase revenue by raising membership numbers. Discounts for other groups such as legal aid and senior lawyers already exist. Discussion ensued. Richard Kyle, RCBA President, spoke in favor of the recommendation. Mr. Kyle said the issue has come up in the past but has not been voted on. He reported that Susan Gaertner (Ramsey County Attorneys Office) and John Choi (St. Paul Attorneys Office) expressed interest in signing up all lawyers in their office if a discounted rate was available. Mr. Kyle stated this represents an opportunity to break into a group of lawyers that the MSBA has not penetrated very well. It is also a means to increase the MSBA’s diversity, since public law offices tend to be more diverse than many firms. Mark Chapin, Chair of the Membership Committee, also spoke in favor of the recommendation.
Fred Finch proposed an amendment that the recommendation includes a clause it will sunset after three years (June 30, 2011). Mr. Finch is in favor of the recommendation, but argued for a sunset in case the change reduces revenues and/or other groups begin asking for discounts. It is easy to remove a sunset provision, but very difficult to remove a membership benefit. Mr. Brisbois stated that 2011 is in middle of three-year budget cycle; he moved to amend Mr. Finch’s amendment to 2012. Mr. Finch agreed this was a friendly amendment and amended his motion to a sunset date of June 30, 2012. The amendment to the recommendation passed. Members then approved the main motion as amended.
A. Notice of nominations and elections to the following boards. (The election of nominees will take place at the September meeting of the Assembly. Members of the Assembly should encourage any qualified MSBA member who is interested in being nominated to submit a Qualifications & Interest Statement to the MSBA office before August 29, 2008.)
Mr. Melendez called members’ attention to the announcements in the agenda.
XIII. Annual Meeting of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation
- Annual Report – J.P. Barone, Chair
Mr. Barone reported that the Foundation provides grants in three general areas and it awarded a total of $130,000 in the 2007-08 fiscal year. The Foundation closed its books on the Hurricane Katrina fundraising and in-kind donations. The number of attorneys checking the voluntary $25 contribution to the Bar Foundation on their dues statement continues to fall, just 27% last year. Mr. Barone requests that members check with their offices, ask that their firm administrator not cross off the voluntary contribution, and spread the word among their colleagues.
- Election of Board Members -- The three-year terms of the following directors expire on June 30, 2008: Linda C. Barbe, James P. Barone, Richard Hendrickson, Cynthia Jokela Moyer, and Pamela Waggoner. Ms. Barbe, Mr. Barone, Mr. Hendrickson, and Ms. Waggoner are eligible and interested in serving an additional term. The Elections/Appointments Committee recommends the following candidates:
- Linda C. Barbe
- James P. Barone
- Bruce P. Candlin
- Richard L. Hendrickson
- Pamela J. Waggoner
There being no nominations from the floor, the recommended Board candidates were approved.
Prior to adjournment, Mr. Ford took over the gavel. He thanked Mr. Melendez for his work over the past year and recognized him with a plaque commemorating his service and a gift certificate to one of his favorite restaurants, Fogo de Chao.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 a.m.
Minnesota State Bar Association | April 24, 2008 | Assembly (Top)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2008, at the Minnesota CLE Center in Minneapolis. President Brian Melendez presided, with Secretary Terry Votel 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 Greg Weyandt from Dorsey & Whitney. The award recognizes an 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-elect Michael Ford 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 Kathy Holen of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, Willmar, and Kathy Wingen of St. Cloud Area Legal Services. The Volunteer Law Student Award went to Anne Hansen, a student at the William Mitchell School of Law.
II. President's Report
President Melendez reported that it appears no bill concerning judicial selection will make it out of the legislature this year; it is likely the issue will start fresh again next year. He clarified that the MSBA’s position has not changed; the MSBA supports an appointive model but will also support retention elections if no appointive model is on the table. President Melendez also reported that he and other MSBA members traveled to Washington, D.C. for ABA Day, where they met with legislators to discuss funding for the Legal Services Corporation and preservation of the attorney-client privilege. President Melendez thanked the County Attorneys Association for providing information regarding student loan forgiveness. President Melendez encouraged members to volunteer for Law Day on May 1 and visit middle school classrooms under the auspices of the Civic Education Committee. He also encouraged everyone to attend the Senior Counselors Dinner following the meeting, which celebrates attorneys who were admitted to practice 50 years ago.
III. Treasurer's Report
Treasurer Leo Brisbois presented the report as contained in the meeting materials. Mr. Brisbois stated that membership has increased over last year.
IV. Consent Calendar
A. Approval of minutes of the December 14, 2007 meeting
The minutes were approved as presented.
V. Additional Action Items
A. There were no additional actions items beyond those already included in the agenda.
VI. Elections/Appointments Committee
A. Mr. Votel, 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 openings:
B. Client Security Board – Harriet Sims. Mr. Melendez asked for nominations from the floor for the opening. Hearing none, he declared the recommended candidate elected.
C. State Board of Continuing Legal Education – Daniel R. Kelly and Cameron R. Seybolt. Mr. Melendez asked for nominations from the floor for the opening. Hearing none, he declared the recommended candidates elected.
D. Legal Services Advisory Committee – Diane Marie Dube and Penelope Phillips. Mr. Melendez asked for nominations from the floor for the opening. Ellen Abbott asked why Penelope Phillips was recommended when Ms. Phillips noted in her application that she had not done any pro bono work, while other interested candidates had. Mr. Votel responded that the Committee considered this, but still believed Ms. Phillips was the better candidate. Hearing no nominations from the floor, Mr. Melendez declared the recommended candidates elected.
E. Central Minnesota Legal Services Board – Carol Klaphake and Patrick O’Donnell. Mr. Melendez asked for nominations from the floor. Hearing none, he declared the recommended candidates elected.
F. MSBA Delegates to the American Bar Association – John Dornik, Jon Duckstad, Judge George Perez, and Brent Routman. Mr. Melendez asked for nominations from the floor. Hearing none, he declared the recommended candidates elected.
John Dornik requested further information regarding the Committee’s recommendation of Harriet Sims for the Client Security Board, since the Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) had recommended Shaun Jamison. Mr. Votel responded that the Committee viewed the HCBA’s recommendation as instructive, but not dispositive. Mr. Votel noted the open seat is not an HCBA seat, but an MSBA seat.
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 to form a Task Force to examine the legal rights of unmarried couples
Ms. Brabbit reported the Committee’s recommendation that the Task Force be formed. The Committee's recommendation was voted and approved.
C. Action on the Recommendation that the MSBA petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to adopt the American Bar Association’s Model Court Rule on Provision of Legal Services Following Determination of a Major Disaster
Ms. Brabbit reported the Committee’s recommendation that the MSBA file the petition. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
VII. Governance Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Aaron Biber, chair of the Governance Committee, reported on the work of the Committee involving governance matters included in the day’s agenda.
B. Action on the Recommendation to approve the affiliation of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAMLMN) with the MSBA
Mr. Biber reported the Committee’s recommendation that the affiliation with AAMLMN be adopted. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved.
C. Action on the Recommendation to approve changes to the Bylaws of the Agricultural Law Section.
Mr. Biber reported the Committee’s recommendation that the changes be approved. The Committee’s recommendation was voted and approved with Justice Gildea abstaining.
A. Convention Committee
Lori Semke and Jason Kohlmeyer appeared on behalf of the MSBA Convention Committee to highlight plans for the Convention, June 15-17 in Duluth. Highlights of the Convention include a first-hand account of the high profile Congdon murder trial, followed by the Presidents’ Reception at the Glensheen Mansion and the New Lawyers late night social with live music, and Will Steger at the closing luncheon. The Convention will open with a welcome barbeque followed by a sunset cruise on Lake Superior.
IX. Legislative Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Susan Holden presented the report of the Legislative Committee, noting that the MSBA's bills were moving well through the legislative process.
B. Action on the Recommendation of the Family Law Section regarding the Gestational Surrogacy Act Ms. Holden called on Glen Norton, Legislative Chair of the Family Law Section. Mr. Norton presented brief background regarding the Gestational Surrogacy Act, and then turned it over to Steve Snyder, an expert in the substantive area. Mr. Snyder stated that the bill provides gender equity for all three types of infertility: no viable sperm, no viable egg and no viable uterus. Following brief discussion, a motion was made to endorse the proposals of the Family Law Section to amend statutes so that ovum and embryo donors are treated equally with sperm donors, and to enact procedural protocols and enforceability limits for gestational surrogacy agreements. The motion carried.
C. Update from the Legislative Representative
Ms. Holden called on Lloyd Grooms, the MSBA’s lobbyist, to provide an update.
Mr. Grooms reported that much of the MSBA’s legislative agenda from the sections was on the House and Senate floors awaiting a vote. The judicial selection bill favoring retention elections was laid on the table and may receive attention over the interim. The courts' budget, including funding for legal aid and public defenders, did not take as big of a cut as some other budgets. Mr. Grooms observed that expansion of the sales tax on services did not go anywhere this session but it may be back next year.
X. Operations Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Chair Leo Brisbois reported on the Committee's work and noted that the Investment Subcommittee is reevaluating the MSBA’s asset allocation and investment policy, which has not been done for nine years. The overall picture is still positive. Mr. Brisbois offered the following recommendations for action by the Assembly:
B. Action on the recommendation to raise Construction Law Section dues from $15 to $20 effective July 1, 2008. The Committee recommends that the Assembly adopt the recommendation. The motion carried.
C. Action on the proposed Budget for 2008-09
Mr. Brisbois presented the Committee's recommendation for the 2008-09 budget included in the materials and noted that the budget has an operating deficit of $353,000 for 2008-09, consistent with the three-year plan. It includes funds to build out contiguous office space and update the lobby area of the MSBA. It also increases dues by $5, rather than $7 as originally recommended by staff. The recommendation was approved.
D. Action on the proposed Minnesota CLE Budget for 2008-09
Hildy Bowbeer presented the Committee's recommendation for adoption of the 2008-09 budget for Minnesota CLE included in the materials. The recommendation carried.
E. Action on the recommendation to approve a request from the Diversity Implementation Task Force for up to $7,000
The Committee recommends that the Assembly adopt the recommendation. The motion carried.
A. Notice of Elections
Mr. Melendez announced that elections will be held at the June 17, 2008 meeting of the Assembly for an opening on the Anishinabe Legal Services Board and for openings 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.
B. Draft 2008-09 Meeting Schedule. Mr. Melendez called members' attention to the proposed schedule of meetings for 2008-09 included in the agenda.
C. Future Meetings. Mr. Melendez called members’ attention to the next meeting of the Assembly scheduled for June 17, 2008 at 7:30 a.m. in Duluth.
Judge Charles Porter requested permission to speak. Mr. Melendez granted permission. Judge Porter stated that he thought Mr. Grooms described the status of the judiciary budget at the legislature in a more favorable light than warranted by the circumstances. Mr. Melendez responded that he thought Mr. Grooms was aware of the seriousness of the judiciary budget, but was pointing out that compared to other budgets, the judiciary was not facing as substantial of a cut.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
Minnesota State Bar Association | December 14, 2007 | Assembly (Top)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:30 p.m. Friday, December 14, 2007, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center, with President Brian Melendez presiding and Secretary Terry Votel recording. President Melendez directed attention to handouts distributed just prior to the meeting, noting that these materials, along with changes to agenda items, had been received too late to satisfy notice requirements under MSBA Bylaws. He called for a motion to approve the revised business agenda as amended with these late additions. A motion to that effect was made, seconded, and carried with 75% voting in favor.
I. Presentation of Elmer Wiblishauser Award
Publications Committee Chair Mike McCarthy presented the Wiblishauser Award to Hennepin County Judge Robert A. Blaeser and Andrea R. Martin of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office for their article, "Engendering Tribal Court/State Court Cooperation," which appeared in the December 2006 issue of Bench & Bar of Minnesota.
II. President’s Report
President Melendez discussed several items of interest to Assembly members:
- Cameras in the Courtroom: The Supreme Court is considering changes to the rules governing cameras in Minnesota courtrooms. President Melendez indicated that he had sent notices to Bar leaders inviting comments, but had not received any to date. He invited all MSBA committees and sections to weigh in on this issue, and read dates of upcoming public hearings to be conducted by the Supreme Court. In the event that the full Bar chooses not to take a formal position on this issue, individual committees and sections are permitted under MSBA Bylaws to take their own independent positions.
- Judicial Elections: President Melendez praised Judiciary Committee co-chairs Mary Vasaly and Karna Peters for their efforts to inform the public about judicial independence and other issues related to judicial elections. The Committee's Public Education Subcommittee has developed documents, handouts, and a video to assist volunteer lawyers in delivering presentations to the public on this issue. All of these materials were presented on a disc distributed to all Assembly members and available to attorneys across the state. President Melendez stressed that the materials do not take a position on which mechanism for judicial selection is "best," stressing instead the value to society of an impartial judiciary.
- Convention: President Melendez recognized Edward Toussaint, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, for an update on the June 15-17, 2008, MSBA Convention in Duluth. Judge Toussaint praised the work of the committee chairs and encouraged all Assembly members to attend the event, which will focus on diversity and environmental issues.
President Melendez also directed attention to a new agenda item submitted by the Human Rights Committee. He recognized Hennepin County Judge Lloyd Zimmerman for a presentation of the recommendation as stated in a handout to Assembly members. The recommendation, patterned after a resolution by the American Bar Association, voiced support for the international rule of law in the wake of November 2007 developments in Pakistan. A motion was made, seconded, and carried unanimously to add this recommendation from the Human Rights Committee to the calendar items appearing under the General Policy Committee's agenda.
III. Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Leo Brisbois presented highlights of the Treasurer's Report as presented in the meeting materials. As of October 31, 2007, membership dues were at 98.5 percent of budget, compared with 98.1 percent for the same period in 2006. Year-to-date revenues were at 76.7 percent of budget (compared with 77.8 percent in 2006), and year-to-date expenses were at 27.1 percent (compared with 26.5 percent in 2006).
IV. Executive Director’s Report
President Melendez directed attention to the written report by Executive Director Tim Groshens.
V. Consent Calendar
President Melendez directed attention to the following agenda items as they appeared in the meeting materials:
- Approval of minutes of the September 28, 2007, meeting
- Approval of recommendation of the Governance Committee to adopt the Bylaw amendments recommended by the Real Property Law Section and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section
A motion to approve the Consent Calendar was made, seconded, and carried.
VI. Elections/Appointments Committee
President Melendez indicated that no report or action was before the Assembly from this Committee.
VII. General Policy Committee
Committee Chair Lisa Montpetit Brabbit presented the following two items.
A. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendations of the Stowman Committee related to the Judicial Elections Campaign Conduct Committee
Ms. Montpetit Brabbit directed attention to this recommendation and its accompanying report as presented in the meeting materials, along with a handout distributed at the meeting. That handout contained three changes to the Affirmation, developed and approved by the General Policy Committee on December 12, 2007. As presented in the handout, these changes were to strike paragraph 4, to insert a new paragraph following paragraph 6, and to renumber paragraphs as needed to reflect these changes. President Melendez asked Assembly members for additions or discussion; hearing none, he called the question on the Committee's motion to adopt the Stowman Committee report as amended. The motion carried with Judge Ostby and Justice Gildea abstaining.
B. Action on the recommendation of the MSBA Human Rights Committee
Ms. Montpetit Brabbit advised Assembly members that the General Policy Committee had voted to recommend adoption of a recommendation by the Human Rights Committee. That recommendation, patterned after actions by the American Bar Association and other U.S. bar associations, condemned recent actions against judges and lawyers in Pakistan, and voiced support for the international rule of law. She directed attention to the complete recommendation as presented in the handout, and recognized Judge Lloyd Zimmerman and Kristen Gast, co-chairs of the committee, to speak to its merits. The General Policy Committee's motion to approve carried with one abstention.
VIII. Governance Committee
Governance Committee Chair Aaron Biber presented the following Committee motions as they appeared in the meeting materials:
A. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendation of the Governance Committee to amend Section 4.11.1 of the Bylaws
Mr. Biber noted that current MSBA Bylaws state that "[t]he chair of each Assembly committee shall be a representative from the Council." The proposed amendment would add "unless otherwise approved by the Council" to this section, permitting non-Council members to serve as chairs if approved by the Assembly. Subsequent discussion clarified that the resolution would also permit non-Assembly members to serve as chairs of Assembly committees if approved by the Assembly. The motion carried with the approval of a majority of the representatives of the Assembly entitled to vote.
B. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendation of the Governance Committee to amend the Bylaws of the Animal Law Section
Mr. Biber directed attention to restated bylaws of the Animal Law Section. The key provision of these new bylaws was to give the Section the authority to take legislative positions in its own name as provided for in Sections 13 and 14 of the MSBA Bylaws. This redrafted bylaw provision was intended to match related provisions for all MSBA sections. The motion carried with Judge Ostby abstaining.
IX. Legislative Committee
President Melendez praised the efforts of the Legislative Committee in reviewing proposals from MSBA sections and committees. He recognized Committee Chair Susan Holden, who characterized the process as an effort to resolve potential conflicts between bar constituencies, apply legal expertise to advance the public good, and develop an effective legislative agenda. She noted a three-fold increase in proposals for the 2008 legislative session.
A. The Legislative Committee recommended Assembly approval of the following items, as presented in the meeting materials:
1. Business Law Section
a. Technical amendments to Minn. Stat. 322B, the Minnesota Limited Liability Company Act and to Minn. Stat. 321, the Minnesota Uniform Limited Partnership Act of 2001;
b. Amend Minn. Stat. 322B to permit formation of non-profit Minnesota limited liability company and permit a MN LLC to be formed for any “lawful” purpose rather than for any “business” purpose; and
c. Technical amendments to Minn. Stat. 302A, the Minnesota Business Corporation Act, as amended.
The motion to approve the recommendations of the Business Law Section carried with Justice Gildea abstaining.
2. Real Property Law Section
Ms. Holden noted that the Section had submitted several proposals, four of which were before the Assembly with a recommendation from the Legislative Committee to approve:
a. Amend Minn. Stat. 557.02 to eliminate obsolete language regarding marginal discharge of a lis pendens;
b. Amend Minn. Stat. 508.02, 508A.02 and 08.671 to clarify common law and statutory law that the doctrine of practical location of boundaries applies to Torrens property;
c. Amend Minn. Stat. 507.24, 508.48 and 508A.48 to clarify that a corporate acknowledgment to execute real estate documents is sufficient authority upon which an examiner of the title can rely; and
d. Amend Minn. Stat. Chapter 507 and related statutes to create a transfer on death deed, giving real property owners another tool for estate planning.
These four recommendations from the Real Property Law Section were approved with Justice Gildea abstaining.
3. Probate and Trust Law Section
a. That the Legislature defer action on the Uniform Power of Attorney Act to allow time for further study;
b. That the Legislature defer action on the Uniform Principal and Income Act to allow time for further study;
c. Amend the Probate Code regarding a) changing the share of a surviving spouse of a decedent who made a pre-marital will from elective to intestate; b) extending the homestead exemption to situations where the homestead passes in trust for the children or spouse of the decedent; c) clarifying amendment to creditors section of the Probate Code, as amended in accordance with the recommendation of the Real Property Section; and
d. Technical corrections to the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, conforming the mortician’s statute to the new Darlene Luther Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.
These four recommendations from the Probate and Trust Law Section were approved with Justice Gildea abstaining.
4. Family Law Section
Ms. Holden reported that three of the Section's proposals had been approved by the Legislative Committee, and indicated that the Section may present additional proposals during the upcoming session. The three proposals before the Assembly were:
a. Proposal A: Amend Minn. Stat. 518.552 and 518A.29 so that spousal maintenance is calculated after child support;
b. Proposal B: Amend Minn. Stat. 518A to revise the self support reserve calculation for obligors on child support; and
c. Proposal G: Delete language in Minn. Stat. 518.10 regarding social security numbers in a Petition for dissolution to conform to best practices, as amended.
Discussion centered on Proposal G. As presented in the meeting materials, Proposal G would strike a requirement that the social security numbers of petitioners and respondents be included in petitions for dissolution or legal separation in which child support or spousal maintenance will be addressed. A motion was made to strike the following final paragraph from Proposal G:
REASON FOR CHANGE: New federal regulations prohibit use of social security numbers in public records. Therefore, to comply with §518.10, the social security numbers must be pled in a separate form called a Confidential Information Form. This form has to be placed in a special envelope concealed from public view. This adds much red tape to the filing process and takes productive time away from the filing clerks.
During discussion, it was clarified that the intent to strike this paragraph was not to eliminate the Confidential Information Form, but to bring the proposal into conformity with actual practice. The motion to approve all three of the Family Law Section's recommendations, including Proposal G as amended, carried, with Judge Ostby, Chief Judge Toussaint, and Justice Gildea abstaining.
5. Animal Law Section
a. That the MSBA endorse the proposal of the Animal Law Section to create a pet trust statute.
The recommendation from the Animal Law Section was approved with Judge Otsby and Justice Gildea abstaining.
6. Tax Law Section
That the MSBA endorse the proposal of the Tax Law Section to amend Minn. Stat. § 278.05, subd. 6(a), “the 60-Day Rule,” to give taxpayers guidance as to what information they must turn over to a County Assessor within 60 days of the tax petition filing deadline, and change the sanction for non-compliance from automatic dismissal with prejudice to a sanction within the discretion of a judge under Rule 37 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.
The recommendation from the Tax Law Section carried. Tax Court Judges Perez and Sanberg and Justice Gildea abstained.
7. Legislative Committee
That the MSBA endorse the proposal of the Legislative Committee to recommend the Legislature defer action on any bill to modify the structure of the Pollution Control Agency as outlined in HF 294/SF 1876 to allow time for further study.
The recommendation from the Legislative Committee was approved with Justice Gildea abstaining.
B. Ms. Holden then directed attention to two housekeeping items appearing in the meeting materials.
1. That the Assembly affirm the current MSBA legislative positions;
2. That the MSBA approve a general allocation of the legislative counsel’s time as follows: 30% to judicial election/selection issues; 30% to specific agenda items approved by the Assembly; 30% to general reserve and 10% to sales tax on legal services, 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.
With regard to the first item, Ms. Holden indicated that the list appearing in the meeting materials represented an updated summary of active legislative positions, and did not reflect new positions by the MSBA. The motion to approve this recommendation carried.
The second item was intended as an estimate of lobbyist hours that will likely be needed to advance each proposal. These notes concerning time allocations are intended as budgeting guides and do not reflect the actual number of hours that will be spent during the upcoming legislative session. The motion to approve this recommendation carried.
Ms. Holden also directed attention to reports of the Legislative Committee that did not require Assembly action. These reports appeared in online postings prior to the meeting.
X. Operations Committee
Operations Committee Chair Leo Brisbois presented the following resolutions as they appeared in the meeting materials:
A. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendation of the Operations Committee for an approved unbudgeted expenditure of up to $500 for the Life and Law Committee
B. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendation of the Operations Committee related to the MSBA office lease
C. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendation of the Operations Committee for an approved unbudgeted expenditure of up to $30,000 ($15,000 in 2007-08 and $15,000 in 2008-09) for the Real Property and Civil Litigation Certification programs
D. Resolved that the Assembly approve the recommendation of the Operations Committee for an approved unbudgeted expenditure of up to $5,000 for the Stowman Committee
E. Resolved that the Assembly approve the request of the Civic Education Committee for additional staff time at a cost of $19,150 for the remainder of the 2007-08 bar year
Mr. Brisbois presented each item individually. Separate motions to approve each of the five recommendations carried with Judge Ostby and Justice Gildea abstaining on Item D.
A. Assembly Committees
2. General Policy
President Melendez noted that the Assembly had heard agenda items from most of these committees, and called upon individual chairs to supply additional reports. Hearing none, he proceeded with the meeting calendar.
B. Civic Education Committee Progress Report
Co-chairs Nena Street and Eldon Kaul reported on behalf of the committee. They presented highlights of the report appearing in the meeting materials, providing background on the growth of the committee, projects implemented to date, and future initiatives.
XII. New Business
There was no new business.
A. Notice of nominations/appointments to the following boards:
(Election of nominees will take place at the April 24, 2008 meeting of the Assembly. Members should encourage any Association member who is interested in being nominated to submit a Qualifications and Interest Statement to the MSBA office by March 7, 2008.)
1. Client Security Board -- The term of Harriet Sims, Hennepin County, expires June 30, 2008. Ms. Sims has served one term and is eligible to serve an additional term.
2. State Board of Continuing Legal Education – The terms of Laura Hage, Ramsey County, and James Rogers, Hennepin County, expire June 30, 2008. Ms. Hage has served one term and is eligible to serve an additional term; Mr. Rogers has served two terms and is not eligible to serve an additional term.
3. Legal Services Advisory Committee -- The term of Scott Richardson, Mower County, expires July 1, 2008. Mr. Richardson has served two terms and is not eligible to serve an additional term.
4. Central Minnesota Legal Services – The terms of Carol Klaphake and Patrick O’Donnell expire April 30, 2008. Ms. Klaphake and Mr. O’Donnell are eligible to serve an additional term.
5. MSBA/ABA Delegates – The terms of Aaron Biber, Jon Duckstad, Trudy Halla and Judge George Perez expire at the end of the ABA meeting in August. Ms. Halla has served three terms and is not eligible to serve an additional term. Mr. Biber, Mr. Duckstad, and Judge Perez are eligible to serve an additional term.
B. Future Meetings
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 p.m.
Minnesota State Bar Association | September 28, 2007 | Assembly (Top)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, September 28, 2007, at the University of St. Thomas Business School. President Brian Melendez presided with Secretary Terry Votel recording.
II. President’s Report
President Melendez reported as follows:
- Judicial Selection. Lobbyist Lloyd Grooms is working on legislation to put forward the judicial selection plan endorsed by the Assembly in June and legislators have been identified to serve as sponsors. A separate group is working on proposals for a retention election system and the MSBA is coordinating with them. Karna Peters and Mary Vasaly, co chairs of the Judicial Selection Committee, are working on a public education program.
- CLE Credit for Pro Bono. The Supreme Court heard the MSBA’s petition on CLE credit for pro bono service on September 18 and their ruling is expected in the next few months.
- MSBA Committees. The Assembly’s Legislative Committee is still forming since 33 members have requested appointment and committee membership is limited to 20. Selections are expected soon. Seventy-one new members have signed up for MSBA committees for 2007-08. The MSBA’s Civic Education Committee is launching “Operation Arbitration,” an original project in which volunteer lawyers will help students hear and resolve real-life disputes involving students, student groups, and their school communities. President Melendez recently met over lunch with Chief Justice Anderson to discuss how the MSBA’s Court Rules Committee might coordinate their work with the Supreme Court. These committees, the Human Rights Committee, and others are all seeking new members.
- MSBA Task Forces. A new task force is planned to oversee and coordinate translation of MSBA documents on practicelaw.org into other languages. Nominees for this group are expected by October 1. Treasurer Leo Brisbois will chair a task force on taxation of legal services, working to develop a strategy for opposing such proposals that are expected to come before the Legislature in the upcoming session. A third task force is being formed to examine MSBA’s office lease, which will be up for renewal in 2008. The Hennepin County Bar Association has indicated intent to expand its leasehold so the MSBA task force will consider MSBA’s space needs and leasehold issues and is expected to make a presentation at the December Assembly meeting.
- Court Issues. The Supreme Court is reconsidering the issue of cameras in the courts in response to media requests. MSBA has taken no position on the issue but sections and committees can take positions on their own, if they wish, but will need to coordinate their efforts. A Supreme Court advisory committee, chaired by former Dean Thomas Sullivan, is reviewing the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct. MSBA’s Rules of Professional Conduct Committee is tracking the work of the advisory committee, but the MSBA is not taking a position at this time.
- Quorum. President Melendez then inquired and was assured that a quorum was present.
III. Executive Director's Report
Executive Director Tim Groshens reported that the MSBA is launching two new services that will have a significant impact on membership. He introduced Greg Luce, MSBA Practice Development Director, who presented the first of these, MinnesotaDocs. This document-assembly system prompts users to fill in blanks on a computerized form in response to questions about a matter; the system then produces documents necessary in the matter that incorporate the information previously supplied. Users can save and reimport updated information at any time, which allows for corrections to be made simultaneously across multiple forms. The MSBA expects to deliver the service free to members as a downloadable package. The service is expected to be launched this fall in four areas of law, including probate, guardianship and conservatorship, family law, and real property law.
Mr. Groshens subsequently introduced Caroline Palmer, MSBA Pro Bono Development Director, who presented FastCase, the second new service, which offers members free online access to primary law materials from all 50 states and federal sources as well as newspaper archives. Training in use of FastCase is being provided via webinar and MSBA staff are available to provide live training by appointment at firms. MSBA aspires to have 30% of members using this service by the end of this calendar year.
IV. Wills for Heroes
Former MSBA President Patrick Kelly and attorney Susan Link, who serves as program coordinator, reported on the Wills for Heroes program which was launched on June 25 after being approved by the Assembly. Mr. Kelly described a recent presentation at which the program was introduced to 53 fire chiefs, noting that the program is being presented as “this is what Minnesota lawyers are doing for you” and that it is being received with enthusiasm by volunteer attorneys and first responders alike. Will-drafting sessions for first responders have been offered in various locations on the first and third Monday of every month since August and appointments for additional sessions are scheduled through March of 2009. Forty-seven volunteer MSBA attorneys have been trained to provide the service.
Two representatives from the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association (MN LEMA), founder Jim Crawford and Vice President Kim Klawiter, were on hand to thank the Assembly for supporting the program and to recognize individuals for their work. They presented plaques of recognition to former President Kelly, Executive Director Tim Groshens, and Program Coordinator Susan Link.
V. Treasurer's Report
Treasurer Leo Brisbois reported that as of August 31 we have collected 92.6% of budgeted membership dues, which is on par with collections last year at this time: Total revenues, including nondues revenue, are at 68.6% of budget, just under the percentage recorded for the same period last year. Total expenses as of August 31 are 14.6% of budgeted expenses; this figure exceeds the comparable figure from 2006 but includes some unbudgeted expenses related to the MinnDocs and FastCase programs that were approved by the Assembly.
VI. Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission
Retired Judge Isabel Gomez reported on a project being undertaken jointly by the commission and the Institute of Race & Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School to explore racial disparities in Minnesota’s criminal justice system. Drawing on the Commission’s extensive criminal justice database, the project brings together academic experts on sentencing, crime and punishment with experts from the courts, including the chief chronicler of Minnesota’s Sentencing Guidelines.
Minnesota historically has been notable among the states for having the greatest racial disparity in its prison population. While the disparity has eased somewhat in recent years as more white defendants convicted of meth-related offenses have been sentenced to prison, minorities remain 12 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to prison in this state. Overall, Minnesota has the lowest or second lowest incarceration rate among the states.
The project’s research will be conducted statewide, sampling every court in which substantial numbers of nonwhites are found. It is expected to include distinction/consideration of Hispanics, native-born Africans, and social factors that may illumine differences that would be obscured by simple white/nonwhite classification of subjects. The project expects to survey 16,000 cases per year and will sample several thousand of these to examine in detail. The Institute on Race & Poverty will then look at background data on communities from which these cases emerged to better understand the social context. Judge Gomez observed that, compared to the situation she observed when she first came to Minneapolis 44 years ago, today most affected neighborhoods in Minneapolis are worse off than they were in terms of racial disparities on most measures. She said she hopes the project will advance the discussion of these important issues.
President Melendez noted that, due to late notice to the Assembly, the agenda for this meeting was technically illegal. He asked for a motion to approve the agenda, including two items offered for addition to the agenda by the Operations Committee. The motion was made, seconded and carried.
VIII. Consent Calendar
Noting that the membership of Assembly committees was still in flux, President Melendez asked to supplement the Consent Calendar with a motion to delegate to the Council permission to add members to Assembly committees. The Consent Calendar was then voted and approved.
IX. Elections/Appointments Committee
Committee Chair Terry Votel presented the recommendations of the committee. Richard Kyle Jr. and Michael Unger were recommended for three-year terms on Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. As no others were nominated from the floor, the nominees were approved. Patrick R. Burns, of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, was recommended for a three-year term on Lawyers Trust Account Board. Absent further nominations from the floor, the nomination was approved. Andrew Baese was recommended for appointment to a position on the Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services Board. No other nominations being offered from the floor, the nomination was approved.
X. Governance Committee
Chairman Aaron Biber reported on behalf of the Governance Committee. Among the issues being considered by the Committee he identified several that he deemed likely to be before the Assembly in December:
- A request from the Matrimonial Lawyers Association for affiliation with the MSBA;
- Revisions to the bylaws of the Animal Law Section;
- Revisions to MSBA Bylaws Section 4.11.1 regarding who can serve as chair of Assembly committees, the intent being to establish authority for appointment of appropriately qualified persons who are not members of the Council to chair Assembly committees where problems with succession to the Council contraindicate appointment of a Council member.
Mr. Biber further reported that the committee has adopted a policy for the Assembly on conflicts of interest and is examining a disability policy. The committee is also examining the relationship between MSBA and Minnesota CLE as a matter of corporate organization and is likely to propose that MCLE become a wholly owned subsidiary of MSBA.
Mr. Biber then moved proposed amendments to the bylaws of the Real Property Law Section, which would move the Section’s annual meeting to November. He noted that, in reviewing the proposed amendments, the Committee discovered other provisions in the Section’s bylaws requiring correction, and asked that the Assembly approve the changes proposed with the expectation that additional changes would be dealt with by the Section at its meeting in November. The motion carried.
Mr. Biber then moved the recommendation of the 2008 Convention Committee to reconsider the prior action of the Assembly and change the location of the 2008 Convention from Minneapolis to Duluth and the days of the Convention from Wednesday through Friday to Sunday through Tuesday. He introduced Jason Kohlmeyer, co-chair of the Convention Committee, who advised that the changes were proposed to remedy the steady decline in attendance at the Convention. He noted that the cost to hold the 2008 Convention in Hennepin County would be very high and that facilities available for the purpose are second rate. By contrast, good rates and facilities are available in Duluth for the proposed dates, June 15-17, 2008, which he noted will be Father’s Day weekend. The motion carried.
XI. General Policy Committee
Prof. David Schultz reported on behalf of the committee in the absence of Committee Chair Lisa Montpetit Brabbit. He then moved action on the recommendation of the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged (LAD) Committee that the MSBA establish a task force to explore the feasibility of a civil right to counsel in Minnesota. Chief Judge Edward Toussaint of the Minnesota Court of Appeals asked that the minutes record his abstention from this vote. The motion was then voted and carried.
XII. Legislative Committee
Lloyd Grooms, MSBA’s lobbyist, reported on behalf of the Committee in the absence of Committee Chair Susan Holden. He indicated that the MSBA’s legislative agenda is being put together for the 2008 session and the Committee expects to meet by the end of November to craft legislative proposals for presentation to the December Assembly. Judicial selection and a possible sales tax on legal services are expected to be among issues to be addressed. Mr. Grooms urged that it is imperative that we increase grassroots support for MSBA legislative initiatives and urged that Assembly members and their constituents sign-up for the MSBA’s Grassroots Network.
Noting that the Assembly no longer had a quorum, President Melendez called for a vote on whether to continue the meeting without a quorum. The motion carried.
XV. Operations Committee
Treasurer Leo Brisbois reported on behalf of the committee. He noted the addition to the agenda of an action item (Item E) to authorize appointment of qualified nonmembers of the Assembly to Assembly committees. He further described two additional action items: C. to approve the unbudgeted funding request from the Insurance for Members Committee for $2,600; and D. to recognize in the 2007-08 fiscal year expenditures authorized by the Assembly in April 2007 of $6,000 for the Civil Litigation Section’s Time Matters publication and $3,000 for the Criminal Law Section’s educational video on meth addiction. He then requested approval of these three items by one vote. The motion carried.
Mr. Brisbois then introduced Rob Koch from the auditing firm of Olson, Thielen & Co., and Tim Giving, MSBA Director of Accounting, who presented the audit of the MSBA General Fund and the Minnesota CLE Fund for the year ending June 30, 2007. Mr. Koch advised the Assembly that the auditors had given the Funds an unqualified, clean opinion. On behalf of the committee, Mr. Brisbois moved acceptance of the audit. The motion carried.
There were no announcements.
The meeting was adjourned 3:30 p.m.