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Minnesota State Bar Association

Assembly Minutes 2010-11 Bar Year

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June 24, 2011
April 28, 2011
December 10, 2010
September 17, 2010

Minnesota

State Bar

Association

 

Assembly

The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. on Friday, June 24, 2011, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center in Minneapolis. President Terry Votel presided, with Nancy Mischel recording. The Roll Call is attached.

 

I.       Annual Meeting of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation

A.     Presentation of Annual Report.  J.P. Barone, Chair, presented the Foundation’s annual report, including activities and grants awarded during the year.  Mr. Barone noted that contributions to the Foundation via the dues renewal process have been declining and asked that members be sure not to cross out the contribution when they renew their membership.

 

B.       Election of Board Members.  The three-year terms of the following directors expire on June 30, 2011:  Linda Barbe, St. Louis County; James P. Barone, Ramsey County, Bruce Candlin, Ramsey County; Richard Hendrickson, Hennepin County; and Nancy Kleeman, Hennepin County.  Ms. Barbe, Mr. Candlin and Mr. Hendrickson are eligible and interested in serving an additional term.  Mr. Barone and Ms. Kleeman are not interested in serving an additional term.  The Elections/Appointments Committee recommends the following candidates:

o    Linda Barbe, St. Louis County

o    Bruce Candlin, Hennepin County

o    Richard Hendrickson, Hennepin County

o    Phyllis Karasov, Ramsey County

o    Jeri Lyn Reinhardt, Ramsey County

Mr. Barone called three times for new nominations from the floor; none were forthcoming.  The recommended slate of candidates was approved.  Mr. Barone noted he has served on the Foundation Board for 15 years; nine as Chair.  He thanked the members for the opportunity to serve. 

 

II.      Awards and Special Recognitions

A.     Presentation of President’s Award.  President Votel presented Thad Lightfoot, Legislative Committee Chair, with the President’s Award.  President Votel commented on the excellent leadership and many hours Mr. Lightfoot spent on legislative issues during an extremely busy session.

 

B.     Presentation of Professional Excellence Award.  President Votel presented the Professional Excellence Award to Brock Hunter for his work assisting veterans returning from combat with their legal issues.  Mr. Hunter was instrumental in the establishment of a veterans’ treatment court in Hennepin County and presents many free CLE programs to attorneys and judges on veterans issues.

 

C.     Recognition of Outgoing Assembly Members.  President Votel thanked outgoing Assembly members for their service.

 

III.     President’s Report. 

President Votel reported on the many activities of the MSBA since the last Assembly meeting.  Some examples include: attending the spring new admittee ceremony, attending district bar annual meetings, the Past Presidents and Senior Counselors dinners, meetings with interested parties regarding MSBA legislation, and Nine Days in June.

 

IV.    Treasurer’s Report.

MSBA Treasurer Bob Enger reported that although membership renewals are running about 1% behind this time last year, revenues are ahead of schedule as compared to this time last year.

 


V.     Executive Director’s Report.

MSBA Executive Director Tim Groshens referred members to the written report in the materials and asked if there were any questions; there were none.

 

VI.    Consent Calendar

President Votel presented Items A-D, which were moved and adopted with one change to item C, adding Richard Kyle as a co-chair to the Operations Committee.  In addition, President-elect Brent Routman took the opportunity to thank President Votel for his service to the MSBA.

 

A.     Election of Robert Enger as President-elect; Phil Duran as Treasurer and Richard Kyle, Jr. as Secretary (nominated by the Ramsey County Bar Association)

B.     Approval of minutes of the April 28, 2011 meeting

C.     Action to approve the Recommendations of the President-Elect regarding 2011-12 committees

D.     Action on the Recommendation of the President-Elect regarding the 2011-12 Assembly meeting schedule

Date

Time

Friday, September 9 – Bar Leader Conference

TBD

Friday, December 16

12:00 noon

Thursday, April 26

12:00 noon

Friday, June 29

9:00 a.m.

 

VII.   Elections/Appointments Committee

A.       Dyan Ebert, Chair, reported that the Committee met to discuss one agenda item as follows.

 

B.     Action on the recommendation that the Assembly elect Hildy Bowbeer, Ramsey County, Thaddeus Lightfoot, Hennepin County, and Steve Reyelts, St. Louis County to the Minnesota CLE Board of Directors.  President Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation carried.

 

VIII.  General Policy Committee

A.     Mary Ward, Chair, reported that the Committee met to discuss one agenda item as follows.

 

B.     Action on the Report and Recommendation of the Judiciary Committee to the MSBA Regarding the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence’s Report to the House of Delegates on Judicial Disqualification.  Ms. Ward called on Mike Unger, Judiciary Committee Chair, to explain the Committee’s recommendation that the MSBA Assembly encourage its ABA delegates to support the ABA Standing Committee’s recommendations regarding judicial disqualification.  Following discussion, a vote was taken on the recommendation.  The recommendation passed with Justice Dietzen, Judge Neville, Judge Bohr and Judge Stafsholt abstaining.

 

IX.    Governance Committee

A.     Brad Thorsen, a member of the Governance Committee, reported in the absence of Chair Fred Finch that the Committee had no action items.

 

X.       Legislative Committee

A.     Thad Lightfoot, Chair, reported on the work of the Committee. 

B.       Report on the Legislative Session.  Bryan Lake, Government Relations Director, provided an overview of the legislative session and the outcome of MSBA proposed legislation.

 

XI.    Operations Committee

A.     Bob Enger, Chair, reported that the Committee has not met.          

 

XII.   New Business

A.  President Votel recognized Sonia Miller-Van Oort.  Ms. Miller-Van Oort provided members with a brief update regarding the work of the Diversity Best Practices Outreach Task Force’s efforts to have legal employers sign on to a set of diversity commitment principles.

 

B.  President-elect Routman discussed the MSBA’s governance structure, including a 128 member Assembly which is the corporate board of directors and a 15 member Council which has limited powers.  Mr. Routman pointed out that one difficulty of having such a large board is achieving a quorum to conduct business.  Mr. Routman divided members into small groups to discuss the strength and weaknesses of the current structure and possible alternatives. 

 

XIII.  Announcements

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 July 29, 2011.)

o    Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board — The terms of Nancy Zalusky Berg, Hennepin County, and Richard Lareau, Hennepin County, expire on January 31, 2012.  Ms. Berg and Mr. Lareau have each served one term and are eligible to serve an additional term. 

o    State Board of Legal Certification – The term of M. William O’Brien, Hennepin County, expires on January 1, 2012.  Mr. O’Brien has served one term and is eligible to serve an additional term.

o    Bar Admissions Advisory Council – The term of David Schultz, Ramsey County, expires in July 2011.  Mr. Schultz is eligible to serve an additional term.

 

XIV.  Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m. 

 

 

Approval recommended,

 

 

 

Phil Duran

Secretary

 


 

Minnesota

State Bar

Association

 

The meeting was called to order at 12:33 p.m. Thursday, April 28, 2011, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center in Minneapolis. President Terry Votel presided, with Nancy Mischel recording. The Roll Call is attached.

 

I.       Presentations

SAGE Award:  Ashley Wenger, Co-Chair of the Women in the Legal Profession Committee, presented this award to Dorsey and Whitney.  Marianne Short accepted on behalf of the firm. 

Becker Awards:  The staff legal services award was given to Sue Pontinen, Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers Network.  Ms. Pontinen accepted the award on behalf of the entire VLN staff.  The other staff legal services award went to Barb O’Connell from Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance.  Barb is a long-time MMLA employee who served as Executive Assistant to Jerry Lane.  The law student award went to Ashton Boon, a third year student at Hamline and an MJF pro bono law clerk. 

Graven Award:  Larry Wertheim from the Kennedy & Graven Law Firm provided history on the David Graven Award.  The award was presented to Professor Peter Knapp from William Mitchell School of Law.

 

II.      President’s Report

President Votel reported on a number of items of interest to Assembly members:

1)     Involvement of the MSBA in the Coalition to Preserve Justice System Funding;

2)     Supreme Court rulings on the petitions from civil legal services and the public defenders to continue on a permanent basis the respective increases in the attorney registration fee.  The Court followed the MSBA’s recommendations which were to make the $25 civil legal services increase permanent; and to continue the public defenders $75 increase for only two additional years;

3)     MSBA participation in the Coalition for Impartial Justice;

4)     MSBA’s legislative efforts to prevent a sales tax on legal services ;

5)     Efforts of MSBA Council members to attend annual meetings of the district bars and sections;

6)     Minority Bar Summit meeting;

7)     iCivics initiative;

8)     MSBA participation at ABA Day in Washington D.C.;

9)     Participation in a panel presentation at the National Conference of Bar Presidents meeting in Atlanta in February;

10)  Efforts to begin/reinstate a “master lawyers” section within the MSBA;

11)  State mock trial tournament in Duluth;

12)  10-year anniversary of the Professionalism Aspirations;

13)  Senior Counselors Dinner; and

14)  Nine Days in June.

 

III.      Treasurer’s Report

Secretary Phil Duran, filling in for Treasurer Bob Enger, directed attention to written materials distributed in advance of the session.  

 

IV.    Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director Tim Groshens referred Assembly members to his written report, distributed in advance of the session.  Mr. Groshens recognized Greg Luce and thanked him for his work; Mr. Luce is leaving the MSBA to pursue other opportunities.  Mr. Groshens also noted the new online Minnesota ethics book by Bill Wernz that can be accessed and downloaded free of charge from the MSBA website.  Mr. Groshens invited questions from members. There were no questions.

 

V.     Consent Calendar

President Votel directed attention to the following Consent Calendar item.

A.       Approval of minutes of the December 10, 2010 meeting

President Votel called the question to approve the item. The motion carried.

 

VI.    Additional Agenda Items

President Votel requested a motion to authorize consideration of items on this agenda that were not included in the original notice and purpose of the Assembly.  The motion was made, seconded, and carried.

 

VII.   Elections/Appointments Committee

Dyan Ebert, Chair, reported on the Committee’s work and presented the following recommendations:

A.     Action on the recommendation that the Assembly nominate Dana Banwer, Hennepin County, to the Client Security Board.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation carried.

B      Action on the recommendation that the Assembly nominate Daniel R. Kelly, Hennepin County, and Cameron Seybolt, Hennepin County, to the State Board of Continuing Legal Education.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation carried.

C      Action on the recommendation that the Assembly nominate Diane Dube, Hennepin County, and Penelope Phillips, Hennepin County, to the Legal Services Advisory Committee.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation carried.

D.     Action on the recommendation that the Assembly elect Jon Saunders to the Central Minnesota Legal Services Board.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation carried.

E.     Action on the recommendation that the Assembly elect Jason Kohlmeyer, Blue Earth County, Michael Miller, Hennepin County (Young Lawyer Delegate), and Mary Schneider, Clay County, as MSBA/ABA Delegates.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation carried. 

F.      Action on the recommendation that the Assembly elect Catharine Haukadahl, Gary Hird, and Floyd Pnewski to the MVAP Board of Directors.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation carried.

 

VIII.  Governance Committee

Committee Chair Fred Finch presented a brief report on the committee's work.  Following this report, Mr. Finch presided over a series of recommendations.

 

A.     Action on the recommendation to create a new Consumer Litigation Section.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation passed.

B.     Action on the recommendation to create a new Social Security Disability Law SectionMr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation passed.

C.     Action on a corrective resolution regarding the amendment of the MCLE Articles of Incorporation related to appointment of MCLE directors.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation passed.

D.     Action on the recommendation to amend the Bylaws of the Food & Drug Law Section.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation passed.

E.     Action on the recommendation to amend MSBA Bylaw Section 10.2 as follows:

 

§ 10.2.  Membership

All members in good standing of the MSBA are eligible for membership in any section provided they otherwise meet the membership requirements set forth in the section bylaws.  A section's bylaws may permit persons who are not eligible for membership in the MSBA to be members of a section upon payment of section membership dues, provided that no such section member shall serve as a section officer.  

 

Mr. Finch reported that this recommendation came about as the result of the ADR section’s desire to elect a non-MSBA member as their chair.  Mr. Finch stated the proposed change does not become effective until July 1, 2012 per the ADR section’s request.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation passed.  Brad Thorsen recused himself from the vote.

 

IX.    Legislative Committee

Chair Thad Lightfoot reported on the work of the Legislative Committee.  The Committee met on April 19 and considered a proposal from the Criminal Law Section that the MSBA endorse the Uniform Consequence of Conviction Act.  Due to concerns raised by various county attorney organizations, the proposal was sent back to the Section for further study and to provide the Committee time to work with other interested organizations and attempt to reach an agreement with them.

 

X.     Operations Committee

Phil Duran, reporting on behalf of Chair Bob Enger, informed the Assembly on the work of the Committee and requested the Assembly approve changes in section dues as noted below:

 

Section

2010-11

2011-12

Children and the Law
New Admittee

$9
$15

$14
$0

Computer and Technology Law
Public/Legal Services
New Admittee

$19
$19
$25

$24
$24
$30

Construction Law – Public/Legal Services

N/A

$5

Criminal Law
New Admittee

$9
$15

$14
$20

Family Law – Income under $35,000

N/A

$15

Health Law
Public/Legal Services
New Admittee

$21
N/A
$21

$24
$21
$24

Labor & Employment Law
New Admittee

$25
$25

$29
$0

Outstate Practice – New Admittee

$10

$0

Probate & Trust Law
New Admittee

$6
$12

$14
$20

The changes were approved.

 

A.     Action on the recommendation to amend the Financial Procedures Policy for Bank and Investment Accounts.  Mr. Duran referred members to the technical updates noted in the materials.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation passed.

B.     Action on the recommendation on the Minnesota CLE 2011-12 budget.  Michael Wahlig, MN CLE Board Chair, and Executive Director Frank Harris briefly presented the Minnesota CLE budget.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the recommendation and the recommendation passed.

C.     Action on the recommendation on the 2011-12 MSBA General Fund budget.  Mr. Duran noted that the 2011-12 budget shifts some funds out of the civic education area and more into section staffing.  Mr. Votel called for a vote on the adoption of the 2011-12 budget, and the budget was adopted.

 

XI.    Council

A.  Action to approve the new Mission, Vision, Values and Strategic Plan

President Votel reviewed the strategic planning process undertaken by the MSBA, with assistance from consultant Cincinnatus, over the past year to develop a new Mission, Vision, and Values.  The MSBA Council recommends the revised mission, vision and values included in the materials.  A motion to adopt the mission, vision and values was moved, seconded, and passed.

 

XII.   New Business

Nancy Mischel, Associate Executive Director, reviewed the MSBA’s current efforts to update information on diversity in the legal profession via surveys and focus groups.  Focus group participants are particularly needed; interested members are asked to contact Ms. Mischel.

 

XIII.  Announcements

A.     Notice of elections (Elections will take place at the June 24, 2011 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 Friday, May 6.)

 

         1     The Assembly, sitting as the members of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation, will elect directors of the Foundation.  The three-year terms of the following directors expire on June 30, 2011:  Linda Barbe, St. Louis County; James P. Barone, Ramsey County, Bruce Candlin, Ramsey County; Richard Hendrickson, Hennepin County; and Nancy Kleeman, Hennepin County.  Ms. Barbe, Mr. Candlin and Mr. Hendrickson are eligible and interested in serving an additional term.  Mr. Barone and Ms. Kleeman are not interested in serving an additional term.

 

         2.    Minnesota CLE Board of Directors – The terms of Hildy Bowbeer, Ramsey County, Don Nichols, Hennepin County, and Steve Reyelts, St. Louis County, expire June 30, 2011.  Ms. Bowbeer and Mr. Reyelts are eligible and interested in serving another term; Mr. Nichols is not interested in serving another term.

 

B.     Draft 2011-12 Assembly Meeting Schedule

Date

Time

Friday, September 9 – Bar Leader Conference

TBD

Friday, December 9

12:00 noon

Thursday, April 26

12:00 noon

Friday, June 29

9:00 a.m.

 

C.     Future Meeting

         Friday, June 24, 2011 – 9:00 a.m. (Minnesota CLE)

 

XIV.   Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 2:35 p.m. 

 

 

Approval recommended,

 

 

Phil Duran

Secretary


 

Minnesota

State Bar

Association

 

The meeting was called to order at 12:33 p.m. Friday, December 10, 2010, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center in Minneapolis. President Terry Votel presided, with Richard Ericson recording. The Roll Call is attached.

 

I.       Presentations

Elmer Wiblishauser Award

Christopher Stall, Chair of the Publications Committee, presented this annual author’s award to Judge Randall Slieter for his May/June 2010 Bench & Bar article entitled "Contempt of Court: Has This Been a Bad Month for your Client?"

 

Citizen Lawyer Award

Eldon Kaul, former Chair of the Civic Education Committee, presented this award to Jennifer Bloom of the Learning Law and Democracy Foundation. The award recognizes Ms. Bloom's tireless work to promote understanding of the judicial system, through her professional work and community involvement.

 

II.      President’s Report

President Votel reported on several items of interest to Assembly members:

·  The Minority Bar Summit, reactivated in fiscal year 2009-10 by then-President Leo Brisbois, enjoyed good attendance and engagement by participants, with an initiative underway to reach out to area law schools.

·  Area judges met in Stearns County recently with MSBA leaders to discuss major legislative initiatives, including funding for the courts and potential legislation to impose a sales tax on legal services. MSBA Secretary Phil Duran spearheaded the outreach program.

·  The October 2010 Great Rivers Bar Conference, hosted by the MSBA, addressed activities and issues facing bar associations. President Votel reported on the Michigan State Bar’s Master Lawyers Section, indicating that the MSBA may establish a similar such group in Minnesota.

·  President Votel directed attention to the 2011 Nine Days in June events, encouraging Assembly members to mark their calendars and to encourage colleagues to attend.

 

III.     Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Bob Enger directed attention to written materials distributed in advance of the session. Those reports projected a shortfall of $32,000 for the current fiscal year, in part because membership dues were slightly down from projections. He emphasized that investments were performing well despite the economic downturn, however, and reported that the shortfall at present was not a cause for concern. He directed attention to a later agenda item on the MSBA's recently filed IRS Form 990.

 

IV.    Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director Tim Groshens referred Assembly members to his written report, distributed in advance of the session, and invited questions from members. There were no questions.

 

V.     Consent Calendar

President Votel directed attention to the following two Consent Calendar items.

B.     Approval of minutes of the September 17, 2010 meeting

B.     Action on the Recommendation of the Governance Committee regarding amendments to the Bylaws of the General Practice Solo Small Firm Section

President Votel called the question to approve the two items. The motion carried.

 


VI.    Additional Agenda Items

President Votel reported that no new agenda items had been submitted after the original notice to delegates. He invited delegates to submit additional agenda items; hearing none, he proceeded to the next agenda item.

 

VII.   Elections/Appointments Committee

Committee Chair Dyan Ebert reported on the work on the committee, which reviewed Qualifications and Interest Statements of candidates for two outside boards. She directed attention to the recommendations of the committee regarding these two boards.

 

President Votel then called for additional nominations for the position on the Minnesota CLE Board; hearing none, he called the question on the committee's recommendation to appoint Michael Ford and Cindy Telstad. The motion carried.

 

President Votel also called for additional nominations for the position on the Forensic Laboratory Advisory Board; hearing none, he called the question on the committee's recommendation to appoint Thomas C. Plunkett. The motion carried.

 

Ms. Ebert also directed attention to Agenda Item XIV, which announced elections and appointments to be considered at the Assembly's next session.

 

VIII.  Governance Committee

President Votel recognized Committee Chair Fred Finch, who presented a brief report on the committee's work. Following this report (Agenda Item VIII. A), Mr. Finch presided over a series of recommendations. As recommendations of the Governance Committee, these recommendations did not require a second.

 

B.     Action to amend MSBA Bylaws Sections 4.3, 4.4, 7.2, 7.3 and 9.3 relating to diversity

During his 2009-10 term as MSBA president, Leo Brisbois called for the MSBA to review bylaw provisions to ensure that the Bar's governing bodies reflect diversity in the profession and in the public. The Diversity Task Force appointed as a result, called for bylaw amendments that would broaden the definition of diversity. Under the amendments, the Assembly's voting and alternate representatives, as well as Council members, would be elected after consideration of gender, race, and additional forms of diversity.  The Governance Committee reviewed the Task Force’s recommendations and recommends approval by the Assembly.  Following discussion, Mr. Finch clarified that the Committee did not intend to enumerate all such forms of diversity, but to ensure that the MSBA's governing bodies reflect demographic and other considerations of the profession and membership. The recommendation also encouraged district bar associations to incorporate similar considerations. President Votel called the question; the motion carried.

 

C.     Action to amend MSBA Bylaws Sections 4.1 and 9.2.5 relating to the removal of an officer

The Governance Committee conducted a study to determine whether current provisions for removal of an officer were specific enough to deal with all instances of removal for cause.  After study, the Governance Committee recommends a proposed amendment calling for removal by majority vote of the Assembly, following a hearing with representation of the officer by counsel. Responding to questions, Mr. Finch clarified that, as a nongovernmental body, the MSBA could set its own rules regarding that hearing and process. Additional discussion included potential suspension pending prosecution, the potential need for a special session of the Assembly to be called, and possible exposure to litigation following removal. Following this discussion, President Votel called the question; the motion carried.

 

D.     Action to restate MSBA Bylaws Section 12, 13, and 14 relating to legislation, amicus briefs, and other action

Mr. Finch reported that the Committee considered whether existing bylaws were sufficiently detailed with regard to policies and procedures related to legislation, amicus briefs, and related items. The resulting recommendation, as detailed in the meeting materials, provides specific recommendations under separate sections related to these areas. The proposed bylaw amendments were intended to ensure that all MSBA bodies, allowed for sound deliberation, transparency, and inclusion of all members under appropriate criteria. Mr. Finch said that sections could continue their tradition of active involvement in these areas; the amendment was simply intended to ensure that they followed guidelines with proper documentation, followed by review by the acting MSBA president to ensure that actions did not conflict with standing MSBA policies. Following discussion, President Votel called the question; the motion carried.

 

E.     Action to amend MSBA Bylaws Section 16.4 relating to the official publication

Mr. Finch noted that MSBA bylaws have historically stated that notices to members may be published in Bench & Bar of Minnesota, the monthly print magazine designated as the official publication of the MSBA. In 2010, the MSBA launched an all-digital alternative version of Bench & Bar, and now permits members to opt out of receiving the print edition. In light of this change, the Governance Committee proposed this bylaw amendment defining notice as publication via print and electronic editions of Bench & Bar. President Votel called the question; the motion carried.

 

IX.    Legislative Committee

Committee Chair Thad Lightfoot presented a brief report on behalf of the Committee. He praised MSBA sections for their thoughtful consideration of legislation intended to benefit the public and the profession, and for their thorough presentation of materials.

 

Mr. Lightfoot indicated that the recommendations, as approved by the Committee and as presented in the meeting materials, would be presented separately, with separate votes. As recommendations of the Assembly's Legislative Committee, they did not require a second from the floor.

 

With this report completed, Mr. Lightfoot proceeded to Agenda Item IX. B. Action on the Proposed Legislative Agenda. Individual recommendations appear below; all recommendations were accompanied with supporting text posted on the MSBA's website in advance of the session.

 

Business Law:

Resolved: That the MSBA endorse the following proposals of the Business Law Section:

Revisions to Article 9 of the UCC

a.      A new statutory scheme for receiverships (This proposal is a joint effort from the Business Law and Real Property sections.)

b.      The Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act

Following Mr. Lightfoot's presentation, President Votel called the question; the motion carried.

 

Criminal Law Section

Resolved: That the MSBA endorse the following proposals of the Criminal Law Section:

a.      Chapter 367, related to controlled substance mixture definitions, as passed by the Minnesota legislature and vetoed by the governor in 2010

b.      Chapter 381, related to criminal records expungement, as passed by the Minnesota legislature and vetoed by the governor in 2010

Following Mr. Lightfoot's presentation, President Votel called the question. The motion carried with three abstentions (Justice Dietzen, Judge Larkin and Judge Neville).

 

Real Property Law Section:

a.      Amendments to §272.15, deed to correct title.

b.      Amendments to §358.50, effect of acknowledgment.

c.      Amendments to §500.20, conservation easements.

d.      Amendments to §559.217, purchase agreement cancellation.

e.      Amendments to §580.23, reverse mortgage redemption period.

f.       Amendments to §515B, Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act.

Following Mr. Lightfoot's presentation, President Votel called the question. The motion carried with one abstention.

 

Tax Law Section:

a.      Establishment of a “mailbox rule” in response to the Minnesota Supreme Court decision in Langer v. Commissioner of Revenue, 773 N.W.2d 77 (Minn. 2009).

Following Mr. Lightfoot's presentation, President Votel called the question. The motion carried with two abstentions.

 

Discussion then turned to two agenda items characterized as "housekeeping" resolutions.  Mr. Lightfoot directed attention to a document in the meeting materials listing current MSBA Legislative Positions. Under MSBA Bylaws, three of the positions were due to expire absent action by the Assembly. These three were identified as:

 

6.  Resolved that the MSBA support the history and tradition of a strong, independent bench at the Office of Administrative Hearings.

 

7.  Resolved that the MSBA support adequate funding for the Minnesota judicial branch, legal aid and pro bono programs, and the public defender system.

 

8.  Resolved that the MSBA supports a civil justice system that preserves Minnesota’s right to trial by jury and the right to counsel for each citizen without arbitrary limits on damages or unreasonable restrictions on legal fees.

 

Following discussion, President Votel called the question on the Legislative Committee's motion that all three items be reaffirmed as legislative positions. The motion carried.

 

The second "housekeeping" item included the following resolution:

 

That the MSBA approve a general allocation of the legislative counsel’s time as follows: 75% to profession-wide concerns, including but not limited to judicial election/selection reform, adequate court funding, and a potential sales tax on legal services; and 25% to specific agenda items approved by the Assembly; with no allocation for reserve this session; with the understanding that the MSBA President and his designee(s) may redistribute the legislative counsel’s time as the need arises during the legislative session.

 

Mr. Lightfoot noted that a similar recommendation had passed in December 2009. President Votel called the question; the motion carried.

 

Mr. Lightfoot then directed attention to report items appearing in the meeting materials, which included proposals referred back to sections to permit additional study.

 

X.     Operations Committee – Robert Enger, Chair

Committee Chair Robert Enger presented a brief report. He noted that the economic recovery continued to be slow, but that MSBA investments reflected continued growth. He also directed attention to IRS Form 990, distributed in advance to members of the Assembly, and highlighted portions of this recently filed Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.

 

XI.    Council

The Assembly heard two recommendations from the MSBA Council regarding petitions for extensions of attorney registration fee surcharges designed to offset budget shortfalls affecting public defenders and legal services programs. President Votel noted that the Council considered both of the proposed recommendations and related Supreme Court petitions to be consistent with the MSBA's mission to assist the courts and to advance the public interest. He said that while the MSBA would continue to advocate before the Legislature for adequate funding in these areas, the proposed extensions of fee increases would demonstrate the Bar's continued commitment to its mission.

 

The recommendations followed attorney registration fee surcharges endorsed by the MSBA Assembly in June 2009 and presented in subsequent petitions to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The 2009 MSBA petition recommended a two-year sunset for a $75 annual surcharge to be directed to public defenders, but no sunset for a $25 annual increase directed to legal services providers. In its 2009 Order issued in response to the MSBA petition, the Minnesota Supreme Court approved both surcharges, but imposed a two-year sunset on both of the increases in attorney registration fees.

 

The two Council recommendations were considered separately. The first stated:

 

Resolved, that due to the continuation of the economic difficulties, the MSBA support the Board of Public Defense’s petition for continuation of the $75 surcharge on the Attorney Registration fee on the condition that after a two-year extension the surcharge is removed.

 

State Public Defender John Stuart and Kevin Kajer, Chief Administrator of the Board of Public Defense, directed attention to the report and recommendation appearing in the meeting materials. 

 

Mr. Stuart and Mr. Kajer thanked the Assembly for its previous support of the Board of Public Defense, and noted that funding remained a critical issue. Caseloads for the state's public defenders are now at 2.5 times the standards recommended by the American Bar Association, with some public defenders opening more than 400 criminal cases per year and some Minnesota counties operating with no public defenders. The proposed extension of the $75 attorney fee increase would preserve some 32 FTE positions, they said, easing a portion of the funding shortfall in the public interest.

 

During subsequent discussion, Mr. Stuart and Mr. Kajer acknowledged arguments that the public defender system was constitutionally mandated, and that it was the Legislature's responsibility to ensure adequate funding. However, they urged the Assembly to consider the potential breakdown in justice for all Minnesotans under current funding levels, and to proceed with the petition to secure emergency funding while continuing to advocate before the Legislature for adequate monies.

 

Following additional discussion, President Votel called the question. The motion to petition the Supreme Court for an extension of the $75 fee increase, subject to a two-year sunset, carried with two abstentions (Justice Dietzen and Judge Larkin). 

 

President Votel then turned to the second Council recommendation:

 

Resolved, that due to the continuation of the economic difficulties, the MSBA support the Legal Services Planning Committee’s petition for continuation of the $25 surcharge on the Attorney Registration fee on the condition that after a two-year extension the surcharge is removed.

 

Jeremy Lane of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance moved to amend the recommendation and to eliminate the two-year sunset. Mr. Lane's motion to amend stated:

 

Resolved, that due to the need for ongoing, stable funding for civil legal services for the poor, which improves both the efficiency and quality of the justice system, the MSBA supports the Legal Services Planning Committee's petition for continuation of the $25 surcharge on the Attorney Registration Fee with no sunset.

 

President Votel called the question on the motion to amend; the motion carried.

 

Speaking on behalf of the recommendation were William Mitchell College of Law Professor Peter Knapp and LAD Committee Co-chairs Matt Boos and Jean Lastine. Each of the presenters stressed issues of critical funding for legal services, and noted that the 2009 increase, due to sunset in 2011, had helped to ease the burdens imposed by dwindling revenues from IOLTA, the LSC, and other public sources.

 

Following discussion, President Votel called the question on the motion as amended. The motion carried with two abstentions (Justice Dietzen and Judge Larkin).

 

President Votel then turned to the final agenda item brought by the Council. He directed attention to a draft statement of Mission, Vision, and Values prepared by the MSBA Strategic Planning Committee. In addition to these issues, the committee was reviewing goals and tactics, he said.

 

XII.     Report of the Minnesota Justice Foundation on the Law School Initiative of the LAD Committee

Sara Schwebs, staff attorney with the Minnesota Justice Foundation, presented a report on this initiative, which assists attorneys providing pro bono services while serving to develop and bolster skills and experience of law students.

 

XIII.  New Business

There was no new business.

 

XIV.  Announcements

     A.    Notice of nominations/appointments to the following boards:

(Election of nominees will take place at the April 28, 2011 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 Friday, March 11.)

                1.     Client Security Board -- The term of Harriet Sims, Hennepin County, expires June 30, 2011.  Ms. Sims has served two terms and is not eligible to serve an additional term.

                2.     State Board of Continuing Legal Education – The terms of Daniel R. Kelly, Hennepin County, and Cameron Seybolt, Hennepin County, expire June 30, 2011.  Mr. Kelly and Mr. Seybolt have served one term and are eligible and interested in serving an additional term.

                3.     Legal Services Advisory Committee -- The terms of Diane Dube, Hennepin County, and Penelope Phillips, Hennepin County, expire July 1, 2011.  Both Ms. Dube and Ms. Phillips have served one term and are eligible to serve an additional term.

                4.     Central Minnesota Legal Services – The term of Jon Saunders expires April 30, 2011.  Mr. Saunders is eligible to serve an additional term. 

                5.     MSBA/ABA Delegates – The terms of Michael Miller (Young Lawyer Delegate), Judge Jon Stafsholt, and David Stowman expire at the end of the ABA meeting in August.  Mr. Miller and Judge Stafsholt are eligible and interested in serving an additional term.  Mr. Stowman has served three terms and is not eligible for another term.

 

         B.    Future Meetings

                Thursday, April 28, 2011 -- Noon (Minnesota CLE)

                Friday, June 24, 2011 – 9:00 a.m. (Minnesota CLE)

 

XV.    Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 3 p.m.

 

Approval recommended,

 

 

 

Phil Duran

Secretary

 


 

Minnesota

State Bar

Association

 

Assembly

The meeting was called to order at 2:10 p.m. Friday, September 17, 2010, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center in Minneapolis.  President Terry Votel presided, with Jud Haverkamp recording.  The Roll Call is attached.

 

I. President’s Report.  President Votel bypassed the opportunity to present a report, noting that he had reported to members at the Bar Leader Conference earlier in the day.

 

II. Executive Director's Report.  Executive Director Tim Groshens referred members to his written report.

 

III. Treasurer's Report.  Treasurer Bob Enger reported that dues collection is proceeding according to plan and expenses for the year to date are in line with the budget.  He then introduced Rob Koch, of the Olsen Thielen Accounting Firm, and Tim Giving, MSBA director of finance, and invited them to present the audit for fiscal year 2009-10.  Following their presentation, Mr. Enger advised the Assembly that the audit report was approved by the Audit Subcommittee of the Operations Committee and by the Governance Committee and he moved approval of the audit report.  The motion carried.

 

IV. Consent Calendar.

A.     Approval of minutes of the June 25, 2010 meeting

B.     Action to approve Assembly Committee appointments and authorize the president to name additional committee members

 

President Votel presented the Consent Calendar, noting that Katie Trotsky, who was recommended to serve on the Operations Committee, is unable to serve in that capacity and so will be appointed to another committee.  A motion was made and seconded to approve the Consent Calendar.  The motion carried.

 

President Votel then introduced Marlene Garvis and Sonja Miller-Van Oort and invited them to give a short informational presentation on the work of the Diversity Best Practices Outreach Task Force.  They reported that the Best Practices Guide developed by the Task Force is in the process of being implemented. The Task Force intends to recruit employers in the near future to launch a pilot project using the Best Practices Guide in their workplaces and raising awareness in the community.  Six to eight employers are needed to pilot the best practices and firms that volunteer will have coaching from the Task Force to help with implementation.  The Task Force hopes to launch the pilot project by December 2010. The Task Force also plans to repeat the diversity study in the coming year since five years have elapsed since the original survey was conducted.  President Votel thanked the Task Force for their work.

 

Mr. Votel requested for approval of the agenda since the required 30-day notice was not provided.  The agenda was approved.

 

V. Elections/Appointments Committee.  Dyan Ebert presented the report and recommendations of the Elections/Appointments Committee. She reported that three applications were received for two openings on the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and that the committee recommended Richard Kyle Jr. and Michael Unger for appointment. President Votel called three times for additional nominations and hearing none, declared the nominations closed and the selection of Richard Kyle Jr. and Michael Unger.  Ms. Ebert reported one opening on the Certification Board and indicated that the committee received one application for that opening from Howard Bolter, whom the committee recommends.  President Votel called three times for nominations from the floor and, hearing none, declared the nominations closed and Howard Bolter nominated. 

 

VI. Governance Committee.  Fred Finch presented the report of the Governance Committee, indicating that the Committee had not yet held its organizational meeting and so had no action items to present. He identified several items remaining on the Committee’s agenda from the last fiscal year.  The Diversity Planning Task Force last year proposed a change to the bylaw dealing with diversity and action on this proposal has been deferred to the December Assembly meeting.  The Governance Committee has circulated a proposed restatement of the bylaws dealing with the process for taking legislative positions and filing amicus briefs to the chairs of MSBA sections and committees for comment but to date few comments have been received.  A third item carried over on the Committee’s agenda addresses the need for language in the bylaws to cover officer succession.  Mr. Finch reported that the Committee will submit a proposal on this topic in December.  A final item on the committee’s agenda concerns the quorum requirement for Assembly meetings.  Mr. Finch invited Assembly members to consider whether the Assembly should conduct business with only one-third of Assembly members present, and advised that the committee will be considering whether the present system for MSBA governance is effective and efficient.  He noted that some members have observed that most decision making now is done by Assembly committees, leaving the Assembly as a “rubber stamp.”  He advised that the Governance Committee may survey Assembly members about their experience of these matters, looking to develop proposals for change.

 

VII. General Policy Committee.  Mary Ward presented the report of the General Policy Committee, advising that the committee had met to review the Human Rights Committee resolution first submitted in the spring of 2010 and held over from the June 25 meeting of the Assembly.  The resolution urges the United States Government to take steps towards ratification of the Rome Statute by expanding and broadening United States interaction with the International Criminal Court, including cooperation with the court’s investigations and proceedings.  Ms. Ward noted that the earlier report and resolution have been amended to omit reference to a meeting that has past since the original materials were drafted, and that the General Policy Committee recommends adoption of the report and resolution.

 

Ms. Ward then introduced Barbara Frey and Duane Krohnke, representing the Human Rights Committee, and invited them to comment on the report and resolution. Barbara Frey noted that Minnesota lawyers have a long history of action on international human rights law and that local law schools teach in this area.  She urged that Minnesota should be one of the bar associations that steps forward to ensure that United States courts and legal interests are represented on the international criminal court.   Mr. Krohnke observed that the existing international tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda will soon be coming to an end and argued that this heightens the importance of United States involvements with the successor International Criminal Court.  He argued that it is in the interest of the United States to be involved and protect their interests therein, and noted that the Administration is actively involved in support of the court. 

 

Members of the Assembly voiced concerns about the broad powers of the International Criminal Court, noting that there is no right to a jury trial and that the court can define crimes in ways that may conflict with United States statutes.  Others expressed concern that United States military personnel engaged in peacekeeping would be subject to the court’s jurisdiction.  In response, Ms. Frey pointed out that the central idea behind the International Criminal Court is complementarity, i.e., the court is designed as a court of limited jurisdiction and of last resort.  The preferred court to handle any matter is that of the individual states and the ICC sets a high threshold for proof of crimes.  Any state that is party to the agreement can take jurisdiction back from the ICC in a case involving one of its nationals, and the Security Council can suspend prosecution before the ICC for reasons of international peace and security for 12 months, as it recently has done in the case of the president of Sudan.  She stressed that the resolution doesn't call for ratification of the Rome Statute as written but calls for United States involvement in the governance and shaping of court.  She further noted that the language of the resolution is taken directly from an ABA resolution on the same subject.

 

A motion was made and seconded to table the resolution and postpone deliberation on the subject indefinitely.  Following discussion, the motion failed.

 

In concluding remarks, Ms. Frey pointed out that failure of the United States to fully cooperate in ongoing discussion of the ICC would mean missing the opportunity to help share this institution.  She noted further that not signing the agreement to establish the court does not keep Americans from being prosecuted and not being involved doesn’t protect us from anything, observing that to date 114 countries have ratified the Rome Statute.  President Votel called the question on the main motion, to adopt the resolution as modified by the General Policy Committee, and the motion carried.

 

VIII. Legislative Committee.  Thad Lightfoot reported on behalf of the Legislative Committee.  He reported that the Committee had not yet met but was scheduled to meet September 29.  The Committee will meet again on October 13 to discuss what MSBA sections and the Uniform Law Commissioners foresee for 2011 session.  He noted that the deadline for legislative proposals to be submitted to the committee is October 29.   The Legislative Committee will make recommendations regarding proposed legislation at the December meeting of the Assembly.  He urged sections and committees planning to propose legislation to visit the committee’s website at http://www2.mnbar.org/committees/legislative/ and complete the required form.  He noted that section proposals now each typically require 50 hours of lobbyist time, but noted that the form provides space where the section can include an explanation if they are confident less than that will be required.

 

Mr. Lightfoot then moved an action item on behalf of the MSBA Council, calling on the Assembly to authorize $75,000 for legislative efforts in 2010-11 to be expended at discretion of Legislative Strategy Action Team (LSAT).  He noted that funds to cover this expense would be taken as needed from reserves. The Council recommended authorization of this additional unbudgeted expense due to concerns that the upcoming legislative session will be particularly difficult, including judicial election reform, proposals to remedy the budget deficit, funding cuts to judiciary, and more complex and controversial section proposals.  Mr. Lightfoot stressed that this is a one-time request and funds needed now in advance of session.  The requested funds are not earmarked for particular expenditures, but are to be made available at the discretion of the LSAT. 

 

President Votel pointed out that MSBA will also appeal to sections for additional support since it is perceived that $75,000 is not likely sufficient to cover the expected need.  He noted further that MSBA reserves now exceed the target of 25-30% of annual operating expenses and are projected to be so at end of fiscal 2011, even not taking into account recent gains in the market.  The $75,000 proposed to be expended from reserves would account for no more than a 1.0 to 1.5% change in reserves.  In closing, President Votel stressed that the Council recommended the request since the need is grave. Funds may be applied to cover needs for additional lobbyist time, other lobbyists, and related expenses.  Repeating that the request for funding would establish a one-time increase for the 2010-11 legislative session only, President Votel called the question.  The motion carried.

 

IX. Adjournment.  There being no further business before the Assembly, the meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

 

Recommended for approval,

 

 

 

Phil Duran

Secretary