Committees and Task Forces FAQ
What kinds of committees does the MSBA have?
Four types of committees exist: management, permanent, ad hoc, and Assembly.
- Management Committees oversee MSBA programs and are limited in size. Members of the Assembly often serve on management committees.
- Permanent Committees work on general projects to enhance the profession and administration of justice. Permanent committees range in size to accommodate interest. A mailing list of interested MSBA members is maintained.
- Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces are organized to fulfill a specific need or purpose and are disbanded as soon as the need has been fulfilled.
- Assembly Committees are limited to Assembly members; they report to the MSBA Assembly.
Information on specific management, permanent, and ad hoc Committees is available here. Information on specific Assembly Committees is available here.
How are committees established?
Committees are established by the MSBA President with the approval of the Assembly. This generally happens in the spring, with approval by the Assembly during the Annual Convention. Committees may be appointed throughout the year, whenever the need arises.
How are committee members appointed?
Under the MSBA Bylaws, all committee members are appointed by the President. Committee membership is limited to MSBA members and members of the public not eligible for membership.
How are new committee members found?
Selecting committee members is a multi-phase effort. First, each spring all committee members are surveyed about their continued interest in committee service. Next, sign-up information is printed in Bench & Bar and on the MSBA website to encourage new members to apply. Letters are also sent to the minority bar presidents and district bar presidents soliciting new committee members. New MSBA members are routinely provided with information about committees when they join the Association. A special effort is made to recruit women members and members from communities of color.
What is the quorum for committee meetings?
The MSBA Bylaws provide for a quorum of 1/3 of the committee’s membership.
Are attendance records maintained?
Under the Bylaws, members may be replaced if they are “absent without excuse from two consecutive meetings.” While this is not strictly enforced, sign-in sheets are provided at meetings and meeting summaries include a record of who attends each meeting.
What about conference call participation in meetings?
The MSBA recognizes that geographical distance and time constraints may prevent members from attending some committee meetings in person. To facilitate member involvement, all meetings held at the MSBA have teleconferencing available.
What meeting space is available at the MSBA?
There are three conference rooms at the MSBA offices: the Board Room seats 15, the Honors Room seats 40, and the Presidents Room seats 70.
How do I set up a meeting?
Your committee staff liaison will be happy to schedule the meeting and reserve a conference room. Contact your liaison to discuss possible dates and locations.
Who sends out notices and agendas?
The MSBA staff typically sends out meeting notices before each meeting. We encourage chairs to provide as much detail about agenda items as possible — it increases attendance at the meeting. We also encourage chairs to set a meeting schedule for the entire bar year in the fall. We strongly encourage notices to be mailed or emailed at least two weeks in advance so that members have adequate notice. We use electronic forms of communication for committee business.
How are minutes handled?
Your committee liaison will prepare a meeting summary for distribution to committee members. Summaries are ordinarily attached to the next meeting notice.
What staff assistance is available?
Committees are assigned liaisons from the MSBA staff. Liaisons serve as resources for information and as advisors. Liaisons attend meetings as requested by the chair, write meeting summaries, and conduct needed follow-up. Staff liaisons set up meeting space, arrange for mailings, handle food and beverage needs, and handle printing and other miscellaneous tasks. Contact Tram Nguyen, 612.278.6316, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have a question about staff assistance.
How are finances handled?
Administrative expenses for committees (for printing, postage, and phone calls) are paid out of the MSBA general fund. All other expenses must be approved in advance by the Executive Director, Council, or Assembly.
When is funding available through the Bar Foundation?
The Bar Foundation, funded by optional contributions from members, funds law-related projects. The Bar Foundation Mission Statement follows. The Foundation meets in March, June, September, and December. Applications, which are available from the Bar Foundation website, are due on February 15, May 15, August 15, or November 15.
Bar Foundation Mission Statement:
The MSBF exists for the express purpose of providing monetary grants to programs and causes which support the interests of Minnesota lawyers. These programs include legal assistance to the disadvantaged, public interest legal work, improvements in the administration of justice and law-related education.