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7/17/08 | 5/12/08 | 2/21/08 | 1/17/08

Membership Committee Meeting
July 17, 2008

Members present: Mark Chapin, Greg Egan (via phone), Kelly Francis, Kevin Hofman, Kristine Pasowicz, Anna Scanlan (via phone), Brad Thorsen

Members absent: Tricia Budke, Katie Gettman, Erik Hansen, Natalie Wyatt-Brown

Staff present: Margaret Dean, Elyse Farnsworth, Kameena Anderson

Discussion items:

  1. The July 17 Membership Report was distributed, and recent retention and recruitment activities were discussed.
  2. The new MSBA website – – was launched on July 1, and it was projected on the screen in the meeting room in the event any Committee members had not yet reviewed it.
  3. The recent MSBA Bylaws change that created a public attorney group discount rate was discussed. Committee members agreed that the definition of “public attorney” should be interpreted broadly so as to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
  4. Mark suggested building a campaign around the theme that “if you aspire to be a judge, you need to belong to the bar association.”

Action items:

  1. Law School Orientations – Elyse will send an e-mail asking for volunteers from the Committee
  2. Law Student Group Proposal – Dates and times to meet with representatives of each law school need to be identified. Brad will attend the meeting with St. Thomas, and Kevin Hoffman will attend the meeting with Don Lewis at Hamline.

The next meeting is Thursday, August 21.

Membership Committee Meeting
 May 12, 2008

Members present: Mark Chapin, Tricia Budke, Kelly Francis, Kevin Hofman, Anna Scanlan, Brad Thorsen, Natalie Wyatt-Brown

Members absent: Greg Egan, Katie Gettman, Mark Globus, Erik Hansen, Matt Jones, Kristine Pasowicz, David Quealy

Guests present: Cheryl Dalby, Richard Kyle

Staff present: Margaret Dean

This was a special meeting of the Membership Committee, called to discuss the proposal from the RCBA to amend the MSBA bylaws to allow public corporate memberships. To affect 2008-09 membership, the bylaws amendment would need to be approved by the Assembly at the June 2008 meeting. But first, the Governance and Operations Committees would need to approve the proposed amendment for action by the Assembly.

In advance of this meeting, Margaret distributed the following materials to the full committee and to the invited guests:

  • Excel spreadsheets showing projected revenues under a group rate structure against current revenue.
  • Cover memo with background information.

Richard Kyle summarized the proposal from RCBA. Kevin asked if Ms. Gaertner and Mr. Choi commented about the percent participation rate and a desirable dues amount. The response was “no.”

Brad expressed opinion that there may be push-back from out-state members.

Anna asked if lack of public lawyer membership now is because we don’t offer tailored services such as special CLEs. Mark responded that he thinks they simply don’t see the relevance of membership. Cheryl responded that we need to make sure people are aware of the service benefits available to them.

Brad asked if RCBA has decided what they would charge for dues, and the response was “no.” He said he thought the amendment would be difficult for the MSBA from an administrative standpoint. Mark asked Margaret to respond. She said that it would not simplify the dues structure, which is a goal to accommodate online payment of renewal dues, and indicated it probably would need to be handled similarly to law firm billing.

Kevin asked if this would be a pilot, and the response was “no.”

Mark conducted a roll-call vote. All members except Brad voted “yes,” making the total 6 in favor of the amendment and 1 against.

Membership Committee Meeting
 February 21, 2008

Members present: Mark Chapin, Kelly Francis, Katie Gettman, Kristine Pasowicz, Brad Thorsen, Natalie Wyatt-Brown

Members absent: Tricia Budke, Greg Egan, Mark Globus, Erik Hansen, Kevin Hofman, Matt Jones, David Quealy, Anna Scanlan,

Staff present: Margaret Dean, Elyse Farnsworth

Materials were distributed:

  • Agenda
  • Minutes of January 17 Meeting
  • February Membership Report
  • Law Student Group Membership Benefits

Margaret reviewed information in the Membership Report. Elyse reported on various recruitment activities, including activities specific to law schools and students. In response to a request from Brad, Elyse said she would send the committee a list of dates for events they may be interesting in attending.

Mark asked about the status of the online application. Margaret responded that we are still on target for an end of March implementation of the online application and dues payment for new members.

Most of the meeting was devoted to reports from the Law Student Work Groups and subsequent discussion of them.

  • Katie suggested adding testimonials from law students to the Group Membership Benefits document.
  • There was lengthy discussion about the visit to St. Thomas and subsequent conversation between Mark and Lisa Brabbit, wherein she suggested St. Thomas would cap at 40% the number of students for whom the school would pay dues.
  • Katie suggested that, given it didn’t appear likely the schools would buy into the 100% membership requirement, the bylaw perhaps should change so the school would pay for all first-year students at $12 and the 2nd and 3rd year students would pay their own memberships at the standard rate. Her idea generated discussion and the subsequent suggestion that perhaps 2nd year students would benefit the most and should be the target group for a reduced fee.
  • Visits need to be scheduled with Hamline and the University of Minnesota.
  • Margaret reported that Lisa Brabbit discussed this issue at the Council meeting last week and that there seems to be receptivity to consideration of amending the bylaw with a more flexible approach. After meetings with Hamline and the Uof M, it might be a good idea to get representatives of the schools, the Membership Committee, and MSBA staff together to hash out an approach that will work for everyone.
  • Katie expressed concern for timing, saying that we need to move quickly if we want to get the bylaws amended in time to be in effect for next year. Margaret will check the process and dates and report those back.

Mypractice was the next topic.

  • Elyse reported that the number of participants is growing and that the Meet and Greet video and a link to Bench & Bar job ads will be added.
  • Mark expressed concern that the name “mypractice” needs to be trademarked before someone else gets it. Elyse said she knows Greg is pursuing this.
  • Katie suggested adding the “24” video to the site.

Time was up and the meeting was adjourned.

The next meeting is March 20.

Margaret Dean

Membership Committee Meeting
 January 17, 2008

Members present: Mark Chapin, Greg Egan, Kelly Francis, Katie Gettman, Erik Hansen (via phone), Kevin Hofman, Kristine Pasowicz, David Quealy, Anna Scanlan, Brad Thorsen, Natalie Wyatt-Brown

Members absent: Tricia Budke, Mark Globus, Matt Jones

Staff present: Margaret Dean, Elyse Farnsworth

Materials were distributed:

  • Agenda
  • JanuaryMembership Report
  • Via e-mail prior to the meeting: material regarding the Wisconsin Comity Rule

Regarding staff reports, Margaret reviewed information in the Membership Report. Margaret and Elyse reported on various recruitment activities, and Elyse reported on activities specific to law schools and students.

The Wisconsin Comity Rule was discussed. Mark C was going to report back to Brian that the Membership Committee supports the idea that Minnesota would adopt a comity rule similar to Wisconsin’s, believes doing so probably would not increase MSBA membership, and questions whether this issue is appropriate for further action from the Membership Committee.

Most of the meeting was devoted to reports from the Law Student Work Groups and subsequent discussion of them.

Regarding the Group Proposal work group:

  • Erik, Elyse, and Mark C met with the career services director at William Mitchell that morning. Bridged Dowdal suggested MSBA should consider offering benefits such as a job fair for student members who don’t have jobs and returning a percent of dues to the school for use in a scholarship fund.
  • Erik likes the job fair idea but in concerned that we would be able to recruit enough employers to participate that have jobs to offer. He doesn’t like the scholarship idea because he questions whether it would be appropriate use of MSBA funds as a non-profit entity.
  • The next step should be to prepare a list of tangible benefits for discussion at a meeting with Bridged and Dean Janus.
  • St. Thomas is the next target for a meeting.

Both the Content and Programming and Communications work groups are interested in a social website similar to My Space. Elyse and Greg Luce, MSBA Practice Development Director, previously presented a concept to them – tentatively called “i practice” – that was demonstrated by Greg to the entire committee at this meeting. The concept is enthusiastically received by the committee, and all members were encouraged to sign up now for participation in it. There is concern that the “i practice” name probably is already trademarked, and Greg agreed to research it.

Natalie reported a conversation with Joan Schulkers, who encouraged the Membership Committee to be involved with the bar’s Sesquicentennial Committee. Joan said that committee plans activities such as staffing a booth at the state fair. Mark asked Natalie to get additional information to share at the next meeting of the Membership Committee.

Members were encouraged to participate in an upcoming event for William Mitchell students at a glass-blowing studio in St. Paul.

Elyse reported that the Public Law Section is adding a law student liaison and the Health Law Section is hosting a reception for students in March.
The next meeting is February 21.

Margaret Dean