(Return to Assembly Meetings Home Page)
Minnesota State Bar Association
Assembly Minutes 2005-06 Bar Year
Scroll or jump to the minutes of these sessions:
June 23, 2006
April 21, 2006
December 9, 2005
September 23, 2005
Minnesota State Bar Association | June 23, 2006 | Assembly Minutes
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, June 23, 2006, at Madden's on Gull Lake in Brainerd. President Susan Holden presided, with Secretary Michael Ford recording. The Roll Call is attached.
I. Memorials: Remembrance of MSBA members who died during the past year
President Holden asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of MSBA members who died during the past year.
II. Annual Meeting of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation
Minnesota State Bar Foundation Board President James Patrick Barone acknowledged Board members who were present at the meeting and highlighted the written report. Mr. Barone noted that 27% of bar members give to the Foundation through the dues check-off; this is down from over 40%. Mr. Barone thanked Ms. Holden for all of her efforts related to Katrina relief and announced that the Foundation is a finalist for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Responsive Philanthropy Award and that the MSBA and the Foundation are receiving the American Bar Association's Harrison Tweed Award.
The Foundation then turned to the annual election of board members. Rebecca Anderson, Chair of the Elections/Appointments Committee presented the Committee's recommendations: Robert Enger, Juan Hoyos, Warren Ortland, Gary Voegele, and Judge Lloyd Zimmerman. Mr. Barone then called for any additional nominations. Sangeeta Jain was nominated. Candidates or their representatives addressed the Assembly. A member questioned what criteria were used by the Elections/Appointments Committee in choosing the candidates. Ms. Anderson summarized the Committee's review process. A motion was made to dispense with the question and answer period. It was seconded and carried. Mr. Barone summarized the voting process as outlined in the Bylaws.
The Foundation annual meeting returned to order later in the Assembly meeting to announce the voting results. Members elected to the Board are: Robert Enger, Judge Lloyd Zimmerman, Warren Ortland, Juan Hoyos, and Gary Voegele.
III. Awards and Special Recognitions
Ms. Holden announced the following awards and recognitions:
President's Award was presented to Mary Vasaly and the Task Force on Diversity in the Profession
Professional Excellence Award was given to Tom Conlin and Judge Ken Jorgenson
Outgoing members of the Assembly were recognized and plaques were distributed.
Winners of the Judicial District Pro Bono Awards were announced.
The following items were moved up in the agenda to accommodate schedule conflicts.
IV. Legislative Committee Report
John Dornik, Legislative Committee Chair, reported that all of the MSBA's legislative proposals passed the Legislature this session. Members are encouraged to sign up for the Grassroots Network; the goal is to have 100% participation from the Assembly.
Lloyd Grooms, Legislative Representative, thanked all Council, section and committee members for their efforts. He thanked Ms. Holden for her time and effort and acknowledged her for efforts in developing the Legislative Committee. It was a short but active legislative session. There was an interim hearing on judicial elections that the MSBA participated in and it is expected that the issue will be back in the 2007 session. The eminent domain law changed and this was the most significant legal issue addressed in the session. All constitutional officers and all legislators are up for election this fall and nine lawyer legislators are retiring. The 2007 session agenda will be dictated by the outcome of the elections.
V. Elections/Appointments Committee
D. Action on the Recommendation that the Assembly nominate Edward Q. Cassidy, Ramsey County, to the Legal Services Advisory Committee
Qualifications and Interest Statements were also received from Beverly Jones Heydinger, Hennepin County, and Jorge Saavedra F., Hennepin County.
Rebecca Anderson, Chair of the Elections/Appointments Committee, provided background on the LSAC nomination. The Committee had recommended Jorge Saavedra to the Assembly at its April meeting. At that time he was running for elected office and the Assembly remanded the issue to the Committee for further consideration. Following further review of all three candidates, the Committee voted to recommend Ed Cassidy. Beverly Jones Heydinger was nominated from the floor. A question was asked about the reason for the Committee's change in recommendation. Ms. Anderson replied that running for office was part of the consideration, they also looked at the mission of LSAC, interviewed the individual candidates, and, after consideration of their interests, the Committee decided to recommend Mr. Cassidy. The candidates or their representatives addressed the Assembly.
The Assembly returned to this item later in the meeting to report the outcome of the written vote; Ed Cassidy was nominated to the LSAC board.
VI. President's Report
Ms. Holden summarized the 2005-06 year and discussed unplanned events like Hurricane Katrina and rules changes in judicial elections, as well as planned events including the diversity study, outreach to district bars, and discussion on the importance of an impartial judiciary. Last year a resolution was passed to support an independent judiciary and this was followed by the White decision which further defined the direction of the MSBA's efforts. The Judicial Elections Committee formed a subcommittee to develop a campaign conduct structure that was adopted in April. The subcommittee formed principles for conduct and the rules of professional conduct committee reviewed requirements of new rulings and how to strike a balance to maintain impartial judges. Ms. Holden also mentioned the Minnesota Citizens Commission for the Preservation of the Judiciary. Patrick Kelly is also focused on that issue and will continue the bar's efforts during his presidency.
VII. Treasurer's Report
Brian Melendez acknowledged Ms. Holden's work. He summarized the financials as distributed, noting that final numbers for the fiscal year will not be available until the end of July, but it is projected that the year will end about $175,000 ahead of budget.
VIII. Consent Calendar
A. Election of Brian Melendez as President-elect and Michael J. Ford as Treasurer
B. Approval of minutes of the April 21, 2006 meeting
C. Action to approve the recommendations of the President-Elect regarding 2006-07 committees
D. Action on the recommendation of the President-Elect regarding the 2006-07 Assembly meeting schedule
A motion was made and seconded to adopt the Consent Calendar. The motion carried.
IX. Additional Agenda Items
A motion was made and seconded to add to the Agenda action to make the Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Network an affiliated organization and a recommendation of the Council to revise the Bylaws of the Judicial Elections Campaign Conduct Committee. The motion passed on a two-thirds vote.
X. Judicial Elections Campaign Conduct Committee
Mr. Kelly summarized the recommendation of the Council regarding the Judicial Elections Campaign Conduct Committee and a report was distributed to the members. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the attached recommendation was approved.
XI. Governance Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Dan O'Connell, Chair, summarized the work of the Committee.
B. Action on the Recommendation to Amend Bylaw Article 17.4
The proposal of the Committee to restrict the ability to nominate candidates from the floor of the Assembly was summarized. The recommendation was approved on a two-thirds vote.
C. Action on the Recommendation to approve amendments to the Bylaws of the following sections: Agricultural Law Section, Antitrust Section, Appellate Practice Section, Business Law Section, Computer Law Section, Criminal Law Section, Employee Benefits Law Section, Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section, and New Lawyers Section
The recommendation was approved.
D. Action on the Request of Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Network to become an affiliated organization
Mr. O'Connell summarized this request and the Bylaws related to affiliated organizations. A motion was made and seconded to approve the request. The motion carried.
XII. Elections/Appointments Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Rebecca Anderson, Chair, reported on the Committee's work.
B. Action on the Recommendation that the Assembly elect Leo Brisbois as MSBA Secretary
Mr. Brisbois summarized his qualifications. The recommendation was approved by acclamation.
C. Action on the Recommendation that the Assembly elect Judge George Perez, Ramsey County, to serve as an MSBA Delegate to the ABA
The recommendation was approved by acclamation.
E. Action on the Recommendation that the Assembly elect Joani Moberg, Hennepin County, to the Loan Repayment Assistance Program Board
The recommendation was approved by acclamation.
F. Action on the Recommendation that the Assembly elect a member to the Anishinabe Legal Services Board
Ms. Anderson reviewed the development of the Committee's recommendation to elect Bill Thompson of Duluth to the Anishinabe Legal Services Board. The recommendation was approved by acclamation.
Ms. Holden acknowledged Brian Melendez as president-elect and Mike Ford as treasurer for the coming year.
XIII. General Policy Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Chair, summarized the Committee's work.
B. Action on the Recommendation regarding an ABA Presidential Task Force on Access to Civil Justice Resolution on a right to counsel in civil proceedings; supported by the MSBA Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee
Tom Conlin summarized the report that had been distributed prior to the meeting. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the resolution. Following discussion, the motion carried.
C. Action on the Recommendation regarding limited CLE credit for pro bono work as developed by the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee
This item was removed from the Agenda.
D. Action on the Recommendation regarding the ABA Presidential Task Force on Access to Civil Justice Resolution setting forth principles of a state system for the delivery of civil legal aid; supported by the MSBA Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee
Tom Conlin reviewed the Committee's recommendation. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the motion carried.
E. Action on the Recommendation regarding adoption of a pro hac vice form and sunsetting the Multijurisdictional Practice Task Force from the Multijurisdictional Practice Task Force
Ken Kirwin discussed the form and recommendation of the Task Force. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the motion carried.
F. Action on the Recommendation regarding an ABA Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity Recommendation to improve diversity in the educational 'pipeline' to the legal profession; supported by the MSBA Diversity Committee
Phil Duran of the Diversity Committee reviewed the recommendation. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The members discussed concerns that have been raised by law students regarding promotion and advancement issues in the profession. The motion carried.
XIV. Operations Committee
Mr. Melendez reported that there are no action items. At the September meeting there will be a discussion on audit recommendations regarding whistleblower protections and a new ad hoc subcommittee will be looking at the section budgets and reserves.
Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility
Martin Cole, the new director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, provided an update on the office. The lawyer discipline system is in great shape thanks to prior directors Ken Jorgenson and Ed Cleary. No major changes in enforcement standards are anticipated. The one problem is in the area of candor to the courts, candor in proceedings, and enforcement is as strict as possible. The office hopes to expand in the area of advisory opinions - there are over 2,100 advisory opinions given each year. There are two board seats open and Cole urged members to make an application to the board.
Pro Se Implementation Committee
Gary Debele and Jean Lastine, Co-Chairs, discussed the work of the Committee. The purpose of the Committee was to come up with recommendations to address issues in the lengthy report on pro se representation. Recommendations include rule changes, more self-help centers across the state, assistance to court staff across the state, and focus on unbundled legal services. In the future the committee plans to focus on an education campaign to help improve understanding of unbundled legal matters and will continue to address the ethics issues. Part of this is promoting pro bono work and developing practice tools such as sample retainers for unbundled representation. The Committee is looking to the future, including the expansion of the court's website with more materials to assist pro se litigants.
Task Force on Diversity in the Profession
Judge Kathleen Sanberg provided an update on the work of the Task Force. It is the most ambitious survey and gathering of information by a bar association in the country. Information on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation was gathered. There were three survey subcommittees - employers, individuals, and focus groups. The report will be completed sometime this summer and will come to the Assembly in September, with implementation of any recommendations to follow.
XV. Passing of the Gavel
Ms. Holden presented Patrick Kelly as the 109th president of the MSBA. She praised him as president-elect and noted that he will be a very good as president.
Mr. Kelly thanked Ms. Holden for her great work, including Katrina relief, outreach, and diversity. He also praised Brian Melendez and Michael Ford.
Mr. Kelly noted that he will continue with the diversity programs, outreach, and pro bono programs. A focus of his agenda is increasing the membership and public confidence in the judiciary. Eldon Kaul will head a committee to educate people about democracy and judicial impartiality and independence. The Probate Section is spearheading a program offering free wills to police officers, fire fighters, and other first responders, modeled on an Arizona program.
Ms. Holden pointed out the elections scheduled for the September meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
Michael J. Ford
Minnesota State Bar Association | April 21, 2006 | Assembly (Top)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:35 p.m. on Friday, April 21, 2006, at the Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis. President Susan Holden presided, with Secretary Michael Ford recording. The Roll Call is attached.
I. Award Presentations
The session opened with the presentation of two awards:
" David Graven Public Service Award. The award was presented to the MSBA's Katrina Task Force, which raised more than $420,000 to aid victims of the fall 2005 hurricane disaster. Judge Cara Lee Neville and Fred Finch, co-chairs of the task force, together with task force member Abigail Turner, accepted the award on behalf of the task force.
" Bernard P. Becker Awards. Two legal aid staff members and one third-year law student were honored for their efforts to provide legal services to the disadvantaged. Winners were: Judy King, Volunteer Attorney Coordinator for Central Minnesota Legal Services in Willmar; Judith Sedin, Director of Administration at Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota in Duluth; and Franklin Gould, who will graduate in 2006 from the University of Minnesota Law School.
President Holden also recognized Assembly members Steve Cahill, who was recently appointed to the 7th District bench, and Lorie Gildea, recently appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
II. President's Report
President Holden reported on several items of interest:
" Judicial Elections. In December 2005, the Assembly adopted a resolution urging that "the Legislature defer any action on legislation affecting judicial selection or election to allow time for further study." In February 2006, President Holden and others testified before the Legislature on this issue. On related fronts, she directed attention to an agenda item calling for a new Campaign Conduct Committee, and described the work of the newly formed Minnesota Citizens Commission for the Preservation of an Impartial Judiciary, chaired by former Governor Al Quie.
" District Outreach. President Holden and Secretary Mike Ford have met with district bar associations in six designated regions throughout the state, as well as with individual MSBA districts. MSBA officers are also traveling throughout the state to attend meetings of individual districts.
" Katrina Relief. Numerous attorneys and legal organizations in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina expressed gratitude for the MSBA's efforts to provide assistance -- in the form of cash and furniture -- to help rebuild the legal infrastructure.
" MSBA Task Force on Diversity in the Profession. Individual subcommittees continue their work in this area, which includes a series of comprehensive online surveys of attorneys and legal employers. The Task Force intends to present a report at the June 2006 MSBA convention.
" Programs and Events. President Holden described several recent events, including a retirement party for Justice Kathleen Blatz, a visit by Bar leaders to areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, a dinner for lawyer legislators, the ABA Midyear meeting, and a 30-year anniversary celebration for Minnesota CLE Executive Director Frank Harris. She also noted that the Supreme Court had scheduled oral arguments at Minneapolis' South High School, whose Mock Trial team took first place for the seventh time.
III. Treasurer's Report
Treasurer Brian Melendez reviewed the following, as presented in the written materials. As of February 28, 2006, 102.5% of budgeted dues revenue had been collected compared with 100.8% at the same time in 2005. Total dues revenues were at 95% of budget for the fiscal year, compared with 89.7% at the same time the previous year. Expenses were at 59.8% of budget, compared with 56.6% at the same time in 2004.
IV. Consent Calendar
A motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the minutes of the December 9, 2005 meeting.
V. Additional Agenda Items
Secretary Mike Ford moved that the Assembly authorize consideration of new items submitted after the meeting materials had been distributed. The motion was seconded and carried.
VI. Governance Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Committee Chair Dan O'Connell noted that President Holden had sent a letter to all district bars regarding revisions to local bylaws and articles to conform with the MSBA's new governance structure. The Governance Committee has offered to help with this process as districts prepare documents to be filed with the Secretary of State's office.
B. Action on the Recommendation to Amend the ADR Section Bylaws
The Governance Committee moved approval of the amended ADR Section Bylaws. The motion carried.
C. Action on the Recommendation to Amend Bylaw 17.4
Mr. O'Connell reported that the Governance Committee had reviewed the Bylaw provisions addressing procedures for elections. The current provisions encourage all applicants to submit Qualifications and Interest Statements; these applications are reviewed by the Elections/Appointments Committee, which presents its recommendations to the Assembly. These provisions also permit nominations from the floor during Assembly meetings.
Mr. O'Connell reported that the Governance Committee believed that these floor nominations limited the ability of the Assembly to review applications in depth. The Committee recommended that nominations be accepted only in the event that timely applications and Qualifications and Interests Statements had been submitted, and moved that Article 17.4 be amended. He moved that language to that effect, appearing in the meeting materials, be approved by the Assembly.
Following discussion, President Holden called the question, with a resulting vote of 34-33. After the vote, it was noted that any motion to amend bylaws requires a majority vote by the entire Assembly, not just a majority of those present during an individual session. The current vote did not constitute such a majority, and President Holden ruled that the motion was thereby defeated.
VII. Elections/Appointments Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Chair Rebecca Anderson directed attention to the written materials distributed in advance of the meeting, which included Qualifications and Interest Statements submitted by nominees for all elections. The agenda also included the Committee's recommendations for each of the individual open seats.
Ms. Anderson noted that these recommendations constituted a motion by the Committee to approve all nominees, meaning that the Assembly could approve all with a single vote. Following discussion, a new motion was made to separate out those elections for which additional candidates, beyond those recommended by the Elections/Appointments Committee, had filed Qualifications and Interest Statements. This motion was seconded and carried, separating out agenda items B, D, and G.
A motion was then made, seconded, and carried to elect candidates as recommended under agenda items C, E, and F. (Results for all elections appear below.)
The Assembly then turned to the election for the Client Security Board (agenda item B), for which one additional Qualifications and Interest Statement had been submitted. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect the candidate recommended by the Committee.
During discussion on the next election for a seat on the Legal Services Advisory Committee (agenda item D), one member asked if the recommended candidate was running for public office. Other members expressed concern over this factor, noting that the MSBA previously had not elected candidates who were simultaneously running for public office. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to refer this item back to the Elections/Appointment Committee, and to hold a subsequent election during the June 2006 session of the Assembly.
President Holden then advised the Assembly that, following the defeat of the Governance Committee's earlier motion regarding nominations from the floor, she would accept nominations for agenda item B. She called for additional nominations; there were none.
President Holden then called for additional nominations for agenda item G. Hearing none, a motion was made, seconded, and carried to elect the candidates recommended by the committee.
These actions by the Assembly resulted in the following elections:
B. Client Security Board: Richard Nethercut, Fillmore County
C. State Board of Continuing Legal Education: Christopher Cain, Blue Earth County, and Judge Kathleen Sanberg, Hennepin County
D. Legal Services Advisory Committee: Referred back to committee; election to be held during June 2006 session
E. Bar Admissions Advisory Committee: Leonardo Castro, Hennepin County, and Barbara D'Aquila, Hennepin County
F. Central Minnesota Legal Services Board: Carol Klaphake, Stearns County, and Patrick O'Donnell, Wright County
G. MSBA Delegates to the ABA: Aaron Biber, Hennepin County, Jon Duckstad, Ramsey County, and Trudy Halla, Hennepin County
VIII. General Policy Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Committee Chair Lisa Montpetit Brabbit presented the report and recommendation as it appeared in the meeting materials.
B. Action on the Recommendation to Amend Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.15 Regarding IOLTA
Roger Stageberg and Tom Conlin reported on this proposed amendment to Rule 1.15 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct, which was intended to boost interest rates paid on IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts) checking accounts. The MSBA's Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee has engaged in discussions with several Minnesota banks. Two banks have indicated a willingness to raise interest rates on their own initiative, but the Committee also investigated whether to propose a new court rule governing IOLTA rates. As detailed in the report and recommendations contained in the meeting materials, this amendment would require banks to pay no less than the highest interest rate paid on comparable accounts. The recommendations, if enacted, could increase state IOLTA revenues to nearly triple their current rates. This motion, which came to the Assembly with the support of the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, was carried. Justice Lorie Gildea abstained.
C. Action on the Recommendation to Amend the MSBA CLE Policy
The Hennepin County Bar Association had requested a change in MSBA policy regarding continuing legal education offered by district bar associations.
The report presented by the General Policy Committee was to strike sections of the December 2005 CLE Policy as follows:
District Bar Associations
District bar associations have an interest in delivering value to their members by providing legal information through educational programs and in generating non-dues revenue from CLE programs. A district bar association may obtain contact information from the MSBA regarding its members at a published rate. A district bar association may obtain contact information on MSBA members who are members of other districts for the purpose of marketing CLE programs of three hours or less at the law-related organization rate.
The MSBA adopts this policy for district bar associations with the assumption that the CLE programs developed by the district bar associations are for the benefit of members and do not compete with programs offered by the MSBA or Minnesota CLE.
The motion carried.
D. Action on the Recommendation Regarding Endorsement of a Professional Liability Carrier
Following separate reviews of the insurance products offered by Minnesota Lawyers Mutual (MLM) and Liberty Mutual Insurance, conducted by the Insurance for Members Committee and the law firm of Tribler Orpett & Meyer, the Insurance for Members Committee developed a report and recommendation that the MSBA endorse MLM as its preferred provider of professional liability insurance. This endorsement would last three years. The motion carried.
E. Action on the Recommendation to Create a Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee
In the wake of federal court decisions striking down several of Minnesota's judicial canons regulating campaign conduct, President Holden directed the MSBA's Judicial Elections Committee to look at the potential effect of rule changes on judicial campaigns. The resulting recommendation called for the creation of a Judicial Elections Campaign Conduct Committee, and to approve five documents detailing its implementation and operations. The new committee would focus on public education, and would ask judicial candidates to sign a statement affirming that they would not speak on issues that would come before the court, would not seek endorsement by political parties, and would conduct campaigns in a responsible manner.
During discussion, one delegate questioned whether multiple committees would be formed in judicial districts that comprise more than one MSBA district. President Holden clarified that there would be only one local committee per Minnesota judicial district. The motion carried. Justice Lorie Gildea abstained.
F. Action on the Recommendation Regarding the Endorsement of a Broker for Employment Practices Liability Insurance
This motion recommended that Marsh Affinity be endorsed by the MSBA as the preferred broker of Employment Practices Liability Insurance; and, that all carriers selected by Marsh Affinity meet the MSBA's minimum underwriting standards. The motion carried.
G. Action on the Recommendation Regarding Endorsement of a Dental Insurance Provider
This motion recommended that insurer Delta Dental be endorsed by the MSBA as the preferred provider of dental insurance coverage. The motion carried.
H. Action on the Recommendations Regarding Canon 5 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
Following federal court rulings declaring Canon 5 unconstitutional, the Minnesota Supreme Court developed a set of proposed revisions. The MSBA Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, after conducting its own review of the issues, recommended that the Assembly support the Court's proposed revisions, but also recommended the formation of a new MSBA ad hoc committee to examine all canons. The proposed ad hoc committee would review actions by other states related to judicial campaign speech and conduct, review relevant provisions of the ABA model code, and hear from others outside the bar. The motion carried. Justice Lorie Gildea abstained.
IX. Legislative Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
MSBA Legislative Representative Lloyd Grooms reported that all bills comprising the legislative agenda approved by the Assembly in December 2005 had passed in the House of Representatives, and were expected to pass in the Senate.
Mr. Grooms also reported that the Bar had tracked additional legislation affecting lawyers, including bills in the areas of family law, real property, and alternative dispute resolution. Many of these developments were posted during the session on the MSBA's website.
He then passed out sign-up forms for the MSBA's Grassroots Network. Secretary Mike Ford encouraged all Assembly members to sign up for this network, and to contact legislators on issues affecting the profession.
X. Operations Committee
A. Report on Committee Work
Committee Chair Brian Melendez directed attention to the following action items and supporting documents as they appeared in the meeting materials:
B. Action on the Recommendation Regarding the Policy for Reimbursement of Council Members
The motion to approve the updated policy carried.
C. Action on the Recommendation Regarding Bylaw Article 1.4.1 (o) -- Student Group Membership
This motion -- intended to encourage student membership by offering discounts for law schools that sign up and pay for all student memberships -- was carried.
D. Action on the Recommendation for Changes in Dues for the General Practice, Criminal Law, Antitrust, Bankruptcy, and Marketing and Client Services Sections and to Allow Sections to Reduce their Dues as Long as the MSBA is Notified Prior to May 15
Because the recommendation addressed provisions of the budget recommendation to be considered by the Assembly, Treasurer Brian Melendez asked that it be considered as part of agenda item E. President Holden concurred.
E. Action on the Proposed Three-Year Plan and Budget for 2006-07
The plan and budget appearing in the meeting materials followed review by staff and subcommittees of the MSBA Operations Committee. It documented performance and goals for all Bar services, together with a goal to increase membership market share by 0.5% during each year of the three-year plan. This plan also called for reducing MSBA reserves, which currently represent more than 50% of annual expenses. (A prior vote by the Board of Governors established targeted reserves of 25-30%.) Under the three-year plan, scheduled dues increases would remain, but section administrative fees and hourly billings for section services would be eliminated. Treasurer Brian Melendez moved adoption of the three-year plan and budget as presented in the meeting materials. The motion carried.
President Holden then returned to agenda item D. The existing motion was to approve the proposed dues increases for the sections identified above, but, following a related recommendation by the Operations Committee, to also allow all sections to reduce dues upon notice to the MSBA prior to May 15. The motion carried.
F. Action on the Proposed 2006-07 Budget for Minnesota CLE
Karna Peters presented this proposed budget, which came to the Assembly with the approval of the MCLE Board and the MSBA Operations Committee. The motion to approve was carried.
XI. New Business
President Holden indicated that the new Judicial Elections Campaign Conduct Committee, approved earlier in the session, would be formed immediately. She invited Assembly members to indicate their interest in serving on the new body.
President Holden directed attention to announcements of upcoming elections and to the draft 2006-07 meeting schedule appearing in the meeting materials.
The meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.
Michael J. Ford
Minnesota State Bar Association | December 9, 2005 | Assembly (Top)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, December 9, 2005, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center, Minneapolis. President Susan Holden presided, with Secretary Michael Ford recording.
I. Presentation of Elmer Wiblishauser Award
Mark Hansen, Chair of the Publications Committee, presented the Elmer Wiblishauser Award to David Stowman for his President's Page Essays throughout 2004-05.
II. President's Report
President Holden congratulated three MSBA members for recent appointments and elections: Jonathan Jasper, 10th Judicial District Judge; Diana Longrie, Mayor, City of Maplewood; and Tammy Pust, Roseville City Council.
President Holden reported that her year continues to be busy with the following activities:
The MSBA has established a Judicial Independence website to further its resolution adopted last June to speak out on the importance of independence of the judiciary. The website is accessible from the MSBA homepage.
The Judicial Elections Committee is undertaking a study of judicial campaign conduct committees and looking at what other states are doing, including Ohio and Illinois. Action may be taken in April if the recommendation is to form such a committee.
The MSBA has established a website for district bar associations that will facilitate communication of information among the districts. In response to changes in governance, President Holden has divided the state into six regions, and has visited three with plans to visit the other district bars in February and March.
The Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort is well underway with the Task Force organized into three subcommittees: delivery of legal services, office furnishings and supplies, and fundraising. The fundraising goal is $400,000 and $265,000 has been pledged or collected to date. President Holden asked the leadership in attendance to participate 100% by contributing to the effort.
The Diversity in the Profession Task Force is moving forward with a design to update the HCBA Glass Ceiling and MSBA SAGE reports. A report is expected at the Convention in June.
The Criminal Law Section is developing a meth education program that will provide resources for lawyers and judges to take into middle and high schools. It will be available for use next fall.
The Retirement Dinner for Chief Justice Blatz is scheduled for January 5 at The Depot.
A Range Bar Association event held in early October honored Chief Justice Popovich.
President Holden attended the Great Rivers Bar Conference in October where much of the discussion focused on judicial elections and campaign conduct committees.
"Oral argument was heard November 2 in Jerry Enterprises v. Larkin (standard of care for transactional lawyers). The MSBA filed an amicus brief.
President Holden has attended several holiday events including those of the Minnesota Women Lawyers and the Anoka Bar.
III. Treasurer's Report
Secretary Michael Ford presented the report as contained in the meeting materials for Treasurer Brian Melendez who was unable to attend the meeting. That report noted that as of October 31, 2005, 99.7% of budgeted dues revenue had been collected compared with 98.1 % at the same time in 2004. Total dues revenues were at 78.5% of budget for the fiscal year, compared with 77.4% at the same time the previous year. Expenses were at 28.0% of budget, compared with 25.7 % at the same time in 2004.
IV. Operations Committee Report
Secretary Ford gave the Operation Committee Report for Brian Melendez, Chair, indicating that the process for developing the three-year plan is underway and the plan will be presented to the Assembly in April.
V. Consent Calendar
A. Approval of minutes of the September 23, 2005, meeting.
The minutes were approved as presented.
VI. Legislative Committee Report
A. Report on Committee Work
Chair John Dornik reviewed the Committee's work and presented the following proposals:
B. Action on the Recommendation that the MSBA endorse the proposal of the Real Property section to amend Minn. Stat. 524.3-715 to clarify the administrative powers of personal representative to sell, mortgage or lease property of a decedent in probate
Chuck Parsons presented the proposal and moved that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.
C. Action on the Recommendation of the MSBA to endorse the proposal of the Probate and Trust law Section to:
1. Amend Minn. Stat. 253B.23 removing reference to guardian of an estate.
2. Amend Minn. Stat. 524.3-301 removing requirement to include social security numbers on probate applications
3. Amend Minn. Stat. 524.3-803 correcting an incorrect citation
Robert McLeod presented the proposal and moved that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.
D. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA endorse the proposal of the Construction Law Section to:
1. Amend Minn. Stat. 514.10 allowing posting of a bond to secure a lien in lieu of property
2. Support any effort to amend Minn. Stat. 514.01 by the MN Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, consistent with the change requested by the Real Property Section
Dean Thomson presented the proposal and moved that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.
E. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA endorse the allocation of lobbyist resources to the proposal of the Business Law Section to:
1. Amend Minn. Stat. 302A, with the proviso that a cross-reference in 302A.461 be revised to reflect other proposed changes
2. Amend Minn. Stat. 322B
David VanderHaar presented the proposal and moved that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.
F. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA adopt the following legislative housekeeping resolutions:
1. That the attached document reflects the current MSBA legislative positions
2. That the authority to allocate the lobbyist's time be delegated to a subcommittee of the Legislative Committee so that the lobbyist's time can effectively be allocated among the MSBA endorsed positions, section or committee endorsed positions, or other bills that may arise as the need arises during the legislative session
John Dornik presented the current positions of the MSBA and authority to allocate the lobbyist's time. No action was needed.
G. Action on the Recommendation of the Legislative Committee that the MSBA endorses the proposal of the Judicial Elections Committee requesting that the Legislature refrain from taking action affecting selection or election of judges to allow time for further study
Becky Moos and Paul Peterson presented the proposal and moved that the Recommendation be endorsed. The motion was seconded and carried.
VII. Elections/Appointments Committee Report
Action on the Recommendation that the Assembly approve the nomination of Angela Sipila to the Lawyers Trust Account Board
Rebecca Anderson, Chair, reported that the Committee received Qualifications and Interest Statements from Angela Sipila and Marjorie Rapp for nomination to the Lawyers Trust Account Board. After considering both candidates, the Committee recommends that the Assembly approve the nomination of Angela Sipila. James Cavanaugh was nominated from the floor. Discussion ensued regarding interpretation of Bylaw 4.1 (e) (8). A second nomination from the floor placed Marjorie Rapp's name in nomination. A preferential ballot was held, and Angela Sipila was elected by Assembly vote.
The motion was made and seconded that the Governance Committee develop a policy as to whether someone can be nominated from the floor. Following discussion, the motion passed.
VIII. General Policy Committee Report
Action on the Recommendation of the General Policy Committee regarding MSBA policies previously adopted by the Board of Governors and Executive Committee
Judge Lorie Gildea, Chair of the General Policy Committee, reported on the work of the Committee and moved the following for the MSBA policies previously adopted by the Board of Governors and Executive Committee: 1) Executive Committee Policy #1 be referred to the Operations Committee for review; 2) Executive Committee Policy #3 be deleted because it falls within the purview of the Elections/Appointments Committee; and 3) the remaining policies be approved as to language changes updating them to the current governance structure. The motion was seconded and carried.
Action on the Recommendation of the General Policy Committee regarding the following motion of the Insurance for Members Committee: Resolved, Domestic partner benefits should be made available as a purchase option for MSBA members in MSBA-endorsed insurance programs whenever feasible and when no material adverse underwriting impact to the group as a whole results.
Fred Finch moved that the MSBA approve the Recommendation of the General Policy Committee that domestic partner benefits should be made available as a purchase option for MSBA members in MSBA-endorsed insurance programs whenever feasible and when no material adverse underwriting impact to the group as a whole results. The motion was seconded and approved.
IX. Governance Committee Report
Dan O'Connell, Chair, moved for approval of the Recommendation of the Governance Committee regarding the Convention location for the Years 2007 through 2010 as follows:
2007 - Ramsey County
2008 - Hennepin County
2009 - Duluth
2010 -- An outstate resort location such as Madden's, Cragun's, or Arrowwood
The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.
Michael J. Ford
Minnesota State Bar Association | September 23, 2005 | Assembly (Top)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 11:20 a.m. on Friday, September 23, 2005, at the Minnesota CLE Conference Center, Minneapolis. President Susan Holden presided, with Secretary Michael Ford recording.
President Holden introduced a visitor, Mr. Oleshupa Ota, director of the Center for the Rule of Law in Nigeria; and noted that she had recently met with another international visitor, Mr. Kazim H. Kazmi, vice president of the Bar of Pakistan. She reported that the year is off to a busy start with the following activities:
- MSBA's Diversity Task Force, chaired by Leslie Altman and Mike Tracey, is in place and will look at expanding the Self Audit for Gender Equity (SAGE) to study representation of racial and other underrepresented groups in the legal profession in Minnesota. Both statistical and qualitative studies are planned and a report is expected by June.
- The MSBA Convention will return to Madden's Resort in June 2006. Aaron Biber will again chair the Convention Committee.
- Given that the new governance structure affords fewer opportunities for district bar associations to be involved in the MSBA, a plan has been developed to maintain MSBA's involvement with the district bars through outreach activities. A meeting with a group of district bar leaders is planned for October 7 and the officers will hold additional meetings with district leaders throughout the state by early 2006.
- The MSBA is making special efforts to spur members' involvement in sections, explore how the MSBA can support section initiatives, promote the legislative Grassroots Action Network, and ensure that Bar leaders are familiar with the services and opportunities available from the MSBA. President Holden stressed the importance of having all members sign up for the Grassroots Action Network and provide home address information so the MSBA can contact members by legislative district when support for a particular initiative is needed.
- The MSBA seeks to develop an educational program for schools to educate students about the dangers of methamphetamine production and use. President Holden indicated that she is seeking MSBA members to develop the program to educate students and parents and intends to seek support from district bar leaders and judges as well.
- Mary Vasaly and Steve Besser have agreed to chair the Judicial Elections Committee. The committee is considering development of aspirational goals which judicial candidates would be asked to commit to uphold. Minnesota has enjoyed a very well-qualified and independent judiciary; our hope is that under current law we are not headed for a situation where financial contributions will shape our jurisprudence.
- The Fair Response Committee is monitoring national coverage of events involving Judge Thomas Schroeder in Becker County.
- The Rules of Professional Conduct Committee has been asked to determine if the MSBA should recommend any changes to the rules in light of the White decisions. Of particular concern is whether restrictions on direct solicitation of support by judicial candidates can be maintained. The Committee has also been asked to consider whether the rules on recusal should be modified to account for judicial campaign activity and whether recusal is an adequate remedy.
- The Hurricane Katrina Task Force, co-chaired by Fred Finch and Judge Cara Lee Neville, has been formed to determine what MSBA can and should do to provide relief to hurricane victims in three areas: 1. fundraising, coordinated through the Minnesota State Bar Foundation, for general humanitarian relief and for rebuilding the legal infrastructure in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama; 2. direct delivery of legal services to evacuees who have come to Minnesota; and 3. in partnership with Hope for the City, collection and delivery of goods needed to help lawyers and the judicial system reestablish and furnish offices damaged or destroyed by the storm.
- President Holden in August went to Tower, Minnesota, for a joint meeting of the Range Bar and the Duluth Bar. She also attended a Hennepin County District Court event marking the appointment of Lorie Gildea to the bench and offered congratulations to Judge Gildea on her appointment.
Rules of Order
Brian Melendez handed out copies of the Rules of Procedure for motions before the Assembly, together with an outline of parliamentary law in meetings. He summarized key rules of parliamentary procedure as given in the handouts and took questions from Assembly members.
Executive Director Tim Groshens gave an overview of the Association's governance structure and introduced staff members who gave brief presentations on membership, finance, programs, and new initiatives of the MSBA. Among the programs covered were: Bench & Bar, sections, Convention, legislative programs, Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged and Access to Justice, Mock Trial, LegalCorps, practicelaw.org, and CourtOps. New initiatives described included: SoloPilot, professional development education, direct sale of membership, recognition of senior counselors, and managing partner roundtables.
Assembly Committee Reports
Elections/Appointments Committee -- Chair Rebecca Anderson reported that Andrew Moratzka was newly elected vice chair of the committee. Pursuant to Bylaw 17.4, the Committee has reviewed the qualifications of those persons listed on the action calendar under Item D and will recommend their election. The Committee also intends to request appointment of Hildy Bowbeer to the Minnesota CLE Board.
General Policy Committee -- Judge Lori Gildea, Chair, waived the opportunity to report.
Governance Committee -- Tim Groshens reported on behalf of Chair Dan O'Connell that the Committee is reviewing section bylaws, district bylaws, and proposed convention locations for 2007 and subsequent years.
Legislative Committee -- President-elect Patrick Kelly reported in the absence of Chair John Dornik. The Committee has set a schedule for approval of section legislative proposals by December 2005. Three subcommittees have been established to focus on judicial elections, the Grassroots Action Network, and LawPAC. Members are encouraged to sign up for the Grassroots Action Network; the sign-up form is available both online and in print.
Operations Committee -- Brian Melendez reported that the committee has established an audit subcommittee, following up on recommendations of the auditors, to study application of Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower and document retention provisions to MSBA operations.
Civil Litigation Section -- President Holden recognized leaders and members of the Civil Litigation Section who recently completed production of Time's Up: A Manual of the Statutes of Limitations in Minnesota for Civil Litigators. Singled out for recognition were Judge Marilyn Justman-Kaman, Jan Conlin, Stacie Oberts, Kevin Curry, and Section Chair Brett Olander. President Holden also extended special thanks to the law firm of Robins, Kaplan Miller & Ciresi for donating significant amounts of staff time and support to this project.
Professionalism Committee -- Members of the Law Students and Law Schools Subcommittee of the Professionalism Committee were recognized for their project to instill values of professionalism in lawyers-to-be. The subcommittee prepared information sheets detailing core values of the legal profession for distribution to law students and new admittees. Subcommittee Chair Tom Schumacher and members Susan Roehrich, Sarah Peterson Stensrud, Angela Bennett, Yamecca Moses, and Darwin Williams were on hand to receive certificates.
Women in the Legal Profession Committee -- Judge Kathleen Sanberg, representing the Women in the Legal Profession Committee, presented the SAGE Best Practices Award to the law firm of Maslon, Edelman Borman & Brand in recognition of the firm's work to eliminate gender bias in the workplace. Through its SAGE -- Self-Audit for Gender Equity -- project, the Committee developed six "best practices" for the hiring, retention, and promotion of women in the legal profession that address equal access, workday issues, governance, evaluation/promotion, retention, and compensation. Terri Krivosha, chair of Maslon's governance committee, accepted the award on behalf of the firm.
A. Approval of minutes of the June 17, 2005 meeting
The minutes were approved as presented.
B. Action on the recommendation to accept the audit of the MSBA General Fund and MCLE Fund for the year ending June 30, 2005
Treasurer Brian Melendez reported that the auditors' management letter gives the MSBA a clean bill of health. The firm of Wilkerson, Guthman + Johnson performed the audit, which the Operations Committee has recommended for acceptance. The auditors' management letter recommends study of the application of whistleblower and document retention provisions of the Sarbanes Oxley Act to MSBA operations, which recommendation is being acted on by the Operations Committee. Revenues are consistent from year to year and net assets have increased due to general operations, section activities, and investments. The required communication letter references no issues.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the audit as presented. A question was raised regarding MSBA's use of electronic fund transfers and controls or protections in place for these. Tim Giving, Director of Finance, responded that MSBA does not now use outgoing electronic fund transfers. In response to a question regarding applicability of Sarbanes Oxley Act provisions to the MSBA, Mr. Melendez advised that two provisions governing whistleblower activity and document retention do apply to the Association. The motion carried.
C. Action to approve Assembly Committee Appointments
Mr. Melendez moved approval of the attached list of members to Assembly committees, including those who are not members of the Assembly. The motion was seconded and carried.
D. Appointments to Outside Boards
Rebecca Anderson, Chair of the Elections/Appointments Committee, presented the Committee's slate of nominees and reported that the nominees are qualified for the positions in question. The President called for nominations from the floor and none were offered. A motion was made and seconded that the nominations be closed and the candidates declared elected. The motion carried.
E. Action on the recommendation of the Operations Committee regarding the Minnesota Minority Clerkship Program
Mr. Melendez introduced Marta Chou, co-chair of the MSBA Diversity Committee, who presented the Committee's proposal. The Minnesota Minority Clerkship Program is designed to foster diversity in law firms, government agencies, and corporate law departments in Minnesota and among members of the bar of Minnesota. The program will arrange paid internships for selected students of color during the summer after their first year of law school. Participating employers will provide salaries for the interns, area law schools will provide space for participating firms to interview candidates, and MSBA is being asked to provide $4,000 to cover administrative costs. Candidates with "midrange" academic standing are sought to participate and the focus of the program currently is on ethnic diversity rather than diversity of religion, sexual orientation, or other criteria. Mr. Melendez announced the Operations Committee is recommending adoption of the proposal. The motion carried.
F. Action on the recommendation of the Operations Committee regarding the SoloPilot Program
Mr. Melendez introduced Meaghan Harper, Certification Manager, who summarized the proposal. SoloPilot is a program for new attorneys entering solo practice, designed to provide resources for them to become quality attorneys, foster collegiality, provide mentoring, and make MSBA relevant to the next generation of attorneys. The first 30 participants are to be recruited from among attorney members of record who have no law firm connection listed in MSBA records. Participants will be asked to commit to participate in nine required sessions. The program will have direct expenses of $3,000 and $12,000 in staff time. Mr. Melendez announced the Operations Committee is recommending adoption of the proposal. The motion carried.
The meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.
Michael J. Ford