12:54 PM

Board of Governors convenes for March meeting

Meeting includes special reports from various committees and guests

The Missouri Bar Board of Governors gathered March 2 in Jefferson City for a regular business meeting. In addition to updates from officers, the board heard special reports from various committees and guests.

The appointments committee provided an update on recent reappointments, including David Crawford to the Intervention Committee; Steven Harmon to the ABA House of Delegates; Molly Mohan and Stephanie Wan to Joint Commission on Women in the Profession; Theresa Levings to the Missouri Press-Bar Commission; and Hon. Deborah Daniels to the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Dispute Resolution Program. There are also four upcoming openings on the Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline, with the application process beginning in early spring.

James Klahr, director at the Missouri Board of Law Examiners, provided an update to the Board of Governors regarding the February uniform bar exam offered in Missouri, which was taken by 223 individuals. Klahr noted there has been an increase of applicants – about 1 in 10 – who are accommodated for various reasons during testing. Klahr also discussed the future of the Uniform Bar Exam, which Missouri adopted in 2011. The UBE features common test materials, allowing those who pass to wave into other state bars which also require the UBE. Klahr reported that 282 individuals have entered the bar through the UBE.

MBLE is also having active conversation about the Next Gen Bar Exam, which Klahr notes is less about “how much you can memorize” and places more focus on how legal knowledge would be applied in various situations, including considerations for risks and universality. Klahr says Missouri seeks to be on the forefront of the Next Gen Bar Exam with a predicted implementation date of July 2026. The year will also likely mark the start of computer-only testing rather than hand-written answers.

Laura Elsbury, Missouri’s Chief Disciplinary Counsel, also spoke with the board. Elsbury was quick to remind the group that OCDC’s job is not to punish lawyers. “We would much rather educate,” she said. Elsbury hopes that her tenure as director will include a deeper focus on lawyer well-being, noting that when issues arise, Rule 5 offers lawyers the opportunity to participate in a diversion program and work with mentors to improve areas of concern to “get their practices back on track.” Elsbury added that OCDC is currently focusing on expanded remote public access to Case.net starting in July, as well as diversity, including among regional hearing panels.

The board then heard from board member Christa Moss who chairs The Missouri Bar’s Special Committee on Lawyers of Color. Moss walked through some of the committee’s recent accomplishments, including the creation of both The Missouri Bar Diversity Judicial Internship program and the Diversity Champion-Lawyers of Color Award.

To learn more about the Board of Governors, including future meeting dates and past meeting minutes, visit MoBar.org.