16:52 PM

May Board of Governors meeting highlights committee developments

The Missouri Bar Board of Governors met Friday, May 13, 2022, in Jefferson City. Board members joined both in person and via Zoom to discuss emerging matters and hear updates from select committees and departments.  

In addition to reports from Missouri Bar officers, the board heard from Judge Gary Lynch, who discussed the Missouri Court Automation Committee and announced its new chair, Judge Andrea Vandeloecht, as well as two new board members. Lynch also provided an update on the committee’s planned software updates for court case management systems and expanded access to Missouri’s CaseNet functions.  

Lynn Ann Vogel shared an update on The Missouri Bar Foundation, including modifications to their awards selection process and fundraising efforts, as well as open positions on its board.  

Judge Julia P. Lasater spoke on behalf of the Board Assessment Committee, which is charged with evaluating the bar’s open enrollment committees on a rotating basis. Judge Lasater shared its recommendations that the majority of committees remain as is, while merging the open enrollment Banking and Finances Committee with the Bankruptcy, Creditor, and Debtor Rights Committee and naming this new group the “Financial Services and Insolvency Law Committee.” After discussions with the Probate and Trust Division, the assessment team also recommended merging two of that division’s committees – the Charitable Giving Planning Committee and the Business Succession Planning Committee – into the Estate Planning and Probate Administrative Law Committee. The recommendations passed with no objection. Missouri lawyers may join any of the bar’s more than 40 open enrollment committees at no additional cost to stay up to date on the substantive law practice areas or to connect with lawyers in specific practice settings. 

Eric Jennings, director of The Missouri Bar’s government relations department, discussed bills of interest passed during the 2022 legislative session and resources for lawyers to better understand them, including regular Legislative Updates. The board also reviewed the bar’s finances and discussed recent appointments and reappointments to various committees.  

Athena Dickson, Whitney Dunn, and Erica Mynarich, who are co-chairs of the bar’s Lawyers Living Well Special Committee, highlighted the committee’s work over the past year to promote well-being among lawyers and asked for the board to consider making the group a standing committee. They also requested support for a survey of lawyers, judges, and law students to assess general well-being across the state and better understand the needs of those practicing or entering the profession. The recommendations were a select few from a formal report of the special committee’s activities and recommendations for on-going efforts when it comes to the well-being of lawyers. 

The Lawyers Living Well Special Committee had three subgroups which were tasked with evaluating and providing direction in key areas surrounding lawyer wellness: education, stigma, and policy. Among other things, the education subgroup recommended more QPR trainings, which teach participants how to respond to a person at risk for suicide; increased engagement with law schools, including classes on wellness offered to students; and the continuation of participation in the national Well-Being Week in the Law awareness initiative. The stigma working group recommended creating content for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September and incorporating wellness matters into the bar’s Speakers’ Bureau. The special committee’s policy working group recommended monitoring possible amendments recommendations to the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct regarding well-being by following the lead of the American Bar Association model rules, as well as continuing cooperative efforts with law students to be transparent about mental health matters when completing their character and fitness applications; ensuring that wellness is being discussed at the law school level; and introducing a revised model policy on well-being to law firms, both large and small.  

Members received other updates from the bar’s Strategic Planning Committee from Doug Harris. The committee has been working to review more than 20 bar programs in terms of output and outcomes– and how those measurements impact the board’s goals in helping Missouri lawyers even better serve their clients.   

The board will next meet July 15. For board meeting notices, agendas, and minutes, click here. 

The Missouri Bar's Board of Governors meet several times a year to conduct the business of The Missouri Bar and keep abreast of issues. See past meeting minutes, as well as future meeting dates, here.