TO: Board of Bar Commissioners
FROM: Phillip W. McCallum, Executive Director
RE: Board Meeting Summary Notes – June 27, 2018
DATE: July 24, 2018
1. Administrative – Following the invocation by Commissioner Kira Fonteneau and roll call, the minutes of the May 4, 2018 board meeting were approved.
2. Meeting Guests – President Dowd recognized special guests including David Dowd, Ginger Avery, executive director of the Alabama Association for Justice, Steve Nichols, president of the Alabama Association for Justice, Jennifer Hayes, executive director of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, Dennis Bailey, president of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, Harlan Prater, chair of the Disciplinary Rules and Enforcement Committee, Michael Upchurch, member of the Disciplinary Rules and Enforcement Committee, Mary Margaret Bailey, vice president of the Alabama Law Foundation Board of Trustees, Juan Ortega, chair of the Member Benefits Committee, Tim Gallagher, chair of the Pro Bono Celebration Task Force, Judge Bill Shashy, Judge J.R. Gaines, Chip McCallum, former commissioner Billy Bedsole, Alivia Harvest, daughter of Commissioner Tish Davis, and Eileen Harris, executive director of the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution.
3. Recognition of Retiring Commissioners – President Dowd recognized those members of the commission who were retiring effective June 30, 2018.
Hays Webb 6th Judicial Circuit, Place 2
Leslie Barineau 10th Judicial Circuit, Place 1
Thad Yancey 12th Judicial Circuit
Les Pittman 15th Judicial Circuit, Place 2
Donald Rhea 16th Judicial Circuit
Audrey Strawbridge 24th Judicial Circuit
Steven Adcock 29th Judicial Circuit
Matthew Mitchell 38th Judicial Circuit
Rebecca DePalma At Large, Place 4
4. Recognition of New Commissioners – President Dowd recognized the new members of the commission whose terms commenced July 1, 2018.
Scott Holmes 6th Judicial Circuit, Place 2
Jimbo Terrell 10th Judicial Circuit, Place 1
Carmen Howell 12th Judicial Circuit
Pat Sefton 15th Judicial Circuit, Place 2
Brad Cornett 16th Judicial Circuit
Amanda Walters Porter 24th Judicial Circuit
Sally Bowers 29th Judicial Circuit
Deborah Dunsmore 38th Judicial Circuit
Chuck Price At Large, Place 4
5. Recognition of LaBella Alvis as Recipient of Commissioners’ Award – President Dowd recognized Commissioner LaBella Alvis as the recipient of the Commissioners’ Award. In particular, President Dowd recognized the work of Commissioner Alvis on the Member Relations Task Force, which she co-chaired with President-Elect Irby. President Dowd also recognized other involvement in state and local bar service by Commissioner Alvis, including her work as a founding member and director of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program.
6. Recognition of 2017-2018 Officers and Executive Council – President Dowd recognized Vice President Diandra “Fu” Debrosse and executive council members Tom Perry and George Parker. She thanked the officers and executive council members for their service and support during her year as president.
7. President’s Report – President Dowd updated the commission on “State of the Bar” presentations that have been given to date and future presentations that have been scheduled. She reported that participation by many bar members had made the 2018 Legal Food Frenzy a huge success. She also thanked the commissioners who were able to attend the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony after the board meeting on May 4, 2018.
President Dowd informed the commission that she had the opportunity to represent the bar at the Young Lawyers Section Orange Beach CLE, the graduation ceremony of Birmingham School of Law, and the Leadership Forum graduation ceremony. She also informed the commission that, since the last board meeting, bar leadership had a productive lunch with the Supreme Court of Alabama.
President Dowd recognized Douglas McElvy and thanked him for his service as Acting General Counsel of the Alabama State Bar. She also thanked Mr. McElvy for his work during the transition to General Counsel Roman Shaul, who started work at the bar on June 18, 2018.
President Dowd expressed condolences to the family of Attorney General Steve Marshall, on the death of his wife Bridgette. President Dowd requested that the commission observe a moment of silence for the Marshall family.
President Dowd concluded her remarks by thanking the commission for its courtesy to her as bar president. She also thanked the members of the commission for expressing their opinions in a professional manner and for the transparent way in which business was conducted during her presidency.
8. President-Elect Report – President Dowd recognized President-Elect Sam Irby to give a brief report to the commission. Mr. Irby thanked President Dowd for her service to the bar, for being transparent as president of the bar and for assisting him as he prepares to take office as president. Mr. Irby said that he looks forward to serving as president and working with the commission to make positive improvements for the bar.
Mr. Irby recognized those who would be put forth as nominees for officers and members of the executive council for the 2018-2019 bar year. He also informed the commission that he would be appointing a President’s Task Force to facilitate communication between the executive council and the commission as a whole.
9. Secretary/Executive Director Report – Secretary/Executive Director McCallum informed the commission that a new commissioner orientation was held on June 26, 2018. The session was well-attended and provided the new commissioners an opportunity to hear from bar staff and become acquainted with operations of the bar. He reminded the commission of events at the Annual Meeting including the commissioners’ reception, the opening night family dinner and the closing night president’s dinner. He also encouraged the commissioners to attend the Grand Convocation and installation of Sam Irby as president.
10. Commissioner Comments – President Dowd recognized Commissioner Stanley to give brief comments on behalf of his circuit. Commissioner Stanley greeted the commission on behalf of the 37th Judicial Circuit in Lee County. Commissioner Stanley reported that there are 129 active members of the Lee County Bar Association and that the association hosts monthly CLE luncheons, a well-attended Christmas party and a summer “Bar and Braves” event, in which members attend an Atlanta Braves baseball game.
11. Office of General Counsel Update – General Counsel Roman Shaul reported to the commission that he has been on the job for one week and, in that time, he has been able to meet the staff and begin learning the particulars of the job. He commended the experience of the staff in the Office of General Counsel and said that he hopes to identify ways in which the office can create efficiencies and become less dependent on paper.
12. Presentation of BIG Communications on Progress of Branding and Website Project – Mark Ervin, Chief Strategy Officer of BIG Communications, updated the commission on the re-branding and website design work being performed for the bar. Mr. Ervin showed samples of a new logo and website design and informed the commission that the project was on track and that the new logo and website were scheduled to go live in the next three to six months.
13. Update of Disciplinary Rules and Enforcement Committee – Harlan Prater, chair of the Disciplinary Rules & Enforcement Committee, and Michael Upchurch, member of the committee and chair of the Lawyer Advertising Subcommittee, updated the commission on work being done by the committee to review the current rules on lawyer advertising. Mr. Prater and Mr. Upchurch updated the commission that extensive work had been done to review the current lawyer advertising rules and what may be done to improve the rules without compromising First Amendment free speech protections. They also reported that the committee had worked diligently with the staff of the Office of General Counsel and would continue to work toward possible recommendations for improving lawyer advertising rules.
14. Discussion of Member Benefit Proposals – Juan Ortega, chair of the Member Benefit Committee, reported to the commission that the committee had reviewed several proposals by entities seeking to be recognized as member benefits providers. Mr. Ortega informed the commission that the Member Benefits Committee recommends adding the following as member benefits providers: Local Hospitality (travel discounts), Orlando Employee Discounts (discounts for Orlando travel and local attractions), Avis/Budget (rental car discounts), and Conference America (discounts for telephone and video conferencing services).
15. Local Bar Task Force Update – Commissioner Methvin updated the commission on the work of the Local Bar Task Force. He informed the commission that the task force was created to improve communications between the state bar and local bars. He also informed the committee that the task force had been active and assisted in coordinating the “State of the Bar” presentations, which have been presented to most local bar associations in the state.
16. Pro Bono Celebration Task Force Update – Tim Gallagher, chair of the Pro Bono Celebration Task Force, and Commissioner Emily Baggett, vice chair of the Pro Bono Celebration Task Force, updated the commission on planning that is underway for the 2018 Pro Bono Month in October. They informed the commission that this was the 10th anniversary of the nationwide Pro Bono Month, and that Alabama has participated each year and been recognized nationally for its participation. They informed the commission that Pro Bono Month resources are available on the state bar website and asked commissioners to access the resources and share them with their constituents.
Commissioner Baggett and Mr. Gallagher recognized Commissioner Jana Garner for her work as chair of the 2017 Pro Bono Celebration Task Force and presented her with a signed Proclamation of the Governor, recognizing October as Pro Bono Month. They also informed the commission that Commissioner Garner is this year’s recipient of the Albert Vreeland Pro Bono Award.
17. Civil Justice Summit (Listening Sessions) Update– Commissioner Shepard informed the commission that all listening sessions in advance of the Civil Justice Summit are now complete. He said that there was a great response to the listening sessions and the feedback will provide invaluable data and information to make a difference for underserved individuals in need of access to legal services in Alabama. Commissioner Shepard thanked the commissioners for their support of the listening sessions and encouraged them to attend the Annual Meeting programs related to access to justice.
18. 2018 Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame Class – President Dowd reported that the selection committee of the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame had recommended four individuals who have been deceased at least two years. They are Carl Atwood Elliott, Robert Huffaker, Henry Upton Sims, and George Peach Taylor. She stated that the selection committee had also recommended the induction of Jeremiah Clemmons who has been deceased more than 100 years. The induction of these individuals was approved.
19. Appointment of Member to Disciplinary Commission – President Dowd informed the commission that she had solicited nominations for a vacancy on the Disciplinary Commission. The only nomination received for the vacancy was that of Commissioner Tom Perry. The appointment of Tom Perry was approved.
20. Appointment of Hearing Officers – President Dowd informed the commission that she had solicited nominations for the upcoming vacancies of three hearing officer positions on the hearing panels of the Disciplinary Board. Commissioner Diandra Debrosse, Bill Gamble and Commissioner George Parker were elected as hearing officers.
21. Appointment of Disciplinary Panel Members – President Dowd informed the commission that she had solicited nominations for upcoming vacancies of three panel member positions on the hearing panels of the Disciplinary Board. Commissioner Dowd informed the commission that these three positions must be filled by members of the commission. The following were elected as disciplinary panel members: Commissioner LaBella Alvis, Commissioner David Martin and Commissioner Jim Rebarchak.
22. Appointment of Members to the Client Security Fund Committee – President Dowd informed the commission that the terms of Jim Ward and Gilda Williams are expiring on the Client Security Fund Committee. She reported to the commission that each has expressed an interest to continue serving. The terms of Jim Ward and Gilda Williams were approved for reappointment.
23. Appointment of Members to Alabama Law Foundation Board of Trustees – President Dowd informed the commission that she had solicited nominations for three vacancies on the Alabama Law Foundation Board of Trustees. The following were elected: Leslie Barineau, Commissioner Flynn Mozingo and Tom Oliver.
24. Consolidated Fundraising Task Force Update – Commissioner George Parker and Christy Crow informed the commission that the Consolidated Fundraising Task Force was still studying issues related to implementing a consolidated fundraising policy for the Alabama State Bar and that the task force was not ready to make any recommendation to or request action from the commission.
25. Final Nominating Committee Report – Commissioner Debrosse reported the following nominations:
1. Nominations for Officers and Executive Council
President: Sam W. Irby
President-elect: Christy Crow
Vice President: Taze Shepard
Secretary: Phillip W. McCallum
Executive Council: Monet M. Gaines
Jana R. Garner
Ex-Officio Member: Fred Helmsing
Ex-Officio (YLS President): Rachel L. Miller
2. MCLE Commission
3. Alabama Lawyer Assistance Foundation
Mary Kay Laumer