HAWAII STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
1132 Bishop Street, Suite 906
Honolulu, HI 96813
Thursday, January 24, 2008, 11:30 a.m.
1. CALL TO ORDER
President Jeffrey Sia called the meeting to order at 11:40 a.m. with a quorum present. The following persons were present for all or part of the meeting:
Rai Saint Chu
P. Gregory Frey
Board Members Absent
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Minutes of the December board meeting were approved by consensus, with the correction that James Kawachika is not a member of the Judicial Selection Commission.
3. TREASURER’S REPORT – Executive Director Lyn Flanigan explained that FYE 2007 ended in the black and we did not need to draw down from the Reserves or the Public Services Fund. See written financial statements (unaudited).
4. COMMITTEE/REPRESENTATIVE REPORTS
a. Rule 17 Committee – the Committee continues to meet.
b. Strategic Planning Committee – President Sia reported that subcommittees of the Strategic Planning Committee are meeting separately to address issues of membership and leadership. The next big group meeting is set for February 19th.
c. Kona Courthouse Committee – Ms. Flanigan reported that the Committee is trying to schedule a meeting with the Big Island Caucus to make them aware of the dire situation of the Kona Courthouse.
5. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT – Ms. Flanigan encouraged board members to attend the upcoming Casemaker training sessions during the last week in January. Regarding judicial evaluations, she noted that HSBA results are consistent with Judiciary’s results and she will therefore ask the Judicial Administration Committee to make a recommendation as to whether the HSBA should continue its evaluation.
6. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
a. Practice of Law Definition (see agenda item 6.a. and Exhibit A) – President Sia stated that the Executive Committee has recommended for adoption the Supreme Court’s version of the proposed definition of the practice of law. He remarked that a definition of practice exists for the following professions: nursing, medicine, public accountancy, massage therapy.
HSBA members Ronald Heller and Chris Mashiba, representing the Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants, were present at the board meeting to express their concerns over the proposed definition. Other organizations have expressed similar concerns.
Action taken: After further discussion, a motion was made, seconded, and carried without opposition to request the Hawaii Supreme Court for an extension on the deadline for commenting on proposed amendments in order to address the concerns of the other organizations.
b. Board Procedures on Judicial Appointments – awaiting Committee’s proposed amendments to board procedures.
c. Proposed Amendment to Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2 (see agenda item 6.c. and Exhibit C) – The Disciplinary Board has proposed an amendment to HRPC 7.2, based on the ABA model rule and the HSBA recommendation, with minor adjustments. It was agreed that this version would be sent to the Supreme Court.
d. Access to Justice Report (see agenda item 6.d. and Exhibit C)
Action taken: After discussion, a motion was made, seconded, and carried without opposition to authorize the HSBA President to make decisions on behalf of the Board regarding Access to Justice issues as long as consistent with the resolution previously adopted by the Board.
7. NEW BUSINESS
a. HJF Delegation on Comparability Rates (see agenda item 7.a.) – Hawaii Justice Foundation Executive Director Robert LeClair, LASH Executive Director Charles Greenfield, HJF Board members Roger Fonseca and James Kawachika, and IOLTA experts Kelly Thayer and Ken Smith presented the HJF’s proposal of a possible rule amendment that would require attorneys to place their IOLTA accounts with local banks that provide interest rates comparable to similar accounts. The group is presenting the proposed rule to the Supreme Court for review and adoption.
They reported that 18 states have enacted a comparability rate rule and how successful this has been in other states. They know of no banks that have pulled out after the rule was adopted or bank fees that have been passed on to lawyers/law firms. If this does happen in Hawaii, HJF will discourage banks from initiating a bank fee. It was also reported that there is a potential gain of approximately $1M annually to HJF if a comparability rate rule is established. The group also noted that bar members will not need to do anything more than what they are currently doing if the rule is adopted.
b. Banking Resolution
Action taken: A motion was made, seconded, and carried without opposition to approve banking resolutions authorizing the 2008 HSBA Officers and the Executive Director to sign checks and transfer funds from HSBA accounts consistent with Section 8.1 of the Board Policy Manual.
c. Appointment of Members to Special Committee on Judicial Performance (Rule 19 Committee) (see agenda item 7.c. and Exhibit E)
Action taken: A motion was made, seconded, and carried without opposition to adopt the recommendation of the Judicial Administration Committee to reappoint Susan Arnett, Gail Cosgrove, and David Louie, and newly appoint Todd Eddins to a 3-year term on the Judiciary’s Special Committee on Judicial Performance.
d. ABA Recommendation for Consideration at ABA Midyear Meeting – HSBA/ABA Delegate James Kawachika reported that there are no controversial issues on the ABA House of Delegates’ agenda, however, the following two may be of interest to the HSBA: 1) recommendation that sets uniform guidelines for representation of children in abuse, neglect, and custody proceedings (or was it a recommendation that gives the Court the power to appoint a best-interests attorney for the representation of children?); 2) recommendation of a model rule in which a bar exam applicant who has had past impairment would be monitored.
e. Proposed Amendment to RSCH 17(d) (see agenda item 7.e.) – the proposed amendment would add a new HSBA membership category of voluntary inactive status due to a serious medical condition that would exempt the member from paying Disciplinary Board, Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, and Attorneys and Judges Assistance Program fees. Ms. Flanigan explained that adding a new membership category would involve programming costs to the database. This item was deferred to the February board meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.
HSBA Executive Director
Carolyn M. Yu