HAWAII STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
1132 Bishop Street, Suite 906
Honolulu, HI 96813
Thursday, June 26, 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
Steven Songstad (by phone)
Board Members Absent
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Minutes of the May 2nd board meeting were approved by consensus.
3. TREASURER’S REPORT – Treasurer Douglas Moore reported that HSBA is ahead of projected budget as of May 31st. See written financial statements for more detail.
4. COMMITTEE / REPRESENTATIVE REPORTS
a. American Judicature Society Committee on Public Knowledge, Understanding and Confidence in the Courts – Judge Michael Seabright and Alan Oshima, Co-chairs of the Committee, were unable to attend the meeting to discuss recommendations of this Committee.
b. HSBA-Judiciary Liaison Committee - fyi.
c. HSBA-Disciplinary Board Liaison Committee – fyi.
d. Strategic Planning Committee – full committee meeting on July 14th; the Leadership and Membership Subcommittees will meet before that date at different times.
Charlie Fell had been asked by the Leadership Subcommittee to explore the creation of a senior lawyers division. He was present to explain the potential benefits (education for senior lawyers, mentoring for younger attorneys, education for the public, partnership with other disciplines) and negatives (liability concerns, too diverse issues). He recommended that HSBA proceed with establishing a Senior Counsel Division. He suggested that it be modeled after the YLD, i.e. no dues and automatic membership. The age requirement should be 50+ years OR length of practice should be 25+ years, with an estimated annual budget of approximately $18,000.
e. Kona Courthouse Committee – The $1.1 million allocated by the Legislature to the Judiciary will go towards improvements to the jury room.
f. UPL Rule – President Sia plans to finish working on the revisions to the proposed amendments by the end of June.
5. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT - Executive Director Lyn Flanigan reported that the Facilities Committee is negotiating with the landlord to double the office space and also exploring space that is available for purchase at Alakea Corporate Plaza. She also reported that we are reviewing election/survey software offered by other vendors that provide more flexibility than what we currently have. See Exhibits B-E for reports on other activities.
6. YLD REPORT – YLD President Jill Hasegawa reported on the volunteer challenge between the YLD Board and HSBA Board and encouraged everyone to sign up for Legal Line and VLSH clinics if they haven’t already done so. She also reported that YLD is working on Disaster Legal Assistance and Mock Trial projects and an increased web presence.
7. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
a. Proposed Amendments to Board Policies on Judicial Selection re: 3-tier vs. 2-tier Rating System - Steve Chow, Chair of the Subcommittee on Judicial Nominations, briefly described the background of the board policy on judicial and executive appointments (see agenda Exhibit F). A board member commented that a 3-tier rating system gives more information to the Senate while another board member commented that a 2-tier system is more objective and will give more consistency from year to year. Another comment made was that the Board’s vote count should also be revealed. A suggestion was made to have ratings of Not Qualified and Qualified; and under the latter category, have a Qualified with Distinction rating.
Action taken: After discussion, a motion was made, seconded, and carried without opposition to approve the recommendation of the Subcommittee to amend Board procedures effective 01/01/2009 from a 3-tier rating system (highly qualified, qualified, not qualified) to a 2-tier rating system (highly qualified, not qualified) for judicial nominees. It was suggested that the Committee look at the issues surrounding board participation by phone, including being able to observe the demeanor of the judicial nominees during the interview, the secrecy of the voting, assurance that confidential material is destroyed by phone participants.
b. Access to Justice Commission (see agenda item 7.c.) – Shannon Wack, Co-chair of the Delivery of Legal Services to the Public Committee, reported that many ideas were generated at the Equal Justice Conference that she attended along with other members of the Access to Justice Hui. She stated that the DLSP Committee would be requesting funds for 2009 to continue attending these conferences. Ms. Wack also noted that many mainland firms have pro bono coordinators and that the ABA has resources to assist jurisdictions in setting up access to justice commissions.
c. Proposed Amendment to RSCH 17(d) regarding New Membership Category (see agenda item 7.d.) – deferred.
d. Liability Insurance Disclosure Report; ABA Liability Insurance Conference (see agenda item 7.d. and Exhibit G) – Carroll Taylor, Chair of the Professional Liability Insurance Committee, reported that at the Liability Insurance Conference, there was no agreement whether it is currently a hard market or a soft market. Another issue discussed was whether carrying liability insurance should be disclosed to clients. Mr. Taylor expressed his opinion that the Hawaii Supreme Court will require disclosure to clients, and if that is the case, then HSBA should make that information available to clients on the website, but not require attorneys to discuss it with clients in person.
He also stated that there are insurance carriers who are willing to write, but because Hawaii is a small market, it might be grouped with the California market. A report on the liability insurance of Hawaii’s private attorneys generated from the 2008 renewal forms indicated that about 27% of them are not insured.
Director Ronette Kawakami, President Sia, and Treasurer Moore agreed to meet with Terry O’Toole and other HSBA representatives to discuss how to proceed.
8. NEW BUSINESS
a. HSBA Representative to Election Advisory Council (EAC) (see agenda item 8.a.) – this opportunity will be included in the next eNewsletter for any member who might be interested in serving as HSBA’s representative.
b. Electronic Board Participation and Voting (see agenda item 8.b.)
Action taken: After discussion, a motion was made, seconded, and carried without opposition to approve proposed amendments to the Constitution & Bylaws and the Board Policy Manual to allow participation at board meetings through electronic means.
c. LASH Board Appointments
Action taken: A motion was made, seconded, and carried without opposition to adopt the Nominating Committee’s recommendation to appoint/reappoint the following individuals to the LASH Board for a 3-year term beginning
July 1, 2008: Naomi Fujimoto, Susan Ichinose, Calvin Pang, David Reber, Kristin Shigemura.
d. Appointment of Former Judge to JSC (see agenda item 8.d.) – Director Greg Markham volunteered to work with Douglas Crosier to develop language to present to the Board at the next meeting as a possible HSBA statement regarding this issue.
e. Conference on Self-Represented Litigants (see agenda item 8.e. and Exhibit K) - fyi.
The meeting adjourned at 1:35 p.m.
HSBA Executive Director
Carolyn M. Yu