Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Minutes for November 14, 2012
The executive committee members who were present or participating by telephone were: Ryan Frazier, George Burbidge, David Castleberry, Heather Thuet, Judge Roth, Judge Toomey, Nicholas Caine, Keith Call, Nicole Farrell, Jon Hafen, Richard Kaplan, Christian Kesselring, Michael Stahler, Patrick Tanner and Rod Andreason. Shane Gosdis, Jenifer Tomchak, Isaac Paxman and Dan Steele appeared by phone.
The Executive Committee members who were excused were: Kent Holmberg, Bryan Pattison, Alec McGinn, and Heather Sneddon.
1. Secretary's Report: Michael Stahler presented the minutes from the October meeting. Subject to the correction to the spelling of the last names of George Burbidge and David Castleberry and that Judge Toomey was excused, the minutes were unanimously approved by the committee.
2. Treasurer's Report: David Castleberry, treasurer, reported that according to financials from June the litigation section has a $38,853.74 balance in its account. Dave has met with Megan Facer, at the Bar to formulate a method which would enable the section to better track expenses in the various categories. He is suggesting that codes to be added by the Bar to categorize expenses. Dave has sent an estimated budget to those responsible for section activities and has invited responses. He still needs some responses. Dave advised the budget is almost complete with an annual budget of $55,000 (which is about equal to the income– so it would be revenue neutral- but still allows the section to budget for NITA and or other expenses).
3. NITA-Like Trial Academy Discussion: In order to finalize the budget, David needs an estimated cost of the section presenting a NITA-Like Trial Academy. Judge Toomey suggested that the section could underwrite a NITA seminar which would allow participants to attend at a reduced cost. Jon Hafen stated that section subsidized a NITA Trial Academy about 5 years ago at an expense of $15-20,000. Jon supports the section putting on a NITA type presentation but using local practitioners. He thinks a 2 day section presentation by local practitioners, judges, etc. with opening statements, cross exam, etc. and then a question/answer period would be an option. Judge Toomey suggests that this type of seminar requires a cap on attendance. Mike Stahler explained that NY State adopted NITA style academy using predominantly local practitioners and NITA materials but charges only $750. Jon Hafen stated that every other year the section does a trial academy at the Fall Forum that is lecture format, which is always well attended. Ryan Frazier agrees that section could put on the trial academy that is NITA style but drawing on the experience of our local practitioners.
Patrick Tanner suggests that Frank Carney’s written materials from the 2012 Fall Forum could be used for a Trial Academy. Jon Hafen agrees that with a few revisions the materials from the Fall Forum could be repurposed. J. Toomey agrees that section would be more likely to persuade judges to present if they did not also have to prepare material. J. Roth suggests that a NITA fact pattern could be used so as not to reinvent the wheel. Michael Stahler says this is what NY does. Jon Hafen does not want the focus to be geared only to big firms. He would like to encourage solo practitioners, etc. to attend. George Burbidge questioned what the focus of the presentation should be i.e., skill level?
A Trial Academy committee was assembled consisting of, Jon Hafen, Michael Stahler, Nicole Farrell, & Heather Sneddon, who will meet and present at the December meeting.
4. Extra Copies of 2012 Fall Forum Trial Academy Materials: Jon Hafen advises that there excess copies of the Fall Forum Trial Academy materials that were paid for by the section and inquires what should be done with the extra copies. Ryan Frazier thinks section should give some to Frank Carney – If he wants some – Jon Hafen will ask him how many he would like. George Burbidge believes law firms would be interested in purchasing the remaining materials.
The section agreed that Frank Carney and J. Toomey are to be commended for the many hours they dedicated in creating this set of materials. J. Toomey put in 50 hours of editing the material for Fall Forum and estimates that Frank Carney put in 200+ hours preparing the materials.
A motion was made by George Burbidge to sell the extra copies of the 2012 Fall Forum Trial Academy Material that was 2nd by Patrick Tanner.
5. Chair's Report: Ryan Frazier: Assisting the judiciary is something he would like the section to focus on and invites ideas from the executive committee on ways the section can assist the judiciary. Judge Toomey has brought up this topic at meetings but has not received much in the way of feedback from judges. Judge Roth encourages the section to have updated bench books. Ryan Frazier agrees that bench books on the sections website is most viewed portion of the website. David Castleberry attended the judicial conference and was able to persuade 6 or so judges to update their bench book. Judge Toomey was very helpful in encouraging judges to update their books. George Burbidge encourages that an updated bench book be assembled for every judge. David is focusing efforts on those without books and then on updating existing books. Ryan Frazier suggested that David may want to seek help of the judges’ clerks based upon the recent presentation that Judge Quinn gave at Kirton & McConkie who advised that practitioners can file in his chambers and get pleading time stamped by his clerk. David has sent letters, emails, etc. to the judges and wants to avoid becoming an irritant. Judge Toomey suggests putting David and bench books on the District Court Board of Judge’s agenda. Jon Hafen also recommends that David arrange for a meeting with Justice Durrant as well.
a. Rise & Shine CLEs: Keith Call reports on Q4 Rise & Shine on Budgeting Under the New Rules – Panel comprised of an insurance adjustor, a plaintiff attorney and a defense attorney. Of the 50 who signed up, only 30 people attended. Keith encourages section to schedule events far in advance. Heather Thuet is arranging 1st Quarter Rise & Shine on E-filing in State Court which becomes mandatory on April 1, 2013. Michael Stahler has 2nd Quarter Rise & Shine and has yet to decide on a topic– Jon recommends advance planning.
b. Golf & CLE: Dan Steele reports attendance at October St. George Golf & CLE was low, only 12-14 in attendance. The date of event had to be changed because could not get presenter during UEA. Registration was low but went forward with event because golf course and caterer were willing to accommodate lower numbers at reduced cost. Dan considers it an aberration. SUBA had difficulty advertising the event to local practitioners. Next year, he doesn’t know if it will be scheduled over UEA but will rely on local association to provide dates.
c. Fall Forum & Trial Academy: Patrick Tanner says the space was about right. The Litigation Track was the highest attended track during Fall Forum. Frank Carney, as usual, did a great job presenting. The last hour was even highly attended. J. Shaughnessy, J. Blanche talked. Patrick remarked that the attendees were somewhat hostile about the new rules and committee. Jon Hafen remarked that practitioners are resistant to change. Patrick Tanner stated that the uncertainty concerning the enforcement of the new rules makes practitioners unhappy as well. Jon Hafen said the survey respondents were concerned about enforcement of new rules.
d. Spring Convention: Christian Kesselring advised that the committee voted out a presentation on new case law. The topics that remain are: (1) a judicial panel on the new rules with involvement by judges from the 5th District; (2) E-discovery under the new rules; and (3) E-filing. Rod Andreason suggested that dates on all CLE need to be added to the section’s website and newsletter. Shane Gosdis agrees.
e. Annual Meeting- Summer Convention 2013 in Snowmass, Co.: Jon says convention committee meetings are like “Survivor.” Currently there are 3 topics are being considered: (1) Proportionality Under the New Rules; (2) Legal Writing Under the New Federal Rules –panel of 3 judges; (3) Avoiding Legal Malpractice Claims, presented by Keith Call. Committee will vote on the 3 and Jon will have results by December meeting.
7. Section Night YLD: YLD wants someone from executive committee to attend Section Night at the Bar to advertise the Litigation section and recruit new members on November 20, 2012 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Rod Andreason suggests this is best taken on by the membership committee who should attend and have printed materials available for attendees. Rod Andreason and Michael Stahler volunteer to go if Kent is unable. Nicole Farrell suggested that we have available newsletter/sample bench books/CLE announcements / banner available and that the committee highlight the services provided by the section including quarterly lunches/breakfast CLE’s. Patrick Tanner remarked that membership is free for first year of practice and that committee can encourage retention. Jennifer Tomchak volunteered that practitioners are considered young lawyers until age 36 (which invoked giggles of glee from the YLD members and grimaces from some others).
8. Section Survey: Jon Hafen reports that the survey has been sent with a follow up reminder which evoked 200 responses. An astonishing 59 written responses concerning the new rules were received. Many respondents were favorable to the procedure for expedited discovery disputes. 90 pages of responses were generated. Jon Hafen declined to give the names of judges about whom unfavorable comments were made by respondents.
9. Newsletter: Nicole will do write up of survey results for newsletter which will be distributed the week after Thanksgiving. Ryan has completed the President’s message.
10. Law Student Relations Committee: Discussion was tabled until December meeting.
11. Technology/Website: Discussion was tabled until December meeting.
12. Bench Books: Discussed during Chair’s report, see above.
There being no further business, Jon Hafen made motion to adjourn, seconded by David Castleberry.
Adjourned at 9:10 am.
Meeting minutes approved December 12, 2012.
For the Executive Committee
/s/ Heather L. Thuet Secretary