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Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes for February 14, 2007

Litigation Section Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the Litigation Section met on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at 8:00 a.m. at the Utah Law & Justice Center in Salt Lake City.

Executive Committee members present were:

  • George Burbidge
  • Lee Curtis
  • Jon Hafen
  • Ryan Harris
  • Wayne Klein
  • Elaina Maragakis
  • Bryan Pattison (by speaker phone)
  • Michael Petrogeorge

Tish Toombs and Emily Pettit, law students from the University of Utah attended the meeting. Lincoln Mead and Brooke Bruno from the Bar association joined the meeting to discuss information technology issues.

Dan Steele, Sammi Anderson and Jackie Rogers were excused.

1. Minutes. The minutes for the January meeting were reviewed and approved.

2. Financial Report. The financial report was deferred.

3. Technical and Communication Issues. Lincoln Mead and Brooke Bruno discussed with the Executive Committee concerns about e-mails not being delivered to many section members. Lincoln indicated that the e-mail issue appears to have been solved. The Bar has a new system that has the ability to “pull” e-mail addresses from the Bar’s database. In addition, e-mail addresses of Section members marked as private formerly were excluded from Section mailings; now those e-mail addresses receive e-mail from the Section. He said some delivery problems still exist due to law firm “spam” filters.

Lincoln and Brooke then suggested several ways to improve the Section’s communications with members and the public. These include:

  • Sending a monthly e-mail update to all Section members, rather than just the quarterly newsletter.
  • Having a membership drive, including having members verify their e-mail addresses with the Section. They hope members also would verify their e-mail addresses listed on the Bar’s records. Currently the Bar sends out Section notices to 1,734 e-mail addresses, but 200-500 get bounced back each time (likely due to law firm filters).
  • Promoting the Section’s direct web site address:, rather than having users going through the Bar’s web site. The Section’s web page is averaging 1000 hits a day, but the number of hits is dropping. (This number only reflects traffic going directly to the Section IP address, not visits starting at the Bar’s web page.) Hits can be tracked most easily if the Section’s IP address is used. Lincoln and Brooke suggest adding a notice on all postcard notices and CLE handouts and announcing the web site address at meetings. The bulk of traffic to the web site is for the bench book.
  • Creating a blog for the section. Brooke could serve as blog master. A blog would give the web site a separate search engine, allow users to subscribe to the blog and automatically be sent notices of postings on the web site, permit articles from Section members to be posted on the blog, and encourage posting of messages among section members.

The sense of the Executive Committee was to designate a Section representative for the blog. This person would be responsible for controlling content on the blog. Lincoln offered to train the blog master. When the Section has identified a person, the Section should notify Lincoln and Brooke. Ryan Harris agreed to discuss this with Sammi Anderson who currently manages the Section web site and put this on the agenda for future meetings. Elaina Maragakis will arrange to get vinyl lettering to affix to the Section banner, listing the web address. The Executive Committee approved spending up to $500 for this.

4. Trial Advocacy Awards. Ryan Harris will attend the awards dinner for the winners of the BYU competition. He will work with Dan in getting trophies for the winners. Mike Petrogeorge reported on the competition at the University of Utah. He said the U’s competition is in the Fall. He recommended giving belated trophies to the 2006 winners from the U and working with the U to participate in the Fall 2007 awards ceremony.

5. Midyear Convention. The Section panel is set for the Midyear meeting. Bryan Pattison will make sure the Section banner is delivered to the Midyear meeting.

6. Quarterly Luncheon: Judges’ Clerks. Jon Hafen reported that this event will be the week of March 12. The clerks have been lined up. He will check with Judge Skanchy and the bar to set a date, then have notice sent to Section members.

7. Law School Outreach. Elaina Maragakis reported that this event is set for March 6. It is designed for first year students from both law schools. There will be brief presentations by Connie Howard, Joni Seko, the Young Lawyer’s Division, Ryan Harris, and Gus Chin. Both law school deans have committed to attend. The Executive Committee approved spending up to an additional $500 for advertising. Tish Toombs agreed to put an invitation in the box of each first year student at the U. Jon Hafen will get a first year student from BYU to advertise the event there.

8. Governmental Relations Committee. Mike Petrogeorge led a discussion of legislative bills on which the Section was asked to take a position. The Executive Committee voted to take no position on S.B. 206 (changes to punitive damages statute) and to oppose H.B. 385 (private investigators as process servers) unless the conflicts with the rules of civil procedure are resolved.

9. Bench Book Advertising. Elaina Maragakis suggested printing Post-It Notes with the web address for the Bench Book and distributing these to litigators at the Bar Conventions and at other events. She discussed the pricing for the note pads. The Executive Committee approved spending up to $2,000 to have them printed.

The Executive Committee also authorized Jon Hafen to explore other advertising methods for the Section web site and bench book, such as T-shirts. He was authorized to spend up to $2,000 for other advertising approaches.

10. Fall Forum. The Executive Committee discussed the Bar’s request for a solo practitioner or small firm attorney to be on the Fall Forum Committee. The Executive Committee could not identify likely candidates so Ryan Harris said he would send an e-mail to the Section members soliciting a volunteer to serve on the committee.

11. Upcoming CLE Seminars

a. Jon Hafen reported that the March Quarterly Luncheon with selected Third District courtroom clerks is ready and will be the week of March 12.

b. The Law School Outreach event is ready and discussed above.

c. The Section is ready for its portion of the Midyear Convention.

d. The NITA Trial Seminar is set for May 16-19. Ryan Harris reported that 20 had already signed up and there was a limit of 48. It will be held at the Salt Palace. The planning committee is in the process of confirming the local instructors.

12. Bylaw Revisions. Elaina Maragakis explained that those changes that were requested by the Bar Commission and approved by the Executive Committee do not need to be reapproved by the Bar Commission. The Section can use the March Quarterly Luncheon to have the bylaw changes approved by the Section and the June Quarterly Luncheon to vote on officers. It was noted that the advertising for the Quarterly Luncheon should include a notice that there will be a vote on the bylaw changes.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20.

Dated this 14th day of March, 2007.

For the Executive Committee

Wayne Klein
Secretary pro tem