Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 211

04/19/2009 10:00 AM Senate JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
10:06:45 AM Start
10:07:03 AM HB88
10:18:11 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 88(FIN) Out of Committee
           HB  88-EXTEND BAR ASS'N BOARD OF GOVERNORS                                                                       
10:07:03 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR FRENCH  announced the consideration  of HB 88.  [Before the                                                               
committee was CSHB 88(FIN).]                                                                                                    
At  ease  from  10:07:38  AM  to 10:08:15  AM  due  to  technical                                                           
10:09:23 AM                                                                                                                   
THERESA OBERMEYER,  representing herself,  referenced page  19 of                                                               
the Division  of Legislative  Audit review  of the  activities of                                                               
the Board  of Governors of  the Alaska Bar Association  audit. It                                                               
lists  five reasons  for  the  bar association  to  exist: 1)  to                                                               
cultivate  and  advance  the  science  of  jurisprudence;  2)  to                                                               
promote  reform in  the  law  and in  judicial  procedure; 3)  to                                                               
facilitate the  administration of justice; 4)  to encourage legal                                                               
education  for the  membership;  and 5)  to  increase the  public                                                               
service and  efficiency of the  Bar. She expressed the  view that                                                               
the board  leadership does  not live  up to  the reasons  for its                                                               
MS. OBERMEYER  highlighted that Steven  Van Goor  recently stated                                                               
that  the Alaska  Bar Exam  is, "designed  to illustrate  minimal                                                               
competence to practice  law, knowledge of Alaska  law, an ability                                                               
to  spot issues,  and an  ability to  thoroughly explain  a legal                                                               
problem in  a manner  expected of  a lawyer." If  it's a  test of                                                               
minimal  competency,  then  anyone  who  has  gotten  through  an                                                               
accredited  law school  is minimally  competent to  practice law,                                                               
she said. She  highlighted that the Alaska  Bar Association takes                                                               
in hundreds  of thousands of dollars  on the exam, yet  it issues                                                               
licenses to  less than  60 percent of  the applicants.  She asked                                                               
the committee  to focus on  the fact that  the board is  making a                                                               
lot of money on this.                                                                                                           
10:13:28 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  OBERMEYER  said she  can't  support  renewing the  Board  of                                                               
Governors of  the Alaska Bar  Association and she has  some ideas                                                               
for the next  year. First, create a  one-year probationary period                                                               
for this board  and conduct an audit. She noted  that she sent an                                                               
email this morning that includes issues to address in the audit.                                                                
She would  like to  know how many  bar association  applicants in                                                               
the  last two  years have  been admitted  by reciprocity  and how                                                               
many have been  admitted by passing the bar exam.  She noted that                                                               
an attorney  who is licensed  in a  reciprocal state and  has not                                                               
yet  come to  Alaska is  able  to pay  $1,500  and he  or she  is                                                               
automatically  licensed [to  practice  law  in Alaska].  However,                                                               
attorneys  who are  licensed  in reciprocal  states  and come  to                                                               
Alaska to live and subsequently  make application to practice law                                                               
are excluded  from admission by  reciprocity. They must  pass the                                                               
bar exam. She questions the  basis for the exclusion and believes                                                               
it stifles commerce and competition among lawyers.                                                                              
CHAIR FRENCH acknowledged that he has her recent email in hand.                                                                 
10:17:24 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR THERRIAULT joined the committee.                                                                                        
CHAIR FRENCH closed public testimony and asked for a motion.                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  moved to report  HB 88 from  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no objection, CSSB 88(FIN)  moved from the Senate Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             

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