May 28, 2017

Archives for April 7, 2016

Join Metro Volunteer Lawyers’s “50 Hours for 50 Years” Challenge

MVL-50-Year-Logo (png) SmallerThis year marks the 50th year anniversary for Metro Volunteer Lawyers! In honor of its anniversary, MVL is encouraging lawyers to achieve 50 hours of pro bono service this year. MVL is a program of the Denver Bar Association and co-sponsored by the Adams/Broomfield, Arapahoe, Douglas/Elbert, and First Judicial District Bar Associations. MVL offers pro bono opportunities in such areas as Wills, Probate, POAs, Family Law, Guardianship/Conservatorship, and Consumer law. You can even sign-up to take a case conditioned on MVL finding you a mentor, or be a mentor yourself.

Reasons to Volunteer with MVL: 

  • Helping MVL clients is a rewarding way to serve the needs of the less fortunate in your community, helping work towards our constitutional mandate of providing equal justice under the law.
  • Advance the reputation of the legal profession.
  • Obtain practical legal experience.
  • Fulfill your professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least fifty hours of pro bono public legal services per year. Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1.
  • You can receive CLE credits for pro bono work. Under C.R.C.P. 260.8, Colorado attorneys providing uncompensated pro bono legal representation may apply for 1 general CLE credit for every 5 billable-equivalent hours of representation, up to a maximum of 9 credits in each 3 year compliance period.
  • MVL provides attorneys with malpractice insurance for the cases they take through its organization.

Want to Help MVL in Other Ways? Donate!

MVL_donatebuttonYour tax-deductible donation to MVL can help the organization provide legal services to more low-income individuals in Colorado. Click the “Donate” button or visit ColoradoGives.org to find MVL’s donation page.

Read More About Metro Volunteer Lawyers and How to Get Involved at www.metrovolunteerlawyers.org.

Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets, Tampering with Deceased Human Bodies, and More Bills Signed

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed five bills into law. To date, he has signed 78 bills into law this legislative session. The bills signed Thursday include a bill creating a new crime of tampering with deceased human bodies, a bill promoting the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, a bill regarding the Department of Corrections’ authority to distribute medication, and more. The bills signed Thursday are summarized here.

  • SB 16-010 – Concerning the Purchase of an Off-Highway Vehicle by a Dealer, by Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Jon Becker. The bill allows a powersports dealer to purchase a used off-highway vehicle without a title if it was purchased in a jurisdiction that does not issue titles for such vehicles or if it was purchased in Colorado prior to January 1, 2014.
  • SB 16-034 – Concerning Tampering with a Deceased Human Body, by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Reps. Rhonda Fields & Polly Lawrence. The bill creates a new crime of tampering with a deceased human body in order to impair its appearance or availability for an official proceeding.
  • SB 16-088 – Concerning the “Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act,” by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Yeulin Willett. The bill sets forth conditions under which certain fiduciaries may access a decedent’s electronic communications, a catalog of communications sent or received by a principal or decedent, or any other digital asset in which a decedent had a right.
  • HB 16-1152 – Concerning the Authority of the Department of Corrections to Distribute Medication, by Rep. Mike Foote and Sen. John Cooke. The bill authorizes the Department of Corrections to distribute compounded and prepackaged medications to its pharmacies.
  • HB 16-1353 – Concerning Payment of Expenses of the Legislative Department, by Reps. Crisanta Duran & Brian DelGrosso and Sens. Mark Scheffel & Lucia Guzman. The bill provides FY 2016-17 appropriations to the legislative department.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2016 legislative decisions, click here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 4/7/2016

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and six unpublished opinions.

United States v. Gutierrez

United States v. Baker

United States v. Perea-Hernandez

Bell v. Colvin

United States v. Johnson

United States v. Izenberg

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Professional Paradigms New and Old (Part 3): “Walk in Stupid Everyday”

We looked last year at physicist Thomas Kuhn’s model for how paradigms shift, and also explored another scientist’s exhortation “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Good, quotable advice, but how do you create what you can’t see? Richard and Daniel Susskind say often in their book The Future of the Professions that, as they travel the world delivering their message, many professionals agree that there’s a massive paradigm shift currently happening in the professions, just not their own.

Why this paradigm shift blindness?

wired%20to%20createReason 1: Too Much Expertise

Authors Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire describe this phenomenon in their marvelous book Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind:

While experience is an important aspect of excellence in any creative discipline, one risk of being a seasoned pro is that we become so entrenched in our own point of view that we have trouble seeing other solutions. Experts may have trouble being flexible and adapting to change because they are so highly accustomed to seeing things in a particular way.

Reason 2: Cultural Blindness

In each of the past two years (here and here), we’ve also looked at research from the emerging field of cultural neurology that suggests our brains’ observation and cognitive faculties are so linked to our cultural context that we simply can’t see paradigm shifts when they happen. Our cultural bias blinds us — it determines what we see and don’t see, and can literally blind us to new developments happening in our midst.

Reason 3: Not Being a Newcomer

Again from Wired to Create: “the newcomers to a field are sometimes the ones who come up with the ideas that truly innovate and shift paradigms.” In the law, the newcomers are responsible for the wave of new practice models and technologies. As I said last year, “By the time the new paradigm’s opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it, the paradigm we can’t see now will be the only one the new generation has ever known.”

MavericksA Cure for Paradigm Shift Blindness: Get Stupid

Dan Wieden is imminently quotable. He ought to be: he’s one of the namesakes of legendary ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, and personally created Nike’s “Just Do it” slogan.

W+K has offices all over the world and bills over a billion dollars annually. Their website is a creative trip all its own — you might enjoy cruising it, if you have a moment. The firm was profiled in a 2006 business bestseller, Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win, where Wieden was famously quoted as saying this about his approach to keeping W+K at the top of its game:

Whatever day it is, something in the world changed overnight,
and you better figure out what it is and what it means.
You have to forget what you just did and what you just learned
You have to walk in stupid every day.

Lawyers aren’t the only professionals who will have trouble following that advice. People pay us to be smart; their benefit and our livelihood depend on it. True, but there’s a whole lot of shaking goin’ on around us. We might want to get stupid enough to see it.

Next time, we’ll look at another paradigm shifting skill that won’t come easy: embracing failure.

 

Mavericks at Work may be the best business book I’ve ever read. If you like that kind of thing, you owe it to yourself.

And Wired to Create is the best I’ve ever read on its topic. Author Scott Barry Kaufman is the scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania, and Carolyn Gregoire is a senior writer at the Huffington Post, covering psychology, mental health, and neuroscience. And that’s just the first sentence of each of their author bios. Talk about creds.)

 

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Check out this collection of last year’s Future of Law blog posts. It’s a FREE download. Also included is the Culture of Law series from the second half of 2015. Click this link or the cover for downloading details.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 4/7/2016

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued 10 published opinions and 14 unpublished opinions.

People v. Anderson

People v. Williams

In re Estate of Sandstead

People v. Yoder

Campaign Integrity Watchdog v. Coloradans for a Better Future

City of Aurora v. 1405 Hotel, LLC

Lopez v. Trujillo

Friends of the Black Forest Preservation Plan, Inc. v. Board of County Commissioners of El Paso County

Khelik v. City & County of Denver

Campaign Integrity Watchdog v. Coloradans for a Better Future

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

HB 16-1167: Creating the “Colorado Family First Employer Act” to Recognize Family-Friendly Employers

On January 29, 2016, Reps. Faith Winter & Brittany Pettersen and Sens. Nancy Todd & Kerry Donovan introduced HB 16-1167Concerning the Creation of the Colorado Family First Employer Act, and, in Connection Therewith, Establishing a Program that Recognizes Colorado Employers that Meet Certain Family-Friendly Requirements. It was assigned to the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.

This bill proposes to create the Colorado Family First Employer Act under Article 13.7. The Colorado family first employer program, which would be created by the bill, would require the department of labor and employment (department) to establish a program that would designate Colorado employers who meet certain family-friendly criteria as Colorado family first employers. C.R.S. § 8-13.7-104 sets forth the criteria that an employer must demonstrate in order to be considered for an award by the Governor’s Office.

The bill proposes, among other things, to decrease the wage gap between men and women, specifically as it relates to African-American, Latina, Asian-American, and Native-American women. The bill also proposes to provide incentives to workers who have families needing child-care services or paid-leave for family responsibilities.

Additionally, the Office of the Governor would be authorized by the bill to recognize the employers who have been certified by the department with an award. Furthermore, the bill would allow designated employers to use a logo, created by the Office of the Governor, for promotional purposes.

Mark Proust is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

HB 16-1129: Strengthening Measures Against Charitable Fraud

On January 20, 2016, Reps. Polly Lawrence & Beth McCann and Sens. Larry Crowder & Rollie Heath introduced HB 16-1129Concerning Measures for Enhanced Enforcement Against Acts of Charitable Fraud, And, In Connection Therewith, Making An Appropriation. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where it was amended and referred to Appropriations. The Appropriations Committee amended the bill and referred it for Second Reading, where it passed with amendments, and passed Third Reading. The bill has now been introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

This bill is proposed in four sections. Section 1 of the bill would create enhanced penalties under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act for committing acts of charitable fraud involving knowledge or intent under the Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act. The bill proposes a penalty of $10,000 for each violation with no cap for a related series of violations.

Sections 2 and 4 of the bill would require two things. First, a statement on applications for registration by a paid solicitor to the Secretary of State, stating that neither the paid solicitor nor any officer, director, or employee serves on the board of directors of a charitable organization or directs the operations of a charitable organization in which the paid solicitor solicits contributions. Furthermore, the statement shall state that no officer, director, or employee of the paid solicitor’s charitable organization clients have any financial interest in the paid solicitor.

Second, Sections 2 and 4 of the bill require paid solicitors to have either a bond or savings account, deposit, or certificate of deposit in a financial institution payable to the State of Colorado. This is conditional upon the performance of the paid solicitor in good faith without fraud or fraudulent representation and without the violation of any provision of the Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act.

Lastly, Section 3 of the bill proposes to make it charitable fraud to misrepresent that a charitable organization, for which a paid solicitor solicits, has a significant membership of a certain type, such as active police, sheriff, patrol, firefighters, first responders, or veterans. Additionally, Section 3 of the bill proposes to make a charitable organization liable with a paid solicitor if the charitable organization knew or should have known that the paid solicitor was engaged in charitable fraud on behalf of the charitable organization.

Mark Proust is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

HB 16-1174: Limiting the Ability of the Director of the Department of Revenue to Contest Claimed Conservation Easements

On February 1, 2016, Rep. Becker introduced HB 16-1174Concerning a Perpetual Conservation Easement in Gross Granted for Property in Colorado for Which a Tax Credit Claim has been Rejected. The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, and was referred by that committee, unamended, to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee amended the bill and referred it to Appropriations.

Under current Colorado law, a state income tax credit is allowed for a portion of the value of a perpetual conservation easement that is granted by a taxpayer on real property located in Colorado. This bill, if enacted, would restrict the ability of the executive director of the department of revenue to contest an appraisal and credit claimed for an easement donated prior to January 1, 2008, in which a final settlement has not been reached by July 1, 2016.

C.R.S. § 39-22-522 proposes that this restriction would apply unless the executive director can show two things. First, the restriction would not apply if the executive director is able to produce clear and convincing evidence of an overvaluation of the easement, confirmed in writing by the State Attorney General prior to a specified date. Second, if the valuation is supported solely by an appraisal from an appraiser convicted of fraud or misrepresentation in connection with preparing the appraisal.

Currently, Colorado law allows for a conservation easement to be terminated in the same manner as any other easement. The proposed bill specifies, however, under C.R.S. § 38-30.5-107(2) that a court may exercise its equitable jurisdiction to terminate a conservation easement where a tax credit has been claimed in certain circumstances if the claim has been rejected.

Mark Proust is a 2016 J.D. Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.