December 12, 2017

Archives for December 2017

Colorado Supreme Court: Announcement Sheet, 12/11/2017

On Monday, December 11, 2017, the Colorado Supreme Court issued three published opinions.

People in Interest of J.W.

People v. Garcia

UMB Bank, N.A. v. Landmark Towers Association, Inc.

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions.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

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 12/7/2017

On Thursday, December 7, 2017, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and 18 unpublished opinions.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions.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

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/8/2017

On Friday, December 8, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and five unpublished opinions.

Timoshchuk v. Sessions

Gokool v. Oklahoma City University

United States v. Asfour

Chon v. Obama

Jordan v. Pugh

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions.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

Colorado Gives: Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Compassionately Transforms the Lives of Abused and Neglected Children

Colorado Gives: CBA CLE Legal Connection is focusing on several legal charities in honor of Colorado Gives Day, December 5, 2017. These charities, and many, many others, greatly appreciate your donations of time and money.

childrens-law-center-logo-gFor over thirty-five years, the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center has provided compassionate legal advocacy and clinical services to children who have been abused or neglected. Through a team of legal professionals and social workers, the Children’s Law Center serves at-risk children and considers the whole child with each recommendation regarding the child’s best interest.

The Children’s Law Center also works for public policy change, working to make children a political priority at the local, state, and national levels. The Children’s Law Center has made great progress in this area. They created the first Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman Program, promoted a 2013 Senate Bill to reduce the number of child abuse fatalities in the state, promoted a 2013 House Bill to streamline the process to report child abuse, and much more.

The Children’s Law Center has several programs devoted to legal advocacy for children. The Education Program promotes the adoption of policies and procedures in the schools and legislature to recognize the impact of trauma on children’s learning behaviors, reduce school transfers for children in the child protection system, and redirect children in the school disciplinary system from the school-to-prison pipeline. The Children’s Law Center also has a caregiver advocacy program, a domestic violence program, a trauma-informed yoga program, and a therapeutic garden.

The Children’s Law Center relies on donations to continue providing compassionate legal advocacy to abused, neglected, and at-risk children. Their annual operating expenses total over one million dollars per year. Donate on Colorado Gives Day by clicking here or any day by filling out the form on this webpage.

The Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

“So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments
for inspectors to inspect inspectors.”

-Buckminster Fuller

We met anthropologist David Graeber last time. His book The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy takes on a universally-acknowledged kind of modern workplace drudgery: the mind-numbing bureaucracies built around filling in forms. This is from an interview in The Guardian:

A few years ago David Graeber’s mother had a series of strokes. Social workers advised him that, in order to pay for the home care she needed, he should apply for Medicaid, the US government health insurance programme for people on low incomes. So he did, only to be sucked into a vortex of form filling and humiliation familiar to anyone who’s ever been embroiled in bureaucratic procedures.

At one point, the application was held up because someone at the Department of Motor Vehicles had put down his given name as “Daid”; at another, because someone at Verizon had spelled his surname “Grueber.” Graeber made matters worse by printing his name on the line clearly marked “signature” on one of the forms. Steeped in Kafka, Catch-22 and David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, Graeber was alive to all the hellish ironies of the situation but that didn’t make it any easier to bear. ‘We spend so much of our time filling in forms,’ he says. ‘The average American waits six months of her life waiting for the lights to change. If so, how many years of our life do we spend doing paperwork?’

The matter became academic, because Graeber’s mother died before she got Medicaid. But the form-filling ordeal stayed with him. “Having spent much of my life leading a fairly bohemian existence, comparatively insulated from this sort of thing, I found myself asking: is this what ordinary life, for most people, is really like? Running around feeling like an idiot all day?”

In other words, it’s almost 2018 — with all our smart technology, you’d think we could do better — for the people on both sides of the bureaucratic desk. The interview continues:

[Graeber] quotes with approval the anarchist collective Crimethinc:

Putting yourself in new situations constantly is the only way
 to ensure that you make your decisions unencumbered
 by the nature of habit, law, custom or prejudice
 – and it’s up to you to create the situations.

That’s good paradigm-shifting advice. We could follow it all the way to eliminating “the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy.” As you would expect, a whole bunch of enterprising software developers are already on it — here’s a software list. In fact, if it’s a dull, repetitive job, we probably already have technology that can do it better than humans can.

But that would eliminate all those mind-numbing bureaucratic jobs. Then what? Then it’s time for the second half of the Buckminster Fuller quote above:

The true business of people should be to go back to school
 and think about whatever it was they were thinking about
before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

A friend of mine was a chimney sweep. He’d be up on the roof, shaking down soot with his long-handled brushes, and downstairs his helpers would screen off the fireplace and capture the soot with a high-powered vacuum before it ruined the homeowner’s den. “Don’t wallow in it,” he’d tell them.

That’s also good paradigm-shifting advice. Trouble is, our brain wiring loves to wallow in the old ways of doing things — including filling in forms — at least until, as the saying goes, the pain of status quo becomes greater than the pain of change.

We’ll be looking more at workplace paradigm shifts in the coming weeks. But first, next time we’ll let a poet help us wallow a bit more in workplace drudgery.

 

Kevin Rhodes is on a mission to bring professional excellence and personal wellbeing to the people who learn, teach, and practice the law. His past blog posts for the CBA have been collected in two volumes — click the book covers for more information.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/6/2017

On Wednesday, December 6, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and three unpublished opinions.

Sayyed v. Six Churches

Iglesia Pentecostal Casa de Dios para los Naciones, Inc. v. Duke

Milton v. Allbaugh

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

Colorado Gives: Disability Law Colorado Recognizes the Inherent Value of All People and Embraces Empowerment

Colorado Gives: CBA CLE Legal Connection will be focusing on several Colorado legal charities this week in honor of Colorado Gives Day— Tuesday, December 5, 2017. These charities, and many, many others, greatly appreciate your donations of time and money.

Disability Law Colorado (formerly known as The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People) was created in 1976 out of the dream of a small group of parents who came together to secure equal rights for their children with developmental disabilities who were living in state institutions. These parents wanted a better life for their children and believed that all people with disabilities deserved the right to live full and rewarding lives. Disability Law Colorado’s early successes included requiring school districts to pay for children’s education in public schools, allowing children with severe disabilities to attend school for the first time. Disability Law Colorado also succeeded in preventing sterilization of people with developmental disabilities and preventing workplace discrimination against people with disabilities.

In 1977, the governor designated Disability Law Colorado to be Colorado’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System for people with developmental disabilities. Today, Disability Law Colorado is recognized as a leader in the National Disability Rights Network made up of Protection and Advocacy programs from all the states and territories.

For Colorado Gives Day, Disability Law Colorado has a $15,000 fundraising goal. By donating through Colorado Gives, your gift will go further thanks to a $1 million dollar incentive fund. Click here to donate.

The Colorado Lawyer Self-Assessment Program

By Jonathan White, Esq., Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

Do you need CLE credits? Check out Colorado’s new Lawyer Self-Assessment Program. The program allows you to self-assess your practice and identify areas of strength as well as areas for improvement. Colorado lawyers who participate in the program may claim up to three general and ethics credits. In addition, on Monday, December 11, 2017, CBA-CLE will host a 90 minute live seminar on the new program, “Proactive Practices: Protecting Client Confidences and Prioritizing Wellness to Run a Successful Practice,” where lawyers can claim an additional 2.0 general and 1.8 ethics credits (register here).

Lawyers can view and complete the self-assessments through the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel’s website: https://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/AboutUs/LawyerSelfAssessmentProgram.asp. An affidavit is available on the same page for lawyers to use to apply for CLE credit once they complete the self-assessment program. The program’s goals include helping lawyers better serve clients, instituting efficient, consistent law office management procedures, and allowing lawyers to reflect on whether they have procedures in place that promote compliance with professional obligations.

As a complement to this new initiative, CBA-CLE has hosted a series of lunch-hour CLE seminars devoted to the self-assessment program. The last in the series takes place Monday, December 11, beginning at noon. This seminar will explore proactive procedures that help lawyers comply with their duty to protect client confidences. It will also discuss lawyer well-being and why well-being is essential to a lawyer’s duty of competence. Register here for the December 11 program.

The Colorado Lawyer Self-Assessment Program arises out of a multi-year initiative of a subcommittee of the Colorado Supreme Court’s Attorney Regulation Advisory Committee. More than 50 practicing lawyers volunteered their time to identify ten areas of assessment and associated questions. The assessments draw from the collective professional experience of the subcommittee members. The ten areas of self-assessment include:

  1. Developing a competent practice;
  2. Communicating in an effective, timely, professional manner and maintaining professional client relations;
  3. Ensuring that confidentiality requirements are met;
  4. Avoiding conflicts of interest;
  5. Maintaining appropriate file and records management systems;
  6. Managing the law firm/legal entity and staff appropriately;
  7. Charging appropriate fees and making appropriate disbursements;
  8. Ensuring that reliable trust account practices are in use;
  9. Working to improve the administration of justice and access to legal services;
  10. Wellness and inclusivity.

The self-assessments are voluntary and confidential. The Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel does not receive any personally-attributable answers. The assessments offer links to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct and to a variety of educational resources ranging from template forms to advisory opinions to articles on current professionalism issues.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/5/2017

On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and eight unpublished opinions.

Keys v. Faulk

Wallin v. Miller

Rachel v. Troutt

Whitesell v. Burnham

Spencer v. Garden

United States v. Downing

Bright v. University of Oklahoma Board of Regents

Phan v. American Family Insurance Co.

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

Frank Hill Honored with Richard N. Doyle CLE Award of Excellence

On Monday, December 4, 2017, CLE hosted its annual Faculty and Author Thank You Reception. The Richard N. Doyle CLE Award of Excellence was presented to Frank T. Hill, a solo practitioner from Lakewood. Frank Hill has been a stalwart member of the CBA’s Trust and Estate Section since his admission to practice in 1973. Frank has been active on the Orange Book Forms Committee and Rules and Forms Committee of the CBA Trust and Estate Section for many years. He welcomes all attorneys to the meetings, treating the newest attorneys with the same dignity and respect as he treats his long-standing colleagues. He is kind and humble, frequently referring to himself as the “committee curmudgeon,” but he is intelligent and thoughtful, and he gracefully guides committee discussions while demonstrating the utmost respect for his peers.

Frank was instrumental in the redesign of the CLE publication, Orange Book Forms: Colorado Estate Planning Forms. He redesigned the book in order to help educate lawyers from the moment they open the book. He altruistically donated his time and energy to the redesign with the hope that it would be useful to the attorneys of tomorrow.

Frank is also a frequent speaker at CLE programs, and will be presenting at Friday’s “Orange Book Forms” program, in which all attendees receive a copy of the book as their course materials. He has also presented at Trust & Estate Retreats and many of the spring and fall Trust & Estate Updates. He is a fixture at CLE, and we are honored to be able to present him with the Richard N. Doyle CLE Award of Excellence for 2017.

Colorado Gives: Help Provide Justice for All through Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado

It’s Colorado Gives Day today, and you can make a big difference for some of the least fortunate and most vulnerable members of our community by supporting Legal Aid. Donate here to help ensure that low-income Coloradans are not left to face serious civil legal problems alone.

Contributions to the Legal Aid Foundation help support Colorado Legal Services (CLS), which provides free legal services to over 10,000 Coloradans every year, giving priority to the poor, elderly and disabled in greatest economic and social need. Unfortunately, for every client served by CLS, at least one income-eligible client is turned away because of inadequate resources.  CLS has only 50 lawyers statewide to serve nearly 800,000 income-eligible Coloradans.  By comparison, there are nearly 500 public defenders in the state to serve the indigent in serious criminal matters.

As lawyers, we know first-hand the value and necessity of quality legal representation when faced with a potentially life-changing legal problem. This is especially true of low income individuals and families, whose basic survival may depend on being able to stay in their home, protect themselves from abuse or exploitation, or secure food and necessary health care.

Making a Colorado Gives Day donation is quick and easy, and all donations made today will receive a proportional “boost” from a $1 Million Incentive Fund.  Please join lawyers from around the state today in helping Colorado move closer to fulfilling the promise of “justice for all.”

To learn more about the Legal Aid Foundation, please visit www.legalaidfoundation.org.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/4/2017

On Monday, December 4, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and one unpublished opinion.

Bridges v. Wilson

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