December 17, 2017

Modern Law Practice Initiative: A Win-Win for Lawyers and Clients

By Erika Holmes

The CBA’s Modest Means Task Force has been renamed – the Modern Law Practice Initiative! “Why the new name?” you ask. The reason for the name change is two-fold: first, to stop the misperception that this type of law practice only helps poor people, and second, to develop a moniker for this innovative way to practice law that provides enormous benefits for both clients and attorneys.

The Modest Mean Task Force was formed in 2012 to educate lawyers and judges about the justice gap – the huge portion of society (almost 60% of civil litigants) who make too much money to get a lawyer through public assistance but don’t make enough money to hire an attorney at traditional rates. MLPI’s mission is still the same – to serve this portion of the population. However, MLPI is striving to further educate both lawyers and the public that the justice gap doesn’t consist of just people of modest means. The justice gap is comprised of people across the full spectrum of income levels, including people with middle to upper-middle class incomes. By practicing modern representation, a lawyer can run a thriving, sustainable, and fulfilling practice by providing legal services to this largely untapped market.

The Modern Law Practice Initiative is expounding on its original mission by providing lawyers with the motivation and the specific means to engage in this exciting new method of law practice management. Modern representation is about more than providing legal services at an affordable rate. Modern representation is about practicing law in a manner that is beneficial for both the client and the lawyer in terms of feasibility, flexibility, versatility – and even enjoyability! MLPI’s goal is to teach lawyers how to create a sustainable law practice that simultaneously helps solve the access to justice gap and provides the lawyer with a fulfilling and prosperous career.

Check out MLPI’s new website for access to the latest version of Successful Business Planning for the Modern Law Practice, a step-by-step guide to creating a sustainable modern law practice. MLPI will also highlight for lawyers the best resources for creating and sustaining a modern law practice through CLEs, books, technology, mentoring, networking, volunteer opportunities, and more. Discover what it means to be a modern lawyer and to be part of a win-win solution to the access to justice dilemma!

Glenwood Springs Wins the Colorado Mock Trial Tournament

Students from Glenwood Springs High School took first in state, defeating a team from Denver’s Colorado Academy in the championship round on Saturday night at the Colorado Bar Association State Mock Trial Tournament, which is funded and supported by the CBA Litigation Section and the Colorado Bar Foundation.

Glenwood Springs High School will advance to the National Mock Trial Championship in Madison, Wisconsin, May 8–10. There, they will argue a new case and compete with more than 1,000 students from the United States, U.S. territories, and South Korea.

Most teams participate in mock trial as an extracurricular activity run by teachers and attorney volunteers. This year, 104 teams from around the state competed in the program. The final 24 teams were top placers in nine regional tournaments held around the state in February.

This marks the 29th year of High School Mock Trials. Students have been preparing for the tournament since September—to try the same fictitious case regarding distracted driving involving a vehicle and bicyclist. In each round, students had to be ready to perform either the prosecution or defense side of the case. They were scored by real attorneys and judges.

This year the Colorado Bar Association Mock Trial Program partnered with EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving), which is sponsored by the Casey Feldman Foundation, to launch the campaign for high school mock trial participants by writing a case problem that would compel each participant to make a pledge to end distracted driving. The Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and the Casey Feldman Foundation awarded $500 to both Holy Family High School and Regis Jesuit for best incorporating the safe driving message, as consistent with EndDD.org, into their mock trial presentation.

Alex Martinez, Denver Public Schools General Counsel and former Colorado Supreme Court justice, presided over the championship round, along with Hon. Christine Arguello of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado; Hon. David P. Cain, CBA Mock Trial Committee and Colorado Office of Administrative Courts; Hon. Christina Habas, Keating Wagner Polidori Free PC; Emma Pinter, CBA Mock Trial Committee and Westminster City Council; Hon. Gale Miller, Colorado Court of Appeals; Hon. Steven Bernard, Colorado Courts of Appeals; and Teri Vasquez, CBA Mock Trial Committee Chair and Bayer Carey LLC.

Michael H. Berger to Receive Colorado Bar’s Highest Honor

6113Michael H. Berger will be honored with the Colorado Bar Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, at the Colorado Bar Foundation’s Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Friday, Jan. 10.

In the numerous letters of nominations that were received by the awards committee, the overwhelming praise was to Berger’s intelligence, analytical skill, and commitment to professionalism. Many described him as the definition of a “lawyer’s lawyer,” an extraordinary lawyer and person.  His almost 40 years of service to the profession have been done quietly, without fanfare or self promotion.

“The CBA is comprised of many talented and dedicated lawyers who tirelessly work to improve our system of justice,” Berger said. “To receive this award from such an organization is a tremendous honor.”

Berger is a member of Husch Blackwell’s Financial Services team where he focuses on financial litigation while also handling commercial, appellate, employment and intellectual property litigation matters. He acts as a consultant in legal ethics matters and frequently serves as an expert witness, and is a frequent presenter of CLE programs in the areas of litigation and legal ethics and has authored a number of articles in the area of legal ethics. Berger is a past chair of the CBA Ethics Committee, current chair of the CBA Amicus Brief Committee, and a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Standing Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. He was recently appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to serve as a judge for the Colorado Court of Appeals.

“Each lawyer who has received the CBA’s Award of Merit has been astonished:  Why me? ” said Past Award of Merit winner Anthony van Westrum.  “But I am sure there is no one — with Mike as the possible exception — who doubts that Michael Berger is entirely deserving of this Award.  Everyone who knows him knows of the constant, quiet, thoroughly competent services he renders to the Association and for the good of the law and the legal system in Colorado.  Even the Governor knows that, for he has just elevated Mike to the Court of Appeals.”

The Award of Merit, the association’s highest honor, is given annually to a member for outstanding service to the association, the legal profession, the administration of justice and the community. Berger and CBA Young Lawyers Division’s Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award recipient Benjamin E. Currier will be honored at the Colorado Bar Foundation’s Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Friday, Jan. 10, at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center.

El Paso Bar Association Offers Additional Legal Assistance to Wildfire Victims

The El Paso County Bar Association will offer a second Ask-A-Lawyer event where lawyers will be available at no cost to answer legal questions for Black Forest residents affected by this year’s devastating wildfire.

“We saw such a great need for legal help at our last legal clinic, we decided to offer this second clinic to continue to provide clarity, guidance, and support for those who have been impacted by the Black Forest Fire,” said EPCBA Executive Director Claire Anderson.

Event Details: Tuesday, July 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the west training room at El Paso County’s Charles C. Brown Transportation and Environment Complex, 3275 Akers Drive, Colorado Springs.  No appointment is required.

The El Paso County Bar Association will have lawyers available specializing in the following areas of law:

  • Real Estate
  • Tenant/Landlord
  • HOA
  • Insurance
  • Employment
  • Probate

If you are an attorney and would like to help, please contact Claire Anderson ((719) 473-9700 or claire@elpasocountybar.org).