September 20, 2014

Don’t Delay, Submit VA Form 21a Today to Practice Before the Veterans’ Administration

flagThe Veterans’ Administration requires all attorneys who assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits to be accredited by the VA per 38 C.F.R. § 14.627(a). VA Form 21a is used to achieve accreditation, and it must be submitted prior to completing the second accreditation requirement, a three-hour CLE course regarding representation before the veterans’ administration, basic eligibility, claims and appeal procedures, and more.

Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans and CBA-CLE will host a 3-hour accreditation course on January 9, 2015, presented by Michael Shea, Esq. This 3-hour course satisfies the VA requirement for CLE. It also satisfies VA continuing education requirements for attorneys who are already accredited.

Attorneys wishing to obtain Veterans’ Administration accreditation must submit VA Form 21a at least 90 days prior to taking the CLE course, as it can take up to 90 days for the VA to review the form and accredit the attorney. VA Form 21a can be downloaded here, and may be submitted via facsimile or as a PDF attachment to an email sent to

For more information on accreditation requirements, click here, and for more information on CLE’s “Practicing Before the Veterans’ Administration” class in 2015, click here.


All Are Welcome at Denver Lawyers’ Arts & Literature Reception on September 10


The winners of the The Docket’s Third Annual Arts & Literature Contest have been announced, and a reception will be held on September 10, 2014, in their recognition and to honor all entrants. This year’s winners are Barry Bartel (photography and sculpture), Joel Sayres (fiction), Ilona Dotterrer (nonfiction), Erin Agee (poetry), and Brett Godfrey (painting). Their works are featured in the September 2014 issue of The Docket.

Everyone is welcome to attend the reception and enjoy complimentary drinks and appetizers at the DBA offices on September 10, 2014 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. RSVP by September 5 to, or register online here.

The Law Firm Throwdown Wants You to Sweat for Charity

12014-SE-Law-Firm-ThrowdownA new kind of legal challenge is launching this fall! Sweat Equity is stirring up some healthy competition among attorneys in Colorado with the debut of The Law Firm Throwdown.

Any firm in the state can sign up to be a part of this energizing challenge to increase fitness levels while raising money for charity.

The challenge will begin in early October, and each participating firm starts by throwing $250 into the “Winner’s Pot.” Your employees will track their physical activity for six weeks using the Sweat Equity website and mobile app, ending just before Thanksgiving . Participants with FitBits can also link those accounts to upload their data. Scores are determined by daily steps and time and intensity of workouts. Leaders among the law firms are based on a point-by-person average so that firms of any size can compete equally.

Along with a kick-off webinar for participants, Sweat Equity will provide communication, tips and tech support throughout the challenge. Incentives are also offered – for instance, one team will win “Most Improved,” and receive a special, separate amount to give to charity at the end.

Live leaderboards allow firms to check in on their status throughout the six weeks. The winning group then gets to choose which charity they want to donate their portion of the “Winner’s Pot” to. This challenge offers a unique twist in that if the winning team earns 80% of the overall points, they get 80% of the pot to donate. So, even if a firm doesn’t win but gathers 20% of the points, they will receive 20% of the pot to donate as well.

Once the winning firm is announced, there will also be an event to honor them with a trophy and check for charity. Sweat Equity sends out press releases about the challenge and winner.

Instead of just writing a check to charity, join the Law Firm Throwdown to build group morale, drum up healthy competition, and motivate your employees to move as well. With so many amazing organizations – such as Metro Volunteer Lawyers and the Legal Aid Foundation – in need of donations, we encourage you to sign up your firm today! Contact Sara Epstein at 303-503-4756 or

DBA’s Davis Award Nominations Sought—Deadline is Monday, September 1

The Denver Bar Association is seeking nominations for the 2014 Richard Marden Davis Award. The prestigious Davis Award is given to attorneys in Denver who are under 40 years of age and exhibit exemplary civic, cultural, educational, and charitable leadership. It is presented jointly by the Davis family, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, and the Denver Bar Association. Past recipients of the award include Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Marquez, Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Richard Gabriel, and former governor Bill Ritter. The 2013 recipient of the Davis Award was Shannon Stevenson.

Nominations for the 2014 Award are due September 1, 2014. Nomination forms are available for download here, and more information on the award is available here. Questions? Email Margee Fawley or call her at 303-892-7528.

Judge Evaluations Available Online for 146 Judges Standing for Retention

The Colorado State Judicial Branch announced last week that judicial evaluations are now available online for Colorado’s 146 judges standing for retention in 2014. These evaluations were carefully prepared by Colorado’s Commission on Judicial Performance and local judicial performance commissions, and will be mailed to all voters this fall in the “Blue Book.”

The Commissions on Judicial Performance were created by Colorado’s legislature in 1988 in order to provide fair, responsible, and constructive evaluations of Colorado’s trial court and appellate judges and justices. Local judicial performance commissions consist of four attorneys and six non-attorneys. Volunteer commissioners are appointed by the Colorado Chief Justice, Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House for four-year terms. Commission workers take their work seriously and strive to create honest, fair, and reliable assessments of all judges standing for retention. Trial judges’ evaluations are developed with surveys of random samplings of people who appear in their courtrooms, including attorneys, jurors, litigants, court employees, and law enforcement personnel. Judges also complete self-evaluations that are used in the evaluation process. Appellate judge evaluations are developed by surveys of attorneys, court employees, other appellate judges, and other lower court judges, as well as self-evaluations, courtroom statistics, and personal observations by commission members.

To see the recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Performance regarding all 146 judges standing for retention, click here.

CBA Environmental Section’s 2013 Trees Project to Receive ABA 2014 State or Local Bar Environment, Energy, and Resources Program of the Year Award

treeOn Monday,  August 4, 2014, the American Bar Association announced that the CBA’s Environmental Law Section’s 2013 Trees Project will receive the ABA’s 2014 State or Local Bar Environment, Energy, and Resources Program of the Year Award. The award recognizes the best continuing legal education program or service project focused on issues regarding environmental, natural resources, or energy law. The award will be presented on August 10 at the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston.

The CBA’s 2013 Trees Project was developed by the Environmental Law Section in an effort to help remediate some of the devastating effects of wildfires in 2012. The project connected local bar associations and attorneys with other community associations to plant trees and help educate people about the dangers of wildfires. Over 4,200 trees were planted as part of the 2013 Trees Project.

Ann Rhodes and Maki Latidris, members of the Environmental Law Section Advisory Council, championed the effort and worked to gain support for the 2013 Trees Project from the CBA Board of Governors and the community. They planned tree planting days in five burn areas: Colorado Springs (Waldo Canyon Fire), Durango (Weber Fire), Jefferson County (Hayman Fire), Boulder (Four Mile Canyon Fire), and Fort Collins (High Park Fire). The projects were modeled on successful tree planting projects in Boulder in 2011 and 2012.

The 2013 Trees Project was a branch of the ABA’s 1 Million Trees Project, an effort to bring volunteers together to plant one million trees across the country by 2014.

Don’t Miss Stir Cooking School on August 5 to Benefit CWBA

10563040_10152223678188803_7465217832007536902_nThe Colorado Women’s Bar Association is hosting Stir Cooking School on August 5, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Learn tricks of the trade while working side-by-side with professional chefs. This fun-filled event with cooking experience, gourmet food, and cocktails, benefits the CWBA’s lobbying and public policy efforts.

Register by August 1. Registration forms are available for download here. Participants can also RSVP on the CWBA’s event Facebook page. Or, call the CWBA at (303) 539-3994. Registration is $100 per person, but CWBA members registering at full price can bring non-members at $60 per ticket. The event will take place at 3215 Zuni Street in Denver.

Don’t miss this fun chance to learn cooking skills while benefiting the Colorado Women’s Bar Association!

Community Action Network School Supply Drive Starts July 21!

School Supply Drive Flyer(1)Each year, the Community Action Network holds a school supply drive to benefit the Denver Public Schools Educational Outreach Program, which provides assistance to homeless children in the Denver Public School System, including school supplies, breakfast and lunch assistance, uniforms, and more.

This year’s school supply drive starts Monday, July 21, 2014 and will run through Friday, August 1, 2014. Barrels for school supply donations have been set up in the lobby of the CBA/DBA and CLE offices at 1900 Grant Street on the 3rd and 9th floors. Donations may be dropped off from Firms may also participate in the drive by collecting school supplies in easy-to-carry boxes at their offices; Ricoh will pick up the boxes the week of August 4.

Items needed for this year’s drive include:

  • Backpacks of all sizes;
  • Pencils, pens, crayons, and markers;
  • Binders, notebooks, folders, and paper;
  • Scissors, rulers, staplers, staples, glue, and glue sticks;
  • Pencil cases;
  • Scientific calculators, compasses, protractors, and geometry sets;
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses;
  • Navy and red polo shirts in all kids’ sizes;
  • And more!

For information on firm donations, click here or contact Alexa Drago or Kate Schuster.

Denver DA Mitch Morrissey is Keynote Speaker at the 16th Annual Senior Law Day on July 19

Layout 1Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey is the keynote speaker for this year’s 16th Annual Denver Senior Law Day. As the chief prosecutor in Denver, he is responsible for the prosecution of more than 6,000 felony and 18,000 misdemeanor criminal cases every year, and is a staunch advocate for fraud prevention and education in the Denver community.

With incredible resources and educational workshops, this event is not only for seniors in the community, but also valuable for adult children and caregivers who are helping aging parents, relatives, or friends. The event is from 8:00 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, July 19 at the Denver Mart.

The 16th Annual Senior Law Day offers the public the opportunity to hear from experienced elder law attorneys and other professionals involved in elder care issues.  This year there are thirty-three unique, informative workshops to choose from that will help seniors learn how to better manage family and financial issues and prepare for retirement.

Workshops this year include “How Hospice and Palliative Care Can Save Your Life,” “Aging in Place – Maintaining Your Independence at Home,” “ Assisted Living and Nursing Home Issues,” “ Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts & Your Property,” “ Hanging Up the Car Keys for Good,” “ Living Wills, Advance Medical Directives, DNR Orders, Proxies, and End of Life Issues,” “Medicaid and Medicare 101,” “ Planning For Your Pets,” “Powers of Attorney and Guardianship & Conservatorship,” “ Social Security,” “To Marry or Not to Marry—That is the Question,” “ VA Benefits,” and “ What to do When Someone Dies.”

Attendees are also available to meet with an attorney at the “Ask-A-Lawyer” Session, a free 15-minute meeting with an attorney to ask about elder law and trust and estate issues. For more information on this and a full list of workshops, go to

Much of the content presented at Denver Senior Law Day also can be found in the comprehensive 2014 Senior Law Handbook, which is distributed free at the event. The Senior Law Handbook is supported through the generous contributions from organizations and law firms, including Rose Community Foundation—an organization that supports efforts to improve the quality of life throughout the Greater Denver community through its endowed grantmaking programs, and by advising and assisting donors who wish to make thoughtful charitable investments to better the community.

A $10 contribution is suggested but not required to attend the event. Registration is requested; call (303) 860-0608 or dial toll-free (888) 860-2531, or go online to register at and click on the “Denver” tab. Business vendors and potential exhibitors should contact Sherrill Wolf at (303) 860-0608.

Full details on the event are available at

Fostering Success Legal Clinic — Why MVL is Addressing the Needs of Foster Kids!

By Peggy Hoyt-Hock, MVL Board Member

Foster Children. . . What comes to mind when you read this term? When I think of foster children, I tend to visualize something out of Oliver Twist . . . a group of young kids, hanging together, with little supervision. Then of course, I think of Jane Eyre, Annie or Harry Potter. Upon further reflection, I recall a few friends and acquaintances,who have on occasion mentioned that when young, they were fostered until perhaps being adopted or otherwise growing into successful, professional adults.

Then, consider this statistic: In the US, just over 30 percent of typical kids obtain a bachelor’s degree by age 25. When compared to children from the foster care system this number drops to two percent! Until writing this blog, I was unaware of the gap; honestly never giving the topic much thought. This difference presents just one example of the significant challenges children who age-out of the foster system must face.

The phone call came out of the blue. A professional young attorney, in fact an MVL Rovira Scholar introduced herself. “I am calling to ask you to serve as a volunteer for the first MVL Fostering Success Legal Clinic in July.” I asked her to tell me more about it. In the course of our conversation, I confirmed my commitment and discovered that Leeah Lechuga had direct personal experience with the foster care system.

If time would allow, we would both place individual calls to each good hearted attorney we know asking them to volunteer for this new Fostering Success Legal Clinic. Since neither of us have time, we are publishing this blog.

MVL has been fortunate to have had our recent Rovira Scholar, Leeah Lechuga. She reached out to share some of the challenges faced by an individual who ages-out of the foster care system. Leeah is a young and dynamic Colorado attorney, who recently left MVL for a Clerkship in the 18th Judicial District. If you happen to see her there, please join us in thanking her for arranging to have MVL partner with others to establish the new MVL“Fostering Success Legal Clinic.”

Snippets of the interview follow:

Peg, Q: You have personal experience with having to navigate the system. Can you share what it was like?

Leeah, A: My experience with my only out-of-home placement was wonderful. My foster parents made my experience with the system transformative.

It was the other systems that were difficult, after I aged out — student financial aid, finding an apartment, buying a car — I felt lost and incompetent constantly. I also felt lost in other ways, particularly recognizing the value in healthy relationships and building a healthy community. That is so important, but it took me a long time to get here.

Peg, Q: What can you tell the attorneys who read this blog, and may consider volunteering for this clinic — particularly those who may not have volunteered with MVL before — with regard to specific knowledge, skills, or experience they need?

Leeah, A: Attorneys, your willingness to be there is the biggest thing.

It is followed closely by a willingness to be an open book. Most of the legal issues won’t be complex. But you never know what seemingly trivial answer will unlock a whole new level of understanding and way of thinking for these young people. Something you say may connect with something that was said or overheard in a previous encounter. You can be transformative.

If you have not signed up to help with this clinic yet, please do so now. Let’s see how many lives the “Fostering Success Legal Clinic” can help transform over time! If you are interested, please contact

This article originally appeared on the MVL blog on July 3, 2014.

DBA Awards Reception on June 26 – All Are Invited!

GabrielThe Denver Bar Association is hosting a reception on Thursday, June 26, 2014 to honor its 2014 award recipients. Judge Richard L. Gabriel received the Award of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the DBA. Judge Dennis A. Graham received the Judicial Excellence Award for his exemplary judicial service. Ilene Lin Bloom received the DBA Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award, given to an attorney who proudly provides outstanding services to the community. Margrit Lent Parker received the Young Lawyer of the Year Award, recognizing her achievements as a young lawyer.

Everyone is welcome to attend the award reception on Thursday, June 26, 2014 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center. RSVP online, by emailing, or by calling (303) 860-1115, ext. 727.

Workers’ Comp Section Recognizes John Sbarbaro for Outstanding Achievement

sbarbaroThe Colorado Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section held its Annual Dinner on Thursday, June 12 at Maggiano’s in Denver. The Dinner included the presentation of the Lance Butler Award to section member John Sbarbaro. The Lance Butler Award is given annually to an attorney for outstanding service, dedication, and commitment to the field of Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law. This celebrated honor is bestowed after nomination from within the Workers’ Compensation Executive Council, based upon an attorney’s contribution to the Workers’ Compensation system. Among the speakers at the dinner were Michael Kaplan, Tom Kanan and Neil O’Toole.