June 28, 2016

Lawyers Beware: Disciplinary Email Could Be Fraudulent Phishing Attack

A new email phishing scam is circulating, and this one is targeting lawyers. Emails purporting to be from the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel or Colorado Bar Association advising lawyers of disciplinary matters have been circulating to attorneys in Colorado and nationally. The emails say something like “Bar Complaint” in the subject line, and purport to advise of a disciplinary complaint against an attorney. If you receive such an email, do not open any attachments or click any links in the email. Delete the email.

The Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel does not advise attorneys of disciplinary matters via email. Disciplinary counsel will advise attorneys about whom a complaint has been filed via U.S. Mail or telephone. The Colorado Bar Association does not advise attorneys of disciplinary matters; lawyers should delete emails advising of disciplinary matters that originate from the CBA, and notify the CBA of the fraudulent email.

If you have any questions about an attorney discipline email that appears to be from the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, please call the OARC at (303) 457-5800.

Nancy Elkind Honored with Colorado Lawyers Committee Outstanding Sustained Contribution Award

NancyElkindOn Monday, May 23, 2016, the Colorado Lawyers Committee held its annual awards luncheon at the Marriott Denver City Center. Nancy B. Elkind, founding partner of Elkind Alterman Harston PC, received the organization’s Outstanding Sustained Contribution Award. Ms. Elkind is on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Lawyers Committee, and she was chair of the committee from 2011 to 2013. She contributes extensively to her community through her work with the Colorado Lawyers Committee, helping the organization provide high-impact pro bono work while advocating, negotiating, and litigating for children, the poor, and other disadvantaged groups. She has practiced immigration law for over 30 years, and has provided counsel and guidance to hundreds of immigrant families and individuals, as well as to employers that are seeking to hire the “best and the brightest.” Ms. Elkind is also the managing editor of CBA-CLE’s treatise, Immigration Law for the Colorado Practitioner, and she also lectures frequently on topics related to immigration law.

AaronBoscheeAaron A. Boschee, senior associate at Squire Patton Boggs, received the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s Individual of the Year Award. Mr. Boschee is the Colorado Lawyers Committee Task Force Chair, and lead class counsel for the Taylor Ranch Litigation, through which he coordinates the pro bono efforts of over 30 lawyers at numerous law firms throughout the region. Mr. Boschee practices in the areas of commercial litigation, arbitration, and debt restructuring, focusing on debtor-creditor disputes, asset recovery and loss mitigation, real estate-based lending and litigation, creditor-lien priority, shareholder and director disputes, and fraud. He received his undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University and his law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

SchmidtLaurenEBrownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, received the Committee’s Law Firm of the Year Award. The Law Firm of the Year Award is given to firms whose attorneys and staff made significant pro bono contributions to Lawyers Committee projects during 2015. Lauren Schmidt, BHFS’s pro bono partner, and Martha Fitzgerald are members of the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s Board of Directors and Schmidt serves on the Executive Committee. Tenley Oldak serves on the Leadership Board of the Colorado Lawyers Committee Young Lawyers Division. Under Ms. Schmidt’s leadership, BHFS’s pro bono program has increased dramatically, and the firm is a signatory to the national Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge. The firm has pledged to average 50 hours of pro bono work per lawyer per year.

Congratulations to all the honorees of the Colorado Lawyers Committee Awards.

Bill Walters to Receive DBA Award of Merit at Annual Awards Ceremony

The Denver Bar Association is hosting its annual ceremony to recognize the recipients of its 2016 DBA Awards on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. The winners of the 2016 DBA Awards are:

  • Bill Walters — Award of Merit
  • Maureen Watson — Young Lawyer of the Year
  • Jerry Pratt — Volunteer Lawyer of the Year
  • Metro Volunteer Lawyers’ Power of Attorney Clinic — Outstanding Programs/Projects
  • The Honorable Shelley Gilman — Judicial Excellence Award
  • Jerry Conover and Howard Rosenberg — Founders Award
  • Norman Campbell, Barbara Chamberlain, Lucy Marsh, Anthony Yuthas and Jon Nicholls — Outstanding Sustained Volunteer Award

3521Bill Walters will receive the DBA Award of Merit. The Award of Merit recognizes outstanding service and contributions to the DBA and the legal profession, rendered to improve the administration of justice. Walters is a past president of the DBA, past president of the CBA, former board member for CBA-CLE, past chair of the Colorado Lawyers Committee, past Chair of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, and a member of the Colorado Nonprofit Corporation Code Revision Committee. Walters is a former partner at Heizer Paul LLP, where he specialized in representing nonprofit organizations, including trade and specialty organizations. Walters has been a frequent lecturer on many topics, including legal risk management for directors and officers, contract law, copyright and trademarks, legislative intellectual property, employment law, computer contracts, social media, hotel negotiations, and antitrust law.

Maureen Watson will receive the Young Lawyer of the Year Award, which is given to a DBA member and attorney who is 37 or under or has been in practice less than three years. Watson is currently general counsel at CQG, Inc., and is the Executive Council Chair of the DBA Young Lawyers Division. Prior to her work at CQG, Inc., Watson was an associate at Fennemore Craig, P.C., where she practiced primarily in the areas of business torts and personal injury. Watson was a contributing author for the 2014 Annual Survey of Colorado Law.

10071Jerry Pratt will receive the Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award, which is given annually to a DBA member who has performed extraordinary voluntary legal or community service. Pratt is a solo practitioner at the Law Offices of Gerald D. Pratt in Lone Tree. Pratt has over 33 years of trial experience in both civil and criminal cases, serving as lead counsel in a wide variety of cases, including professional liability, products liability, personal injury, insurance bad faith, construction claims, insurance defense, and criminal defense. He has also devoted a significant part of his practice to legal ethics and is a member and past chair of the CBA Ethics Committee. He is a frequent speaker at CLE programs.

Gilman (Formatted)The Honorable Shelley Gilman will receive the Judicial Excellence Award, which is given to members of the judiciary who exemplify outstanding service or make exceptional contributions to the improvement of the justice system. Judge Gilman was appointed to the Denver District Court in 1998, where she has presided over domestic, civil, and criminal cases. Prior to her appointment, she practiced in several county trial offices and the appellate division of the Colorado State Public Defender. She was also in private practice in Denver, specializing in juvenile, criminal, and appellate matters.

MVL at 45Jerry Conover and Howard Rosenberg will receive the Founders Award. Conover and Rosenberg were founding volunteers of the Thursday Night Bar, the weekly legal aid clinic that has now become Metro Volunteer Lawyers.

Norman Campbell, Barbara Chamberlain, Lucy Marsh, Anthony Yuthas and Jon Nicholls will receive the Outstanding Sustained Volunteer Award. The Outstanding Sustained Volunteer Award honors long-term commitment to pro bono legal representation through Metro Volunteer Lawyers in furtherance of access to justice, while consistently showing outstanding professionalism and dedication to helping those of limited means. The five recipients have demonstrated years of commitment to MVL. Norman Campbell is a solo practitioner in Brighton. Barbara Chamberlain was the Executive Director of Metro Volunteer Lawyers for many years. Lucy Marsh is a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she has received the DU Law Star Excellence in Teaching Award. Anthony Yuthas is a solo practitioner focusing on bankruptcy law. Jon Nicholls is one of the founders of the Thursday Night Bar, and is also Of Counsel at Nicholls & Associates in Denver.

MVLMetro Volunteer Lawyers’ Power of Attorney Clinic will receive the Outstanding Programs/Projects award, which is given to programs that provide legal education, outreach, pro bono services or fundraising. The Power of Attorney Clinic pairs volunteer attorneys with elderly clients wishing to complete advance planning documents, allowing the clients to give legal authority to trusted friends or family members to arrange their financial or medical affairs.

To register for the DBA Awards Ceremony, click here, call (303) 860-1115, or email lunches@cobar.org.

Sean May Memorial 9 Mile and 5K Run/Walk This Weekend

Sean May

Sean May

The 8th Annual Sean May Memorial Run/Walk will be held at Barr Lake State Park on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Each year, the 17th Judicial District Access to Justice Committee hosts the Sean May Memorial Run/Walk to commemorate Sean May, a deputy district attorney from the 17th Judicial District who championed personal responsibility, including treating victims, the community, defendants, and the courts with dignity and respect. During his seven years of service in Adams County, May volunteered for the Child Victim Unit, where he pursued justice for children who had been physically and/or sexually abused. May died on August 27, 2008, when he was shot in his backyard when returning from work. At the time of his death, he was responsible for training and supervising new prosecutors.

This year’s event will feature a 9 mile run, a 5K, and a family fun run/walk at beautiful Barr Lake State Park. The course passes by several wildlife viewing stations and the park’s wildlife refuge. More than 350 species of birds have been spotted in the park. Numerous bald eagles winter at Barr Lake and one pair stays to nest and raise its young every year. Registration opens at 7:30 am, and the 9 mile run starts at 9 am, followed by the 5K at 9:15 and the fun run after that. Register online or at the race.

For more information about the run, click here.

World IP Day Celebration – Cultural Expression through Digital Creativity

World IP Day Celebration – Cultural Expression through Digital Creativity

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:
Monday, April 25, 2016 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (MDT)
The Commons on Champa
1245 Champa Street
Denver, CO 80204

Attend Event

Hosted by The Commons on Champa, come celebrate World Intellectual Property Day with the Rocky Mountain United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Colorado Bar Association IP Section and the American Intellectual Property Law Association.
The program will focus on exploring the role of digital creativity in the evolution of cultural expression.  Guest speakers will include, among others, Melody McCoy from the Native American Rights Fund and Troy Eid from Greenberg Traurig.

  • 3:00 – 3:30 PM: Pre-event Networking Reception
  • 3:30 – 4:30 PM: World IP Day Program & Fireside Chat (moderated by USPTO Regional Director Molly Kocialski)
  • 4:30 – 5:00 PM: Post-event Networking Reception & World IP Day Celebration

Share this event on Facebook and Twitter and please feel free to pass this invitation along to other friends and colleagues who you think would be interested in joining for this special World Intellectual Property Day celebration.
We hope you can make it!

Cheers,
American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Colorado Bar Association Intellectual Property Section

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.

Bruce Smith Named Dean of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law

smithOn Monday, April 4, 2016, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law announced the appointment of Bruce Smith, J.D., Ph.D., as its new dean, effective July 1, 2016. Smith will replace Dean Martin Katz, who is returning to the faculty.

Smith is currently a Guy Raymond Jones Faculty Scholar at the University of Illinois College of Law, where he specializes in Anglo-American criminal procedure in the 18th and 19th centuries. Smith was Dean of the University of Illinois College of Law from 2009 to 2014 and has served on the faculty since 2001. Prior to that, he was in private practice in the Washington, DC area for five years, where he focused his practice on intellectual property litigation and sports law. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Williams College; bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge, England, which he attended as a Hersch Smith Fellow; his J.D. from Yale Law School; and his Ph.D. in history from the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities.

For more information about the appointment, click here.

Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame to Host Women in the Law Event

cwhf_669logo_2012On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame will host a Law Day Event, “Celebrating Colorado Women: Women in the Law.” The event will take place at the Denver Public Library from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with an optional guided tour of the Ralph J. Carr Justice Center’s Learning Center and Library from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The agenda features a panel discussion on journeys to the bench with Chief Justice Nancy Rice of the Colorado Supreme Court, Chief Judge Marcia Krieger of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, Judge Christine Arguello of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, and retired Justice Jean Dubofsky of the Colorado Supreme Court, moderated by retired Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey. Following the panel discussion will be recognitions of Judge Marcia Krieger and Justice Nancy Rice.

Registration is now open for this event. There is no cost for attending, but registration is limited. Click here to register.

Colorado Judicial Institute Seeks Nominations for 2016 Judicial Excellence Awards

CJIOn Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the Colorado Judicial Institute announced that it is seeking nominations for its 2016 Judicial Excellence Awards. The awards acknowledge the efforts of Colorado’s outstanding jurists in three categories: district court judge, county court judge, and magistrate. Nominations may be submitted by justices, judges, magistrates, attorneys, clerks, court staff, and others closely involved with Colorado’s judicial system. The nomination form is available online at the Colorado Judicial Institute website.

The Colorado Judicial Institute set forth criteria for evaluating nominees in each category. The district court judge nominees should have five years’ experience on the district court bench; be creative and innovative in dealing with courtroom processes; exemplify high standards of judicial excellence through a distinguished career; display extraordinary courage, tenacity, and energy in dealing with high-profile, controversial, or difficult cases; objectively, expeditiously, and efficiently manage cases and dockets; and be recognized by members of the bar, courtroom staff, and others as respectful and even-handed but in firm control of the courtroom. County court judge nominees should have five years of experience as a judicial officer in the state court system and currently work full- or part-time; efficiently, expeditiously, and objectively manage cases and dockets; be recognized by members of the bar, courtroom staff, and others as respectful and even-handed but in firm control of the courtroom; and be respected by and have the confidence of other judges, attorneys, court staff, and others. Nominees for the magistrate award should have three years of full- or part-time experience on the bench; explain the law in terms understood by everyone who appears in the courtroom; possess a demeanor and attitude of court accessibility to all; display a high level of open communication; efficiently, objectively, and expeditiously manage cases and dockets; and be respected by and have the confidence of judges, lawyers, court staff, and others.

For more information about the Judicial Excellence Awards and to fill out the nomination form, click here.

J. Ryann Peyton Named Next Director of Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program

RyannPeytonOn Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of J. Ryann Peyton as director of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), effective July 1, 2016. Peyton will replace John Baker, who in February 2013 was named the first director of CAMP. Peyton will begin at CAMP on April 1, 2016 and will work with Baker through his June 30, 2016, departure.

Peyton is currently the Training and Legal Director at the GLBT Center of Colorado. She has been at The Center since March 2015. Prior to her work at The Center, Peyton was in private practice, focusing on domestic relations law for LGBT and non-traditional families. She has also served as an adjunct professor in the University of Denver’s externship program, serves on the board of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and is the former president of that association, served on the board of the Twin Cities Quorum (LGBT Chamber of Commerce) in Minnesota, and has been a board member for the Center for Legal Inclusiveness. She received her law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and her LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Denver.

The CAMP program was established in February 2013 to develop and administer mentoring programs in all of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts. CAMP programming occurs through bar associations, inns of court, law firms, agencies, and other legal organizations throughout the state. In locations where no organization-related programs are available, CAMP matches mentors with mentees in an individualized program.

For more information about Peyton’s directorship, click here.

 

Run, Walk, Roll, and Fundraise for Disability Law Colorado

colfaxmarathonJoin the Disability Law Colorado team for the Colfax Marathon weekend for fun in the sun! We race to ensure that people with disabilities and older people receive the same civil rights people without disabilities do — living in the community, working at a meaningful job, going to school, and enjoying Colorado’s vast recreational opportunities.

This year’s Colfax Marathon will be May 14-15, 2016. The Colfax Marathon offers several opportunities for runners of different abilities — there is a full marathon, a half marathon, an Urban 10-Miler, a marathon relay race where five people run distances ranging from 3.9 to 6.4 miles, and a Colfax 5K. Any of these races can be run to support Disability Law Colorado — just choose “Run for a Nonprofit” before you register and select Disability Law Colorado.

Not up for a full marathon? Or even a half? That’s okay, you can do a leg of the marathon relay! If you don’t have a full team, contact Julie Busby at 303-722-0300, x507 or jbusby@disabilitylawco.org, and she will help connect you to other runners.

We race to make a difference! Register and join our team at www.runcolfax.org, or get more information by calling Julie Busby at 303-722-0300, x507. Learn more about Disability Law Colorado and how we help by visiting www.disabilitylawco.org.

Disability-Law-CO-Colfax-Marathon_Page_1

Sobering Statistics — Prevalence of Alcohol Use and Mental Health Issues Among Lawyers

COLAPEditor’s Note: If you are or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues, please contact COLAP for confidential assistance at (303) 986-3345 or (855) 208-1168. 

The legal profession is noble indeed. Lawyers are tasked with holding high standards of integrity while zealously advocating for their clients, often during the worst experience of their clients’ lives. Lawyers must maintain competence, diligence, truthfulness, and candor. Biglaw attorneys must be rainmakers as they work grueling hours in a high-stakes environment. Solo and small firm attorneys must also worry about bringing in and keeping clients, but they also have office management duties. In-house counsel must be knowledgeable about many different areas of the law so they can provide competent representation on any issue their business may face. Prosecutors balance heavy caseloads while trying to bring justice to grieving victims. Defense attorneys sometimes face literal life-or-death situations with their clients. The law is not a profession for the faint of heart. And it shows—stories of lawyer suicides are so common it sparked a CNN report, “Why Are Lawyers Killing Themselves?” The South Carolina Bar Association’s South Carolina Lawyer published “The Lawyer’s Epidemic: Depression, Suicide, and Substance Abuse.” Patrick Krill wrote a compelling article for “The Hennepin Lawyer” called “Legally Intoxicated: The Impacts and Implications of Substance Abuse in the Practice of Law,” describing one fictional partner’s descent into substance abuse but also describing situations that are all-too familiar for many lawyers.

A new study from the Hazelton Betty Ford Foundation revealed alarming rates of substance abuse and mental health disorders among attorneys. Nearly 13,000 legal professionals responded to an anonymous survey posted by bar associations across the country. Of the respondents, 53.4 percent were men and 46.5 percent were women. Age was measured in 10-year increments beginning with under 30 and ending with 70 and older, and respondents were fairly evenly divided through the age groups, with the fewest responses from the 70+ attorneys and the second fewest from the under-30s. Marital status and race/ethnicity were also considered; the vast majority of participants were white/Caucasian (91.3 percent) and married (70.2 percent). Professional characteristics, including work environment, position in firm, hours per week, and whether litigation was involved, were also examined. Participants self-reported on alcohol and substance use, and 84.1 percent reported using alcohol in the past 12 months.

The study included a 10-item self-report test called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), which is used to screen for hazardous use, harmful use, and potential alcohol dependence. An alarming 20.6 percent of reporting attorneys had positive AUDIT screens, as compared to 11.8 percent for a broad, highly educated workforce and 15 percent for physicians. The youngest attorneys were the most likely to report problem drinking—31.9 percent of the under-30 attorneys and 25.1 percent of attorneys aged 31-40 had positive AUDIT screens, with the percentages tapering off for each age segment. Similarly, attorneys in practice 10 years or less reported the highest rates of problem drinking—28.1 percent of new attorneys had positive AUDIT scores, with percentages diminishing in each age segment. The results were fairly static across all types of firms; private firms and bar administration had the highest rate of positive AUDIT screens but solos, in-house (government), in-house (corporate), and law schools were not far behind. Junior associates were most likely to screen positive for problem drinking, and senior partners were least likely.

The study also found alarmingly high percentages of depression and anxiety among responding attorneys. Of the attorneys surveyed, 28 percent experienced mild or higher levels of depression, 19 percent experienced mild or higher levels of anxiety, and 23 percent experienced mild or higher levels of stress as measured on the DASS-21 scale. Over 60 percent of the attorneys surveyed reported having experienced anxiety at some point in their career, and 45.7 reported having experienced depression. Suicidal thoughts and actions were also described, with 11.5 percent of responding attorneys admitting they had had suicidal thoughts at some point in their careers and 2.9 percent admitting self-injurious behaviors. The study noted significantly higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression among those screening positive for problematic alcohol use, and those with stress, anxiety, and depression scores within the normal range endorsed significantly fewer problematic alcohol behaviors. The study also remarked that alcohol can cause mental health issues, and mental health issues can often lead people to self-medicate with alcohol, so the two issues frequently co-exist.

Among all respondents, the same barriers to treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders were raised: not wanting others to find out they needed help and concerns about privacy and confidentiality. However, those who sought treatment in programs designed for legal professionals reported significantly lower AUDIT scores than those who attended programs not tailored to legal professionals.

Colorado has a lawyer assistance program tailored for legal professionals, appropriately named the Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program or COLAP. COLAP is completely confidential, and in fact Colorado Supreme Court Rule 254 establishing COLAP provides that none of the information gathered by COLAP can be released without a signed release. COLAP’s mission is to protect the interests of clients, litigants, and the general public by educating the bench, bar, and law schools regarding the causes of and remedies for impairments affecting members of the legal profession, and to provide confidential assistance to lawyers, judges, and law students who suffer from physical or mental health issues, or other impairments that affect their ability to be productive members of the profession. As COLAP’s website informs, “Getting help won’t sabotage your career, but not getting help can!”

If you are among the one out of every five attorneys who struggles with problematic alcohol use, or the one-in-four attorneys who is experiencing depression, please do not struggle in silence. Contact COLAP or your personal physician today.