On February 1, 1997, a fresh-faced young whippersnapper from the Badger State became the Executive Director of Colorado Bar Association CLE. Almost exactly 20 years later, Gary Abrams retired after a distinguished tenure.
Gary’s vision was to make CBA-CLE Colorado’s biggest and best provider of continuing legal education. Under Gary’s leadership, CBA-CLE grew from a small business with a four-person staff to Colorado’s biggest CLE provider with over 20 full time employees. Lisa Travis Fischer, CBA-CLE’s Publications Director, remarked that “Gary’s passion, dedication, and leadership changed CBA-CLE forever. He has left behind a legacy that will be cherished.”
Working together with the faculty was arguably Gary’s favorite part of leading CBA-CLE. He started a tradition of wine tasting networking events, which quickly became everyone’s favorite social events at annual institutes such as the Family Law Institute, Trust & Estate Retreat, Real Estate Symposium, IP Institute, and others.
The wine tasting also became a staple of CLE’s annual Faculty & Author Reception, a holiday event in which our volunteer authors and speakers are honored and winners of the Richard N. Doyle Award of Excellence are announced.
Gary loves to be the life of the party. At the annual CBA-CLE staff Secret Santa gift exchange and cookie extravaganza, Gary always enjoys playing “Hanaukkah Harry” and passing out the gifts.
One of Gary’s favorite places to be is at the lectern, introducing speakers for CLE programs. When he’s not at the office, though, he can frequently be found on the ski slopes, playing golf, fishing, and sailing. He enjoys Colorado’s great outdoors, and is looking forward to spending more time sailing during his retirement.
Vince O’Brien, CBA-CLE’s new Executive Director, has known Gary for many years, including “his ready smile and CLE wisdom.” Vince remarked that for the past few weeks, “Gary has been like one of Dickens’ ghosts as he brings me up to speed on CBA-CLE. I’d like to think his spirit will be here for quite a while after he retires. Gary has been a friend and guide to Colorado lawyers for a long and important time. Many thanks and bon voyage!”
What a long, strange trip it’s been. Thank you, Gary, for your excellent leadership. Enjoy your retirement – you deserve it.