CBA-CLE is proud to welcome Vincent “Vince” O’Brien as our new Executive Director. Vince hails from Minnesota, where he was Assistant Director and Program Attorney at Minnesota CLE. He has been at Minnesota CLE since 1987. Vince also spent 20 years working as a firefighter and EMT for the Hastings Fire Department in Minnesota, and he is active on his local school board. Prior to his work at Minnesota CLE, Vince was a public defender and in private practice, where he practiced in the areas of probate, estate planning, family law, business planning, and criminal defense.
Vince is a proud husband to Amy, an ER nurse, and father of five children ranging in ages from 24 to 3. He likes to run and work out in his spare time, and he loves great literature. When asked about a favorite sports team, Vince wisely declined to comment (this is Broncos Country, after all), but mentioned that Amy is a Green Bay Packers fan.
CLE was a natural fit for Vince, because he is passionate about life-long learning and all it entails. He has worked two jobs for most of his adult life; he commented that working at CBA-CLE will be the first time he will have a sole professional objective. Vince notes that he loves to work with attorneys and listen to them and think about their needs: “There’s an obscure note in a translation of ‘The Art of War,’ where, in discussing the five elements, a commentating general talks about seeing the tree on the plain before it grows… I have been very fortunate a few times to ‘see the tree’ in my work in CLE.”
Vince plans 33 seminars annually, and notes that one of his favorite and most successful ventures was a series of TED Talk-style programs with the estate planning group. Vince mentioned that he likes all the programs he plans, from the rural agricultural law programs to the large multi-day probate conference. He is looking forward to working with the CBA-CLE members and staff to empower people to do best they can and grow to meet increasingly diversified educational needs.
Before working at Minnesota CLE, Vince was a practicing attorney. When asked about a favorite practice area, Vince said, “Cases where I felt I truly helped people were my favorite—in criminal defense, family law, and Veterans disability appeals.” He related a story where once he used vacation time to try a family law case pro bono. On the first day of trial, the judge called counsel and said that if he were to rule preliminarily on what was in the record, he would rule against Vince’s client. However, after that week of “vacation,” Vince prevailed and his client had a successful outcome.
Education of non-attorneys is also important to Vince—he has been on his local school board in Hastings, Minnesota, for many years, and has been in leadership roles such as the school board chair, vice-chair, treasurer, and secretary. He found that his extensive school board experience helped his continuing legal education work in two ways. First, he took an active role in getting into classrooms and observing how “educational processes, differentiation, and technology, blended with classically wonderful teaching methods and hard work led to evolved learning, data-driven practices, and engaged students.” Vince would like to transfer these teaching models into CLE programming. Second, working on the school board helped him learn to listen respectfully to the different factions and interests to steer vision and focus processes.
CBA-CLE is excited to welcome Vince. His vision for our future is to work together with our great staff and wonderful stakeholders throughout Colorado, to evolve the CLE work as best we can. He is excited to present innovative and important education for attorneys.