March 2, 2015

Denver Bar Association Seeks Nominations for 2014 Awards

The Denver Bar Association seeks nominations for the 2014 DBA Awards. Nominations are due January 31, 2014, and encompass several categories:

  • DBA Award of Merit – This award is given to a member of the DBA who provides outstanding service and contributions to the DBA and the legal community. A list of prior recipients may be found here.
  • DBA Judicial Excellence Award – This award honors a DBA member of the judiciary who contributes to the improvement of the legal system or provides exceptional contributions to the judiciary. Click here for prior recipients.
  • DBA Young Lawyer of the Year – This award is given to a DBA member who is younger than 37 or has been in practice less than three years and who provides outstanding service and contributions to the DBA and the legal community. Prior recipients may be found here.
  • DBA Volunteer Lawyer of the Year – This award recognizes pro bono efforts by DBA members. Click here to see a list of prior recipients.
  • DBA Education in the Legal Community Award – This new award was developed to recognize outstanding contributions to legal education and civics by lawyers or schools.
  • DBA Outstanding Programs/Projects – Also new for this year, this award acknowledges the immense efforts of programs that provide legal education, outreach, pro bono services or fundraising.

Nominations may be submitted online using the form found here. Nominations may also be submitted to Heather Clark at the CBA/DBA offices. Contact Heather Clark for more information.

Resolve to Be More Civil

becky_byeBy Becky Bye

October is a bit of a new year for attorneys. The month marks a time when the Colorado bar admits hundreds of new attorneys, wide-eyed and anxious to begin practicing law. It is also a time where many law firms and other entities hire new attorneys to allow more senior attorneys to eventually transition out to retirement or other opportunities beyond their current practice.

I suggest, given that this is a time for new beginnings for all attorneys, that all attorneys also assess their practice and make some professional resolutions. One resolution I propose is for attorneys to practice with more civility and add camaraderie to their everyday practice.

The inherent adversarial nature surrounding the practice of law can easily polarize opposing counsel, opposing parties, and other people involved in any legal matter, whether it be a transactional matter or in the course of litigation. Many unfortunately interpret the language that “… a lawyer must act … with zeal in advocacy upon a client’s behalf…” to include unwarranted viciousness toward the opposing counsel, opposing parties, and even attorneys’ own office colleagues and peers. Subsequently, any negativity that results in the course of practicing law can create a negative perception of attorneys by the public and help trigger a general lack of civility within the practice of law.

Over the course of my legal career (which is relatively short in comparison to many others out there), I have often heard people complaining about how mean attorneys can be to each other. I also have heard more senior attorneys lamenting about their observations of newer attorneys being rude and unprofessional. In sum, many attorneys do not take the privilege of practicing law seriously.

Many of these attorneys believe that they cannot reconcile advocacy and respect with getting along with the opposing counsel, or even common decency. However, I beg to differ based on my own observations. All of the most respected legal minds of the Denver community and lawyers known nationally have several things in common. Of course, they were excellent, smart, and diligent legal scholars, but they also were known for their professionalism in all of their interactions.

Additionally, when I recently received the honor of an American Inns of Court Pegasus Scholarship, I was able to witness barristers (masters of the art of “advocacy” on behalf of clients in the United Kingdom) for six weeks in England. One of my foremost observations from this experience, which still resonates with me today, is that in spite of being known for their advocacy and legal eloquence, the barristers, even on opposing sides of a legal matter, worked together to the point where they coordinated a case before a tribunal. I was shocked when I attended breakfasts, lunches, and other meetings, between barristers of opposing parties, to discuss the next chain of events in their trial or hearing and what types of questions they would be asking their witnesses. In the courtrooms themselves, the barristers were pleasant and displayed a substantial amount of fellowship toward each other. It was soon very clear that this was the most effective way to represent clients, as courts and parties in legal proceedings were not bogged down in an unproductive exchange of communications with the intention of bullying the other party. The parties and courts could cut through that superfluous, tangential aspect of legal representation to get to the real issues at hand.

Although I understand the British legal system differs from ours in many respects, and not all aspects of it translate over to our legal system, all attorneys can still learn from trying to resolve small issues among attorneys in a courteous, respectable way. When things get too heated between opposing attorneys, ego and anger can unfortunately drive a case to go in the wrong direction, which is ultimately detrimental for clients and the legal system as a whole.

One of Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary definitions for “professional” is “exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.” I urge you to take this definition to heart as a legal professional, and to conscientiously resolve to be sincerely courteous to everyone you encounter.

This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of The Docket.

Becky Bye is a public attorney. She received her J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2005. Bye is actively involved in the legal community, including serving on the University of Denver Law’s Alumni Council and the DBA Docket Committee. She is a past chair of the CBA Young Lawyers Division. Bye may be reached at beckybye@gmail.com. 

Volunteers Needed to Help Hand Out School Supplies at DBA-CAN Event

Each year, the Denver Bar Association Community Action Network hosts a school supply drive to benefit the Educational Outreach Program through Denver Public Schools. The school supply drive helps underprivileged kids receive tools to ensure that they are ready for and excited about school.

Today, July 26, 2013, is the last day of the DBA-CAN school supply drive. Donations of school supplies can be dropped off at the CBA and CLE offices during business hours. All standard school supply items are needed, including backpacks, crayons, markers, pencils, erasers, pens, rulers, glue, pocket folders, paper, notebooks, binders, geometry sets, and boxes of tissue. Click here for a complete list of needed supplies.

There are other volunteer opportunities related to the school supply drive. On August 1, volunteers are needed to sort through the donated supplies. On August 3, volunteers are needed to stuff backpacks for donation. Additionally, on Saturday, August 10, at Whittier Elementary School in Denver (25th & Downing), the DBA-CAN and community volunteers will hand out the donated school supplies. This will be a fun carnival-themed day and many volunteers are needed for the carnival booths.

If you can volunteer for any of the activities, click here. For more information, contact Heather Clark (hclark@cobar.org) or Kate Schuster (kschuster@cobar.org). Please feel free to forward this information—DBA-CAN needs many volunteers!

Daniel R. McCune to Serve as Next President of Denver Bar Association

Dan McCune headshots, CBA. Photo by Jamie CottenDaniel R. McCune will start his one-year term as president of the Denver Bar Association on July 1, representing the association’s 9,354 members.

McCune will focus on providing relevant services to members to help them in their day-to-day law practice and will emphasize health and wellness of attorneys, offering yoga and other health-related benefits to members. He will tweet under the handle @dbapresident.

“It’s important for our members to know that the bar association offers a number of resources that should make the bar association an integral part of their practice,” McCune said. “It’s important that we think outside the box and continue to provide services that will best equip lawyers for the future of legal practice.”

McCune is a shareholder with Kennedy Childs, focusing his practice on complex civil litigation, professional malpractice claims and contentious employment disputes. McCune has been involved with the Federation of Defense and Corporate Council, DRI and the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, serving as its president from 2000 to 2001. He chaired the Colorado Bar Association’s Economic Task Force, which worked to alleviate the impact of the Great Recession on attorneys, and most recently chaired the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations’ Joint Judicial Task Force, which aims to protect and promote Colorado’s fair and impartial courts.

After graduating from the University of Kansas School of Law, McCune joined the Judge Advocate General Corps, where he worked as a prosecutor. He lives in Golden with his partner Lorraine DAversa and has two daughters—Katie, 25, and Mollie, 18.

Bar Associations Offer Legal Assistance to Wildfire Victims

The Denver and El Paso County Bar Associations will offer three events where people affected by wildfires can ask attorneys legal questions at no cost. “We are saddened to see our community again face a devastating wildfire, but we hope to offer clarity and guidance for those who have been impacted by the Black Forest Fire,” said EPCBA Executive Director Claire Anderson.

Events include:

Ask-A-Lawyer—The El Paso County Bar Association will host Ask-A-Lawyer for victims of the Black Forest Fire from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, at the Disaster Assistance Center at the Citizens Service Center, located at 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road. No appointment is required.

Lawline 9—The Denver Bar Association will dedicate its Lawline 9, a call-in program at 9News, to answering legal questions related to the wildfires. The Lawline 9 will run from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19. Callers can reach attorneys at 303-698-0999.

Call-A-Lawyer—The EPCBA will also host a call-in program from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 20. Callers can reach attorneys at 719-471-0380, and they will answer general legal questions and those related to the wildfire.

“I’m proud to see Colorado Bar Association members from across the state stepping up to lend a hand to their fellow Coloradans and hope we can offer some assistance during this tragic event,” said Colorado Bar Association President Mark A. Fogg.

 

Legal Community Donates More Than $54,000 in Food and Cash for Annual Drive

ROTB2-2Members of the legal community donated food and dollars totaling $54,145 to hunger relief organization Metro CareRing through the Denver Bar Association’s 14th Annual Roll Out the Barrels Food Drive, collecting 3,000 pounds more food than in the previous year.

Forty-eight law firms participated in the drive, collecting 10,093 pounds of food and $31,940 in cash donations. This year’s top donating firms are Berenbaum Weinshienk PC, the Castle Law Group, Faegre Baker Daniels, Katz, Look & Onorato PC, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and Orten Cavanagh & Holmes LLC. The food drive was sponsored by the Denver Bar Association’s Community Action Network and ran April 15 to 26.

ROTB1-1“We’re thrilled that the legal community has stepped up this year to provide even more food to Metro CareRing,” said CAN Committee Chair Kris Reed, a partner with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. “Summer months can hard on families because school is out and kids are home for most meals. We’re pleased the Roll Out the Barrels Food Drive can help close the hunger gap in the metro area.”

Metro CareRing operates one of the largest food pantries in Denver. The food and money donated will translate to approximately 15,600 people provided with a five-day supply of food, according to Metro CareRing.

The Community Action Network Committee offers DBA members year-round opportunities to connect with the community and provide valuable legal, social and civic assistance to those in need.

Get Down & Derby at the Barristers Benefit Ball This Saturday

web-BBBBy Jaci Casey and Michelle Ferguson

The Denver Bar Foundation invites you to join us at the 25th Annual Barristers Benefit Ball on Saturday, May 4, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver.

Attending the Barristers Benefit Ball is a tradition within the legal community. This year’s theme, “Down & Derby,” is sure to top the charts as one of the most fun-filled evenings among those we’ve held over the past several years. Please join us this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ball—derby style!

The Barristers Benefit Ball is the Denver Bar Association’s primary fundraiser to support its flagship program, Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL). Celebrating its 47th year of service, MVL has been operating continuously since 1966 and is the oldest pro bono legal services program of its kind in the United States. MVL is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver metro area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.

The staff at MVL includes one full-time Executive Director (attorney), a full-time Legal Services Coordinator, a full-time Family Law Court Program Coordinator (attorney), one full-time Program Coordinator, the part-time Rovira Scholar Fellow (attorney), and several invaluable volunteers and interns. Donating time as an MVL volunteer serves the needs of those less fortunate, advances the reputation of the legal community, and allows attorneys to fulfill the recommendations of Rule 6.1 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, which seeks to have every attorney complete at least 50 hours of pro bono legal work annually. MVL has 450 volunteer attorneys who take approximately three cases each year.

Your attendance at the Barristers Benefit Ball helps MVL maintain its staff and pay its operating expenses, both of which are vital to sustaining and expanding its capacity to serve our community. By providing much needed pro bono legal services, MVL’s donors and volunteers provide access to justice and help stabilize families, save taxpayers money, reduce the number of cases clogging the courts, and help people move toward self-sufficiency and full participation in society.

Realizing the Dream: Equality for All — Law Day Celebrations Across the State

I Have A DreamOn Wednesday, May 1, 2013, pro se litigants in the First Judicial District will have an opportunity to meet with an attorney for 15 minutes to discuss their civil, criminal, domestic, juvenile, or small claims case. There is no cost for the meeting. The event is part of 2013 Law Day celebrations, and it will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the atrium of the Jefferson County Courts building (100 Jefferson County Parkway in Golden).

Law Day is celebrated nationally each year on May 1. President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958 to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. In 1961, Congress issued a joint resolution (codified at 36 U.S.C. § 113) designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day. The theme of this year’s Law Day is “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” 2013 is the 150th anniversary of the emancipation proclamation, and the 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. The legacy of the Civil Rights Movement can be seen in the strides that have been made against discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation.

The Colorado and Denver bar associations are also sponsoring events to celebrate Law Day. On May 1, there will be a special showing of the movie “Lincoln” at the Mayan Theater in Denver, with a CLE program presented by Hon. John Madden prior to the movie. Tickets are available through the CBA. On May 2, the DBA Young Lawyers Division will host a Law Day Reception at The Lobby, where the winners of the Law Day Art Contest will be recognized. RSVP to both events or either event by emailing lunches@cobar.org or calling the CBA at (303) 860-1115.

Students who participated in the DBA’s Law Day Art Contest will have their work featured at the Denver Art Museum through May. The winners of the art contest are featured on the cover of the May edition of The Docket, and all of the artwork from participating students is shown in the May edition. It is amazing and inspiring to view the adorable and creative works of these talented kids.

The El Paso County Bar Association is also hosting many Law Day events beginning on April 27 with Ask-A-Lawyer for Senior Citizens at the Colorado Springs Senior Center. On Saturday, May 4, they are hosting a Waldo Canyon Fire Tree Planting Service Project; download the registration form here. On Thursday, May 16, KKTV Channel 11 will host a Call-A-Lawyer event. To volunteer, email Pikes Peak pro bono. There will be a Law Day Race on May 17 at Monument Valley Park; registration will be on www.active.com. Finally, on Tuesday, May 21, there will be a Law Day Luncheon and awards ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of the Mining Exchange Hotel. Click here to RSVP.

For more information on Colorado’s Law Day events, click here. To see the CBA press release regarding Law Day, click here. For the ABA page about Law Day 2013, click here.

Metro Volunteer Lawyers to Benefit from This Year’s Barrister’s Benefit Ball

Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) is a program of the Denver Bar Association committed to bridging the gap of access to justice by providing pro bono legal services to people who could not otherwise afford representation. Last year, MVL handled 1,448 cases, 416 of which were addressed through the family law and post-decree clinics and 953 cases were non-clinic matters. MVL estimates that the donated services received totaled more than $12.7 million in value.

Metro Volunteer Lawyers is somewhat supported by the Denver Bar Association, but they also receive funding from other groups and various activities throughout the year. The Barrister’s Benefit Ball; the Henry Hall Memorial Golf Tournament; Colorado Legal Services; COLTAF; the Fred & Jean Allegretti Foudnation; Lois Ann Rovira; the bar associations of the First Judicial District, Douglas/Elbert counties, Adams/Broomfield counties, and Arapahoe county; and private donations also help support MVL.

On Saturday, May 4, 2013, the Denver Bar Association will celebrate its 25th annual Barrister’s Benefit Ball. This year, in order to commemorate the ball’s anniversary, the Denver Bar Foundation Barrister’s Ball Committee is working to raise an additional $25,000 to benefit Metro Volunteer Lawyers. To contribute to the $25K for 25 Years fundraising drive, click here. For more information about the charitable activities of Metro Volunteer Lawyers, click here. To volunteer for MVL, click here.

“Law Suit Days” Clothing Drive on October 10 and 11, 2012

The Denver Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is holding its “Law Suit Days” clothing drive for new and gently used professional and business clothing, shoes, and accessories on October 10 and 11, 2012. The business clothing will be given to Bayaud Enterprises, Inc., a local nonprofit that provides vocational and job placement services for individuals with disabilities and to homeless or low-income individuals and families.

The clothing drive will take place on Wednesday, October 10, and Thursday, October 11, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the steps of the Denver City & County Building  at 1437 Bannock. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be moved inside the City & County Building to the second floor of the rotunda.

Clothing should be clean and on hangers. Volunteers from the Young Lawyers Division will be available to collect the donations at the City & County Building. They will not be able to pick up clothing or accept donations on alternate dates.

Verification Deadline for Colorado Legal Directory is October 1, 2012

The 2013 Edition of the Colorado Legal Directory is nearing publication, and all attorneys in Colorado should verify their listing to ensure that the most up-to-date contact information is available. The verification deadline was extended to 5 p.m. on Monday, October 1, 2012.

A PDF of the verification form for an individual attorney is available here.

Law firms should also verify their listing. The verification form for a law firm can be found here.

All verification forms must be postmarked by October 1 to be included in the 2013 Edition.

New Colorado Principles of Professionalism Approved to Guide Attorney Conduct

The hallmark of a civilized society is its ability to maintain a legal system that is fair, effective and efficient. As lawyers, we have a predominant role in assuring that the legal system fulfills these goals. Toward that end, starting in 2009, the CBA-DBA Professionalism Coordinating Council undertook a project to meld existing principles of professionalism into a single unified document to create a guide for statewide use. This product of that consolidation of principles is not intended to supersede local Bar association rules of professionalism.

The wisdom and practicality of these combined Principles of Professionalism lie in two key features. First, highly experienced attorneys from many different practice areas and numerous judicial officers who are members of the Professionalism Coordinating Council reviewed, discussed, and developed the combined practice principles as “real-world” attainable goals for professional behavior to which the profession should aspire to apply every day in practice. Second, the principles have no coercive enforcement mechanism except those that have existed in our profession since the days of the quill pen and powdered wig: the fundamental commitment of attorneys to conduct themselves and their practices professionally and with integrity. Adherence to these principles brings its own rewards through the admiration of one’s colleagues, and falling short of these high standards brings the opprobrium and condemnation of those same colleagues. The mark of a professional calling is that it aspires first and foremost to police itself.

For the achievement of integrity throughout the legal profession, each lawyer should aspire to adopt the following Principles of Professionalism and to perform in accordance with the Practical Considerations outlined in the document below, approved in May 2012 by the Board of Governors.

New CBA Principles of Professionalism