August 19, 2017

Fare Thee Well: Gary Abrams Retires from CBA-CLE

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.”

Mark Masters and Gary Abrams at Hanging Your Shingle 2012

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.

Laurie Hunter receiving the Richard N. Doyle Award of Excellence in 2012

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 and the author at a staff Secret Santa gift and cookie exchange

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.

Gary always has a ready smile

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.

Gary and Mark Fogg

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!”

At the IP Institute in 2012

 

Gary at the 2016 Elder Law Retreat with Nena and Oscar

 

Daniel Deasy and Gary Abrams at the 2013 Family Law Institute

 

Gary and Marc Painter at the 2016 Faculty & Author Reception

 

What a long, strange trip it’s been. Thank you, Gary, for your excellent leadership. Enjoy your retirement – you deserve it.