March 20, 2019

Archives for June 18, 2014

Enlightenment Made Simple (Part Five): Pivoting on the Path to Paradise

rhodesWhen we start down the Path to Paradise, we lay our “Life Capital” on the line: we stake what we’ve been and done and have on a dream, a vision of what could be. It’s a bold, risky, scary venture. We’ll run into big time challenges, and to meet them we’ll need to stay light on our feet, be adaptable, flexible, resourceful. And we’ll need to do that without compromising, rationalizing, or otherwise losing the essence of what we’re after.

How do we do all that? By learning to pivot.

Pivoting is a term borrowed from the entrepreneurial world, where the idea is to create continuous feedback loops that monitor market response to innovation. You want to know what works in real time, and you want to find out before you blow through your startup capital.

Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, describes pivoting this way in his blog, Startup Lessons Learned:

In a lean startup, instead of being organized around traditional functional departments, we use a cross-functional problem team and solution team. Each has its own iterative process: customer development and agile development respectively. And the two teams are joined together into a company-wide feedback loop that allows the whole company to be built to learn. This combination allows startups to increase their odds of success by having more major iterations before they run out of resources. It increases the runway without additional cash.

Increasing iterations is a good thing – unless we’re going in a circle. The hardest part of entrepreneurship is to develop the judgment to know when it’s time to change direction and when it’s time to stay the course. That’s why so many lean startup practices are focused on learning to tell the difference between progress and wasted effort. One such practice is to pivot from one vision to the next.

So how do you know it’s time to change direction? And how do you pick a new direction? These are challenging questions, among the hardest that an early startup team will have to grapple with. Some startups fail because the founders can’t have this conversation – they either blow up when they try, or they fail to change because they are afraid of conflict. Both are lethal outcomes.

I want to introduce the concept of the pivot, the idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future. Over time, this pivoting may lead them far afield from their original vision, but if you look carefully, you’ll be able to detect common threads that link each iteration.

Pivoting is disorienting because when you do it, it’s hard to tell if you’re still moving toward your vision or if you’re giving up on it. The key to “learning to tell the difference between progress and wasted effort” is to stay in touch with those “common threads that link each iteration.” In enlightenment terms, that means staying anchored in the purest distillation of what you’re really after, and allowing the rest to fall out as it will.

To be continued.

Kevin Rhodes has been a lawyer for nearly 30 years, in firms large and small, and in solo practice. He has also been in and out of the practice more times than anyone can count, and his reflections on that topic will appear in an upcoming article in The Colorado Lawyer. He also plans to publish a book on that topic later this year. He’s a certified mentor with the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program, offers career and performance coaching, and leads workshops for a variety of audiences, including University of Denver Law School, the CBA’s Solo and Small Firm Section, and the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. You can email Kevin at kevin@rhodeslaw.com.

Colo. RPC 1.15 Concerning Fees and Trust Accounts Repealed and Reenacted as Five New Rules

On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court released Rule Change 2014(07), which repealed Colo. RPC 1.15 and reenacted it as Colo. RPC 1.15A, 1.15B, 1.15C, 1.15D, and 1.15E. The rule change was signed on June 17, 2014 and is effective immediately.

Colo. RPC 1.15A, “General Duties of Lawyers Regarding Property of Clients and Third Parties,” sets forth rules regarding client property and accountings. Rule 1.15A mostly tracks the language of subsections (a) through (c) of former Rule 1.15, and adds that the provisions of 1.15B through 1.15E apply to all funds or property held or maintained by the lawyer.

Colo. RPC 1.15B, “Account Requirements,” makes significant changes to subsections (d) through (h) of former Rule 1.15. Rule 1.15B sets forth requirements for COLTAF and other accounts in which to maintain client funds, and specifies practical procedures for paying account fees and dispersing interest.

Colo. RPC 1.15C, “Use of Trust Accounts,” rearranges the management provisions previously contained in 1.15(i) and increases the rule’s readability.

Colo. RPC 1.15D, “Required Records,” establishes recordkeeping requirements for client property. Some of the provisions from former 1.15(d) through (h) regarding recordkeeping procedures were moved to Rule 1.15D, and the language of former 1.15(j) through (m) is also incorporated where appropriate.

Colo. 1.15E, “Approved Institutions,” lists requirements for financial institutions housing trust accounts and defines acceptable forms of accounts. Rule 1.15E is expanded from former 1.15(e)(3), and many provisions were added regarding the financial institutions.

For the full text of new Rules 1.15A through 1.15E, click here. For all of the Colorado Supreme Court’s rules changes, click here.

DBA Awards Reception on June 26 – All Are Invited!

GabrielThe Denver Bar Association is hosting a reception on Thursday, June 26, 2014 to honor its 2014 award recipients. Judge Richard L. Gabriel received the Award of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the DBA. Judge Dennis A. Graham received the Judicial Excellence Award for his exemplary judicial service. Ilene Lin Bloom received the DBA Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award, given to an attorney who proudly provides outstanding services to the community. Margrit Lent Parker received the Young Lawyer of the Year Award, recognizing her achievements as a young lawyer.

Everyone is welcome to attend the award reception on Thursday, June 26, 2014 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center. RSVP online, by emailing lunches@cobar.org, or by calling (303) 860-1115, ext. 727.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/18/2014

On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and seven unpublished opinions.

United States v. Burch

Hunsaker v. Alexander

Shagoury v. United States

United States v. Jaramillo

Nelson v. Aetna Life Insurance Co.

Allen v. Rhodes

Maynard v. Chrisman

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Workers’ Comp Section Recognizes John Sbarbaro for Outstanding Achievement

sbarbaroThe Colorado Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section held its Annual Dinner on Thursday, June 12 at Maggiano’s in Denver. The Dinner included the presentation of the Lance Butler Award to section member John Sbarbaro. The Lance Butler Award is given annually to an attorney for outstanding service, dedication, and commitment to the field of Colorado Workers’ Compensation Law. This celebrated honor is bestowed after nomination from within the Workers’ Compensation Executive Council, based upon an attorney’s contribution to the Workers’ Compensation system. Among the speakers at the dinner were Michael Kaplan, Tom Kanan and Neil O’Toole.

Colorado Supreme Court: Trial Court Abused Discretion by Denying Unopposed Motion to Dismiss

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Storlie on Monday, June 16, 2014.

Criminal Law—Dismissal, Nolle Prosequi, or Discontinuance.

In this CAR 21 proceeding, defendant and the district attorney sought extraordinary relief from the trial court’s denial of the district attorney’s motion to dismiss the charges against defendant pursuant to Crim.P. 48(a). The Supreme Court issued a rule to show cause and made the rule absolute. A trial court may deny the prosecution’s unopposed motion to dismiss only where it has been shown by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of the defendant or the public are jeopardized by the refusal to prosecute. The prosecution is presumed to be acting in the best interests of the public unless the prosecution is shown to have been acting in bad faith. Here, the district attorney made a good-faith prosecutorial decision to dismiss the charges based on an assessment of available testimony. Accordingly, the trial court’s denial of the motion to dismiss was an abuse of discretion.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Proceedings Not Abated Ab Initio When Defendant Died During Pendency of Appeal

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Griffin on Monday, June 16, 2014.

Criminal Law—Death of Defendant—Abatement.

The Supreme Court granted the People’s petition for writ of certiorari after the court of appeals vacated defendant’s conviction for failure to register as a sex offender. After the court granted certiorari review, but before oral arguments, defendant died. Defense counsel filed a notice of death and motion to dismiss, arguing that because of defendant’s death, the court should dismiss the writ of certiorari and vacate the criminal proceedings ab initio. The Court reviewed additional briefing regarding the proper resolution of the matter in light of the defendant’s death, and heard oral arguments. The Court held that the doctrine of abatement ab initio in Colorado does not apply to cases pending on certiorari review. Accordingly, consistent with the practice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court vacated its order granting the writ of certiorari and dismissed the People’s petition, but did not abate the proceedings ab initio. The court of appeals’ judgment vacating defendant’s conviction stands undisturbed.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Preliminary Breath Test Results Cannot Be Used for Impeachment

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Cain v. People on Monday, June 16, 2014.

Evidence—CRS § 42-4-1301.

The Supreme Court considered whether the results of a preliminary breath test (PBT) for blood alcohol content are admissible for impeachment purposes. The Court held that under CRS § 42-4-1301, the PBT results may not be used as evidence in any court action except as specifically provided in the statute itself. Thus, PBT results may not be used as impeachment evidence because the statute does not allow for using the results for such a purpose. The district court’s order was reversed and the case was remanded.

Summary and full case available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 6/17/2014

On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and six unpublished opinions.

Kneen v. Zavaras

Gorman v. City of Olathe

Brown v. Cole

Brown v. USA Truck, Inc.

United States v. Rosales-Miranda

Benjamin v. Meyer

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.