August 24, 2019

The Roaring 20s Barrister’s Ball is the Bee’s Knees!

By Jeremy Ramp and Steve Cook

“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Who doesn’t like a large party? It’s that time of year—so dust off your best party clothes, your dancing shoes, and brush up on your Charleston as we roar back to the Roaring 20’s for the Barristers’ Benefit Ball. Please join us on April 12th at 6:00 p.m. for an evening of conversation, cocktails, dinner and dancing with 400 to 500 of your closest friends! We are pleased to announce the new venue this year is Mile High Station at 2027 West Colfax Ave. in Denver. With the Roarin’ 20’s theme, you know it’ll be the bee’s knees.

This year’s program is all about encouraging our attorneys and friends to attend, have fun, celebrate our community’s success in volunteerism,and raise money for Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL).

MVL’s 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.” MVL is the DBA’s flagship program, in partnership with the First Judicial District (Jefferson and Gilpin Counties), Adams/Broomfield, Arapahoe, and Douglas/Elbert Bar Associations. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind program with metro-wide support that serves as a model and inspiration for other programs around the country. MVL holds the Family Law Court Program, post-decree clinics, the Denver Indian Center Legal Clinic, and power of attorney clinics throughout the Metro Area. It provides free legal counsel to clients in cases in domestic/family law, landlord/tenant, adoption, guardianship/conservatorship, bankruptcy, and social security. For the past 50-plus years, MVL has served thousands of our vulnerable community members in need. In doing so, MVL provides a platform for lawyers to fulfill our professional responsibilities under Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and to put into action the oath we took when we had the privilege of becoming Colorado lawyers.

The Barristers Benefit Ball is the annual fundraiser for MVL. Your participation in this event is crucial to MVL’s mission and making all of the wonderful work possible. Please contact Amy Sreenen,, to purchase a table, tickets, and sponsorship opportunities for this great event. We rely on YOU and your support to make this event a success.

All are welcome, whether your attorney registration number is 53 or 53,000, or anywhere in between. Reminders will be sent out up to the event, but we encourage all of you to sign up early and make the pledge to come and join us for a great evening. YOU can make it a roaring success!

This article began with a quote from The Great Gatsby and ends with one too, reflecting on the fact that we are incredibly fortunate to be part of this profession, this bar, and this community:

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Barrister’s Benefit Ball 2015 — A Journey Through Fire and Ice

The 27th Annual Barrister’s Benefit Ball, benefiting Metro Volunteer Lawyers, was held on Saturday, April 25, 2015, at the Marriott City Center. Guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, face painting, and dancing in support of MVL.

This year’s theme was Fire and Ice.


MVL Executive Director Dianne Van Voorhees poses with Nathan Lucero during the cocktail hour.


John Albertson, Patrick Flaherty (CBA/DBA Executive Director), and Janet Drake (incoming DBA president and BBB planning committee member) take a picture break during the cocktail hour.


The face painting was a fun diversion.


Guests enjoy camaraderie during the cocktail hour.


Dinner is served.


Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice busted a move on the dance floor.


The night was a success! If you missed the Barrister’s Benefit Ball, you can still donate to Metro Volunteer Lawyers here.

The Barristers Benefit Ball: What is it Funding?

This post originally appeared in the March 2014 edition of The Docket, the publication of the Denver Bar Association. 

Click here to see an infograph regarding the impact of Metro Volunteer Lawyers.

The Barristers Benefit Ball comes every spring. This year’s event, themed “Talk Derby to Me,” is sure to be a night to remember! If you haven’t been before, or are wondering what it’s all about—and why this enormous fundraising effort takes place every year—read on.

The DBA supports Metro Volunteer Lawyers as its pro bono program. Its 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 Barristers Benefit Ball is the biggest annual fundraiser to benefit MVL—a vital portion of our annual funding. MVL is also supported by the Henry Hall Memorial Golf Tournament, Colorado Legal Services, the Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation, the Fred & Jean Allegretti Foundation, Lois Ann Rovira in honor of her husband, former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Luis Rovira, and private donations.

The following table shows major contributors and amounts contributed during the last fiscal year:


MVL’s Current Programs

There are six programs within MVL that provide our clients free and low-cost legal services: Direct Referrals to individual attorneys for representation, the Family Law Court Program, the Post-Decree clinics, the Rovira Scholar, the legal clinic at the Denver Indian Center, and the Clinical Adoption Program. Following are more details on these programs that rely on your fundraising.

Direct Referrals

MVL recruits and coordinates volunteer attorneys to represent people who otherwise could not afford legal assistance. CLS handles the initial client intake process and then sends selected cases to MVL for referral. Once a potential client has completed intake, the Legal Services Coordinator reviews the file and begins contacting volunteer attorneys to try to place the case.

Family Law Court Program

The vast majority of the clients served by MVL need assistance with their domestic relations cases. We coordinate and manage monthly FLCP clinics in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties. The FLCP assists clients with relatively uncomplicated, “uncontested” divorce or custody matters where the other party is not represented by an attorney.

Post-Decree Clinics

MVL coordinates and manages Post-Decree Clinics for domestic relations cases in Denver and Jefferson Counties. The Post-Decree Clinics assist individuals with legal problems that arise after Permanent Orders have been entered in a Dissolution of Marriage (divorce) or Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (custody) case.

MVL collaborates with the following volunteer firms who sponsor and staff our Post-decree Clinics: Faegre, Baker, Daniels LLP, Holland & Hart LLP, Pelegrin Radeff & Frazer-Abel, PC, Polidori, Franklin & Monahan, LLC, and the Colorado Office of the Attorney General.

Rovira Scholar Fellowship

The Rovira Scholar Fellowship was made possible by a generous gift from Lois Ann Rovira, wife of former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Luis Rovira. The goal of the Fellowship is to enhance the overall understanding of the complex and unique legal challenges presented in pro bono public service through the early training and professional development of outstanding law school graduates. This position, designed for a recent law graduate, permits MVL to increase critical legal services to those in need.

Legal Clinic at the Denver Indian Center

MVL works with the Denver Indian Center to provide a walk-in clinic each month. The project was initiated by two Native American attorneys: MVL Executive Director Dianne Van Voorhees and Board Member Danielle L. Demkowicz. The Clinic meets in the Denver Indian Center in Lakewood, on the first Wednesday of every month. MVL sponsors and coordinates volunteers.

Clinical Adoption Program

In an effort to meet the rising demand of adoption cases coming through our office, past Rovira Scholar Sarah Zoellner created an adoption program to meet the following goals: reduce the number of volunteer hours required of our volunteer attorneys; enable our office to more efficiently process the larger number of adoption cases; and provide support for our volunteer attorneys so we can provide the highest quality of legal service to our clients.

Your Contribution Matters

Expanding our program, studying new ways to operate and provide services is an ongoing and satisfying endeavor. We are especially proud to have had the Colorado Attorney General’s Office become our latest sponsor firm as of Fall 2013. Thanks to our new collaboration, MVL has added two additional Post-Decree Clinics to our schedule each month.

Unfortunately, MVL is also anticipating significant, if not total, loss of COLTAF funds due to the consistent lack of growth or replenishment of the fund. The overall shrinking of funds for CLS impacts all of us, and the resulting shortfall of funds for pro bono programs that serve as an additional safety net to those unable to be served by CLS only adds to the crisis. The complete loss of COLTAF funding would possibly prevent MVL from additional expansions of existing programs. Given this impending likelihood, any increase in the per capita contributions from our local bar associations, private funders, and Barristers Benefit Ball sponsors and attendees is welcome.

The MVL staff is a small team that works together with our volunteers and interns to ensure that we are in touch with our partners and the legal community at large. In 2012, we had 455 volunteer attorneys and 33 nonattorneys (law students, paralegals, etc.) handle 1,448 cases and assist several clinical clients. MVL also successfully recruited 165 new volunteer attorneys to our existing panel. The majority of cases are domestic relations matters. Other case types include consumer, bankruptcy, landlord tenant, real estate, wills/POA, guardianships, conservatorships, probate, and tax issues. Without our donors and our volunteers who give their money, time, and skill, we could not have helped so many people in need.

The funds raised through the Barristers Benefit Ball help MVL maintain its staff and pay its operating expenses, both of which are vital to sustaining and expanding its capacity to serve our community.

MVL is always recruiting more attorneys who practice in the Denver Metro area to join our volunteer panel. By providing much needed pro bono legal services, MVL’s volunteer lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals 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.

By Dianne Van Voorhees, the Executive Director of Metro Volunteer Lawyers. You can contact her at

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.

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.