Denver Bar Association
February 2002
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How’s the DBA Doing? Count the Ways

by William E. Walters


A few changes have taken place in your leadership, membership

By Bill Walters
DBA President

Tempus fugit . . . don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today . . . timin’ a ticka-ticka-ticka-ticka timin’ . . .

In the midst of all that has been happening around us, I suddenly realized that my one-year term is more than half-over and I find myself wondering what happened.

In my opening article, I mentioned a few hopes and aspirations for this year. The following is a brief report on what has been happening at your bar association for the past six months. Any success is due entirely to the association’s volunteers and terrific staff . . . any problems should be referred to my mother.

Our successful programs such as Tuesdays at the Bar, LawLine 9, Metro Volunteer Lawyers, etc. continue to attract new members and provide terrific value and benefit to both our members and community.

New and expanded programs include a Metrowide Conciliation Panel under the leadership of John Baker; the Volunteer Court Mediation Project headed up by Pat Kenney; and a new partnership with the Denver Public Schools lead by Wes Howard.

The 2002 membership directory was distributed at the end of 2001.

The DBA staff remains unequaled in its support of your programs and continues to make the volunteers (trustees, officers, committee chairs, board of governor representatives) look good.

A special task force headed by Stacy Carpenter is taking an in-depth look at all of the legal services programs supported by the DBA, including MVL and law clinics. A planning retreat is scheduled for April 6, followed by recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

The executive director of the Columbus, Ohio, Bar Association, Alex Lagusch, volunteered 48 hours (almost non-stop) of his time to visit with the DBA staff and leadership. He has provided an informal report with suggestions for improvements and new directionsfor the associations. An unintended consequence was generating new excitement and ideas for all of us.

The Board of Trustees, under the leadership of Kim Willoughby, joined the computer revolution and established a listserv for the Board to communicate ideas and pending issues. This has enabled the trustees to discuss ideas and information on an "as needed basis" between monthly board meetings.

A task force under the leadership of Dave Furgason (a former DBA President) was asked to review the current method of identifying and encouraging future leadership for the DBA. After several meetings and soliciting input from the DBA membership concerning our election process, the task force recommended (and the Board of Trustees adopted) amendments to the DBA Bylaws, which will result in an election process with a proposed slate of nominees. This is similar to the election process used by the Colorado Bar Association.

It was becoming more and more difficult to find enough individuals to serve as candidates in contested elections, and voter participation had decreased significantly over the past few years. The DBA often loses the energy and dedication of the unsuccessful candidates. In addition, several hard-working DBA volunteers have been unable to garner the votes sometimes available to other candidates.

As a result, the new election process will have an expanded nominating committee with more input from the Board of Trustees and various bar constituencies.

The nominating committee will propose a slate of officers (including president-elect and the two vice-presidents), trustees (three each year) and representatives to the CBA Board of Governors. If any DBA member wishes to run for office, they should contact the DBA Nominating Committee.

This system has worked well for the CBA and your trustees thought it would also serve the DBA’s needs.

Most other bar associations around the state use a similar process. If it doesn’t work, we can always return to those wonderful days of yesteryear.

It has been a pleasure to work with so many dedicated individuals seeking to improve our opportunities to serve the opportunities Denver metropolitan community.

I know that your next President, Liz Starrs, will continue the tradition of serving each and every one of our members.

I look forward to seeing you at the Barristers Ball on Saturday, April 27.

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