Denver Bar Association 2000-2001 Annual Report
Now that my term as president is concluded, it is my duty to report on "the state of the bar." I am pleased to report that the Denver Bar Association continues to grow and thrive.
More than 200 new members joined the DBA during the past year, bringing us to a total of 7,110 members at year end. For the second year in a row, we posted a positive net despite a budgeted deficit. For the 2000-2001 fiscal year, the treasurer reported $19,088 net revenues over expenses, against a budgeted deficit of $81,050. The Budget Committee recommended, and the board approved, a very modest dues increase of $15 for the new fiscal year, along with additional expense-saving measures, to extend the association’s positive financial picture.
The Denver Bar Association’s numbers are strong, but the spirit and worth of the association reside in the work our members do. Hundreds of dedicated lawyers and judges devoted countless hours and boundless energy to community service and the improvement of our profession this year.
The Community Concerns Committee collected donations of coats and barrels of food for needy people in Denver. The Young Lawyers Division gathered toys and gifts for the "Christmas in January" children’s party, collected "law suits" and hosted the annual graduation ceremony for foster children graduating from high school.
Many DBA committees and programs continued to provide free legal assistance to the public this year. Law on the Mall, Law Line 9 and the Seniors in Residence program provided free consultations. Public Legal Education clinics covered common legal problems such as divorce, immigration, landlord-tenant issues and bankruptcy.
Hundreds of lawyers, along with volunteer court reporters, paralegals and translators, provided pro bono legal services through Metro Volunteer Lawyers. This year, the DBA Board of Trustees initiated the Trustees "Pro Bono Challenge." Each lawyer trustee pledged to take a new pro bono case, and judge trustees pledged to help recruit or encourage lawyers to do pro bono legal work. The challenge was issued to all DBA members, and to the boards of other bar associations, including the Colorado, First Judicial District, Arapahoe County, Boulder County, Sam Cary, Colorado Hispanic, Asian-Pacific American, and Colorado Women’s bar associations. As a result, MVL halted an eight-year trend of steadily declining numbers of volunteers, and other pro bono programs benefitted from increased participation as well.
The DBA continued to work on strengthening our profession this year. The Joint CBA/DBA Task Force on Multidisciplinary Practice is actively studying means of enabling multidisciplinary and multijurisdictional practice in Colorado. DBA committees and programs helped lawyers wend their way through burgeoning technology, fees, insurance, and other office management and substantive challenges.
Every year, the DBA brings together dedicated leadership, a uniquely professional staff, and members whose commitment to the legal profession gains power from the shared experience of giving of themselves. Everything is in place, under the leadership of President Bill Walters, for another great year to come.
It has been an honor for me to have served with all of you in the past year, and I look forward to sharing with you in the continued growth and vitality of the Denver Bar Association.
Susan Smith Fisher
Craig Eley again led The Docket committee to the conclusion of another successful year. That is, 11 meetings were held, if you want to call them meetings; lunches were handed out 11 times and very few were thrown back; frothy and more serious drinks were consumed at three bar reviews by Docket volunteers.
We’re now in color for eight of our pages, creating great joy and celebration (did you notice?). At least Karen Bries and Molly Osberg are very happy about it, and since they’re the real ones who put out The Docket, we want to keep them happy.
A survey of DBA members was executed, with an overwhelming number of attorneys saying they liked The Docket and could we please stop asking them that, and not to change The Docket because they didn’t want to read very many serious things, at least not from us. Oh sure, they said, give us the salary surveys and tips from the experts, but none of that other stuff. We’ll do our best to comply.
The Docket Committee has some wonderful volunteers, but sometimes they get lonesome. They invite you to join them in writing interesting stories and essays or just stop by for lunch.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
For the past several years the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee has been meeting jointly with the Colorado Bar Association’s Committee for ADR. As part of this arrangement, the DBA Committee, chaired by Miles Davies, has been responsible for starting a volunteer mediation program in the Denver County Courts. This program began in February of this year and has mediated nearly 100 cases. This joint effort between the DBA and CBA has been a resounding success and Program Director Patrick Kenny has shown great fortitude and ability in recruiting and maintaining a truly professional group of volunteer mediators. The committee looks forward to the continued success of this program. We encourage all members to attend meetings held the first Friday of each month to find out more about what is planned for the coming year and to help develop a long-term plan for years to come.
The Awards Committee, chaired by Mary Kelly, selected the 2001 award winners for the DBA Annual Party, held on June 13. The award winners were: Bob Kapelke, Award of Merit; Chris Little, Volunteer Lawyer of the Year; Holly Hoxeng, Legal Assistant of the Year; Joyce Meskis, Liberty Bell Award; Stacy Carpenter, Young Lawyer of the Year; District Judge Jeffrey Bayless and County Judge John Marcucci, Judicial Excellence Award; Anne Colden and Sue Lindsay, David Brofman Award; Edna Sutton, Teacher of the Year; Jack Robertson, Peace Officer of the Year. Special this year was the Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring Bob Inman, the founder of the DBA Seniors Committee.
Barristers Benefit Ball
It was an "Evening Aboard the Orient Express" on April 28 at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center. The committee, chaired by DBA President Bill Walters and Stacy Carpenter, worked hard to make the DBA’s 13th Annual Barristers Benefit Ball a huge success. Over 800 attorneys and friends of the legal community attended that evening. This year the ball raised $109,000 for Metro Volunteer Lawyers. Every year, select attorneys are honored at the ball for their extraordinary efforts and dedication to pro bono legal services. This year’s honorees were Ed Moss, Lori Crystal, Bill Litvak, Bill Waggoner, George Aucoin, Martin Brown and Fred Schrekinger. Kelly Haglund Garnsey & Kahn was the "Law Firm of the Year." Thank you to everyone who helped make this bejeweled evening possible, especially LEXIS Publishing who was the benefactor of the 2001 ball.
DBA-CLE, the non-profit educational arm of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, sponsored approximately 75 live seminars and more than 125 video replays around the state, serving more than half of the entire Colorado legal community in just the past year. Publications in the CLE library continue to be supplemented and revised to keep your legal resources up-to-date. CLE is developing electronic products and an enhanced Web presence, including plans for distance education via online CLE programs and a searchable CLE information database.
This committee, chaired by Laura Embleton, held another successful coat drive during the holiday season. Tom Kim organized the second annual "Roll Out the Barrels" food drive. Over 2,500 pounds of food and $350 in cash donations were raised in this year’s drive. The committee continued to work with John Castellano and the Lincoln Park Scholars Program, a program that tutors students once a week. Members of the committee also helped wrap Christmas presents at Urban Peak, a shelter for homeless teenagers.
Educational Luncheon Coordinating
The Educational Luncheon Coordinating Committee, chaired by Craig Eley, had another successful year with its "Tuesdays at the Bar" program. These weekly workshops are designed for members, and cover hot legal topics. The workshops are at noon and offer a great way to get cle credits and a lunch. In addition, they allow members to see their bar association as a place to network and learn. Some of the programs offered were: "How to Get and Keep Good Clients"; "E-Filing, It’s Here"; "Understanding the Economic Survey"; and "20 Things to do Before Taking Expert Depositions." The DBA will continue to host Tuesdays at the Bar in coming months.
The Judicial Administration Committee seeks to create better ways for members of the bar to communicate with members of the bench. One of these ways is through the Bench/Bar Retreat, which was held this past year on March 3. The topic of this year’s program was "Retreat to the Future: A Retrospective on Future Technology and the Law." Over 75 judges and lawyers attended this informal gathering at the Inverness Hotel, and, as usual, the event was well-received by the participants. The next Bench/Bar Retreat is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 2, 2002. The subcommittee in charge of the program is headed by Mary Beth Sobel, and planning meetings will begin this month. The committee also coordinates with the DBA Awards Committee in submitting nominees for the Judicial Excellence Award. The daycare facility for the Denver courts was a project originally initiated through the Judicial Administration Committee through the suggestion of certain judges and the committee will continue to solicit suggestions from judges for future projects.
Legal Fee Arbitration
The Legal Fee Arbitration Committee provides free arbitration services to resolve fee disputes between lawyers and clients, or between lawyers who have claims to a common fund. The committee is comprised of volunteer lawyers as well as volunteer community members, who bring varied and rich experience to the arbitration process.
During this past year, the committee changed its procedures to allow for the use of different sized panels for smaller cases, in order to expedite the arbitration process.
Additionally, the committee implemented settlement conferences as part of the arbitration process. The settlement conferences are held by experienced mediators, who are also members of the committee.
The committee welcomes any new members who wish to participate. For more information, contact Diane Vaksdal Smith at (303) 792-5595 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This committee was chaired by Chris Hardaway and Bryan Kemler. The Legal Services Committee’s charter changed in 2000 as a result of organizational changes adopted by the DBA Board of Trustees. The impact of those changes were resolved as the committee became familiar with the programs and clinics previously managed by the Public Legal Education Committee. In addition, the LSC transferred oversight of Metro Volunteer Lawyers to an MVL board. The charter transition was helped by the continued participation of the 1999-2000 co-chairs Stacy Carpenter and Steve Choquette. This committee sponsored many programs:
• DU College of Law Night Student Mentoring Program: The committee continues to sponsor and coordinate the DU College of Law Night Student Mentoring Program. This allows night students to practice law under the student statute, while most of the DU clinical programs only permit day student enrollment. Mick Walker, Tony Damon, Jon Nicholls, Stacy Carpenter and Barb Chamberlain were most instrumental in creating and sustaining this program.
• Large Firm Commitment and Pro Bono Coordinator Notebooks: The committee continued to meet with managing partners and pro bono coordinators from large firms, to discuss methods to place MVL cases and host CLE-type programs to educate lawyers. Firm coordinator notebooks that list resources, supply outlines for handling frequently encountered cases and provide information on how to work with a pro bono client will be updated. Stacy Carpenter, Barb Chamberlain and Ken Hubbard have been the forces behind this activity.
• Clinics and Programs: Legal information clinics for pro se litigants continue in three Denver Community School locations and one Beacon School. The committee will review, for efficacy, all the pro se clinics offered in the community as a part of an overall services strategic planning process. The committee was asked to consider assisting with a clinic at the Supreme Court Law Library as well. Lawline 9 at KUSA-TV Channel 9 continues to be the most popular program in terms of services provided (150 calls each Wednesday night) and volunteers available (150 Denver attorneys support the program throughout the year). In addition, over 25 attorneys supported the 2001 Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods People’s Fair the first weekend in June.
The MATCH Program (low-fee) was transferred from DBA YLD to the DBA staff. An average of 175 information packets (including the list of 55 participating attorneys) are mailed as a result of requests each month. The packages include the parameters of the program, income limits to participate, how to engage the services of a MATCH Program attorney as well as the list of attorneys.
Marte and Jeff Timmers have enthusiastically offered to co-chair the committee for 2001-2002.
The Membership Services Department reports there are currently 7,110 DBA members, including 150 law student members. This number reflects a continuation of the one percent increase in membership that has been the trend for the past few years. All members are invited to call us with comments and suggestions regarding member services, or e-mail them to email@example.com.
• Membership Services: The Membership Services committee works to increase the value of belonging to the DBA. The committee researches new programs and services that will benefit members and welcomes new ideas and opinions. A question asked frequently is whether the DBA offers a health insurance program. Colorado legislation that passed five years ago brought about changes in the industry, and insurance carriers no longer offer association programs. A full article dealing with health insurance issues and options is available at www.denbar.org. The DBA will continue to stay on top of changes and policies that can affect members.
Another advantage of the DBA is using the strength of membership to save our members money. New programs added this year include discounts from Men’s Wearhouse, Sam’s Club and Indoff Business Supplies. Call Mary Dilworth at (303) 824-5313 to find out how to receive discounts.
• Directory: The 2001 Colorado Legal Directory (formerly known as The Legal & Financial Directory) had another successful year. DBA revenue from sales of the directory increased 124 percent from the previous year. Feedback from DBA members has lead to changes and updates, and an even better directory each year. Tabs were added to the directory this year, as well as headings on every page, to make it more user-friendly. There should be even more new features in the 2002 version.
Metro Volunteer Lawyers
Metro Volunteer Lawyers has provided 35 years of pro bono service as "MVL" and the Thursday Night Bar Program. MVL’s staff includes Heather Richmond, administrative assistant; Patricia Trujillo, legal services coordinator; Pamela Faris, legal services coordinator; and Barbara Chamberlain, attorney/director. This year MVL also welcomed the serv-ices of Lend-A-Lawyers Vincent Frassetto and ZoeAnn Corn.
This year, approximately:
• 2,680 low-income clients were referred to MVL through the intake system shared with Colorado Legal Services, formerly the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver
• 1,445 clients were referred by MVL to 433 attorneys
• 314 cases were concluded through the Family Law Court Programs in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties
MVL provides civil legal assistance to clients throughout the Denver metropolitan area. Almost half its funding comes from the DBA-sponsored Barristers Benefit Ball, with the rest from COLTAF, individual contributions, and per capita contributions from its sponsoring bar associations: Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas/Elbert and First Judicial District.
The DBA Professionalism Committee’s goals are:
1. To raise the awareness in the practicing lawyer of the need for analysis of professionalism issues they encounter;
2. To raise awareness of the existence of professionalism standards and principles;
3. To provide options for resolution of professionalism issues and conflicts that have resulted in unprofessional behavior; and
4. To provide professional role models.
The committee has a number of subcommittees that are active in pursuing these goals. During 2001, the most active of the subcommittees were the:
• Speakers Bureau and the Conciliation Panel: The focus of the Speakers Bureau is to make presentations on the DBA Principles of Professionalism. During 2001, the committee made presentations to the DU School of Law, internship program; the Colorado State Attorney General’s Office to an Inn of Court, a DBA Luncheon CLE program; and to various law firms throughout the metro area. The presentations are generally one hour and attendees earn one CLE ethics credit. To attend a presentation, or to arrange for a presentation for your group, contact Lanny Anderson or Sherri Heckel-Kuhlmann, committee co-chairs.
• DBA Conciliation Panel: The panel consists of a diverse group of experienced Denver lawyers, who are known for their integrity and professionalism. Panel members are volunteers who have offered their time to help resolve professionalism disputes. Members of the panel "on call" are published in The Docket. Complaints are taken on a strictly confidential basis by panel members. Neither case histories, nor names of complainants, nor others involved in the dispute are maintained. As a result of the highly confidential nature of these inquiries, the panel is very busy and very effective in assisting participants in resolving their disputes.
The DBA Panel is the fifth such panel in the state, which includes: Boulder, El Paso, Larimer and Weld counties. This year, the panel has been very active in coordinating the efforts of other counties desiring to create their own conciliation panels. Conciliation panels in Denver and other counties have been found to be very effective and have contributed substantially to enhancing the professionalism of the bar as a whole. For more information concerning the Conciliation Panel, contact John Baker, chair.
Public Legal Education
This committee works with the Director of PLE, Dave Ells, and was chaired by Jim Carr. The committee’s charter changed in 2000 as a result of organizational changes adopted by the DBA Board of Trustees. Following a task force evaluation of the organization of the DBA’s legal services outreach, the charter of the Public Legal Education Committee was changed to focus on law-related education. Responsibility for legal information programs (clinics, call-a-lawyer programs, etc.) was transferred to the DBA Legal Services Committee.
• Mock Trials: J. F. Kennedy High School was the only Denver (DPS) high school to compete in the Arapahoe/Denver Regional Mock Trial Competition in February. The JFK team was formed 4 years ago by a student and the team finished a very respectable fourth in the local tournament this year. Denver attorneys were involved not only in coaching that team but also in coaching other teams in the metropolitan area. Several committee members supported the coordination of the Denver regional and state tournaments, and many judges and attorney volunteers judged trial rounds. The PLE Committee has made increased DPS participation in mock trial competition a priority in 2001-2002. Members of the committee support the CBA Law Education Committee, Mock Trial Subcommittee, in the selection and preparation of the annual case. In addition, the committee is providing support to the CBA Mock Trial Subcommittee in their efforts to develop a mock trial case for the 2003 competition. The case is being developed around the Ludlow Massacre of April 20, 1914.
• Products: The committee worked with the CBA Law Education Committee to produce the Survivor’s Guide (So You’re 18 Now—A Survival Guide for Young Adults) and The Law in Colorado, which is an addendum to Street Law—A Course in Practical Law. The 2001 edition of the Legal Resource Directory was published and distributed this past spring. In addition, the LRD is posted on the DBA Web site at www.denbar.org/2001lrd/index.htm. The directory is a very useful listing of agencies that offer legal assistance or provide referrals for legal assistance.
• School Programs: The PLE Department and volunteer attorneys support law related education programs, career days, and court tours. Law related educational materials like the Constitutional/Bill of Rights curricula, mock trials, and practical law (Street Law) curricula and lesson plans (including the Colorado specific Street Law supplement The Law in Colorado) are available to any educator or DBA member. The Colorado addendum is also available on the CBA Web site at www.cobar.org/lawinco.htm. DBA members also volunteer to present law as a career at elementary, middle and high school career days. Other attorneys guide tours through the Denver City and County building telling students about the justice process.
Our 2001/2002 goals include developing a closer partnership with DPS to provide more opportunities to involve our members in law-related education support to DPS schools. Initial efforts will include participation in middle and high school programs involving the "We The People" and "Project Citizen" programs.
Members 65 or better make up the Seniors Committee, chaired by Bob Fullerton. The committee held four events during the 2000-2001 fiscal year. The Seniors Golf Tournament was July 26 under the tutelage of Jim Bayer. There were 24 attendees constituting six foursomes. The Seniors Roast was held on Oct. 4. Judge Zita Weinshienk was honored by 75 attendees, including former law clerks, a friend who flew in from New York and others who told anecdotes about her. The annual Senior Holiday Party was festively on Dec. 13 at the DBA offices. Thirty-two attendees enjoyed a hot lunch and talked about the "good old days." Lastly the Senior Spring Banquet, the biggest and most successful event of the year, was on May 23. An attendance record was broken when 150 people, including honorees, came to congratulate those who reached their 50th year as attorneys. In a colorful speech, Bob Hawley reminded everyone what law was like 50 years ago. Former DBA President Susan Smith Fisher congratulated each honoree with a medallion, not unlike the Olympic gold medal. It was a momentous evening to end out calendar year.
With the assistance of the DBA staff, the committee planned and held the 2001 Annual Henry Hall Memorial Golf Tournament on June 18 at the Red Rocks Country Club. The tournament was a best ball format with individual and team awards. The committee recruited sponsors and many door prizes to help offset the cost of the tournament and attract players.
This year there were 96 participants, which was the largest turnout in several years and a 33 percent increase from the 2000 tournament. All in all, the event was a major success.
The committee will begin planning the 2002 tournament soon, and will probably choose a new course for variety. The tournament is typically held at a private course that is otherwise not available to most players.
This upcoming year the committee will broaden its activities to other sporting events, as we have done in the past, by administering the Lawyer’s Basketball League. The league typically has over 40 teams in four to five divisions, playing from late November to early March.
The Committee will be co-chaired this year by Rob Hooke, Todd Jansen and Richard Strauss.
Mandy Yick has chaired the Summer Intern Committee since 1998. The program is allied with the Denver Metro Chamber Foundation’s Youth At Work Program, which places 250 Denver-area youth in their first professional business position each summer. The Summer Intern Committee
recruits law firms to participate in the program each summer. In 2000, 16 students were placed in summer positions. Employers included the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, many local firms, and the DBA. Each student receives over 50 hours of training prior to beginning their summer job in order to transition them from being a student to being a professional employee. The students are closely supervised and mentored over their eight-week position and many are retained in part-time positions after school begins (upward of 40 percent are retained in some years). Many students who did not aspire to further education beyond high school end up enrolling in a university setting as a result of their summer experiences. The program has continued in 2001 with 20 students placed.
Learn a little on the DBA Web site or get answers to your specific questions. The Legal Resource Directory as well as selected articles from The Docket are available on the site. We’ve made it easy for you to keep your bar association events in order by putting the joint CBA/DBA calendar online with links to meeting notices. Under the "Public Interest" section, you’ll find information to DBA sponsored clinics, the small claims handbook, the child support handbook and other educational materials. Find out more about Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) including the Family Law Court Program. Also on the site are the DBA policies and procedures, DBA governance, and committee information.
Young Lawyers Division
The Young Lawyers Division of the Denver Bar Association (YLD), chaired by Trevor Moritzky, continued the work that was started by the YLD in past years. YLD had a successful year, and provided many services to members and the community, and came in under budget.
Throughout the year YLD sponsored Law Explorers, an explorer post for the Boy Scouts of America. Members enjoyed YLD happy hours at Marlowe’s, which also served as collection points for donations for YLD events.
The year started off in fine fashion with the second annual Law Suit Day. This was an event where Denver Lawyers contributed gently used professional clothing, which was donated to charities that provide the less fortunate clothing for job interviews. The fall also saw the traditions of the Bar Mart Soiree and Court Orientation. Bar Mart welcomed new and old members with a great party and information about the many DBA committees. Court Orientation provided the new, and in some cases not so new, members with information on the ins and outs of the Denver courts, presented by the judges.
YLD was happy to say that many of its members ended up in jail this year, while participating in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Lock-Up. This YLD and MDA sponsored event raised approximately $50,000. The seventh annual Wine Tasting to Benefit the Legal Aid Foundation was a resounding success as it raised nearly $5,000 and was done at minimal cost to the bar. The commitment to the community did not stop with the above events. YLD also provided the public with assistance on access to legal resources and information during Law on the Mall, an annual event on the 16th Street Mall during the week of Law Day in May.
Bar members were given an opportunity to get CLE credits through two YLD programs: Day in Court and the Annual Lunch. Day in Court is fast becoming the anticipated event that the Annual Lunch remains. Day in Court provides new litigators evidentiary techniques, taught in an intimate and interactive atmosphere by judges and litigators.
YLD again demonstrated its commitment to the community and the future by putting on two events for foster children, Christmas in January and Celebration of Excellence. Christmas in January is a party for foster children 12 and under that includes presents, pizza, candy, games and a chance to get a picture with Santa Claus. These children are given presents that are donated by the community and include at least one book, one sports item and one video. This year the event gained even more recognition as it was attended by two of the local news stations and over 300 children. The Celebration of Excellence treated foster children graduating from high school or college to a party and some much needed encouragement. The children also received gift bags to help them provide for some of the necessities of emancipation.
Introducing your Communications Department: Diane Hartman, Karen Bries and Molly Osberg. We’re a busy bunch but can always try to help you.
Our most recent event, the DBA Annual Party in June, drew the biggest crowd yet to the Colorado Historical Society. We gave away awards, free food and drink, and provided the setting for some much needed socializing.
Right before that, in May, we helped organize the Seniors Spring Banquet that honored about 45 of our 50-year members. Held at the University Club, this group and its groupies filled the College Room with many shouts of "we don’t need name tags in this bunch!" Stories were told, toasts were made and the end result was probably one of the DBA’s most fun and memorable parties.
In between somewhere, we helped publicize the state mock trial championships, the Barristers Benefit Ball, events put on by the Young Lawyers and the election of officers.
We put on a "Law School for Reporters," with the help of Sherry Patten at the State Court Administrator’s Office, gathering up reporters from a good distance around Denver to hear about various aspects of the legal system. Each reporter took a notebook full of good information back to work, with phone numbers to call for questions.
For interested legal groups, including our committees, we’re happy to put on "Working with the Media" seminars, which can include dealing with newspapers and/or broadcast media. Public speaking seminars are also held—these are for those who would like to talk at a local community club.
We’re here to serve the membership—please call on us.
The Denver Bar Association finished the 2000-2001 fiscal year with income exceeding expenses. This was the seventh year since the dues were increased. There has been a surplus each of the last seven years. This year’s surplus was small and the Budget Committee and the Board of Trustees voted in April to increase the dues for the 2001-2002 membership year by $15/year for intermediate and seniors, and $10/year for junior members. This small increase allows the association to continue to provide the programs and activities that the members use and support. Actual cash reserves will be down slightly at year end because of the investment that was made in new membership and accounting software, and the additional computer servers and workstations that were added to the network. The bar association is still in an excellent financial position, with adequate reserves to allow it to plan for the needs of members in the future. The Budget and Planning Committee will continue to work with the Board of Trustees to plan and budget for the future. A complete audit report will be available at the bar offices after October 1, 2001. The following page outlines the financial figures in greater detail.