Denver Bar Association
December 2000
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Presidential Column

by Susan Smith Fisher

'Each lawyer member of the Board of Trustees has pledged to take a new MVL case within the next 90 days.'
By Susan Smith Fisher, DBA President

Your DBA Board of Trustees members have decided to roll up their sleeves and do something to make a difference. We want you to come along with us.

The trustees are concerned about the declining numbers of lawyers who are volunteering to take pro bono cases through Metro Volunteer Lawyers and other pro bono agencies. As the elected and appointed officers and representatives of the DBA, we couldn't think of a better way to demonstrate leadership than by encouraging every DBA member to take on a pro bono case.

Each lawyer member of the Board of Trustees has pledged to take a new MVL case within the next 90 days. Judicial members of the board have pledged to use their best efforts to encourage lawyers to perform pro bono service. In future issues of The Docket, we'll keep you posted on how our pro bono cases are going. We hope that every member of the DBA will accept this challenge and take an MVL case, too.

In 1999, fewer than 500 of the 10,000 or so lawyers in the Denver metro counties accepted an MVL pro bono case.

The recent debate about mandatory pro bono certainly captured our attention. Amended Rule 6.1 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct exhorts each of us to aspire to work 50 hours per year, without compensation or expectation of compensation, primarily by providing legal services to people of limited means. Yet, it seems fewer and fewer of us are performing pro bono legal service.

Each of us faces the challenge of parsing our time among our obligations to our clients, our partners or employers, our families, our communities, and our own health and spirits. What we sometimes fail to recognize is that using our special gifts and skills to help people in need is an exercise that binds us to those around us and feeds our own spirits.

The Board of Trustees will prove through this project that it is indeed possible to maintain your career, continue your participation in bar association activities, and represent a pro bono client, all at the same time. Won't you join us?

Contact Metro Volunteer Lawyers today to volunteer: Barb Chamberlain at (303) 866-9378 or

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