Denver Bar Association
October 2005
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Pithy, Sarcastic, Sometimes Outrageous: Coming Soon to a Hotel Near You

by Craig Eley

What’s 90 years old and sings and dances? The guy from the Six Flags commercials? No, he doesn’t really sing. The Denver Law Club? Well, they don’t really dance, but this nonagenarian organization will be singing on Oct. 27 as it joins with the CBA Ethics Committee and CBA–CLE to present the first ever "Ethics Revue."

This mixture of food, fun, and edification will be held at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 1750 Welton St., from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. With a meal included, this CLE course will seem more like dinner theatre. For those who eschew dinner, a matinee performance will be held from
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. that same day.

Hon. Thomas J. DeMarino, Lee Keatinge, Josiah Hatch, Hon. Craig Eley, David Simmons, Phil James, Diana Terry, Ken Levensen, Gregory G. Garner and Deborah Schmidt-Lobis.

For decades, the Law Club performed at the annual CBA Convention, aiming pithy, sarcastic, and sometimes outrageous musical parodies at current events and the people who were central to them. Among the luminaries spoofed over the years have been Gov. Dick Lamm ("Duty to Die," sung to the tune of "Ticket to Ride"), Federal Judge Fred Winner ("Old Judge Winner," sung to the tune of "Old Man River"), and former almost-presidential candidate Gary Hart ("Gary Owes Me Money," to the tune of "Gary, Indiana").

While many lawyers claimed that Law Club shows were the best part of Bar conventions (which may go a long way toward explaining why we no longer have conventions), admiration for the Club’s efforts has not been universal. For example, U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham was put on the spot and had to explain away his Law Club membership during his Senate confirmation hearings. And Judge Fred Rodgers’ long-time participation in the shows (his wife, Valerie, is the current Club president) is no doubt the reason he didn’t make the short list when President Bush was casting about for Supreme Court nominees.

Law Club has always been fortunate to have plenty of members who were more interested in being on stage than they were in preserving their reputations. If you are one of those people, and would like to explore a future in the Law Club, you can contact Valerie McNaughton at valerie.mcnaughton@ci.denver.co.us, for more information on how to negotiate its semi-rigorous membership process.

With the passing of the Bar convention a few years ago, the Law Club has sought to satisfy its acting itch by picking up gigs wherever it could find them — benefits, section annual meetings and Radio Shack grand openings. Now, against all odds, it has teamed up with the Ethics Committee.

In the long history of the Club, no one has ever gotten credit (much less ethics credit) for attending a Law Club performance. That will change on Oct. 27, when lawyers will have the opportunity to have dinner and take in an ethics seminar that will be punctuated with songs about ethical issues, written and performed by the Law Club. It must be made clear, however, that the substance of the seminar will be presented by the CBA Ethics Committee (which is why attendance will result in the addition of three ethics credits to each lawyer’s CLE transcript, rather than the subtraction of five).

Of course, most will agree that humorous tunes about Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6, 8.3, 1.16, and 1.7 practically write themselves. In addition to these topics, participants will learn about how not to impersonate a defense attorney (a skill in more demand each day) and how to withdraw from representing a client without undo drama (or worse, being grieved).

Registration for this unique event can be accomplished on the Internet by going to http://www.cobar.org/cle and clicking "Seminars;" or just call (303) 860-0608. For those inevitable losers who procrastinate, don’t register on time, and will be told there is "no room at the inn," I have included a little taste of what will transpire (see sidebar below). Perhaps you can order the DVD.

As the CLE website proclaims: "If you are only going to see one CLE musical this fall, make sure you see ‘The Ethics Revue’!"


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