Denver Bar Association
June 2009
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May’s rant causes a stir: Anonymous responses to Supreme Court’s Western Union charges

I agree completely with the ridiculous procedures we had to follow to practice law in Colorado. Next year, I will try to walk it in the front door of the Supreme Court to save the $4.95. Not only did I have to pay the $4.95, but I gave my assistant my debit card rather than a credit card and had another $20 tacked on.

That was a great, serious rant for your first column. It deserves another side rant. After 41 years of receiving the notice/bill in the mail for another year’s law license, and paying promptly, we received what we assumed to be an innocuous e-mail, reviewed it later, and discovered the notice and called to beg forgiveness of the $50 late penalty (was told to file a written motion, without a brief). We spent 2 hours trying to file and pay by credit card. We later received a formal order of denial; no waiver for past good behavior. Oh, well. Rant. Rant.

A small correction to your new "Rant" column regarding the processing fee charged by Western Union. Contrary to your writer’s assumption, Western Union is a local company. It is headquartered in Douglas County, and there are numerous in-house lawyers working for Western Union in Douglas County.

Rant on! The May rant is completely, like totally, right on. Its restraint is admirable. Please sign me up if there is a protest to be made to the Supreme Court or any responsible body.

I absolutely loved this month’s rant. I did my own rant directly to the Colorado Supreme Court back in January when this was instituted. My rant was about the way they promoted this initiative as "going green." This is a perfect example of an idea that may have had good intentions going haywire. The Colorado Supreme Court saved one piece of paper and one envelope per member in not mailing the forms for dues payment. I happen to work at a relatively large law firm, and here is how the process worked at our firm. It used to be that everyone completed the forms, signed them and sent them to our accounting department, which submitted them all together with one check for payment of dues. Now, each individual lawyer had to go online, complete the form and make payment. Then, in our firm, each lawyer printed the form and evidence of payment. Each lawyer’s secretary completed another form to be submitted to the accounting department for reimbursement and made a copy of both forms and sent them to accounting. Then, the accounting department processed them, cut a check to each individual lawyer for reimbursement and made a copy of the check to file with the other two forms. I’m sure for every piece of paper saved in the old process, at least five new pieces of paper were created in the new process. When confronted with this, the person at the Colorado Supreme Court countered with the fact that they saved $75,000 with this initiative. So, I am not sure if this was really a going green initiative or a money-saving idea. In any event, all they did was shift the cost to the members, and the overall cost was higher. It cost our firm an extra $1,000. With more than 20,000 registered attorneys, the cost at $4.95 per person is more than $100,000 as compared to the $75,000 cost savings. And none of this takes into account all of the extra time spent processing all of this. What a waste. They would have been much better off just raising the fees by $5 per member, but that would have been much too straightforward. Thanks so much for making a public rant on this topic. My only argument with the rant — Western Union is in fact a local company, based in Greenwood Village. So, I guess their in-house counsel do benefit indirectly from this. Next time I have a rant to make, I will know where to send it.

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