Denver Bar Association
September 2009
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Citizen Lawyers Among Us: The people of CAMP

by John Baker

My goal for this column each month is to celebrate the selfless work for the common good in the Denver community by outstanding Denver Bar Association members.

These "citizen lawyers" may work on committees of the DBA; for civic organizations; for charities or public interest organizations; for churches, synagogues, and other places of worship; or for underprivileged clients from the Metropolitan Volunteer Lawyers or other pro bono legal service organizations.

For the most part, they volunteer their time and skill without any "hoopla," compensation or publicity. They do it because they feel it is part of their responsibility as lawyers, just like Thomas Jefferson envisioned they would when he started William and Mary Law School to graduate these "citizen lawyers." This month we celebrate the efforts by three lawyers and by one non-lawyer to first create and then to run the DBA Court Annex Mediation Project ("CAMP").

DBA’s CAMP — What is it?

From its inception, a principal goal of CAMP has been to educate the public, the legal profession, and the judiciary about the value of mediation, and how it effectively, efficiently and fairly resolves conflict by providing free or low-cost mediation services to litigants and their attorneys in the civil divisions of Denver’s County and Small Claims Courts. CAMP provides continuing education and training to mediators in the skills of conflict resolution. The mediators are lawyers and nonlawyers.

The Founders of CAMP — Kenney and Kall

Patrick Kenney

DBA member Patrick Kenney created CAMP in 2001 and, along with DBA member Chuck Kall, ran the training of mediators and the mediation operation in the courts until 2006. For six years, Patrick and Chuck dedicated countless hours nurturing CAMP through its formative years.

After approximately 20 years as a trial lawyer, first as a deputy district attorney and then as managing partner at Fairfield & Woods and Of Counsel with Beem & Mann, PC, Patrick Kenney turned to mediation and other methods of conflict resolution. Currently, he and Chuck Kall are partners at Kenny & Kall Mediation Services, providing mediation services to lawyers and their clients in Colorado. Besides nurturing CAMP as its first executive director from 2001 to 2006, Patrick is a past chair of the Colorado Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section, past chair of the DBA ADR Committee and past member of the Legal Fee Arbitration Panel. Patrick has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Chuck Kall

After graduating from law school, Chuck Kall proudly served his nation in the U.S. Marine Corp from 1965 to 1968, before he embarked on a 30-year career which included being a deputy district attorney, a partner for Holme Roberts & Owen and an Assistant United States Attorney for Colorado. Chuck then turned his professional energies to providing mediation services with Patrick Kenney. Chuck is active in the Denver community, serving on the governing boards of both Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and the Outward Bound School. Chuck also is a volunteer faculty member at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

Maturing and Growth — Sperlak and Whitehouse

Deb Sperlak

After serving as volunteer mediators for CAMP for several years, in 2006 Deb Sperlak and Patricia Whitehouse were asked to take CAMP to the next level of its development. Deb and Patricia worked sometimes 20 hours per week to expand the educational component of CAMP and to standardize forms and practice guidelines, as well as managing the day-to-day operation of making sure that mediators are "on duty" at the courthouse to be appointed by the judges to mediate all types of civil disputes in the civil divisions of Denver County Courts.

Following law school graduation, Deb Sperlak practiced law in Chicago until 1983.

Patricia Whitehouse

Since 1983, Deb has practiced law in Denver, with an emphasis on mediation, arbitration, and other forms of ADR. Deb has a special interest and skill in training others to be mediators. She has served as a "mediation coach" for the Mountain States Employer Council, CLE of Colorado, and various other programs that provide training to mediators. Deb teaches as an adjunct professor in Alternative Dispute Resolution at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Deb served as co-director of CAMP with Patricia Whitehouse from 2006 to 2008, then as director for 2009. Deb plans to continue as a CAMP mediator.

Patricia Whitehouse is a nonlawyer, trained as a mediator. She started as mediator for CAMP in 2001. She served as the co-director from 2006 to 2008, helping Deb with the CAMP curriculum and program. Patricia earned her B.A. in Organizational Communication at the University of Colorado at Denver, and her M.A. in Conflict Resolution at the University of Denver. She is an associate member of the Colorado Bar Association and serves as an advisory council member of the University of Denver’s Conflict Resolution Institute. Patricia is vice president, Group Human Resources, for Gannett Broadcasting, the parent company of KUSA – Channel 9.

What is Next? — Kilroy and Busacca

Jeanne Busacca

Jeanne Busacca and Ashley Kilroy, active mediators for CAMP, have agreed to lead the program to the next level. Through funding from the DBA and other sources, Jeanne and Ashley plan to hire an administrator to provide administrative and logistical support for CAMP. As co-directors for 2009-10, Jeanne and Ashley will raise funds so that CAMP will have a sound financial footing for the future.

Jeanne Busacca comes to CAMP after a long history of public service and private practice. Jeanne cut her teeth as a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Denver (now Colorado Legal Services.) Since her legal services days, Jeanne has been in private practice as a partner at Busacca & Floyd. Her practice includes serving as a mediator to resolve disputes for lawyers and clients. Jeanne has served in leadership positions in community public interest organizations, including as president of the board for both the Colorado Rural Legal Services and the Gove Community School. Jeanne has been an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado School of Law.

Ashley Kilroy

Ashley Kilroy has spent much of her legal career in public service with the Denver City Attorney’s Office, Denver Public Schools, and as a board member and co-chair of the Career Service Board of Directors for the City and County of Denver. Since 2008, she has practiced law with emphasis on mediation services. Ashley is involved in her community as a volunteer for Slavens School, the Denver Ballet Guild and the Bonnie Brae Neighborhood Association. At Slavens School, Ashley chaired the school building security review committee and does fundraising for the PTA and other school committees.

Patrick, Chuck, Deb, Jeanne and Ashley, as citizen lawyers, use their legal skills to promote the common good in the DBA and the Denver community. Patricia, though not a lawyer, works vigorously to promote the common good with her citizen lawyer colleagues. Celebrate their wonderful work and volunteer for CAMP.

Learn more about CAMP here.

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