Denver Bar Association
June 2011
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Email Chain Keeps April Gag Going

Editor’s Note: As it can each year, some of the April Fool’s articles in the April issue of The Docket caused a stir at legal offices across the city. One office wasn’t buying the story, “Colorado Lawyers to Fix Judicial Complex Budget Shortfall,” but they sure had some fun playing along. For your reading pleasure, we have republished the email circulated by Ron Von Lembke, with his permission.

From: Ron Von Lembke
Sent: Friday, April 1, 2011 8:53 a.m.
To: Attorneys and Staff
Subject: Colorado Lawyers to Provide Construction Support to Judicial Building

Attached is an article from the April bar journal announcing the requirement that, due to budget shortfalls, Colorado lawyers will be required to contribute 10 hours of physical labor toward construction of the new judicial complex in Denver. I have been asked to coordinate this effort for our office.

I have performed an inventory of tools available in the office to support this project. With the exception of a hammer and a pair of multi-purpose pliers (which belong to Stephanie), our inventory is woefully short. I note, however, that we could possibly convert some of our heavy duty staplers into hammers and, in a pinch, we may be able to use our paper cutter to shape tiles for the bathrooms.

The bar does allow attorneys to purchase an exemption from the requirement for $5,000. I called the bar and asked whether we could bond this requirement in order to spread the cost over the lifetime of the complex. They thought the idea had merit but said the idea would have to go to a committee for further study. In the meantime, they did say that for those attorneys who may not be able to afford the initial $5,000 exemption payment, they could send their paralegals, secretaries, IT personnel, and project managers to act as “minions” (their word, not mine) on the job site. Their job would be to hold the coats of the working attorneys, pull the occasional lawyer out of cement batches, or scrape small bits of attorneys off the sidewalk who ventured too close to the edge.

I am going to ask for a medical exemption since I got a paper cut yesterday afternoon while reading the journal. Failing that, I plan to volunteer for a less-physical job such as deconstruction.

I am open to your thoughts and comments.


Subject: RE: Colorado Lawyers to Provide Construction Support to Judicial Building


I think it is wonderful idea! I have over 10 hours experience on a Bobcat and believe I would be well-qualified to handle heavy machinery with a couple of hours of YouTube instruction and Speedway practice. I have only isolated incidences of ramming into things, and I’m relatively confident those days are behind me.


Subject: RE: Colorado Lawyers to Provide Construction Support to Judicial Building


This sounds like an excellent program. Given your physical condition, when can we expect to be notified as to whether we’ve been selected as an active minion for this project? As our lawyers select their proxy-minions, I have several comments and questions. Unlike Laurie, I do not have any knowledge, skills, or experience that pertains to this project, but I’m wondering if it might be worthwhile for Drew to set our staff up with on-site internships? If one of us is able to master the crane, or bulldozer, or scraper, or I achieve my personal goal of proficiency with a DeWind Trencher, we would be much better prepared to contribute to the Counselors’ Labor Exchange program.

If we are not able to set up the construction internships, I offer my services as a “digital laborer.” This could entail building PowerPoint presentations about on-site safety, overlaying construction plans in the beta version of the upcoming “Google Construction Zone,” or simply reviewing construction contracts as there might not be other minions suited for this job. Also, my generation specializes in creating blogs about our experiences and I anticipate there will be a story to tell about poor on-site conditions or the inevitable caste system that develops between lawyers and minions. Thoughts?

Overall, I’m very excited to get involved with this project. As we’re operating heavy machinery, laboring on the computer, or collecting bits of attorneys, how should we bill our time?

Thank you,


Subject: RE: Colorado Lawyers to Provide Construction Support to Judicial Building

Ron, I used to be a nurse in a former life and I can help with your paper cut. In a past life I was a doctor and we would amputate the appendage that was injured. I have some high quality chef knives at home I could use and I would be happy to chop that injured finger off. I would only charge you $4,000, which would result in a savings to you of $1,000. It seems to me this is a reasonable course of action to take so you can get on with your life and help build that justice center. Let me know if I can help. I’m ready, willing, and able.


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