Denver Bar Association 2004-2005 Annual Report
Now that I have time to look back over the past year, I can appreciate how special it was. Words fail me in an attempt to thank the members, committee chairpersons, volunteers, officers, and staff for their unfailing support and unceasing words of encouragement. At every turn, someone was offering to help.
We have more than 7,600 members, including 2,788 who are members of the Young Lawyers Division. The Denver Bar Association has an annual budget of slightly more than $1 million. In comparison, the Colorado Bar Association has more than 15,000 members and an annual budget of nearly $2.7 million. The DBA has a staff of 35, including four people who work exclusively for Metro Volunteer Lawyers. Nearly all of these staff members also work for the CBA. Their salaries, expenses, and resources are shared by the DBA and CBA. In June, Debora L. Wagner joined MVL as executive director, bringing years of pro bono and fund-raising experience to the organization.
DBA staff and volunteers have continued their hard work to improve and maintain the DBA website, which can be found at http://www.denbar.org. Check it out to see what our committees are doing and how to contact committee chairpersons and staff members concerning the work of the committees. The volunteer efforts of our voluntary Bar are impressive.
We all know that the committees continue to be where the real work of the Association gets done. I’m sure that no one really has a good idea of what the DBA does for the community and our members until he/she becomes a member of the Board of Trustees. Each officer is a liaison to one or more committee and actively serves on one or more committee — and that’s how he or she became an officer! The website has descriptions of completed and ongoing projects. To highlight a few: DBA committees were very active this year working to improve the experience of jurors at the City and County Building — these efforts are ongoing. The committees continue to sponsor free clinics for pro se litigants. Our volunteers are engaged in a continuing effort to revise and distribute educational materials and to provide low-cost or free mediation
Other fine programs and events continue to flourish. The Annual Bench–Bar Retreat was a huge success (again!); Tuesdays at the Bar lunches and YLD Coffee Talks have been well-attended; the Barristers Benefit Ball again raised much needed funds for pro bono legal services.
I am honored to have served as the Denver Bar Association president. We are all in good hands with Chris Little at the helm for the coming year. Of course, it is up to all of us to continue the good works and efforts of the members of the Denver Bar Association.
—Mary Jo Gross
The 17th annual Barristers Benefit Ball was held April 30, with more than 730 people going "Beyond the Reef." The committee, co-chaired by Marte Timmers and Chris Little, worked tirelessly to plan the event, which raised more than $80,000 for Metro Volunteer Lawyers. This year, three attorneys and one law firm were honored for their extraordinary efforts and dedication to MVL and pro bono legal services. This year’s honorees were Jon Bradley, A.M. Coren, Rocco Dodson, and Frie, Arndt & Danborn, PC. Thanks to everyone who helped make this great event a reality, especially LexisNexis®, which was the benefactor of the 2005 Ball.
The Bench–Bar Committee
With the ABA’s Law Day theme, "The American Jury: We the People in Action," the Bench–Bar Committee worked with the Jury Commissioner and the Denver City/County Courthouse to celebrate Law Week April, 25–May 1. Activities included "meet and greets" for jurors by Denver judges, elementary school thank-you cards and artwork, which were posted on the Jury Assembly room walls, court representatives who spoke to potential jurors, and in-kind contributions of refreshments and restaurant discount coupons. Additionally, the committee worked with the DBA Young Lawyers Division to host a speech contest for high school students.
This committee also continued its work on a number of information court brochures. The Denver traffic brochure was updated and redesigned to be more reader-friendly. Additionally, the Appeals Pamphlet Subcommittee completed its draft work of an appeals brochure that will be available to the public mid-September.
DBA–CLE also publishes more than 40 handbooks and practice manuals covering various law practice specialties. The publications are authoritative, written by practicing attorneys and sitting judges, as well as edited and cite-checked by experienced legal editors. The books are designed to be practitioner-oriented, and include essential forms, helpful checklists, organizational tabs, a subject index, tables of authorities, practice tips, and sample language to save time and make your services more economical.
DBA–CLE has developed an enhanced electronic and Web presence, and is developing plans for an online distance education and searchable CLE information database. Visit the website at http://www.cobar.org/cle.
DBA Communications Department
Community Action Network Committee (CAN)
Back to School Supply Drive, benefiting more than 800 homeless students in the Denver Public School system. This year, CAN teamed up with the DBA Legal Services Committee, which provided counseling to the parents of the homeless children who picked up school supplies at Cole Middle School.
The third annual Desserts and Delights Auction, had more than 200 attendees and an excess of $5,000 raised to benefit Work Options for Women. At the auction, CAN continued its tradition of awarding "WE CAN" awards to firms that demonstrated commitment to CAN’s projects.
Kids in Need of Dentistry Toothbrush Drive. CAN collected more than 1,000 toothbrushes and other dental supplies, and donations exceeding $700, for underprivileged and uninsured children in the Denver metro area. This was CAN’s most successful toothbrush drive yet!
Roll Out The Barrels food drive, which benefited the Food Bank of the Rockies. This year’s food drive resulted in more than 5,500 pounds of food and $6,800 in cash donations — enough for 34,400 meals! This was another record-achieving event. Many thanks to Pryor Johnson Carney Karr & Nixon, P.C. for donating the cost of additional collection barrels.
Denver Warm Welcome Center is a drop-in child care facility that provides a safe, secure setting while the child’s parent or guardian conducts business with the Denver courts. CAN continued its support of the child care facility by collecting hundreds of stuffed animals and books at Tuesday’s at the Bar CLE Programs and delivering them to the Denver Warm Welcome Center.
Children’s Outreach Project Clean-Up Day. Dubbing this year, the "Year of the Child," CAN has selected the Children’s Outreach Project as the benefactor of the 2005 fiscal year silent auction, scheduled for Jan. 26, 2006 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. As part of this initiative, several CAN volunteers spent a Saturday in May at the Children’s Outreach Project for the school’s Spring Clean-up day. Expect to see more hands-on volunteer activities involving Children’s Outreach Project throughout the year.
If you or your firm are interested in volunteering on the CAN committee or participating in any of these activities in the future, contact CAN Co-chairs Norman Beecher (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Michelle Ferguson (email@example.com), or DBA liaison Kari Brandt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Democracy Education Committee
The DBA Speakers’ Bureau program is organized with more than 25 attorneys available and ready to speak to anyone about a specific topic. Requests for speakers have been few and more efforts to increase awareness among the schools will be made this coming year.
The committee and DBA staff produced a DBA Law-Related Volunteer Opportunities brochure that outlines both community- and school-based projects for attorneys, judges and others in the legal profession to participate or volunteer. This provides a guideline to volunteers, informing them of the time commitment involved in each project and the time period in which the project takes place each year, as well as other useful information about each program. This brochure is provided to incoming attorneys at the swearing-in ceremonies and at other Bar functions.
Finally, the Democracy Education Committee has not been able to complete revitalization efforts on the elementary or middle school in-class mock trial program due to lack of committee member interest and challenges of getting Denver Public Schools (DPS) interested in the program because of their busy CSAP schedules. The committee will continue exploring ways to develop this program, which makes teaching mock trial in classes easy for both teachers and attorney volunteers.
The committee continues to work with the CBA–PLE Committee on projects that will benefit Denver and other local Bar communities. One of the projects is offering DPS a presentation on the rights and responsibilities of 18-year-olds for DPS juniors or seniors.
Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee
Diane Hartman shares a “Docket Tribute” at her last committee meeting in May, as David Erickson (center) and Marshall Snider laugh.
Diane Hartman shares a “Docket Tribute” at her last committee meeting in May, as David Erickson (center) and Marshall Snider laugh.
With the adoption of HIPAA of 1996, which became effective in April 2003, the Interprofessional Committee was called on to revisit the medical release authorization, which is an appendix to the Interprofessional Code, Second Edition (1997). The Committee continues to maintain a presence on the CBA website and includes a copy of the Interprofessional Code (Code), as well as a revised Authorization to Release Medical information form (HIPAA Form). The new HIPAA form is posted on the committee’s website and has been approved by the Denver Medical Society and the Colorado Medical Society.
Legal Fee Arbitration Committee
In using LFA, each party must first agree to arbitration to start the expedited process. The Committee then assigns each side an experienced mediator and an arbitration panel. Either party can decline the mediation step — though both sides often want to work toward resolution and agreed closure. Most cases are settled through a session with the mediator. If the case cannot be settled, the panel, with committee review, will resolve the dispute with a quick and informal hearing.
The Committee is comprised of both attorneys and lay members, with a mix of long-term and new members. The process is considered a gentle, flexible, quick, informal and effective vehicle for the resolution of disputes between two people who have been in a trusting fiduciary relationship.
For more information or to join the Committee, contact staff liaison Kari Brandt at (303) 824-5340 or email@example.com, or contact the chair, Charles Welton, (303) 333-8447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal Services Committee
Lawline 9 at KUSA-TV Channel 9 continues to be a popular community program with more than 7,500 calls taken in the last year. More than 200 attorneys volunteer to staff this event every Wednesday evening.
The Committee, per the DBA Board of Trustees decision, did not host Law on the Mall during Law Week 2005, due to dismal public interest last year; however, it is exploring a variation of this program by organizing a trial run of Law at the Mall in the Fall of 2005. Attorney volunteers will staff tables at a metro-Denver mall and answer public legal questions.
Despite a rainy start, 20 attorneys volunteered to staff the 2005 CHUN Capitol Hill People’s Fair in June, where more than 100 questions were answered. Also, in November, eight volunteer attorneys staffed the 2004 Veteran’s Stand Down event held at the National Guard Amory at 52nd and Franklin, where more than 65 veterans were provided legal information and resources.
The Pro Bono Training subcommittee developed and delivered a CLE training program for attorneys who are interested in doing pro bono work. Offered in March 2005, more than 40 attorneys attended to learn about basic family law, landlord/
Membership and Marketing
Membership in the Denver Bar Association continues to increase and there are almost 7,700 members in the DBA! The DBA membership department provides opportunities for members to network (social and business), supports other DBA departments, and offers other membership benefits.
Colorado Legal Directory
DBA Membership Services helps organize the spring and fall admissions ceremonies for new attorneys, in conjunction with the Colorado Bar Association. New attorneys are welcomed by leaders in the legal community and are sworn-in by Chief Justice Mullarkey of the Colorado Supreme Court. In the fall of 2004, 492 attorneys passed the Colorado State Bar Exam and in spring of 2005, 288 were admitted to practice in Colorado. One of the goals of the Membership Department is to partner with law schools and students, providing mentoring and networking opportunities. The DBA co-sponsors the University of Denver’s "Fall New Student Orientation." Here, the DBA staff has a chance to meet with new students, answer questions and provide direction.
The Spring 2005 Annual Henry Hall Memorial Golf Tournament was successful for another year, with 100 DBA members enjoying a spectacular golf course and beautiful weather. DBA members played at the Inverness Golf Club and received lots of goodies and prizes, in addition to a great day of golf. Membership works with the DBA Golf Committee to raise money through sponsorships to make the event affordable.
Saving money and raising money through the DBA
The DBA Membership Services and Marketing Department is also responsible for selling the advertising in The Docket, the official publication of the DBA. Advertising revenue remained steady and new advertisers joined this year, offering our members the latest in legal products and services.
Metropolitan Conciliation Panel
All work of the MCP is confidential and voluntary. "Interventions" often consist of a panel member simply acting as a sounding board for an attorney involved in a professionalism dispute with another attorney. An intervention also can provide conciliation services for the disputing attorneys. All matters where the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct apply and all requests for intervention by consumers are excluded from the jurisdiction of the MCP. Requests for intervention and referrals are accepted from attorneys, judges, magistrates and the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Regulation Counsel. For more information, contact MCP co-chairs John Baker at (303) 329-3855 or David Furgason at (303) 861-8013.
Metro Volunteer Lawyers
MVL provides civil legal assistance to clients throughout the Denver metro area. Nearly half of its funding comes from the DBA-sponsored Barristers Benefit Ball, with the remainder coming from COLTAF, individual contributions, and per capita contributions from its sponsoring bar associations: Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Douglas/Elbert Counties, and 1st J. D.
Young Lawyers Division (YLD)
The Denver Bar Association finished the 2004–2005 fiscal year with income exceeding expenses. The staff should be commended for keeping expenses down, while expanding programs and services.
The DBA is still in an excellent financial position, with adequate reserves to allow it to plan for future member needs. The Budget and Planning Committee will continue to work with the Board of Trustees to plan and budget for the future. A complete audit will be available at the Bar offices after Oct. 1. The following charts outline the financial figures in greater detail.
Committees ... You on the List?
To join a committee, call Melissa Nicoletti at (303) 860-1115 or (800) 332-6736, or check out http://www.denbar.org.