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March 2008

Litigation Section News
March 2008


REPORT ON THE COURT OF APPEALS


    Chief Judge Janice Davidson of the Colorado Court of Appeals was a guest at the January 2008 meeting of the Litigation Section Council, at which time she shared the following update on the Court:

•    The Court is currently catching up with the backlog and the docket is in good shape at this time, but it is expected that filings will increase as new judges are added to various districts as well as due to the continuing population growth.  Filings were slightly down this year in part due to a change in Criminal Procedure Rule 35(c) that limits post-conviction filings.  However, direct appeals of criminal cases have increased.

•    Civil and domestic appeals constitute approximately 40% of the Court’s docket and criminal appeals constitute approximately 50%.  The total dispositions for the year increased approximately 14% and opinions increased approximately 27%.

•    Better training of the new appellate judges, new ways of treating some of the appeals and a new panel have all helped in reducing the backlog.  The Court has been better able to manage its caseload by utilizing such methods as mandatory settlement conferences in domestic cases, occasional per curium opinions in certain cases and using staff attorneys to identify jurisdictional issues in newly filed appeals.  This is the second year of the new panel.  Another new panel will be sworn July 2008.

•    E-filing and e-records are being utilized.  Totally electronic records are accepted now.  Briefs can be filed on CDs or on paper.  The Court will soon be capable of accepting e-filing of briefs.  This improved technology will increase the Appellate Court’s ability to do an on-line review of cases.

Judge Davidson wished to convey the following message to the Litigation Section:  “The Colorado Court of Appeals views the Bar as a key stakeholder and is interested in input from its members on current policies or practices of the Court.  This forum for comments or suggestions should be used as an opportunity to clarify current practices or procedures of the Court and to provide suggestions to improve the way the Court conducts its business. 

Please e-mail your suggestions to Chief Judge Janice Davidson at                         COA.CO@judicial.state.co.us.

 Of course, questions, comments, or suggestions related to particular decisions rendered by the Court or current pending cases will not be addressed.”

COMMENTS ON E-FILING IN COLORADO

    BEWARE to practitioners:  More and more judicial districts are mandating e-filing in County Court proceedings and/or issuing local orders regarding e-filing in a specific district which are more restrictive and can create different deadlines than the State rules.  The Litigation Section Council will be meeting with Gerald Marroney, State Court Administrator, in the coming months to discuss e-filing and other issues.  The council is looking for feedback on e-filing matters from Section members for discussion with Mr. Marroney.  Please send any comments you may have to Greg Martin gmartin@cobar.org or Section Chair Peter Black at           Peter.Black@GrandJunctionLaw.com


HELP NEEDED FOR OFFICE OF ATTORNEY REGULATION

John Gleason, Regulation Counsel, attended the December meeting of the Litigation Section Council and asked for assistance from the Section members.  The Office of Attorney Regulation needs lawyers willing to provide pro bono representation of attorneys, and also to serve as practice monitors or auditors, mentors, or inventory counsel (when a lawyer is disabled or dies inventory counsel assists in reviewing and returning files to clients, etc.). If you are willing to serve please contact John Gleason, Regulation Counsel, at 303-866-6444 or via email at john.gleason@arc.state.co.us.


LITIGATION BOOTCAMP PROGRAM:

    Litigation Section members get a discounted rate to attend “Litigation Boot Camp II: Trial Skills for the Warriors of the Courtroom.”  This nine-session CLE program is the sequel to the popular Litigation Boot Camp I series, which focused on key pre-trial skills.  Now, this new series will teach you fundamental trial skills from voir dire to dealing with post-trial issues.  Check out an online brochure for the full program agenda on the CBA/CLE website at                        http://www.cobar.org/cle/photos/event pdfs/LI020608L.pdf. 


HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL PROGRAM
Volunteers Needed!

    The 2008 Colorado Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament is in full swing.  Volunteers are still  needed for the state competition to be held in Fort Collins March 14-15, 2008.  The Litigation Section is a big supporter of this very worthwhile program and encourages its members to be a part of it.  Not only does your involvement benefit the youth who participate in the competition, it also serves as a prime example of the good that the legal profession does for the community.

    Attorneys interested in volunteering can contact Carolyn Gravit at (303) 894-0821 or cgravit@cobar.org