Vol. 31, No. 7
CBA President's Message to Members
The Bully Pulpit
by John E. Moye
A pulpit. I finally have a bully pulpit.
Well, I’ve sort of had pulpits before. I’m not sure how many hours I have spent at a podium of one sort or another. The years teaching my students at the University of Denver College of Law and on the road lecturing for bar review courses and continuing education seminars have given me thousands of opportunities to deliver substantive law to my audiences. But now I have a chance to say just what is on my mind about our profession and where it fits in the order of human society. Wow—that is an opportunity!!
I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to be president of the Colorado Bar Association. I am truly honored and flattered that I would be asked to assume this task. Although I’ve undertaken lots of community boards and projects over the years, the chance to manage this association and lead the lawyers of Colorado to greater heights is the best challenge of all.
At term day in Fort Collins last month, one of the recipients of a local bar award caught my attention and caused me to realize why the position of bar president is so exciting to me. He told the audience, "All of my heroes are lawyers!" Mine are, too. I have such respect for the lawyers in my firm, the lawyers with whom I’ve negotiated transactions, the lawyers who studied law in my classes, and the lawyers who make such generous contributions to their communities. I cannot imagine a finer constituency. Again, I thank you for the opportunity.
The Year That Just Passed
So what do bar association presidents do? First, they watch closely the example of their predecessors and those predecessors’ accomplishments. My predecessor, Laird Milburn, has unquestionably succeeded in his presidency in two important projects he developed as his contribution to our profession. First, he established the Professional Reform Initiative ("PRI"), chaired by past-president Dale Harris, to study whether reforms are needed with respect to the honesty and truthfulness of our profession. The PRI’s Task Force is continuing, and I look forward to beginning the implementation of its recommendations.1
I personally have high standards against which I measure whether to trust my colleagues. I know that clients and the public also have their expectations of honesty from lawyers. Whatever can be done to confirm the perception of lawyers as trustworthy fiduciaries will better our profession, and I am committed to working for that. I’ll discuss these concepts further in a future President’s page.
Second, Laird asked me to organize a Citizens Justice Summit during his term, in which members of the communities around the state from all disciplines and points of view were invited to meet in Denver for a day to discuss improvements to the judicial system.2 The Summit was a resounding success, and the reported recommendations are being analyzed and studied for implementation possibilities.
I’ll also report more about the results of the Summit in a later column, but much of the next administrative year will be devoted to developing the issues and ideas from the Summit into projects with realistic goals that will improve the justice system in Colorado. I’m hoping to continue to involve many of those who participated in the Summit in these projects. The justice system is a community concern. The enthusiasm of our citizens to make it work better is intense. Together, we have a chance to help the courts reach the people and administer justice in a way that society understands and respects.
The Year Ahead
Well, now back to the pulpit idea. How can I best use this pulpit that you have given me for a year? I know that I’ll lose you as a reader if I just tell you what is happening at the bar association or if I fill these pages with platitudes and lofty thoughts (like a couple of those in the previous paragraphs). So I’ll throw in a little humor whenever I can and will work in a variety of topics that might interest you. A lot of lawyers know that I used to end my Contracts lectures for the bar review courses with a "Contracts Rap."3 Now I can have it published for all of you who have asked me to recite it. It’ll be in a later issue.
But more than what is in the "President’s Message to Members," this bully pulpit of the spokesperson for the bar association is a chance for me to act as your advocate for the profession. I would like everyone to know about the role of the rule of law and the value lawyers bring to our society. High on my agenda is outreach from the bar association to other community organizations and public forums about lawyers and their role in preserving our freedom. Editorial pieces in newspapers about lawyers and the rule of law are appropriate. Making certain that young people understand the role of the legal profession and developing their sense of trust and respect for the legal system are goals I’d like to work toward. I plan to speak out on your behalf. That is what a bully pulpit is for.
This year, within our profession and this association, several issues will confront us. For example, the questions of multijurisdictional ("MJP") and multidisciplinary practice ("MDP") are likely to be important topics within Colorado and on a national level. Colorado has been a leader in the country in adopting model provisions to define the boundaries of such practices, in most cases more broadly and flexibly than our colleagues in other states. Inconsistent positions are developing on these issues nationally. Colorado’s leadership in the implementation of the rules we have drafted will be an important contribution to the resolution of those inconsistent positions.4
We also are reorganizing some of the bar association structure. The Board of Governors is considering bylaw changes that "modernize" the decision-making functions of the association. They also provide for the addition of another district in the state and provide for presidential visits to each of the districts during the year, instead of the presidential visits to each local bar association at one of its functions.5 I’m looking forward to visiting the districts, and I promise to make those occasions worth your while. We plan to provide an afternoon of continuing legal education, followed by a reception. A little knowledge, a little food and drink, and a little speech (coming back to that pulpit). It will be fun to see you there.
This will be an exciting year for me and for all of you who will be involved in some of these important pursuits of our association. I will enjoy the collegiality and camaraderie that comes with our meetings of committees and sections and other get-togethers where we apply collective efforts toward the common good. But most of all, I promise to use this pulpit wisely and to represent you and our association as best I can.
1. See "Colorado Bar Association PRI Task Force Interim Report to the Board of Governors: May 2002," in this issue, at page 53.
2. See "Photo Highlights of the Citizens Justice Summit April 20, 2002," 31 The Colorado Lawyer 32 (June 2002); Nichol, "The Command of Equal Justice," a speech presented at the Citizens Justice Summit, in this issue, at page 57.
3. See the profile on John Moye in this issue at page 49, which mentions the "Contracts Rap."
4. See generally "ABA Delegates’ Report" in The Colorado Lawyer, which has reported on these issues over the past few years. See particularly, ABA Delegates articles listed in the December 2001 article index and online at www.cobar.org under The Colorado Lawyer.
5. See below for a list of these upcoming visits.
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