The Colorado Lawyer
Vol. 32, No. 6 [Page 25]
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CBA President's Message to Members
It Was A Very Good Year
by John E. Moye
|John E. Moye|
I have been privileged to be the President of the Colorado Bar Association ("CBA") this year. In my last President’s Message, I, like my predecessors, want to thank the outstanding staff and the dedicated members of this bar association for making my brief tenure in this capacity a successful and rewarding experience.
From the luncheon with Miles Cortez and Dale Harris some two and one-half years ago, when they persuaded me to accept the nomination for this office, through today, I have been impressed and amazed at the scope and breadth of the activities of the bar association. I am also proud of all of its accomplishments and the new projects the CBA has undertaken. Here are some highlights.
The CBA bylaws were modified to modernize the structure of the association and add a district to provide for better representation of the population of the profession throughout the state. A diligent committee of volunteer members carefully reviewed and revised the bylaws to ensure consistency and efficiency in the operations of the bar.
The presidential visits to local bar associations were adjusted during my term to schedule substantive meetings within each district of the association, with complimentary continuing legal education programs on various important topics, including ethics, law office management, and technology. The attendance at these conferences was very favorable, and the outreach of the association to its members was improved considerably.1 Additionally, with the leadership of CBA-CLE, seven law practice sections now conduct mini-conventions around the state from June through November. The remarkable attendance at these events indicates the success of this model.
The CBA membership dues were raised for the first time in nine years. The funding of the association comes primarily from the dues, and while membership has been increasing over the years, operating expenses and the cost of projects have exceeded the budget during the past few years. The dues increase will fill the CBA coffers for the next several years, and allow the Bar to maintain and improve the quality of its programs and services for the foreseeable future.
The CBA is studying alternative programs to provide legal research technology to the members through the CBA website (http://www.cobar.org). This service would provide all members of the bar association access to computer research tools to improve their practices. A survey is currently underway to ascertain the specific needs and objectives of the members. The Executive Council is considering several proposals to see if one can be provided economically through the broad membership base of the CBA.
Professional Reform Initiative
The Professional Reform Initiative ("PRI"), begun under the stewardship of CBA Past-President Laird Milburn and chaired by CBA Past-President Dale Harris, continues its work through this year. The PRI was established to study the factors that cause lawyers to lie—and to address them. The PRI set up a dialogue within the profession about how such factors can be acknowledged and eliminated. For example, members of the PRI attended the district meetings with CBA members to make a presentation, followed by an open forum soliciting comments and observations from members concerning these issues. The work of the participants in the PRI has received national attention, and the program is recognized as one of the most productive and informative of its kind.
Support of the Judiciary
This year was particularly difficult for the Colorado judiciary. The loss of funding from the legislature created a crisis in our court system.2 Much of the work of the CBA officers and its Legislative Policy Committee was directed to assisting the judicial branch obtain the funding necessary to maintain its services to the public. CBA lobbyists actively promoted the legislation permitting the courts to raise filing fees to fund necessary staff and accessibility to the courts. The association also arranged for the CBA-CLE programs to be available to judges for little or no charge, to assist with judicial training—funds for the annual Judicial Conference have been eliminated from the budget.
In better economic times, the CBA could have concentrated on other issues to improve access to the courts, many of which were suggested at the Citizens Justice Summit, held in April 2002, attended by citizens throughout the state. Despite the diversion of the association’s attentions to the funding of the courts, the issues raised in the Summit are being studied in some detail by the Court Reform Committee (now known as the Court Liaison Committee), ably chaired by Connie Talmage. One of the most important of those issues is access to justice.
Access to Justice Commission
The statewide Access to Justice Commission was established by the Colorado Supreme Court, under the guidance of Justice Gregory Hobbs and Chair David Butler, with the support of the CBA.3 The Commission’s purpose is to coordinate, expand, and improve many of the local access to justice programs and provide judicial support for access to justice. In addition to assistance for the poor and indigent, these programs need to consider how our courts can be more accessible and effective for resolution of small and moderate-sized disputes.
Support of the Law Schools
My personal association with legal education directed my attention to our local law schools and the opportunities that exist for their graduates.4 The practicing bar has a significant role in the future of the law schools and the professional careers of their students. The CBA Legal Education and Admissions Committee, through a subcommittee chaired by the Honorable David Juarez, began a study of various Loan Repayment Assistance Programs ("LRAPs"). LRAPs are available to assist the graduates of Colorado law schools who are willing to commit to public interest practice for the first few years of their careers. The CBA can establish or help identify programs to assist new lawyers pursue public interest careers in government, non-profit organizations, and legal services for the poor and underrepresented.5
With Our Neighbors
The Presidents and Executive Directors of the Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah Bars met and communicated throughout the year concerning a cooperative agreement among those states to provide for reciprocal admission. Reciprocal admission would be permitted for any member of the Bar in good standing in any one of those states. Similar to compacts formed by other states,6 the agreement, if reached, will facilitate multi-jurisdictional practice for lawyers in those four states without the requirement of passing a local bar examination. These discussions are continuing.
The CBA is a National Example
During the year, I have attended the meetings of the American Bar Association and the Bar conventions of our neighboring states of Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. I have been very impressed with the energy and dedication of these associations and the programs and projects they offer their members to benefit the profession and the communities they serve. However, I am proud to report that the CBA enjoys the most active member participation in the most current and complex projects of all of the bar association activities I have observed.
The CBA enjoys the reputation of being a national leader in studying and resolving the relevant issues in our profession. The efforts undertaken in the past year to assist our court system to maintain and improve access to justice and to study the pressures on our profession are nationally recognized models for similar programs in other states.
I sincerely thank the CBA members for all of their accomplishments and support during this year. I commend the CBA staff for their untiring efforts to make this bar association superior to its peers. I have every confidence that my successor, President-Elect Bob Truhlar, will continue the meaningful programs started this year and will lead the CBA membership to even greater accomplishments next year. I am honored and grateful to have been able to serve as your President.
1. Moye, "Sorry I Missed You at the Convention . . ." 32 The Colorado Lawyer 25 (Feb. 2003).
2. Moye, "Access to Justice and Funding for the Courts," 32 The Colorado Lawyer 25 (Jan. 2003).
3. Butler, "Improving Access to Justice Through Local Committees and a Statewide Commission," 32 The Colorado Lawyer 77 (Oct. 2002).
4. Moye, "Be True to Our Law Schools," 31 The Colorado Lawyer 19 (Nov. 2002).
5. See "To Borrow is Necessary, To Forgive, Divine," 32 The Colorado Lawyer 31 (March 2003).
6. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho have such an agreement. New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island have just announced a similar agreement.
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