The Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors met on May 8, 2004 at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder.
• Approved a motion by John Moye urging the CU Board of Regents and other officials to approve and implement the CU Student Union-authorized student fee so the CU Law School could commence construction of a new law building as soon as possible.
• Approved minutes of the February 21, 2004 Board of Governors meeting.
• Approved an amendment presented by President Bob Truhlar to the CBA bylaws changing the name of the "Legal Education & Admissions Committee" to the "Attorney Admission & Law School Committee."
• Approved an amendment to the CBA bylaws changing the name of the "Patent, Trademark & Copyright Section" to the "Intellectual Property Section," as presented by Dana Collier Smith.
• Approved by majority vote an amendment to the CBA bylaws eliminating the requirement of soliciting candidates for an ABA Delegate seat when the sitting delegate is to be reappointed. This amendment was presented by Steve Briggs and Chuck Turner.
• Approved an amendment to the CBA bylaws sunsetting the Alternative Work Schedule Committee, as presented by Steve Briggs.
• Approved an amendment to the CBA bylaws changing the name of the "Law Education Committee" to the "Public Legal Education Committee," as presented by Steve Briggs.
• Approved the 2004-05 CBA budget, as presented by Treasurer John Holt. Appreciation was expressed to the Budget Committee and the CBA staff. In anticipation of reviewing the CBA’s strategic plan, Board members were encouraged to provide comment to the Budget Committee concerning issues, projects, and programs that should be addressed during the planning process.
• Approved an amendment to the CBA bylaws giving the Juvenile Law Section a seat on the Board of Governors. Phil James and Jim Covino presented this request on behalf of the Section.
• By majority vote, passed a resolution endorsing adoption of Rule 260.8, which would award CLE credits to attorneys who provided pro bono legal services. Joe Dischinger, Steve Choquette, and JoAnn Vogt agreed to modify the supporting documents to eliminate the impression that Colorado attorneys were not committed to pro bono legal services. These changes will be presented to the Executive Council for approval before being submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court.
• Approved the bylaws of the Technology Law & Policy Section, as presented by Melissa McClerkin.
• Approved appointment of Kerry Hada and Bill Walters to the 2004-05 Executive Council.
• Approved appointment of David Driscoll and Steve Lass to the 2004-05 Legislative Policy Committee. Pat Furman and Mike DiManna agreed to stay on the committee as ex-officio members.
• Dean David Getches welcomed the Board to the CU School of Law. He introduced Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Lorenzo Trujillo and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dana Matthew. Dean Getches announced that Senate Bill 189, which will bestow enterprise status on CU and other publicly-funded institutions, had passed the legislature. The CU Student Union and student government had approved a $400 fee per student to help fund needed upgrades at the school. If passed by the CU Board of Regents, this fee will allow the law school to begin construction of its new building in the fall.
• On behalf of the judiciary, Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs presented autographed copies of Justice Kourlis’s article on judicial independence to Bob Truhlar, Joe Dischinger, Chuck Turner, and Michael Valdez. This was in recognition of their efforts to defeat legislation that would have impeached Judge John Coughlin and change Colorado’s current merit selection system for judges. CBA President Truhlar expressed his appreciation to members of the Legislative Policy Committee and the CBA lobbyists for their hard work during the legislative session.
• DU College of Law Dean Mary Ricketson reported there had been a three-day celebration to dedicate the new law school building. The school now requires students to bring laptops to school and is providing classes on technology in the practice of law. Before graduating, DU law students are now required to complete fifty hours of pro bono service. The school’s self-funded Loan Forgiveness Assistance Program will be launched this fall, with the hope that the program would go statewide, with the CBA’s assistance.
• John Holt, president of Colorado Lawyers Helping Lawyers, reported that an article in the April issue of The Colorado Lawyer outlined the program and the services it provided. The CBA has partnered with Peer Assistance Services to provide assistance to lawyers facing substance and mental health problems.
• Chair Bill Walters indicated the CBA Family Violence Program has received national attention, particularly for the "Make It Your Business" Program. In the coming months, the program will be focusing on legal issues, such as the Kids in Court Program. The CBA is partnering with the Colorado Alliance for Cruelty Prevention, because there is a proven connection between animal abuse and family violence. Mr. Walters thanked the Board for its continued support of the program.
• DBA/CBA Assistant Executive Director Diane Hartman announced the Glenwood Springs High School Mock Trial Team was competing that same weekend at the national competition. She reported that the CBA and DBA had been successful in getting an ad off the air run by the Better Business Bureau that was inaccurate and disparaging of lawyers. She will be working with the Colorado Press Association in meetings with bar leaders, judges, and the media to discuss the legal system. She thanked those who had written letters to their local papers concerning the recent legislative attacks on the judiciary.
• Peter Hofstrom raised the issue of whether the CBA should take a position on the recent mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. Although the Board participated in a thoughtful discussion of the issue, no motion for action was made.
• President Truhlar reported on the following:
— Action of the Executive Council was outlined in the minutes distributed to the Board.
— Summarized the Better Business Bureau’s hearing process during which the bar associations had presented their objections to the television ad about lawyers.
— Legislation had been proposed to change aspects of the Judicial Performance Commission, but the bill had been killed at the last minute. The local commissions are holding public hearings to take comment on judges standing for retention. At the hearing in Arapahoe County, the discussion focused on criticism of one particular judge because of his rulings.
— Since his term as president would be ending soon, Mr. Truhlar recommended the following: the Board of Governors continue to meet three times a year; the regional bar visits continue in their current format; Board representatives attend at least one swearing-in ceremony for new attorneys; and CBA leadership participate in the annual ABA Law Day program in Washington, DC.
— Expressed thanks to a number of groups, including the Board, for their work during his year as president. Mr. Truhlar presented certificates of appreciation to Executive Council members whose terms were expiring.
• CBA President-elect Steve Briggs reported on the following:
— The Local Bar Summit, held the previous day, had been attended by leaders from the local, specialty, and minority bar associations. It was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and suggestions among the bars.
— Although bills attacking the judiciary had failed in this legislative session, it is expected they will be reintroduced next year. Lobbyist Michael Valdez was recognized for his work on behalf of the CBA.
— The regional bar visits, to be held in nine Colorado locations, will begin in July.
— While at the podium, Mr. Briggs was presented his presidential gavel by Mr. Truhlar, even though his term as president will not begin until July 1.
• Executive Director Chuck Turner reported that since the time the staff had been authorized to negotiate a contract with Lexis for an online legal research program, the Casemaker consortium had submitted a revised offer. After evaluating both proposals, the recommendation is to enter negotiations with Casemaker, since that program appears to be a better product for CBA members.
• On behalf of the Court Liaison Committee, Andy Felser and Tom Downey updated the Board on the survey the Committee had conducted to gauge the impact of the judicial funding crisis on the day-to-day practice of law. The Committee had drafted a number of recommendations based on the survey results. Those recommendations will be presented to the CBA Judiciary Section, which will be merging with the Court Liaison Committee. A pilot project had been started in the 18th Judicial District that will have non-lawyer volunteers working in the courts to help alleviate some of the clerical backlog.
• Wade Buchanan of the Bell Policy Center updated the Board on issues concerning the Taxpayers Bill of Rights ("TABOR"). He stated the legislature had adjourned without passing any bills to address the funding crisis, which means the governor could call a special session for that one purpose. There is the possibility that several initiatives would be on the November ballot to provide short- or long-term relief for the funding crisis created by TABOR. The cost for an initiative campaign, primarily on the local level, could be from $2 to $6 million or more. (Justice Hobbs excused himself from the room during this presentation.)
• Rob Dieter indicated a formal proposal for the CBA Legal Education Loan Repayment Assistance Program will be presented to the Board in November. In the interim, the committee is studying how to integrate the CBA program with those at the two Colorado law schools. He indicated the CBA program will target lawyers licensed in Colorado and working in Colorado for legal services providers. As currently drafted, the program would not extend to judicial law clerks.
• Delegate Mark Loewenstein mentioned several issues on the agenda for the ABA Annual Meeting, including a proposal to amend the ABA’s constitution concerning its purposes to include the language, "to defend the right to life of all innocent human beings, including all those conceived but not yet born." The House of Delegates also will be asked to consider a resolution urging states to adopt judicial budget procedures that would provide adequate funding for the courts, as well as amendments to the 1999 ABA Civil Discovery standards as they relate to electronic discovery. A proposed model rule requiring lawyers to disclose to the highest court of this state whether or not the lawyer carried liability insurance also is on the ABA agenda for debate.
• CBA Lobbyist Michael Valdez expressed his gratitude on behalf of the CBA to everyone who had participated in the legislative session. He indicated a session report will appear in the July issue of The Colorado Lawyer. Mr. Valdez thanked Rep. Tambor Williams for her work in the legislature, noting she will not be returning to the House next session because of term limits.
• By standing ovation, the Board of Governors showed its appreciation to Mr. Truhlar for his outstanding leadership as CBA president.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
NOTE: Judge Zita Weinshienk and Justice Greg Hobbs abstained from voting on any issues.