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TCL > February 2009 Issue > News From CBA Sections, Committees, Local and Specialty Bars, and More

February 2009       Vol. 38, No. 2       Page  9
In and Around the Bar
Bar News

News From CBA Sections, Committees, Local and Specialty Bars, and More

Bar News is a monthly compilation of news from the Colorado Bar Association, including sections and committees, administration, and local and specialty bar associations. It also includes notices of activities—past, present, and future—from local and national law-related organizations and groups. Please send information and photos to Susie Klein at

Ethics for Government Lawyers

Panel members were, from left to right: CBA Government
Counsel Section Chair Robert Mack; Alec Rothrock of Burns,
Figa & Will, P.C.; Rico Munn, Colorado State Director of
Regulatory Agencies; and panel host Larry Tannenbaum,
Senior Assistant Attorney General.

On December 12, 2008, the annual "Ethics for Government Lawyers" program was held at the Warwick Hotel in Denver. Approximately 100 people attended the half-day program, which was co-sponsored by the CBA Government Counsel Section and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Speakers included John W. Suthers, Colorado Attorney General, and Hon. Edward Moss, District Court Judge for the Seventeenth Judicial District. Chair Larry Tannenbaum, Senior Assistant Attorney General, hosted a panel discussion during which ethics-related questions were solicited from the audience. Panelists were Robert Mack, Rico Munn, and Alec Rothrock.

Seniors Holiday Party

The Denver Bar Association (DBA) Seniors Committee hosted its annual holiday party on Friday, December 12, at the DBA offices. CBA President Bill Walters joined approximately forty committee members to celebrate the holidays and catch up with colleagues and friends. A hot buffet lunch was laid out for all to enjoy.

A highlight of the party was the Colorado history quiz, where members tested their knowledge of events that helped shape Colorado. To conclude the event, everyone took turns sharing what transpired for them in 2008, and spoke about their plans for the coming year.

Seniors Committee Chair Jim Bayer. CBA President Bill Walters and
former DBA President Mary Jo Gross.

Attorney Brooke Wunnicke shares
her plans for 2009.

NAPABA Annual Convention

On November 19 through November 23, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) hosted its Twentieth Annual Convention in Seattle, Washington. The event drew more than 1,000 attendees from across the country. Colorado attendees included current APABA President Nina Wang, former Denver County Court Judge Melvin Okamoto, current Denver County Court Judge Kerry Hada, and former DBA President Paul Chan. Also representing Colorado were Ken Agawa, Harry Budisidharta, Fay Chu Fong, Jim Goh, Andy Hamano, Irene Kawanabe, Kenzo Kawanabe, Lusanna Ro, and Lance Tanaka.

The Annual Convention also marked the beginning of former APABA President Annie Kao’s second year as NAPABA’s Southwest Regional Governor. The Southwest Region represents NAPABA’s Colorado, Texas, and Arizona affiliates.

NAPABA Board members are sworn in at the Twentieth Annual Convention.

Judge Mel Okamoto, left,
and Judge Kerry Hada.

CBA–CLE Program Alerts

Social Security Disability Practice Update

On February 14, CBA–CLE will be offering a Social Security Disability Practice Update dedicated to apprising legal professionals of changes regarding social security matters in the Tenth Circuit. Program topics include: common errors vocational experts make; overpayments, offers of compromise, and collection; practice pointers and common pitfalls; and Tenth Circuit case law updates. The program will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the CBA–CLE offices in Denver. Seven general CLE credits are being offered.

Attendees will have an opportunity to network with their Tenth Circuit colleagues during a program reception on February 13, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The reception will be held at the Warwick Hotel in Denver.

The registration fee is $195 for the CLE program and $25 for the reception (with cash bar). For complete information or to register, visit or contact CBA–CLE at (303) 860-0608 or (888) 860-2531.

Estate Administration: Basic Skills

CBA–CLE and the CBA Trust and Estate Section are co-sponsoring a CLE program entitled "Estate Administration: Basic Skills" on Friday, March 6. The program is geared toward new attorneys, attorneys unfamiliar with the Colorado probate process, and trust and estate attorneys who would like to brush up on their basic skills. The program will take place from 8:25 a.m. to 4:25 p.m. at the CBA–CLE offices in Denver. Seven general CLE credits, including .08 ethics credit, are being offered.

The morning and early afternoon sessions will cover the basics of opening an estate, as well as ethics, real estate, and tax matters, and will allow time for attendees to direct specific questions to the instructors. The lunch session invites local probate registrars to participate in a roundtable discussion on common filing mistakes. The registration fee is $249 for CBA members, and $299 for nonmembers. For complete information or to register, visit or contact CBA–CLE at (303) 860-0608 or (888) 860-2531.

Judge Rodgers Honored With Fellows Award

Gilpin County Court Judge Frederic B. Rodgers has been named one of three Fellows Award recipients by the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (ABF). Judge Rodgers, who serves as the Colorado State Chair of the ABF Fellows, will be honored with the 2009 Outstanding State Chair Award. Other award recipients are: James B. Sales of Houston, Texas, Outstanding Service Award; and Professor Laurence H. Tribe of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Outstanding Scholar Award.

The Fellows Awards will be presented on Saturday, February 14, at the Fellows Annual Awards Reception and Banquet. The banquet will be held at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, in conjunction with the 2009 ABA Midyear Meeting.

The ABF Fellows is an honorary organization of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars who have been elected by their peers to become members of the Fellows. They have demonstrated outstanding achievements and dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession. For more information about the ABF Fellows, visit

Ken Laff Sworn in as Denver District Court Judge

Kenneth M. Laff was sworn in as the newest member of the Denver District Court on Tuesday, January 6. Laff, who served as a Deputy District Attorney for the City and County of Denver since 2000, was appointed by Governor Bill Ritter in August 2008.

Judge Laff received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1974 and his law degree from Stanford Law School in 1977. Prior to joining the Denver District Attorney’s Office, he practiced law in New York City and was a partner with Holme, Roberts & Owen, LLP in Denver. An active member of the community, he is the immediate past President of Metro Denver Partners, an organization dedicated to mentoring at-risk children, and is currently President of the Law Club, an attorney networking, educational, and performing group.

CHBA Names Jack Patten
Outstanding New Hispanic Lawyer

The Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA) has named Denver attorney Jack D. Patten III recipient of the 2008 Outstanding New Hispanic Lawyer award. The award is presented annually to a Hispanic attorney who has been in practice fewer than five years, and who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Hispanic community in particular and the principles of the legal profession in general. Patten was presented the award at the CHBA’s Annual Banquet on January 31.

Patten is an attorney with Littler Mendelson PC in Denver, where he represents companies in a variety of employment matters. He is the CHBA President-Elect, a member of the Deans’ Diversity Council Pipeline Committee, and Co-Chair of the CBA’s Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee. He has been a member of the CBA since 2005.

IP Section Lunch Sets Forth Lessons
Learned From Medtronic Case

On December 3, more than sixty attorneys attended an informative presentation by Jay Campbell and Josh Ryland, attorneys who represented BrainLAB in Medtronic Navigation, Inc. v. BrainLAB Medizinische Computersystems GMBH, 417 F.Supp.2d 1188 (D.
Colo. 2006). In Medtronic, the court set aside a $51 million jury verdict and ordered approximately $4.3 million in sanctions against Medtronic and its attorneys as a result of their misconduct during the trial.

The program started with an overview of the sophisticated brain surgery technology at issue in the case. Relying on a combination of actual voice recordings from trial, trial exhibits, and court orders, Campbell and Ryland discussed the type of conduct by Medtronic’s counsel that the court found to be sanctionable.

During trial, Medtronic repeatedly compared the accused BrainLAB product to Medtronic’s own product, rather than to the claims of the asserted patent. Medtronic also continued to rely on the construction of disputed claim terms that was contrary to the construction entered into by the court. Presiding Judge Richard P. Matsch called such conduct an "abuse of advocacy" that led the jury to find in favor of Medtronic, "contrary to the court’s instructions."

Campbell and Ryland presented several practice tips that patent litigators should follow to avoid such outcomes: (1) continually assess your case and manage client expectations; (2) take a step back from "group think" and objectively evaluate your trial tactics; (3) if it starts with "with all due respect," don’t say it; and, most relevant to Medtronic, (4) if you disagree with the court’s claim construction, take an appeal to the Federal Circuit rather than building a trial strategy on a contrary construction.

Slides from the presentation will be available on the CBA website. For more information about the CBA IP Section or IP Section events, contact Melissa Nicoletti, CBA staff liaison to the IP Section, at

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