President's Message

The CBA Is Listening, Responding, and Focusing on Our Members

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. —Anne Frank1




We asked you and the CBA’s entire membership for input into the CBA’s REFOCUS 20/20 Strategic Plan by completing a membership survey back in January. The answers from our member survey span nearly 250 pages and include in-depth results summarized by age, gender, practice area, and practice location.


You told us many things. Programs and initiatives rated important by you rose to the top of the list. (See Figure 1.) You also identified your concerns, and the CBA’s future priorities became clear. (See Figure 2.) Your valuable feedback helped the CBA create our strategic planning roadmap for the next four years. Thank you for your input. Follow this link to see the full Refocus 20/20 Strategic Plan:http://bit.ly/225jBO7.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Changes Ahead

Significant changes are happening both inside the CBA and in the legal profession. If the experts on industry and generational change are correct, over the next 15-plus years, the CBA must ensure that the value we provide aligns with our members’ contemporary needs or we risk a slow decline.

It is both an exciting and challenging time to be a bar association leader. It is the perfect time to not just steer the ship but also to help bring a new perspective and strategic focus to the CBA. This is where our executive director, Patrick Flaherty, comes in!

People working with Patrick Flaherty describe him as the “perfect” person, a “breath of fresh air,” a “gifted leader and easy to work with.” Throughout the strategic planning process, “he has shown creativity, thoughtful ness and a willingness to listen” and “he balanced leading the organization and listening to other views exceptionally well.” As one person shared, “I was incredibly impressed with the systemic way in which Patrick did a top to bottom review of the organizations.” Patrick is “focused on the CBA remaining relevant and giving value to the membership.” “We are lucky to have Patrick.”

Patrick understands that to implement the strategic plan and to help our members successfully navigate the future, we have to unleash the talent of the CBA’s staff to try new ideas, say yes to innovation, optimize technology, and refocus our priorities—all while respecting tradition but not letting tradition hold us back.

Improving Member Experience and Providing Tools for Success

I spent a morning in May with the CBA’s staff at their monthly meeting. I needed their insight to help me prepare for my year as president, so I engaged staff in an exercise called “Things I’ve always wanted to tell the CBA president.” And then I ducked!

One of the many tips I received from CBA staff is: “Tell our members what we do! Our local bar members are really important.”

Here are a few things that are happening now in response to your feedback:

You told us you wanted a more user-friendly website.

  • The new website has launched, and more improvements will continue to roll out in the coming months.

You told us education and keeping current on the law are your top priorities.

  • We will continue to put on over 170 CLE programs with CBA sections and committees that attract over 5,000 attendees annually.
  • We will continue to hold over 1,100 (wow!) section and committee meetings annually to engage and educate our members across the state.
  • We are redesigning The Colorado Lawyer later this year to help keep you updated on changes in the law. (Don’t worry, TCL will still be the top-notch scholarly publication it has been for 45 years.)

You told us you wanted better technology to improve phone meetings and enhance member participation across the state.

  • We are upgrading our conference calling audio system to improve the meetings experience.
You told us you wanted more modern ways of communicating and a better use of social media to connect.
  • In the past six months, we have increased our Facebook reach by over 100% and Twitter impressions by over 500%.
  • We are upgrading our e-newsletters templates and emails for mobile devices so members can easily view communications on their smartphones and tablets.    
  • We’ve hired a full-service marketing team to help us develop a powerful marketing strategy, a more efficient communication plan, and refreshed branding.
  • We’ve reduced the email to you from the cobar.org address by two-thirds to lessen clutter, and we are pivoting to less frequent but more targeted emails.

Making Connections, Building Community, and Engaging Inclusively   

Optimizing technology and rebranding our messaging and communications are essential, but the power of the personal connection fosters continued engagement with the CBA.

We know you are busy. As your career progresses and changes, you participate differently with the CBA. Engagement takes on many forms, including reading The Colorado Lawyer, using Casemaker, sharing an idea on a listserv, completing the member survey, joining a committee or section, attending a CLE, or taking on leadership roles.

We value your participation. Short term. Long term. One small activity matters. You pick what fits your schedule and needs, and the CBA has a place for you.

Here are a few things happening now:

  • We are working on a first-ever Section Summit to bring together the chairs of the CBA’s 27 sections and 22 committees to collaborate, develop best practices, align goals, and improve geographic outreach. Did you know that over 10,000 CBA members belong to a section, which is nearly 70% of our active members?
  • We are strengthening local bar associations as our partners. This summer, we are researching better ways to support and communicate with the 27 local bar associations across Colorado and the feasibility of a local bar president’s summit.
  • Our Legislative Policy Director Jeremy Schupbach is hitting the road to meet with our members to help increase the CBA’s influence with your local legislators.
  • Our updates on the 27 state wide presidential bar visits will focus on the work the local bar associations are doing and the local lawyers leading the way.
  • The CBA has launched the ACTNow Initiative—Appointing Critical Talent Now—to build a pathway to leadership between the CBA and the specialty bar associations.
  • Many section councils and committee chairpersons are working on diversity initiatives within their sections and committees. The President’s Diversity Council will continue to bring together the specialty bar presidents and CBA leadership.
  • This year, members of the CBA Young Lawyers Division will travel with me on bar visits around the state to boost and build relationships with the next generation of members.
  • The CBA YLD is hosting the ABA YLD’s 2017 Fall Conference in Denver. This is a unique opportunity for the CBA YLD to work with the next generation of national bar leaders.

We are launching Modest Means legal clinics and rolling out version two of our Modest Means Toolkit to help our members connect with more people who need legal services and to bridge the access to justice gap. The toolkit is so pioneering that the largest bar association in the country is adopting our version.

Leading Collaboratively and Courageously

These are just a handful of the many ways the CBA is listening, responding, and focusing on our members.

The CBA is hard at work implementing the strategic plan and improving the tools to help you, our members, be better lawyers, have a successful law practice, make a difference in our community, and connect and build relationships with your colleagues.

This will take time. It’s hard work. It takes courage. And it demands collaboration to succeed.

I invite you to join me in thinking of and engaging with the CBA as a community—with benefits!

I look forward to connecting with you.


1. Van der Stroom and Massotty, eds., Anne Frank’s Tales from the Secret Annex(Bantam, 2003).

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