Episode 1 - Access to Justice in the Time of COVID-19


How has access to justice been affected by COVID-19 and the virtual world we find ourselves in? The inaugural episode of Stairway to ATJ focuses on virtual ATJ. Jenny Wherry is featured in the Pro Bono Corner and describes Alpine Legal Services’ success with their new ask-a-lawyer hotline. She also puts out the call for Spanish-speaking lawyers! Co-hosts Mia Kontnik and Anthony Pereira sit down with Jennifer Levin from Disability Law Colorado, and Sara Price with Frazer-Abel Law. Jennifer tells us about the confusion and difficulty families are facing in trying to obtain appropriate accommodations in this virtual world we are all trying to navigate. Jennifer also shares how Colorado is ahead of the curve in many ways when it comes to ensuring equity in voting. Sara walks us through the day to day realities of lawyering in a virtual world, and provides some perspective on new remote notarization laws. 


The episode wraps up with Eyes on ATJ, where Mia and Anthony discuss important and enduring access to justice issues. They discuss the effect interest rates have on legal aid, the brewing evictions storm, and legal deserts across the country and right here in Colorado. 

 

Please click here for the ABA Profile of the Legal Profession including a new chapter on legal deserts discussed in Eyes on ATJ. If you have a topic you would like to hear about or have a program or issue you want to discuss on Stairway to ATJ please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org.

 

Episode 2 - Diversity and Justice

 


How does race impact access to justice? In our second installment of Stairway to ATJ, we explore how race affects a person’s access to and experience with the legal system. Carey Degenaro kicks this episode off by introducing us to the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, an organization tackling the eviction crisis and in need of volunteers. Co-hosts, Mia Kontnik and Anthony Pereira, have a compelling conversation with Jes Jones, criminal defense attorney and core organizer for the Colorado chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and Allison Neswood, Deputy Director of Strategic Priorities for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. Together, we break down how access to justice is connected with diversity, equity, and inclusivity, digging into the structural barriers facing communities in the realms of criminal justice, health care, and public benefits. Jes and Allison share heartfelt stories of perseverance and success.

 

In this week’s wrap, Eyes on ATJ, we discuss efforts to enhance diversity on the bench, the disproportionate impact of COVID on communities of color, and the ABA’s 21-day racial equity challenge.

 

If you have a topic you would like to hear about or a program we should highlight, please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org.

Episode 3 - Legal Deserts

Episode 4- Evictions

Is Colorado facing an impending evictions tsunami? Listen up as three attorneys from across the state explain that providing access to justice to clients facing evictions requires a more holistic, client-centered approach to lawyering. This episode of Stairway to ATJ explores the forces causing many Coloradans to experience housing instability both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-hosts Mia Kontnik and Anthony Pereira sit down with Jenny Wherry, the executive director of Alpine Legal Services, Megan O’Byrne, a housing attorney with Colorado Legal Services, and Amanda Pearson, the Development Director of La Puente. Jenny, Megan, and Amanda identify statewide problems causing housing insecurity, while also highlighting issues unique to each of regions of the state that they live and work in. Stay tuned as Andy White, the CBA’s Director of Legislative Relations, provides some background about how the Colorado Legislature has addressed these pressing housing needs. Finally, the guests wrap up by sharing some programs and connections that give them hope for the future.

If you or someone you know needs legal assistance, they can contact Colorado Legal Services by calling the intake number: (303) 837-1321 or visiting their website: coloradolegalservices.org.

This episode also features Liz Jones of Metro Volunteer Lawyers in the Pro Bono Corner as she discusses the Family Law Court Program clinic.

If you have a topic you would like to hear about or have a program or issue you want to discuss on Stairway to ATJ please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org.

Episode 5- Race and the Child Welfare System

How does a parents race affect his or her experience in the child welfare system? This episode of Stairway to ATJ explores the child welfare system from the perspective of parent advocates. Co-hosts Mia Kontnik and Anthony Pereira speak with MJ (Director of MJ Consulting Firm), and Mike Boyce (Law Office of Michael Boyce) about ATJ issues in and surrounding the child welfare process. MJ and Mike discuss their experience working in the system and projects they are working on to address inequities in the system.

This episode also features Jennifer Eyl from Project Safeguard in the Pro Bono Corner discussing all the work they provide to those in need.

If you have a topic you would like to hear about or have a program or issue you want to discuss on Stairway to ATJ please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org.

Episode 6- Bankruptcy

How do people deal with consumer debt? Listen up as CBA’s new Bankruptcy Attorney gives an overview of the bankruptcy system, describes CBA’s new Bankruptcy Clinic, and explores how debt can impact many aspects of people’s lives. This episode of Stairway to ATJ explores the financial and emotional forces that can impact a person’s decision to file for bankruptcy. Co-hosts Mia Kontnik and Anthony Pereira sit down with Matt Skeen – Bankruptcy Attorney for the Bankruptcy Clinic and a shareholder at Skeen and Skeen – to discuss the access to justice issues that arise in the bankruptcy context.

This episode also features Ivonne Esparza of Metro Volunteer Lawyers in the Pro Bono Corner as she discusses the full-referral program.

If you have a topic you would like to hear about or have a program or issue you want to discuss on Stairway to ATJ please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org.

Episode 7- Pro Bono Coordination

How do pro bono programs really work? This episode of Stairway to ATJ examines several of the Colorado Bar Association’s and Denver Bar Association’s pro bono programs to see how they work from the inside out. Co-hosts Mia Kontnik and Anthony Pereira turn the tables in this episode and interview each other. Mia and Anthony describe the impact their programs have on access to justice and explore themes like empowering litigants and helping volunteer attorneys find meaningful ways to give back.  

In lieu of the traditional Pro Bono Corner, Mia and Anthony describe the programs they help run. If you would like to learn more about Family Law Unbundled (Volunteer (denbar.org)) or have any questions about the program, you can reach out to Anthony at apereira@cobar.org. 

If you would like to learn more about the Appellate Pro Bono Program or Clinic (Appellate Pro Bono (cobar.org)) or the Legal Fee Arbitration Committee (Legal Fee Arbitration (cobar.org)), please reach out to Mia at mkontnik@cobar.org.  

Finally, if you are interested in learning more about the Federal Pro Se Clinic (Colorado Federal Pro Se Assistance Program (cobar.org)) or the Bankruptcy Clinic (Home (cobar.org)), you can send an e-mail to FPSC@cobar.org

As always, if you have a topic you would like to hear about or know of a program you would like to see featured on Stairway to ATJ, please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org

Episode 8- Disability Law

How do we properly accommodate different disabilities? Take a listen as disability rights attorneys KONTNIK | COHEN and Kevin Williams of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalitionencourage us to take an individualized, person-first approach to accommodating disabilities. In this funny, honest, and raw conversation we hear about what it’s like to be underestimated and excluded due to a disability and the perseverance and passion that animates the important work Spencer and Kevin are doing. Learn about how some of Spencer’s and Kevin's recent wins are creating positive changes for individuals with disabilities and the areas where those with disabilities are still being excluded.  

This episode also features Tom Snyder, founder and board president of Colorado Poverty Law Project, in the Pro Bono Corner discussing all the support they provide to those in need.

If you have a topic you would like to hear about or have a program or issue you want to discuss on Stairway to ATJ please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org.

Episode 9- Access to Justice Commission

What is the Access to Justice Commission and what do they do? Take a listen as their new Executive Director, Elisa Marie Overall — also known as Emo — shares her experience and helps us understand what the Access to Justice Commission is all about. Emo describes the important work of local committees across the state and sheds light on the many barriers to access to justice that too many Coloradoans are still facing.  

This episode also features Gail Rodosevich, the Pro Bono Coordinator for Colorado Legal Services in Pueblo and the Chair of the Access to Justice Committee for the 10th JD. 

Is there a topic you would like to hear us explore? Have a program or issue you want to discuss on Stairway to ATJ? Please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org. 

Episode 10- Pro Se Parties and Family Law

Pro se parties in family law cases are unfortunately not uncommon. Securing full representation, or even legal assistance can be unattainable for many families. However, on this episode of Stairway to ATJ, we discuss how attorneys can help without providing full representation and walk us through the resources available at the Court Resource Center. We welcome guests James Garts of Garts Law and Melissa Walter, JD Self Representative Litigant Coordinator, as they give us some insight into what families go through when representing themselves and what attorneys can do to help.  

Also, October is host to Pro Bono Week! In this episode’s Pro Bono Corner, we highlight three of our favorite programs taking place this month to celebrate: 4th JD/Pikes Peak region, Arapahoe/Douglas (email 18SelfHelp@judicial.state.co.us, and Denver (email Virginia Virginia@denbar.org).

If you have a topic you would like to hear about or have a program or issue you want to discuss on Stairway to ATJ please email us at ATJpodcast@cobar.org. 

Episode 11 - Representation in the Profession

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Why does representation matter and is it enough? These questions are at the heart of this conversation with Alexi Freeman, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Denver Law, and Laura Maggio, an immigration attorney with Muhaisen & Muhaisen. They tackle this important issues touching on indemnity, intersectionality, and the need to treat people as individuals. They discuss pipeline work and other efforts to diversify Colorado’s legal community, and share stories of how they identity helped them achieve success.

This episode also feature Emily Brock, Senior Staff Attorney, with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) in the Pro Bono Corner discussing their programs supporting immigrant children and adults in detention. She highlighted their urgent need for volunteers to help families seeking asylum on the expedited docket.

If you have a topic you would like to hear about or have a program or issue you want to discuss on Stairway to ATJ please email us at ATJPodcast@cobar.org