Metro Caring Stories and Stats


ICYMI, the DBA YLD’s Annual Roll Out the Barrels Food Drive is June 5-30! We wanted to share some stories and stats to help explain the need and reliance of people in Denver for help from Metro Caring, as well as its wider role in the community beyond the distribution of food.

Ready to help? Sign up your firm, and download some fliers to help promote the drive around your office.


Metro Caring Stories

Josh and his three kids. Josh is a single father who unexpectedly took on custody of his children when legal proceedings began against their stepfather. The children had been living in Texas with their mother, and Josh was working 60-hour weeks for an aerospace-electronics company to support them. When they moved to Colorado, he had to scale back his hours so he could take full-time care of his mentally challenged oldest daughter. Josh said he tried for a long time to go without help, but things got too tough with his reduction in income and three mouths to feed. Josh came to Metro Caring and was amazed. He received a week and a half’s worth of healthy food, assistance getting his son’s Texas birth certificate, and clothing referrals for his kids, who came to Colorado abruptly and without most of their clothes. His kids currently receive meals at school, but Josh is nervous about the summer. Thank goodness for Metro Caring.

Bob. Once a month, without fail, Carol brings her neighbor, Bob, on a Tuesday evening to shop in Metro Caring’s Fresh-Foods Market. Bob is wheelchair-bound and suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Unable to speak, he relies on his caretaker to select grocery items and prepare meals for him at home. They shop together in the market and Bob signals which food items he’d like for her to put in his grocery cart. Now, when not shopping on behalf of Bob, Carol volunteers at Metro Caring as a way to say thank you for everything the organization has done for her neighbor.

Gladys. Gladys came from another state escaping an abusive relationship. She was living most of the time in her car and jumping from motel to motel. She had a hard time finding a job or public assistance because her California driver’s license wasn’t enough proof that she was an American citizen. One morning she was eating breakfast at a church and heard about the ID assistance at Metro Caring. She was happy that Metro Caring could help with her birth certificate and ID. With this help, she was able to apply for a job, housing and public benefits.

Rose. Rose had never had to ask for help before. Despite being on a fixed income and having to raise her grandchildren. Just a couple of months ago, one of Rose’s grandsons was killed in a drive-by shooting in the middle of the day. Funeral expenses wiped out an entire month’s income. Rose had never been late on an Xcel payment, but didn’t have the money to pay her last month’s bill. A neighbor told her about Metro Caring, so she called in to the utility assistance line and requested help. Barring another disaster, Rose could manage her payments going forward. Metro Caring helped Rose keep the lights on and family comfortable.


Metro Caring Stats

The numbers are startling: 1 in 4 working households do not have enough food to meet their basic needs; 1 in 4 children in Denver will go to bed hungry tonight; 1 in 7 Coloradans experience hunger every day. What do all these numbers really mean? How does it feel and what does it look like to be hungry?

There is no single type of person that represents hunger.

  • Hunger is Aida, a refugee and young mother reliant upon help from family until her husband can get proper identification and a job.
  • Hunger is Fred, a homeless disabled veteran of the world’s strongest military power.
  • Hunger is Charlotte, a retired nurse struggling to make ends meet on social security.
  • Hunger is Harry, a father of three working a low-wage job and spending 40% of his salary on childcare.

For more than 60,000 children in Denver, summer break means no access to free or reduced meals at school. Already struggling to feed their families, parents now have to find a way to provide their kids with three meals a day. During a carefree summer, the biggest concern of children should be what game they are going to play, or which friend’s house they will go to that day. Instead, many are thinking about where or when they will eat next. Denver families need your help this summer and Metro Caring is counting on your generosity. Six out of seven (86%) low-income kids who eat free or reduced school lunches during the academic year do not receive a free meal during the summer. While nutrition is an essential component of health at all ages, it is especially important for children as they are still developing physically and mentally. Proper nutrition at an early age improves academic performance and helps fight disease. It also instills healthy habits that carry into adulthood.

Key statistics from our last fiscal year:

  • Metro Caring received 2.5 million pounds of food, almost 2/3 of which was rescued and would have ended up in landfills
  • 35% of the food in Metro Caring’s Fresh-Foods Market are fresh fruits and vegetables. Shoppers, on average, leave with more than a week’s worth of the most essential nutrients.
  • According to an MSU Denver study, Metro Caring shoppers leave with, on average, 8.4 days’ worth of food – or the equivalent of $250 worth of groceries.
  • 82% of Seeds for Success job-training program graduates have been placed in a job, with an average starting salary of $11.64, more than Colorado’s minimum wage of $9.30.
  • Each week, 400 volunteers help to make Metro Caring run. In total, our volunteers are equivalent to 26 full-time staff.
  • Last year, Metro Caring distributed $400,074 for people to keep their homes heated and lights on!
  • Last year, Metro Caring distributed almost $23,000 ID, driver’s license, birth certificate, and out-of-state birth certificate vouchers throughout Colorado.
  • $0.93 of every dollar donated to Metro Caring goes directly into programming.
Posted in Community

Improve Your Communication Style for Greater Success


By Paul Miller

A few weeks ago at a professional networking meeting, a question was asked; what is the best way to communicate with people who you interact with during the course of the day?  Most people chimed in with their preferential choice of communication along with valid reasons why they favored their preferential method.   One person stated that email was a coward’s way out, and to always phone. I thought to myself, everyone here is missing the mark. It’s not what way is best for you to communicate, it’s what’s they best way for their audience to receive the information.

As an attorney our job is to educate and communicate. A good educator will deliver content that can be clearly understood by the audience. As public servants we need to clearly convey our ideas to the people we work with. They need to understand the laws, processes, advice, and our viewpoints. Whether it’s clients, paralegals, secretaries, witnesses, investigators, insurance professionals, court personnel, other attorneys, the myriad of other people not mentioned above, the public in general, juries, and even judges, being an effective communicator is paramount to being an effective attorney.

Since people learn best when they can easily understand what is being presented, a strategy to employ when informing others is to match your communication style to their learning style.  There are three types of learning or communication styles; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and almost everyone uses a combination of at least two. If you learn how to identify someone’s learning style, and use techniques or methods that facilitate the processing of information being conveyed, you will save yourself time, and provide better service to your clients.

Visual Learners/Communicators tend to be fast talkers; they can be impatient and have a tendency to interrupt. The words or phrases that they use evoke visual images.  They best learn by seeing and visualizing. They’ll use phrases like, “I see what you’re saying.” They’ll choose professions that are visual such as photography and graphic design. When communicating with this type of individual use email, diagrams, drawings, pictures and PowerPoint presentations. Use imagery when communicating.

Auditory Learners and Communicators tend to speak slowly and are natural listeners. They think in a linear manner and prefer spoken directions or explanations, rather than written instructions. They learn or communicate by listening and verbalizing. They’ll use phrases like, “I hear what you’re saying.” When communicating with this type of individual use the phone, or Skype rather than email. Use timelines and explain things using a step by step process. If possible, have the person repeat the information back to you. Use something like, “I lost my train of thought….what was I just saying?”

Kinesthetic Learners and Communicators are the slowest of all talkers. They are slow decision makers as well. Since these individuals use all of their senses to learn, they best learn by doing and problem solving. They’ll use phrases like, “I feel what you’re saying.” Their preferential way to learn is through a hands-on-approach or trial and error. When communicating with a Kinesthetic Learner give them hardcopies to hold during conferences, as well as use demonstrations and case examples.

In reality, you never going to know the learning or communication style of every single individual that you come interact with during the course of your day. Nevertheless, you should make an attempt to learn the communication style of people you frequently work with, especially your clients. Ask if they prefer phone, email, or text. Find out what their hobbies or activities are, what they do for a living, and just as important what they rather do for a living. These small observations, as well as the identifiers above should give you some insight on their prefered communication style.

By matching how you communicate to your client’s learning style, you will be saving yourself a lot of time, while better serving your client. Wouldn’t it be nice to just explain things once?

Paul Miller is a sole practitioner whose firm specializes in estate planning, nonprofits and small business law. In his spare time, he enjoys skateboarding, snowboarding, playing golf and working with young people. He can be reached at

This post originally appeared on Solo in Colo.


Posted in Professionalism

DBA YLD’s Annual Food Drive Runs June 5-30


Sign up your office as a donation location to continue to fight hunger and feed hope in 2017. This year’s food drive runs from June 5-30 and benefits Metro Caring, whose mission is to provide nutritious food to hungry families and individuals while promoting self-sufficiency.

A $10,000 challenge grant, generously donated by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, will be unlocked when $50,000 is raised for Roll Out the Barrels. Help us reach that goal and sign up your firm today!

Posted in Community

Getting Motivated to Save for Your Retirement

Income Sharpie

By Melanie Fischer

How old are you? Actually, the answer to this question doesn’t really matter. If you are old enough to have a job, or if you are old enough to own a (profitable) business, you are old enough to start saving for your retirement.

In fact, the well-known phrase it’s never too late to start saving for retirement should really be changed to it’s never too early to start saving for retirement.

Making a commitment to save for retirement is not easy, especially for new solo attorneys who are struggling to establish their law firm. There are a huge number of expenses for any new business owner. From paying rent to purchasing office furniture, it’s easy to spend every extra penny just keeping your business afloat.

The younger you are, the easier it is to put off saving for retirement. When you are in your 20s or 30s, it can be difficult to imagine that retirement is in your future. The idea of being 40 years older than you are today can be difficult to visualize. However, the years will pass faster than you think. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to retire.

It’s absolutely essential that everyone, regardless of profession, start saving for retirement as early as possible. The sooner you start, the more time your money and investments have to compound and grow. The possibility of exponential growth can only benefit you in the long run!

When it comes to saving for retirement, here are a few ideas to think about:

Analyzing financial dataRemember that a little bit of money goes a long way. Don’t underestimate the value of $100. Assuming a 12% average rate of return on a $100 stock market investment, your initial $100 can grow to $9,305 over the course of 40 years!

Keep the power of compound interest in mind. As outlined in the example above, compound interest works in your favor. The longer your retirement account sits, the larger it will grow over time.

Funding a retirement can result in a tax savings. Many retirement accounts are tax deductible, and your funds can grow tax free until you reach retirement age. To learn more about different types of retirement accounts, and which may be best for you, make sure to consult a financial professional.

Saving for retirement can be a challenge. Not all challenges are bad or difficult. If you look at your retirement savings as a good type of challenge, then you will be excited and happy when you reach your savings goal.

Keep in mind that you may not be able to work forever. Your retirement plan may be, “I’ll just keep working until I’m 80.” However, as you grow older you might find that it’s harder and harder to work. You can never predict with complete certainty how long you will be physically or mentally able to handle the responsibilities.

Knowing that you have a nest egg can be a huge relief. Imagine how good you will feel when you reach your retirement savings goal. Knowing that you have enough money to comfortably retire is enviable.

Believe it or not, you do not need an advanced degree in investment banking to successfully save for retirement. One of the most difficult aspects of saving for retirement is getting motivated to put money away. If you keep in mind the numerous benefits of saving – and start early – you should be able to keep yourself on the right track.


This post originally appeared on Solo in Colo.

Posted in Finances

DBA Member Appreciation Month Kicks Off on Monday!!!


memberappreciationIt is because of you, that the Denver Bar Association is currently in its 125th year of serving the Colorado legal community! There are no words that can fully express our appreciation for your continued membership, support and time, so the Denver Bar Association would like to express its gratitude!

On Monday we kick off our Member Appreciation Month!!! All events are FREE, and many include lunch and a raffled giveaway. Registration for all events is required, so sign up early as many are expected to reach capacity. And don’t forget to take advantage of free professional head shot sittings. Search our calendar for ‘member appreciation’ to find out all that is on offer this month!!! #DBAthanks

File Retention — May 3
Noon to 1 p.m. in the CBA-CLE 3rd Floor Large Classroom, Lunch provided
1 Ethics Credit

This program will address the practitioner’s obligations regarding client files including storage, retention, accessibility and destruction, as well as the requirements of Colo. RPCs 1.16 and 1.16A, and relevant cases and ethics opinions. Presented by The Office of Attorney Regulation, April McMurrey. RSVP

Client Communication: Grievance Avoidance Webinar — May 9
Noon to 1 p.m.
1 Ethics Credit

Discussion of the ethical rules and guidelines required in defining good communication, discussing goals with clients, handling difficult decisions, and improving communications so you can avoid grievances. Presented by LawPay (a FREE 3-month LawPay subscription will be raffled off to those in attendance). RSVP

How to Manage your Firm from India — May 12
Noon to 1 p.m.
1 General Credit

Build your life, not just your law firm. An attorney and founder of an immigration law firm in Washington, Greg McLawsen has found a way to combine his love of travel with his professional life. Join Greg as he offers his top tips on how to work virtually from anywhere in the world, even with an infant in tow.
Presented by Clio (an Amazon Echo Dot will be raffled off to those in attendance). RSVP

Manage Your Student Loans Webinar — May 17
Noon to 1 p.m.

One of the biggest struggles we face is keeping up with the sheer volume of emails. And it’s a battle most of us are losing. But there are things you can do to get it more under control. As with most battles, the best way to approach it is on several different fronts. This session, presented by Credible, will explore practical and proven strategies to help you get your email under control (and tips to keep it that way!)  An Amazon Echo Dot will be raffled off to those in attendance! RSVP

Mindfulness Yoga & Brews — May 17
4 to 7 p.m. at the Rackhouse Pub

An hour-long yoga class from CorePower Yoga. Please your own yoga mat or a limited amount can be rented for $2 (please bring cash). Cold brews, light appetizers and networking will close out the evening. 1 month unlimited at CorePower Yoga will be raffled off to those in attendance. RSVP

New Member Welcome Panel — May 18
5:30 to 7 p.m.

During this evening discussion and reception, attendees will hear from several of our ‘super engaged members’ coming from various practice areas and firm size. Whether you’re a new or long-time members, come hear from their colleagues on how to:

  • Build leadership through the DBA (sections, committees, volunteer opportunities and etc.)
  • Reacquaint with services and benefits that are available to you;
  • Ways to maximize your investment of membership dues and time; and
  • Other insider tips and tricks

Several prizes and giveaways will be raffled off to attendees. Food and drinks will also be provided. RSVP

Ethics of Social Media — May 22
Noon to 1 p.m.
1 Ethics Credit

This presentation discusses the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct that may be implicated with different forms of social media and recent court decisions imposing discipline against attorneys for actions on social media websites. We will discuss common problems and issues to consider when attorneys use social media and what to consider when supervising support staff. Presented by The Office of Attorney Regulation, E. James Wilder. RSVP


The DBA is offering free professional headshots at our offices during the month of May to be used in your online CBA Find A Lawyer profile. Additional headshots can be purchased for personal use. Register for your sitting today or contact Vanessa Babarsky with questions.



Posted in DBA YLD News, Uncategorized

DBA YLD Member Highlight: Courtney Butler



1. Why did you become a lawyer?
It may sound cliché, but I became a lawyer to help people. I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. I also became a lawyer because I desired a career that would keep me on my toes and challenge me every day.

2. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Things always look better in the morning.” My mom has given me that advice more times than I can count, and she has always been right. (Don’t tell her that!)

3. What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your career?
Working in immigration law, there are a lot of devastating days, but there are also a lot of rewarding ones. Reuniting family members, helping a deserving client avoid deportation, saving someone from persecution … every single successful case is a rewarding one. The smiles, happy tears and emphatic “thank-you’s” that I receive are enough to remind me that the frustration and bureaucracy are always worth it in the end.

4. How do you achieve work–life balance?
I’m an avid long-distance runner, and I love to snowboard, hike, backpack, camp and play Ultimate Frisbee. On my quieter days, and when it’s sunny, I enjoy cuddling with a good book in my backyard.

5. When did you start learning Spanish?
High school. I continued taking classes in college and studied abroad in Buenos Aires.

6. What are some of the advantages of being bilingual when practicing law?
Being bilingual is essential to practicing immigration law in Colorado. The vast majority of my clients come from Mexico, Central America and South America. If I were not bilingual, I wouldn’t be capable of truly understanding my clients’ cases or communicating our case strategy to them. But being bilingual isn’t just useful in immigration. In our global environment, more and more clients will need attorneys who speak other languages. Learning another language was the best decision I ever made — not only as it relates to my career, but also personally. With learning a foreign language comes cultural understanding, and that makes one a better lawyer and a better world citizen.

7. What inspired your enthusiasm for Metro Volunteer Lawyers?
In law school, I was one of the bilingual intake volunteers for Colorado Legal Services (CLS) and learned a bit about Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) through my work there. I have an extensive background in public interest, so it was natural that I found MVL’s mission important. There is a significant shortage of legal services for those who can’t afford traditional attorneys, so I was very appreciative that such an organization exists. When the YLD started looking for a liaison to MVL, I jumped at the chance.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I’m one of those people who can’t stand certain noises. I could be in a crowd of a 1,000 and still pick out people loudly chewing gum, slurping coffee or tapping a pencil.

9. If you could change anything about Denver, what would it be?
The crowds. I’m a Colorado native, and while I’m proud that so many people love our state and want to move here, I have a long commute, and traffic is a nightmare!

10. If you weren’t a lawyer, you’d be:
A river rafting guide? A lighting designer? An environmental engineer? A travel writer or photographer? A realtor? Fortunately for me, immigration law was my dream career!


This post originally appeared in The Docket.

Posted in Member Profiles

DBA YLD Chair Klaralee Charlton and YLD Council Member Matthew Broderick’s Hollywood Debut in Support of MVL!

ICYMI – Check out the acting debut of our very own YLD Chair, Klaralee Charlton, and council member, Matthew Broderick, in this promo video for Barristers Benefit Ball. Possible career change for both in the near future? You decide.

If you haven’t already, make sure to buy your tickets for the ball on April 29 at EXDO Event Center in RiNo, which benefits Metro Volunteer Lawyers. With the potential cut in the national budget to Legal Services Corporation, MVL needs your help now more than ever. PLUS, YLDers get a special price!

Posted in Community

Call for Member Highlights!


Do you have a secret talent or side gig or know of a member who falls into this category? Is there a special social cause that you would like to have highlighted on social media? As part of our May member appreciation month, we want to share the dynamic strengths that make the DBA great!

Please email Vanessa Babarsky at to be included in this special spotlight, and let your colleagues and community know what makes you — you!

Posted in Community

Confidential Comedy – A Review


By Alex Ray

Recently the GLBT Community Center of Colorado’s (The Center) Legal Program hosted a one of a kind legal comedy themed ethics CLE. Confidential Comedy was part comedy show, part improv sketch, and all legal humor! Local attorney Maha Kamal hosted Legal Jeopardy which quizzed participants on specific Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The Final Jeopardy Question alluded to every attorney’s favorite section of the Colorado Lawyer…the disciplinary section!

comedyAfter Jeopardy, nationally recognized comedian Eric Henderson got the crowd roaring with an honest bit about social commentary, the state of the country, and nut water. (Whose bright idea was it to name almond milk anyway?! Have YOU ever tried to milk an almond?)

Finally, former Denver District Judge Christina Habas presided over the audience donning her black judge robe and making a grand entrance to AC/DC’s popular hard rock tune “Back in Black.” She then assisted participants in determining the applicability of certain Model Rules to the judiciary. Have you ever thought about kidnapping a defendant or fibbing to the court about guilt or innocence? Judge Habas had you covered and was happy to answer all the audience’s pressing questions!

A huge thank you goes out to Maha Kamal, Eric Henderson, Christina Habas, and Klaralee Charlton. We couldn’t have made the event such a success without your participation and sponsorship! Together we raised just over $450 for the Legal Program.

The Center’s Legal Program is the only legal project in Colorado dedicated solely to the equality and dignity of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. We work to protect and further the legal rights of LGBT Coloradoans through strategic partnerships, educational initiatives, and legal referral sercomedy2vices.

Community members in need of legal advice or resources can reach out via our online Legal Helpline to be personally matched with a referral attorney willing to provide a free 30-minute consultation. The Legal Helpline facilitates over 400 inquires each year and enables that our community members have a simple and effective pipeline to LGBT friendly attorneys in Colorado.

This Direct Referral Network is comprised of “member attorneys” who pay a small annual fee and receive several non-referral based benefits such as being included in the LGBT & Ally Attorney Directory, access to free CLE programs put on by The Center’s Legal Program (like Confidential Comedy!), and one “Attorney Spotlight” with a photo and bio posted on our website, social media, or in a newsletter. Additional information and membership applications can be found online.

Additionally, the Legal Program hosts a monthly free legal clinic where attorneys volunteer their time providing legal consultation on a variety of practice areas. Community members attend the event and are given access to a face-to-face meeting with one of the volunteer attorneys on a walk in basis. Legal Program Member Attorneys have first priority in registering for legal clinic attorney slots. If you are interested in volunteering for a future free legal clinic, please contact Alex Ray at

Posted in Community

CBA’s ACTNow Initiative and President’s Diversity Council


By CBA President Patricia M. Jarzobski

The American Bar Association has observed that the legal profession has a diversity problem. As Deborah Rhode noted in her May 2015 article for The Washington Post, the legal profession is the least diverse in the nation, and many believe that we are not doing enough to fix this problem.

Bar associations are critical vehicles for advancing diversity. We help shape the norms of our profession. When bar associations prioritize diversity, it institutionalizes critical values. When we do not prioritize diversity, it creates an environment that tends to exclude underrepresented groups.

One way that the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations hope to become more diverse and inclusive is by collaborating and strengthening our relationships with the diversity bar associations. The diversity bar associations are full of leadership talent and engaged members who are making a difference in our community, in the courtroom, in the legislature and on the bench.

ACTNow Initiative: Appointing Critical Talent Now!

I launched the ACTNow Initiative last spring to build a pipeline to leadership from the diversity bar associations to the CBA. The CBA president and president-elect make appointments to influential committees, boards and commissions in the CBA and within the broader Colorado legal community. The ACTNow Initiative bridges the information gap about such appointments.
Through the ACTNow Initiative, I appointed candidates to key leadership positions in the following:

  • the Executive Council,
  • the Joint Management Committee,
  • the Legislative Policy Committee,
  • the Nominating Committee,
  • the Budget Committee,
  • the ABA House of Delegates, and
  • The Colorado Lawyer Editorial Advisory Board.

The CBA President’s Diversity Council

CBA Past President Loren Brown launched the President’s Diversity Council in 2015. The Diversity Council encompasses the CBA’s leadership, senior staff, and diversity bar presidents and president-elects.
The CBA President’s Diversity Council convenes on a monthly basis. We’ve set up a Diversity Council Leadership Listserv to facilitate communication and a diversity bar calendar that helps us coordinate events and encourage attendance from other bar associations.

Diversity and Inclusivity in Action

Here is a synopsis of the many great things that we have done:

  • The CBA and CWBA joined forces in 2016 and 2017 to sponsor three trips to Cuba.
  • The diversity bar associations published a special series in The Colorado Lawyer that runs from October 2016 through February 2017.
  • The CBA encouraged diversity bar members to apply for the 2016 and 2017 leadership training program — COBALT. The past two years have yielded the most diverse classes to-date.
  • The CBA YLD held a sold-out social event with the diversity bar associations in August.
  • The CBA sponsored the Sam Cary Bar Association’s SEE ME™ community rally in July.
  • Forty diversity bar leaders, presidents and allies attended a fun food truck event at my home last summer to meet and talk one-on-one with the CBA’s leadership.
  • We invited the diversity bar associations’ presidents and presidents-elect to attend the CBA Legislative Policy Committee fall reception.
  • CBA sections and committees are working to implement diversity and inclusivity goals.
  • We are encouraging the diversity bar presidents-elect to join the Colorado contingent at the annual ABA Bar Leadership Institute in Chicago.
  • We are seeing more diverse faculty at CLE programs.
  • The CBA YLD is planning an open house event with all 28 CBA sections and the diversity bars.
  • We are now tracking demographics by asking members to voluntarily self-report when joining or renewing.
  • The CBA attends and supports the annual dinners held by each of the diversity bar associations.

The bar associations are acting now to ensure that the diverse talent of our entire community is engaged in shaping how we move forward.


CBA President Patricia M. Jarzobski can be reached at

This article first appeared in The Docket.

Posted in Diversity

Perkins Coie LLP Leads the Charge on Adoption of ABA Diversity Resolution


By Lindsey Dunn and Elizabeth Banzhoff

This past year, Perkins Coie became one of the first Denver firms to adopt ABA Resolution 113. The Resolution reiterates the importance of diversity in the legal profession and urges all legal services providers, including law firms and corporations, to expand and create opportunities for diverse attorneys.

What makes this effort different from previous diversity programs advanced by the ABA is the acknowledgement that corporate clients are supporting and, in many cases, driving diversity initiatives. The Resolution called on these clients to direct a greater percentage of the legal services they purchase to firms with diverse attorneys. The response has been resounding. General counsel from more than 20 prominent companies sent a letter to all of the Fortune 1000 companies, asking for their support in the implementation of Resolution 113. Currently, more than 50 companies have signed the “General Counsel Pledge,” including Colorado-based company EchoStar Corporation.

In the pledge, these companies state that they will request diversity information from any law firm that provides legal work or that competes to handle a matter. To facilitate this process, the ABA has provided a “Model Diversity Survey” for law firms. The Model Diversity Survey is a 15-question form designed to share consistent information and statistics related to firms’ diversity commitments as a tool for in-house counsel to use when considering diversity in deciding which firms to retain. In the survey, a law firm provides:

  • the demographic profile of its attorneys, the firm leadership and associates promoted to partners;
  • the number of diverse attorneys that left the firm and that the firm hired;
  • the number of diverse attorneys working a reduced hours schedule;
  • the demographic profile of the top 10 percent of highest compensated partners in the firm; and
  • information on the firm’s diversity initiatives.

There are some indications that the ABA has a larger vision of centralizing the information that law firms provide to their clients.

What does this mean for Denver practitioners? The effect of Resolution 113 on your practice will come when your firm seeks work from one of the increasing number of clients that promote diversity, especially those that have signed the General Counsel Pledge. The new focus on clients in Resolution 113 reflects the market’s demand for diversity. Many clients have recognized the business case for diversity and expect their lawyers to support this goal. Resolution 113 ties clients’ business needs to the legal profession’s aspirations.

At Perkins Coie, we have already seen the effects of adopting Resolution 113. The firm was urged to complete the survey by one of its clients, Mark Roellig, executive vice president and general counsel at MassMutual Financial Group. He was a signatory on the letter sent to the Fortune 1000 companies asking for their support of ABA Resolution 113. Roellig and other firm clients have encouraged and applauded Perkins Coie’s support of Resolution 113 and completion of the Model Diversity Survey. Perkins Coie has since been widely recognized for its diversity efforts by industry organizations and publications, and its joinder in support of ABA Resolution 113 is part of that commitment.

Regardless of the size of your firm, as clients increasingly recognize the business value of diversity, the expectation of incorporating diversity will be expanded to outside counsel. ABA Resolution 113 is a significant step toward acknowledging clients’ collective demand for diversity. The diversity metrics that the Model Diversity Survey attempts to standardize will become important measures that clients can rely on to evaluate a firm’s investment in diversity. As such, law firms are well-advised to join in Resolution 113 and increase their own diversity efforts.


Lindsey Dunn is a DBA YLD members and an associate in Perkins Coie’s Denver office in the Commercial Litigation practice group. Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Dunn served as a clerk for Justice Monica M. Márquez of the Colorado Supreme Court. She can be reached at 

Elizabeth M. Banzhoff is Counsel with Perkins Coie’s Intellectual Property group. Based in Denver, her practice focuses on patent infringement and other intellectual property litigation, including trademark litigation. She can be reached at

This article first appeared in The Docket.

Posted in Community, Diversity

Lawyer’s Softball League

WEB softball pic 6

The lawyers’ softball league returns to action June 4, with the league running Sunday mornings into August at Crestmoor Park. This is a non-competitive league, friends, family, clients, law-school chums, and complete strangers are welcome. Contact Jack Tanner for more information.

Posted in Wellness

How to Avoid Professional Burnout


By Melanie Fischer

If you wake up in the morning feeling stress, anxiety, or gloom about what the day has in store for you, you might be experiencing burnout. People can feel burnout in just about any aspect of their life. It’s possible to experience personal burnout, emotional burnout, or physical burnout. When it’s related to your job, it’s often referred to as professional burnout.

Unfortunately, professional burnout is not uncommon for lawyers in solo practice. Anyone who is bored with their job or feels dread at the beginning of every work day may be headed towards professional burnout. It’s important to notice the signs and symptoms of this type of burnout – before the situation becomes dire. In the worst-case scenario, professional burnout can lead to the collapse of a career or a business.

Following are some of the most common reasons professionals endure burnout – and some tips on how to avoid letting burnout consume the desire to move forward with your career:

Monotony. Do you feel like you’re completing the exact same task(s) every single day, and are those tasks causing you to feel bored or disinterested? If so, it may be time to vary the type of client(s) you help. While you do not have to abandon all your uninspiring clients – especially if they are reliable – adding more interesting clients or cases into the mix can help relieve your feeling of professional boredom.

Discouragement. If your firm focuses on an area of law that leaves you feeling depressed or disheartened, you might want to consider shifting your professional emphasis to clients and cases that leave you with a more positive feeling.

Isolation. Many solo attorneys work in secluded offices. While some may enjoy the solitude, others may gradually become unhappy with the lack of face-to-face interaction with professional peers. If you do not thrive in a solitary environment, you may elect to share an office with other solo attorneys. Or you may benefit from working in an office that leases executive suites to professionals in various industries.

Overworked. It’s not uncommon for solo attorneys to feel overworked. If you are a solo attorney who has too many clients, you might feel thankful that you have more work than you can handle – which is certainly better than having too little work to keep your firm open. However, being overworked can easily lead to professional burnout. As a solo attorney, it’s important to realize that you can turn down work if you cannot handle the load. You may choose to refer clients to another attorney, who may return the favor at some point in the future.

When professional burnout is left unchecked, it can have a negative impact on your professional path. Not only can it result in your having a negative attitude about your job and your career, but also it can lead to client dissatisfaction.

It’s essential to take time off, enjoy a periodic vacation, and spend time with professional peers. These outlets help to relieve stress and reduce burnout. Additionally, if you notice dissatisfaction or lack of desire to fulfill your daily professional duties, consider re-focusing the direction that your firm takes or changing the type of clients you select.

If you think you are approaching professional burnout, consider joining the YLD on April 18 from 6-8 p.m. for Changing Your Focus: How and Why Lawyers Transition Between Careers which will feature discussions about moving to solo practice, big law, government, and to in house or nontraditional attorney careers.

This post originally appeared on Solo in Colo.

Posted in Career Development, Wellness

Barristers Benefit Ball 2017: Around the World ~ April 29 @ EXDO Event Center

What is the Barristers Benefit Ball and why should I consider going?

The Barristers Benefit Ball (BBB) is a celebration of pro bono work. It is an event put on annually by the Denver Bar Foundation, and 100 percent of the proceeds help fund Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL). MVL is a pro bono program collectively sponsored by the Adams/Broomfield, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas/Elbert and First Judicial District Bar Associations. MVL’s mission is “to bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver Metro Area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.” As well as a critical fundraiser for MVL, the BBB is a fun-filled evening that affords a unique opportunity to network and socialize with colleagues, bar association presidents, and judges.

What makes MVL special?

MVL was established in 1966 by a group of young lawyers. They called it the “Thursday Night Bar” because the founding attorneys met with clients every Thursday evening at the Legal Aid offices in Denver. The attorneys provided what help and advice they could in person on Thursday nights and then met the next morning to discuss clients’ matters and assign themselves cases that could not be completed during the Thursday night sessions. These lawyers’ efforts perpetuated a long tradition of volunteerism and public service by Colorado lawyers. The Thursday Night Bar was renamed in 1998 to reflect the program’s growth and expansion. MVL continues to operate out of Colorado Legal Services’ offices. The CBA still gets calls asking about the Thursday Night Bar, reflecting its longstanding popularity.

Why should I support MVL?

MVL recruits volunteers to represent a population of people who otherwise would not be able to afford legal assistance. MVL coordinates with Colorado Legal Services for the intake of cases. Over the years the program has grown and is constantly striving to serve a larger population. Today, in addition to matching clients with volunteers for their cases, MVL also runs the Family Law Court Program, Post-Decree Clinics, Power of Attorney Workshops and Legal Night at the Denver Indian Center. MVL is constantly extending its reach to increase the help it provides. The programs serve Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson and Denver counties. For more information and to sign up, visit and its Facebook page.

MVL by the numbers:

In 2016, MVL referred 492 cases to attorneys, assisted 373 people through its family law court program, assisted 297 people through clinics and helped 53 elderly persons with power of attorney documents. This amounts to 1,215 people served, all with only three full-time and two part-time employees. Still, this positive impact cannot continue without your help. The BBB is MVL’s only fundraiser.

COME ONE, COME ALL: A Trip Around the World Awaits!

Whether you are a new lawyer, or a seasoned professional, come join us at the 2017 Barristers Benefit Ball. The Ball will be commemorating its 29th year with “Around the World” to celebrate our diverse cultures and heritage. Dress to celebrate an international culture. (Black-tie attire is optional).

We will be offering food from around the world during cocktail hour. A plated dinner followed by regional desserts will finish the night in style. We are excited to be joined by the Jerry Barnett Orchestra, which has a history of keeping us on the dance floor with tunes to please all generations.

All proceeds above the cost of the event go directly to MVL. There are a variety of ways for you or your firm to participate and help raise funds for this important cause. You can purchase a table for 10 or buy individual tickets. Sponsorship opportunities at the Silver, Gold and Platinum levels are also available. To become a sponsor, contact Melissa Nicoletti at Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Even if you are unable to attend, we encourage you to purchase raffle tickets before the event for some fabulous prizes. You do not need to be present to win. A portion of your contributions are tax deductible.


This post originally appeared in The Docket.

Posted in Community

Getting Clients: For Lawyers Starting Out or Starting Over — March 30


The DBA has a great program coming up on Thursday, March 30 from 12-1 p.m. at the DBA — Getting Clients – For Lawyers Starting Out or Starting Over.

It’s always on your mind, right? “How can I get more clients?” Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, author of the new book Getting Clients – For Lawyers Starting Out or Starting Over has the answer. She brings over 30 years of helping lawyers to build successful practices to an hour of fast-paced tips and tricks to this lunchtime seminar designed to help you identify the perfect clients for you – and then attract them to your practice. It’s not just about economics, it’s about creating the work and the life that you crave.

Only $5 for members which includes a taco bar:)  Register today!!!

Posted in Career Development

How the Labor and Employment Landscape Might Change with the Stroke of a Pen


By Sean R. Gallagher and Mary Kapsak

President Trump has been presented with a number of regulatory issues that could change the labor and employment landscape. Congressional and administrative action is not required to effect all such changes in the way that the federal government regulates private employers. Rather, the new administration can make significant and lasting changes in employment enforcement at certain federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor (DOL), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) without congressional action. In this article, we will examine ways in which the new administration might quickly and dramatically pivot the landscape of labor and employment laws by simply changing enforcement and litigation priorities.

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

Many observers expect major change at the DOL. Under new leadership, the DOL could alter course for key priorities of the prior Obama administration: the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rules, the “persuader rule” and the fiduciary duties for retirement advisors.

FLSA Overtime Rule

On May 18, 2016, the DOL published a new final rule updating the nation’s overtime regulations, which would automatically extend overtime pay protection to more than 4 million workers if fully implemented. In November 2016, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction halting enforcement of the rule. The new administration could effectively terminate the litigation underway and end the overtime rule by withdrawing the government’s appeal, thereby leaving the lower court’s decision intact.

Mr. Puzder has expressed his dislike of the new rule and “has argued that the Obama administration’s recent rule expanding eligibility for overtime pay diminishes opportunities for workers” ( The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted an expedited appeal on the issue. The DOL, under new leadership, could reverse its position and withdraw the appeal before the court hears the oral argument. If so, the injunction would stand, and the new overtime rule would not take effect.

Persuader Rule

Similarly, the DOL currently faces an injunction barring the “persuader rule” from taking effect. The persuader rule “requires that employers and the consultants they hire file reports not only for direct persuader activities — consultants talking to workers — but also for indirect persuader activities — consultants scripting what managers and supervisors say to workers.” The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction on June 27, 2016 and a nationwide permanent injunction against the rule on November 16, 2016. The DOL can appeal the permanent injunction to the Fifth Circuit, but even if it does, the new administration will have time to withdraw the appeal before it reaches a decision by the appellate court.

Fiduciary Rule

The new administration could also change course for the DOL’s new fiduciary rule, which requires financial advisors to act in the best interest of their clients with respect to retirement accounts. The DOL issued the final rule on April 6, 2016, to be applicable on April 10, 2017. Although at the time of this writing the new Secretary of Labor has not yet voiced an opinion concerning the fiduciary rule, his general remarks about less government regulation make some experts believe the new administration “will kill or significantly weaken the fiduciary rule.” Edward Mills, an analyst at FBR & Co., “predicts the new administration will first delay the implementation of the rule through an administrative action and then repeal or overhaul it” ( Since the DOL has already issued a final rule, the new administration would have to go through the onerous public notice and comment process prior to making any changes. Although the fiduciary rule was not directly addressed during the campaign, an advisor to Mr. Trump suggested that the president could seek to reverse it. Republicans in Congress have expressed their desire to do so as well.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

The new administration could appoint new OSHA leadership with officials who are less enforcement-minded. In addition, these new appointments could advocate for the adoption of less stringent regulations and could direct their focus to compliance assistance as opposed to enforcement and litigation. The Obama administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), launched in 2010, currently concentrates “OSHA’s resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by committing willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations” ( Pursuant to the SVEP, enforcement actions for severe violator cases include, among other things, mandatory follow-up inspections, corporate-wide agreements (where appropriate) and enhanced settlement provisions ( Given President Trump’s repeated campaign promises to decrease regulation and create a “business-friendly” atmosphere, OSHA may not prioritize follow-up inspections and could impose lower fines or less severe penalties upon employers that violate the Act.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Similarly, the new administration could alter the EEOC’s current employment priorities regarding systemic discrimination, binding arbitration agreements and LGBT rights.

Systemic Discrimination Enforcement

Currently, one of the EEOC’s major priorities is to investigate and file systemic discrimination cases as a means of enhancing recoveries to larger groups ( Systemic investigations increased by 250 percent from 2011 to 2015, and the EEOC has successfully prosecuted 94 percent of its systemic lawsuits over the past ten years ( In addition, the EEOC tripled the amount of monetary relief recovered for victims of systemic discrimination between 2011 and 2015 when compared to the relief recovered from 2005 through 2010 ( However, President Trump suggested that he will also appoint individuals to the EEOC who are less concerned with investigation and enforcement and who are more focused on compliance assistance.

Binding Arbitration Agreements

The EEOC currently takes the position that forcing an employee to agree to arbitrate any discrimination claims against their employer is unlawful (See, e.g., Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n v. Doherty Enterprises, Inc., 126 F. Supp. 3d 1305 (S.D. Fla. 2015)). The commission’s position stems from a policy statement issued in 1997: “agreements that mandate binding arbitration of discrimination claims as a condition of employment are contrary to the fundamental principles evinced in [the employment discrimination] laws” ( In a bid to appear more “employer friendly,” the new administration may de-emphasize the EEOC’s focus on binding arbitration agreements, which would allow employers more freedom to determine the best way to resolve disputes with their employees.

LGBT Rights

The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan makes clear that applying the protections of Title VII to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals is a “top Commission enforcement priority.” Over the past eight years, the EEOC’s attorneys have repeatedly litigated cases in support of this position, and have had success at the ALJ level ( For example, in Macy v. Holder, the EEOC ruled that transgender bias is a form of gender discrimination prohibited by Title VII. In addition, in Baldwin v. Foxx, the EEOC “issued an administrative opinion that held for the first time that Title VII extends to claims of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation” ( Moreover, the EEOC filed its first-ever federal court Title VII suits over transgender rights in 2015, asserting that Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender stereotyping (See, e.g., EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc.). While the new administration has not made its enforcement priorities entirely clear, it is possible that the EEOC could be directed to temper its focus on LGBTQ protections in the workplace, particularly because at least one circuit court is currently considering whether Title VII’s protections apply to LGBTQ individuals.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

The NLRB has been criticized by some for being pro-union under the Obama administration, and the General Counsel of the NLRB is a key player in the agency, bringing cases to the board for consideration and guiding litigation practices ( Richard F. Griffin, Jr. (D) currently serves as the General Counsel of the NLRB, but President Trump will be able to appoint a new NLRB General Counsel in November 2017. By appointing a new General Counsel, the new administration may be able to alter litigation practices and change the national landscape for labor relations. For example, on October 3, 2016, the Office of the General Counsel asked the NLRB to clarify and broaden the protection afforded to employees who engage in strikes ( While he promised to protect jobs and workers during the election, a pro-business administration might be reluctant to pursue broad protections for unions.

In addition, President Trump might be able to appoint pro-business individuals to NLRB Board positions during his term, thereby potentially changing its composition to a more conservative tenor. The NLRB is considered an independent agency, with a traditionally bipartisan five-member board. President Trump will select individuals to fill two vacancies right away, as well as a third spot in December 2017, when the term of Republican Philip Miscimarra ends. The terms of the two current Democratic members expire in 2018 and 2019.


Sean Gallagher is a shareholder and member of Polsinelli’s Labor and Employment practice, where he assists employers in implementing proactive employment policies that help minimize the risk of litigation. He can be reached at

Mary Kapsak is an associate and member of Polsinelli’s Labor and Employment Practice, where she provides counsel and, when needed, aggressive defense in a broad range of legal services. She can be reached at This post originally appeared in The Docket.

Posted in Employment Law

Message From Your Chair Klaralee Charlton


The DBA YLD Executive Council is accepting applications for new board members from now until April 7, 2017. While the Council is an excellent opportunity to become more involved in the Bar, the selection process is competitive and the time commitment is significant. If you are not selected for a position on the Council or you simply cannot carve out the time necessary to serve on the Council, there are many other committees that need volunteers.

Check out all the DBA committees. Most of the committees do not require you to apply and be accepted in order to participate in a significant way. In fact, most are actively seeking attorneys to help plan and execute events and take on leadership positions.

For example, the Seniors Committee is eager to add a young lawyer. This committee plans four events a year and would be an excellent opportunity for a YLD member to become involved and network with seasoned practitioners. Contact Heather Folker for more info. Additionally, the Bench Bar Committee would welcome some fresh ideas from a YLD member. This committee plans events with our judicial officers throughout the year and offers the opportunity to work one on one with judges in the Denver area. Contact Juliann Tricarico for more info.

Some of our most active leaders started their Bar engagement as members of these committees. Don’t wait in silence hoping you’ll be asked to get involved. Contact me or the staff liaison listed next to each committee on the Bar’s website. We can introduce you to the chairperson of any committee and get you involved in a meaningful way.

Klaralee Charlton
Chair, DBA YLD

Posted in Career Development, Networking

Modern Law Practice Initiative — A Win-Win for Lawyers and Clients


By Erika Holmes

The CBA’s Modest Means Task Force has been renamed – the Modern Law Practice Initiative! “Why the new name?” you ask. The reason for the name change is two-fold: first, to stop the misperception that this type of law practice only helps poor people, and second, to develop a moniker for this innovative way to practice law that provides enormous benefits for both clients and attorneys.

The Modest Mean Task Force was formed in 2012 to educate lawyers and judges about the justice gap – the huge portion of society (almost 60% of civil litigants) who make too much money to get a lawyer through public assistance but don’t make enough money to hire an attorney at traditional rates. MLPI’s mission is still the same – to serve this portion of the population. However, MLPI is striving to further educate both lawyers and the public that the justice gap doesn’t consist of just people of modest means. The justice gap is comprised of people across the full spectrum of income levels, including people with middle to upper-middle class incomes. By practicing modern representation, a lawyer can run a thriving, sustainable, and fulfilling practice by providing legal services to this largely untapped market.

The Modern Law Practice Initiative is expounding on its original mission by providing lawyers with the motivation and the specific means to engage in this exciting new method of law practice management. Modern representation is about more than providing legal services at an affordable rate. Modern representation is about practicing law in a manner that is beneficial for both the client and the lawyer in terms of feasibility, flexibility, versatility – and even enjoyability! MLPI’s goal is to teach lawyers how to create a sustainable law practice that simultaneously helps solve the access to justice gap and provides the lawyer with a fulfilling and prosperous career.

Check out MLPI’s new website for access to the latest version of Successful Business Planning for the Modern Law Practice, a step-by-step guide to creating a sustainable modern law practice. MLPI will also highlight for lawyers the best resources for creating and sustaining a modern law practice through CLE’s, books, technology, mentoring, networking, volunteer opportunities, and more. Discover what it means to be a modern lawyer and to be part of a win-win solution to the access to justice dilemma!


Posted in Law Practice Management

Message from DBA YLD Executive Council Vice Chair


The DBA YLD is seeking new board members for the Executive Council. The Executive Council consists of 11 members who help serve the Denver legal community and its members. Council members identify new strategies to engage the legal community and organize networking events, CLE’s and other opportunities for young lawyers. This includes developing new ideas, marketing and communicating, coordinating with other bar sections, promoting the YLD and assisting other young attorneys in our community. Council members are required to attend monthly board meetings at 6 p.m. on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the Denver Bar Association offices. In addition, members attend various DBA YLD events throughout the year and commit to serving a three-year term.

Interested persons are strongly encouraged to attend the next Council meeting on March 8th at 6pm. Applications, including a current résumé and a letter of interest detailing the applicant’s relevant experience and characteristics including why these qualities would make them a valuable addition to the Council, should be submitted to Jim Fogg and Heather Folker by Friday, April 7. To be eligible you must be a current Denver Bar member, and under the age of 37 or within your first five years of practice.

Do not hesitate to reach out to Jim Fogg, Heather Folker, or any member of the current Executive Council with questions regarding the position or time commitment.

Jim Fogg
DBA YLD Executive Council Vice Chair

Posted in DBA YLD News

Why I Volunteer with MVL


By Steve Cook

I genuinely believe that the more we give, the happier we feel. When we are doing good for others and the community, it provides a natural sense of accomplishment that instills a sense of pride and identity. However, by volunteering with MVL, we really do accomplish another goal: the strengthening of our community.

Parents who are receiving timely child support are obviously better equipped to care for their children financially. That in turn decreases their stress and makes them better parents emotionally. They will be more likely to be happier at work and more responsible for their physical health.

Parents who are able to have a physical connection and parenting time with their children are less likely to abandon their responsibilities as caregivers for their children. Theoretically, that will decrease the likelihood that those children will act up at school or engage in hurtful behaviors toward themselves and others.

Since we all live here, we are all impacted by our neighbors’ misfortunes, problems and other challenges. We can improve the quality of life for the less fortunate among us with a small commitment to use our legal expertise to assist them in addressing their problems in a pro bono capacity. While the work can be challenging, such challenges are outweighed by the reward of seeing someone motivated by the eased financial or emotional tension in their life and the newfound opportunities that lie before them.

Steve Cook of Smith and Cook LLC is on the Metro Volunteers Lawyers Board. He can be reached at This post originally appeared in The Docket.


Posted in Volunteering