Meaningful Bar Membership is Not a Spectator Sport

By Klaralee Charlton

If your professional practice is flourishing, you’re drowning in CLE credit, you plan on retiring from your current employer in 40 years, and you’ve found fulfillment in life outside work, then stop reading.

For the rest of you, including myself, the Denver Bar Association is here for you. If that sounds familiar, this phrase is Nancy Cohen’s motto for her term as President and aptly sums up the purpose of the DBA—to be there for its members.

The Young Lawyers Division of the DBA promotes programming specifically designed to engage new lawyers and assist them as they start their professional career. One of the DBA YLD’s most well-known programs is its Barrister’s After Hours. This monthly event is hosted at locations around the city and brings attorneys of all practice areas together to meet, learn about one another’s practice, and make meaningful connections for future professional advancement. For new members, this is one of the easiest ways to get a taste of Denver’s legal community and begin engaging in the bar association. For upcoming dates and locations, check the DBA YLD website.

The DBA YLD also helps its members meet their Continuing Legal Education obligation by offering cost effective learning opportunities. Coffee Talk is a monthly CLE presentation intended for or given by new lawyers. Members pay $5 for an hour of CLE credit and a continental breakfast. New attorneys interested in giving a CLE presentation may contact any board member for schedule availability. This is a great opportunity to boost your resume and practice your public speaking skills in front of your peers who, frankly, are just there to get cheap CLE credit and a cup of coffee.

In addition to our monthly CLE presentations, the annual Court Orientation provides new attorneys with a generous helping of CLE credit while they learn how to interact with Colorado’s court system. This annual event will take place in November, 2016, shortly after successful July bar takers are sworn in.

Aside from networking and CLE, the DBA YLD also wants its members to engage outside the practice of law. Several physical outdoors activities will take place throughout the year including a group hike, bus to the ski hill, golf tournament, and the Colfax Marathon relay race. Members frequently express that they create some of the most meaningful connections during these informal events.

The ultimate goal behind many of the DBA YLD’s programs is to introduce members to the bar association and the various committees and sections in which members can be meaningfully engaged. From my personal experience, it was only after I became a member of a board or committee that I felt truly apart of Denver’s legal community—simply attending events from time to time was not fulfilling for me.

Practice area sections and bar committees are eager to have new members. Some of these sections and committees will be highlighted throughout the year in conjunction with the DBA YLD events. Members interested in joining any bar committee or section are encouraged to contact any YLD board member. We can provide additional information and put you in touch with current committee and section members.

The 2016-2017 DBA YLD Board is excited for this year’s upcoming events. We are constantly evaluating our programs and looking for new opportunities. If you have suggestions or want to help plan and execute a future event, please contact me at

KlaraleeCropKlaralee Charlton is an associate with Katz, Look & Onorato, P.C. where she practices in their tax and estate administration divisions. Originally from Montana, Klaralee earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Bryn Mawr College. She graduated from the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law and received her Masters of Tax from the University of Denver. In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dogs, creating healthy recipes, and watching classic “Frasier” episodes.

Posted in Career Development, Community