Summary of Legal Opportunities

The following projects are accepting new volunteers. If you’re interested, please sign up online, contact the task force chair(s) or send us an email. We look forward to working with you.

Denver Legal Night

This Task Force co-sponsors (with the Denver Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Denver Access to Justice Committee), two monthly legal clinics to provide legal information and referrals for individuals and families who can’t afford legal services. Legal Nights are held on the first Wednesday (at Centro San Juan Diego) and the third Tuesday (at Mi Casa Resource Center for Women) of every month from 5:00 to 7:30 P.M. Lawyers and Spanish-speaking interpreter volunteers are needed (no substantive expertise is required). During 2013, almost 275 volunteers served over 2,150 clients. For additional information on how to volunteer, click here. Tim Macdonald (Arnold & Porter LLP) chairs this Task Force. Top.

Election Task Force

The Election Task Force was formed in 2004 to monitor the election process and ensure protection of minority voting rights. This bipartisan coalition of volunteers works closely with the Colorado Secretary of State, the Republican and Democratic parties, the specialty bar associations and other key political constituencies to assure collaborative solutions to election issues and changes to the law.  Anyone interested in election access issues is invited to participate. The Task Force is co-chaired by Richard Westfall (Hale-Westfall, LLP) and Martha Tierney (Heizer Paul LLP). Geoff Klingsporn (Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP) serves as the Secretary.

Recently, the Task Force has focused on two matters: (1) Amicus Brief. The team filed an amicus brief in 2013 urging the Colorado Supreme Court to reinstate the results of a recall election in Center, Colorado. The election had been voided by the Saguache County District Court because of a potential for the secrecy of the ballots to be compromised (the Court found no evidence of ‘fraud, undue influence and intentional wrongdoing’ or proof that secrecy had actually been compromised). In January 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling reversing the trial court’s decision and reinstating the results of the recall election–a success for the voters of Center. (2) Voting Rights Hearing. The Colorado Lawyers Committee co-hosted the Colorado/New Mexico hearing of the National Commission on Voting Rights in March 2014.  The hearing, one of 25 scheduled throughout the country, focused on voting discrimination and election administration in Colorado and New Mexico. When the hearings are complete, the Commission will submit a report with its findings to Congress, as it considers revisions to the Voting Rights Act.  Top.

Greeley Legal Night

This Task Force was formed in 2009 to collaborate with local service provider organizations in Weld County to examine allegations of mortgage and consumer fraud. In 2010, the task force created a Greeley Legal Night, modeled after the successful Denver program. Volunteers are needed to provide basic legal information and referrals to individuals and families living in Weld County. Issues addressed at Greeley Legal Night include consumer problems, immigration, employment, housing and family law. In 2013, over 50 volunteers served more than 430 people. Greeley Legal Night is held every other month at Our Lady of Peace Church in Greeley, from 5:45 – 8:30 P.M. For additional information on how to volunteer, click here. Michelle Berge (Denver Public Schools) chairs this task force. Top.

Hate Crimes Education Task Force

Since 1993, Colorado Lawyers Committee volunteers have presented trials based on a fictional case arising from a violation of Colorado’s Hate/Bias-Motivated Crimes Statute (formerly the Ethnic Intimidation Statute). At the conclusion of the trial, small discussion groups of students become “juries” to discuss the issues presented and, with the assistance of an adult facilitator, reach a verdict. The students become very engaged in discussing diversity in their community and the value of preventing the spread of racial slurs and hateful actions.  The program needs volunteers to serve as prosecutors, defense attorneys and facilitators. This is a great chance for lawyers to practice their advocacy skills in front of a live audience and for non-litigators and non-lawyers to be involved in a fun activity that makes a difference.  For more information about volunteering for the Hate Crimes Education Task Force, click here. To bring a Hate Crimes Education Trial to your school or organization, click here. This Task Force is co-chaired by Tarek Saad (Squire Patton Boggs LLP) and Phyllis Wan (Hogan Lovells US). Top

Nonprofit Working Group

The Nonprofit Working Group was originally formed in 2002 to provide pro bono representation to community and other business organizations. In 2009, the Task Force partnered with the Colorado Nonprofit Association and other organizations to provide direct representation to nonprofits in Colorado. While the Task Force initially assisted only nonprofit organizations that serve children or the indigent, in 2010, it broadened the scope of its work to include all nonprofits whose operating budgets do not permit them to retain legal counsel. In 2013, in addition to this on-going work, the Task Force agreed to work with the Colorado Bar Association to provide expedited assistance to nonprofits adversely impacted by the floods. Last year, 50 attorneys from 19 different law firms provided transactional-type legal assistance to 32 nonprofits. Since the matching program began, more than 200 nonprofits have been served.

Since 2006, the Colorado Lawyers Committee also has co-sponsored an annual Nonprofit Legal Audit Clinic, a half-day program for small nonprofits with limited operating budgets. Teams of volunteer transactional attorneys review a checklist with participating nonprofits to evaluate their legal health. Client meetings are preceded by a CLE training for participating lawyers on Colorado nonprofit law. Last year, 49 legal volunteers provided 20 nonprofits with a free assessment of their legal health at the event.

If you’d like to participate in either of these programs, please contact Peter Schwartz (Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP),  the Chair of the Nonprofit Working Group. Top

Project Homeless Connect

Since December 2005, the Colorado Lawyers Committee has coordinated the legal component for Project Homeless Connect, a one-day event sponsored by the City of Denver that connects homeless individuals to services including: public benefits, medical care, housing and employment opportunities and legal assistance. Volunteer attorneys, paralegals and law students provide legal information and referrals to homeless participants. Many volunteers also assist with the “Homeless Court” which is held as part of the event and allows individuals to resolve outstanding warrants for violations of Denver’s City Ordinance. The Colorado Lawyers Committee co-sponsors this effort with the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel. Attorneys, paralegals and law students are invited to participate. In 2013, 65 volunteers served almost 260 homeless individuals and families. The event is usually held twice each year. For additional information on how to volunteer, click here.The co-chairs of this Task Force are Peter Schwartz (Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP) and Tim Macdonald (Arnold & Porter LLP). To volunteer, contact Susan Cole at Arnold & Porter LLP.  Top