Colorado Supreme Court
Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel
Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.
Getting Professionalism Help Just Got Easier
The Peer Professionalism Assistance group seeks to offer its services to more of the state’s attorneys.
By JAMES CARLSON
For years, the state’s professionalism assistance group focused solely on the Denver area. In smaller rural towns, the thinking went, familiarity bred civility.
“But we’re learning they have the same problems that we have in the metro area,” said Teresa Wilkins, a private practitioner and Co-Chair of the Peer Professionalism Assistance group.
After hearing from various stakeholders outside the state’s capital about a need for its services, the PPA is now expanding its role across Colorado. It’s just one way the PPA is renewing its push to help bolster professionalism within the legal community. Even as the PPA grows its footprint, its essential mission remains the same.
The group was born out of the desire to increase professionalism in the practice of law. Everything from overly adversarial representation to delayed responses to motions can not only annoy attorneys involved in a case; it can also bog down the justice process. The PPA’s stable of 19 established attorneys provide one-on-one advice to attorneys about how to handle unprofessional situations, and they facilitate discussion between opposing sides to help resolve issues. More and more often, the group is also handling referrals from judges who witness unprofessional behavior in the courtroom.
“Attorneys often don’t want to deal with a situation like this,” said David Furgason, Co-Chair of the PPA. “But when a judge feels strong enough about it to refer the two sides to us, it gets the lawyers’ attention.”
Now the PPA is seeking the help of judges across the state. They recently presented to more than 100 members of the bench at the Colorado Judicial Conference. They’ve also begun offering continuing legal education courses in remote areas to provide tools that will help attorneys better handle situations on their own.
They’re hoping to present to every judicial district in the state.
“Professionalism is a statewide concern,” Wilkins said. “We want judges on board. We want attorneys on board. It will help removed needless professionalism arguments from the courtroom, which will ultimately reduce fees for everyone and expedite the judicial process.”
To seek help from the Peer Professionalism Assistance group or to request a presentation by its attorney members, go to its web page at www.cobar.org/PPA.
James Carlson is the Information Resources Coordinator with the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.