OARC Update

A bimonthly newsletter of the
Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel


Thank you to all those who have completed the online demographic survey!

Again this year, with the attorney registration statement, we included a link to an online demographic survey hosted by Survey Monkey. If you have not completed this voluntary and anonymous survey, please do so in the coming weeks as the survey will close on February 28. Higher participation will allow us to better understand and monitor shifts in the demographics of the Colorado bar.

To complete the survey, go to: http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/demographicsurvey.htm. This short survey takes only 1-2 minutes to complete.


In our first What You Need to Know of the year, we profile new Rule 8.4(i) and three recent ethics opinions.

New Rule 8.4(i) addresses sexual harassment by attorneys in their professional activities. We consider frequently asked questions regarding this new Rule here: What You Need to Know About New Colo. RPC 8.4(i) Addressing Sexual Harassment.

ABA Formal Opinion 489 -- In December 2019, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Opinion 489 Obligations Related to Notice When Lawyers Change Firms. The Opinion discusses obligations of both the departing lawyer and the firm for orderly transition, and the client’s right to select counsel. The Opinion also discusses the use of reasonable notice periods, and explains that such requirements cannot restrict the client’s choice of counsel or the right of lawyers to change firms. ABA Formal Opinion 489.

CBA Ethics Opinion 138 -- In November 2019, the Ethics Committee of the Colorado Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 138 Ethical Duties Pertaining to Lawyers Counseling Other Lawyers About a Client’s Matter. The Opinion discusses the application of Colo. RPC 1.6 where lawyers wish to consult other lawyers regarding a client’s matter, and when express consent or implied authorization is required. The Opinion also discusses preventing inappropriate disclosures, and the importance of analyzing conflicts before any consultation. CBA Formal Opinion 138.

CBA Ethics Opinion 139 -- In December 2019, the Ethics Committee of the Colorado Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 139 Division of Fees Between Firms and Lawyers Who are ‘Of Counsel.’ The Opinion discusses the “of counsel” association, and the ethical implications regarding division of fees and conflicts of interests. The Opinion concludes that a lawyer who is “of counsel” to a firm, and therefore, maintains a close, regular, personal association with the firm, is in the same firm for purposes of division of fees. The Opinion also discusses how a lawyer’s “of counsel” relationship with two firms effectively makes the two firms one for purposes of imputing conflicts under Colo. RPC 1.10, and explains that the process of clearing conflicts may present practical limitations on multiple “of counsel” relationships. CBA Ethics Opinion 139 .


As you create your professional development plan for 2020, consider participating in programs that address legal professionalism, including courses addressing leadership, diversity and wellbeing. With the revision of the CLE Rules and Regulations in 2018, programming around these important topics now may qualify for general CLE accreditation. We have information available to those who are interested in developing a leadership, diversity or wellbeing course that would qualify for general CLE accreditation at the link below. If you’re interested in a course that has not yet been accredited in Colorado, you may seek accreditation for the program as an independent study activity. A maximum of nine independent study hours can be earned in each CLE compliance period. For more information regarding the CLE regulations, and accreditation for legal professionalism and independent study activities, click here.

The beginning of the year is also a great time to assess your practice and determine where to focus your efforts. The Lawyer Self-Assessment Program is a free, confidential program that allows you to self-assess ten separate areas of your practice. The self-assessment tool identifies requirements and best practices, and at the end of each section, provides resources so you can conveniently take a closer look at a specific assessment topic. Best of all, you can receive three general and ethics CLE credits for completing the self-assessment. Start the year with a plan for success!


The first month of the year is almost over and the attorney registration deadline is quickly approaching, along with the February 2020 bar exam. Keep in mind the following important dates:

January 31: This is the last day to report CLE credits without penalty for the three-year compliance period ending December 31, 2019.

February 1: Late fees for 2017-2019 CLE compliance period begins on this date.

February 1: Application filing period opens for July 2020 bar exam.

February 25-26: February 2020 bar exam.

February 28: Deadline for 2020 Attorney Registration.


Jan. 13 Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE in Denver, CO

Jan. 14 Employment and Ethics, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, in Denver, CO (Jessica Yates)

Feb. 5 Ethics and Elder Law, Elder Law Section, CBA-CLE in Denver, CO (Rhonda White-Mitchell)

Feb. 7 Trust Account School taught by the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and open to all attorneys and legal staff.

Feb. 11 What You Didn’t Know That You Need to Know, 1st Judicial Bar Association, Golden, CO (Jessica Yates)

Feb. 11 Ethics Update, Environmental Management Society, Davis, Graham, and Stubbs in Denver, CO (Bryon Large)

Feb. 27 Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE in Denver, CO

Copyright © 2020 Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, Colorado Supreme Court, All rights reserved.

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