JULY 2022

OARC Update

A bimonthly newsletter of the
Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel


In this month’s What You Need to Know, we profile the creation of a new legal licensing structure, a proposed rule amendment, and an amendment to the surcharge statute.

Licensed Legal Paraprofessional Proposal Open for Public Comment
The Colorado Supreme Court has published for public comment the implementation plan to license legal paraprofessionals (“LLPs”) for a limited practice of law in the area of domestic relations.  The 26-page plan outlines how interested paraprofessionals who meet educational and experiential requirements could become licensed for this limited practice of law by taking and passing designated family law and ethics exams and clearing character and fitness requirements. 
The scope of practice would include marital dissolution and allocation of parental responsibility cases when the client meets certain income or asset criteria associated with less complicated matters.  Under the current proposal, LLPs would be allowed to accompany their clients to court, and could respond to factual questions if requested by the court, but would not be allowed to orally advocate for their clients or to conduct hearings or trials.
The Court is inviting public comment on the entire proposal, and specifically the issues of what asset or income criteria are appropriate limits for LLP representation of clients.  A working group has proposed that the LLPs would be allowed to serve only clients in marital dissolution cases with a net marital estate of $200,000 or less.  The same working group proposed that an income cap be set for representing a client in an allocation of parental responsibility matter, which could be a dollar threshold or a percentage of federal poverty guidelines.  Cases involving more assets or income tend to correlate with more complex issues for which a lawyer’s education and expertise may be needed. 
Utah, Washington, and Arizona now have licensed legal paralegal or legal technician programs covering certain types of family law matters, among other matters.  These jurisdictions have reported that many if not most of these licensed non-lawyers practice in firms with lawyers, but may be more affordable to modest-means clients.  A number of other states are either considering or piloting similar programs.
To review the implementation plan and the various proposed rule and statutory changes, and for instructions on how to provide public comments, go to the Court’s proposed rule change website and review the information under “PALS implementation report and plan.”  The deadline for public comments is September 14, 2022 at 4 p.m.
The Colorado Bar Association is hosting a virtual “town hall” where speakers from the working group will provide more information and answer questions about the implementation plan.    That event is August 9, 2022, from 12-1 p.m.  The CBA will post the link to participate at its website. The event is open to both members and non-members of the CBA, and is open to non-lawyers.
Additional information and updates about the LLP program can be found here.  
Proposed Changes to Colo. RPC 1.8(e)
The Colorado Supreme Court is considering changes to Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8(e) and the Comments to the Rule, which concerns providing modest gifts to indigent clients. The proposal can be reviewed here. The deadline for comments is soon—July 22, 2022 at 4 p.m. If submitting a public comment by email, the Clerk’s office requests that you attach your submission as separate document to your email in Word or PDF format and email to: supremecourtrules@judicial.state.co.us. ABA Model Rule 1.8(e) was amended in 2020. The proposed amendments to Colo. RPC 1.8(e) and the proposed comments are similar though not identical to the amendments to Model Rule 1.8(e).
Amendment to Surcharge Statute
Can lawyers pass along credit card surcharges to clients? The answer used to be unequivocally “no”. The governing statute, C.R.S. §5-2-212, Surcharges on credit transactions—enforcement—definition, was amended effective July 1, 2022, to permit surcharges in certain amounts. Lawyers should closely review the amended statute and the “Administrator’s Interpretive Opinion Letter” issued by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office regarding the amended statute. The Opinion can be accessed here.


Lindy Frolich, Director of the Office of Alternate Defense Counsel, describes opportunities to contract with OADC and their office’s desire to expand their pool of contractors beyond the I-25 corridor.
Are you interested in promoting access to justice for underserved areas in Colorado?  The Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (OADC) is a legislatively created state agency that contracts with legal professionals to represent indigent individuals accused of criminal or juvenile delinquent acts where the Public Defender has a conflict of interest.  The OADC is looking to expand its roster of contract attorneys (and other legal professionals) outside of the Fort Collins - Denver - Pueblo I-25 corridor.
The OADC has flexible contracting opportunities and mentorship support for attorneys willing to represent people in underserved areas regardless of their current experience levels.  This is an excellent opportunity for attorneys who currently live and work in an underserved area and want to expand their practice to include representing people in criminal/juvenile delinquency cases. It is also an excellent opportunity for attorneys in metro areas who have family or own property in an underserved area and want to develop a part-time or full-time practice in that area.
If you are interested in applying for a contract with the OADC, the application is available here
If you would like further information on possible contract opportunities in the 3rd, 6th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 16th, or 22nd Judicial Districts, please contact Darren Cantor at Darren@coloradoadc.com
If you would like further information on possible contract opportunities in the 5th, 7th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 19th, or 21st Judicial Districts, please contact Lindy Frolich at Lindy@coloradoadc.com
For other general questions, please contact Talia Traskos-Hart at taliatraskoshart@gmail.com


When setting up a trust account or making changes to a trust account, it’s important to review Colo. RPCs 1.15B-1.15C. These Rules address the parameters of the account and proper use of the account. Importantly, Colo. RPC 1.15C(a) prohibits cash withdrawals from the trust account and prohibits the use of any debit card or automated teller machine card to make withdrawals from the account. Nevertheless, some banks issue a debit card for the account, despite this prohibition. No cash withdrawals should be made from the account, regardless of whether the bank issues a debit card.
Banks may also offer overdraft protection for the trust account. Using overdraft protection for a trust account is inconsistent with the Rules. When properly managed, the trust account should never go into a negative status. In addition, banks are required to report to OARC when a “trust account instrument is presented against insufficient funds, irrespective of whether the instrument is honored.” Colo. RPC 1.15E(c)(2). Thus, overdraft protection does not alleviate the bank’s obligation to report to OARC. Bank procedures that differ from the requirements of the Rules of Professional Conduct can create confusion. Lawyers should always rely on the Rules.


Kerry McCarthy, the Clinical Coordinator at the Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program, discusses the physiological response that happens when we are in high demand situations. She explains how simple breathing techniques can lessen that response. The article can be found here


July 26-27 Colorado Bar Exam National Western Complex
July 28 Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE webinar
July 29 Federal Practice Update, Ethics Presentation, CBA-CLE (Erin Robson Kristofco)
August 9 Changes to Colo. RPC 3.8(d), Office of the Municipal Public Defender & Denver County Court Judges, Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse (Jessica E. Yates)
August 10 Trust Accounts, part of Successfully Launching and Running Your Own Practice, CBA-CLE (Gregory G. Sapakoff)
August 11 Fee Agreements: Setting Expectations, part of Successfully Launching and Running Your Own Practice, CBA-CLE (April M. McMurrey)
August 29 Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE webinar
September 7 Pro Bono Ethics, 2022 POWER Act Session, U.S. District Court  (E. James Wilder)
September 12 Judicial Discipline Process, 2022 Colorado Judicial Conference, Vail (Jessica E. Yates)
September 20 DUI Basic Skills Training, CBA-CLE (Justin P. Moore)
September 26 Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE webinar
October 14 Professionalism and Attorney Ethics, CBA Workers’ Compensation Section, CBA-CLE (Jonathan White)
October 17 Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE webinar

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