MARCH 2021

OARC Update

A bimonthly newsletter of the
Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel


Apply to Serve on a Supreme Court Committee

A variety of Supreme Court committees play an important role in supporting the Court's regulation of the practice of law.  Lawyers and non-lawyers are invited to apply to serve on a committee, and several openings are expected in 2021. Click here to learn more about the committees and the application process.  Applications are accepted at any time and will be considered for the next opening.

Demographic survey deadline extended

The deadline to respond to the online demographic survey has been extended! If you have not yet completed this voluntary and anonymous survey, please do so by Wednesday, March 31. The survey results help us better understand the demographics of the legal profession in Colorado. To complete the survey, click here.

Interested in the results? Watch for the blast email later this spring with a link to our Office’s 2020 Annual Report, which will include the demographic survey results and other data about Colorado’s attorney regulation system.


In this month’s What You Need to Know, we profile proposed rule and regulation amendments, and two recent ABA ethics opinions.
Proposed rule changes

Continuing Legal and Judicial Education Rules and Regulations
The Colorado Supreme Court has proposed amendments to the rules and regulations governing continuing legal and judicial education in Colorado. The Colorado Supreme Court will conduct a hearing on the proposed rules and regulations on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. via WebEx.  Written comments on the proposed changes should be sent to Cheryl Stevens, Clerk of the Colorado Supreme Court, at 2 E. 14th Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80203 or emailed to  Persons wishing to speak at the hearing should notify Ms. Stevens by email or by telephone 720-625-5150.  All comments and speaking requests must be received no later than Monday, March 29, 2021 at 4 p.m. For more information regarding the proposed amendments, click here.
In summary, those amendments to the CLE rules and regulations include, in part, the following:

  • Colorado attorneys will still be required to complete 45 credit hours of CLE in each three-year compliance period. The new amendment will require that at least seven credit hours be devoted to a broader category of professional responsibility, rather than the more narrow category of legal ethics.
  • The broader category of professional responsibility would include legal ethics, legal professionalism, and equity, diversity and inclusivity (“EDI”).
  • Starting with CLE compliance periods that end December 31, 2023, Colorado attorneys would need to complete at least two credit hours in EDI and at least five credit hours in legal ethics or legal professionalism.
  • The regulations will define what content is needed for programs to be accredited in legal ethics, legal professionalism, and EDI.
  • The regulations also expand the definition of law practice management programming to include technology and leadership relating to the practice of law.         

The Colorado Supreme Court has proposed amendments to rules governing the admission process in Colorado. The Colorado Supreme Court will conduct a hearing on the proposed rules on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. via WebEx.  Persons wishing to participate in the hearing should notify Ms. Stevens by email or by telephone 720-625-5150, no later than Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 4 p.m. The public comment submission period is closed.  The proposed rule changes were summarized in OARC’s November newsletter, which can be found here.

ABA Ethics Opinion 497
In February 2021, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Opinion 497 Conflicts Involving Materially Adverse Interests. The Opinion notes that the Model Rules addressing conflicts with former clients (1.9) and prospective clients (1.18) use the phrase “materially adverse,” but notes that neither Rule explains when the interests of a current client are materially adverse to the former or prospective client.  This Opinion discusses examples of situations where material adverseness may be found, including: suing or negotiating against a former client; attacking a lawyer’s own prior work; and examining a former client. The Opinion also notes that “in the absence of direct adverseness, generalized financial harm or a claimed detriment that is not accompanied by demonstrable harm to the former or prospective client’s interests does not constitute ‘material adverseness.’” The Opinion also addresses informed consent and waivers regarding materially adverse conflicts. ABA Formal Opinion 497.

ABA Ethics Opinion 498
In March 2021, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Opinion 498 Virtual Practice. The Opinion examines common ethical issues that are implicated by a virtual law practice, which the Opinion defines as “technologically enabled law practice beyond the traditional brick and mortar law firm.” Specifically, the  Opinion analyzes issues surrounding competence, diligence, communication, confidentially and supervision in the virtual law practice.  The Opinion also examines virtual practice technologies and related ethical considerations. ABA Formal Opinion 498.


A common inquiry we receive from lawyers concerns their duty to report misconduct. In this FAQ, we take a closer look at Colo. RPC 8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct.


Periodically we address the issue of identity theft, as lawyers often contact our Office when they learn someone has stolen their identity. Our Office’s role is generally limited to investigating complaints that may arise from the identity theft. In recent years, our Office has received complaints by clients who believe a lawyer has defrauded them, only to learn the scammer assumed the lawyer’s identity. In some cases, the lawyer only learned of the identity theft when our Office contacted the lawyer to inquire about the complaint. 
During the pandemic, identity theft has increased, particularly with the increase in government benefit pay-outs as discussed further on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following actions as recommended by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office:
  1. File a claim with your identity theft insurance, if applicable.
  2. Notify companies of your stolen identity.
  3. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
  4. Contact your local police department.
  5. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
  6. Freeze your credit.
  7. Sign up for a credit monitoring service, if offered.
  8. Tighten security on your accounts.
  9. Review your credit reports for mystery accounts.
  10. Scan credit card and bank statements for unauthorized charges.
For more information regarding identity theft and what to do if you’re a victim, visit the Consumer Protection Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and review their Identity Theft Repair Kit.


The sheer number of things vying for our attention can deplete our energy and decrease productivity. COLAP’s Dasi LeFhae provides tips to avoid distractions and start the day with focus.


For the first time, the Colorado Bar Exam was administered remotely on February 23 and 24, 2021. 313 applicants sat for the exam, at the location of their choice, using secure testing software.  The Admissions Office spent significant time learning and understanding the remote software and assisting applicants in preparation for the remote exam. The remote administration was a success, with only minor technical issues reported, all of which were quickly resolved.  Exam results will be available on May 6. The July exam will also be administered remotely, and is scheduled for July 27 and 28. For more information regarding the July exam, click here.


April 1 Application filing deadline for July 2021 bar exam
April 1 $150 late fee applies to attorney registrations on or after this date
April 7 CBA Presidential Visit Fremont/Cluster County Bar Association webinar (Jessica Yates)
April 12 Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE webinar

April 15 The Attorney Regulation Process and Common Ethical Issues, CBA CLE Colorado Health Law Symposium webinar (Catherine "Cat" Shea) 

April 23 Ethical Considerations in Family Court Matters, Colorado Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts webinar (Erin Kristofco)

May 1 LATE application filing deadline for July 2021 bar exam
May 6 Feb. 2021 bar exam results posted
May 10 Practicing with Professionalism, CBA-CLE webinar
May 14 Lawyers as Leaders, CBA Virtual CLE Program Series (Jessica Yates)
Copyright © 2021 Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, Colorado Supreme Court, All rights reserved.

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