Colorado Supreme Court

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.

Lawyer Self-Assessment Program: Linking lawyers to professional development resources
An overview of the educational resources in the Lawyer Self-Assessment Program.



The online platform for Colorado’s new Lawyer Self-Assessment Program debuted October 23, 2017. The program offers lawyers two avenues to assess whether they have systems and procedures in place to maintain professional competence, enhance client service, and comply with professional obligations. The program consists of the online platform as well as a print/PDF version of the survey that features similar content as the online assessment.

A pillar of both the online platform and the print/PDF version of the survey are the educational resources featured in both versions of the survey tool. A committee of over 50 lawyers volunteered their time to create the self-assessment content. Where possible, they paired publicly-available resources with the questions in the surveys to emphasize that the self-assessment program is, at its heart, an educational opportunity. Subcommittee members wanted lawyers to be able to refer to a rule or an article on a professionalism matter as they self-assess so that they have context for why the issue raised is critical to a thriving, ethical practice.

The educational resources come from a variety of sources and authors. For example, a number of the self-assessments refer lawyers to the formal ethics opinions published by the Colorado Bar Association’s Ethics Committee. The formal ethics opinions cited in the self-assessment include opinions related to conflicts of interest, inadvertent disclosure of confidential information, and ethical duties for lawyers providing unbundled or limited-scope representation.

Other ethics opinions incorporated into the platform include several opinions published by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility on topics such as review and use of metadata by lawyers and preserving client confidences when communicating with clients over email.

On the technology and ethics front, the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center has assembled ethics opinions from jurisdictions nationwide on maintaining the duty of confidentiality when utilizing cloud-based software for file management. The same center compiled ethics opinions from the states on metadata and disclosure of potentially confidential information through metadata. Links to the repository of ethics opinions on these topics appear in the self-assessments. More broadly, the ABA‘s many sections offer an array of publicly-available educational resources. Both platforms give users hyperlinks with which to view and read a number of these resources. These range from articles on fee agreements and engagement letters to an ABA Journal article on sharing fees with other lawyers.

Elsewhere, the self-assessments incorporate links to template forms published by ALPS Corporation, the Colorado Bar Association’s preferred professional liability insurer. For example, the second self-assessment pertains to communicating in an effectively, timely, and professional matter. It has links to template engagement letters created by ALPS. It also links users to sample client file closing letters. ALPS, meanwhile, also offers lawyers insightful perspectives on current professionalism issues through articles and blog posts, a number of which can be found through links in the self-assessment bibliographies.

These educational resources appear in two places in the online platform. Lawyers can find several selected resources in the ten online self-assessments. A comprehensive bibliography of educational resources, with hyperlinks, appears once a lawyer completes an individual self-assessment and views the complete bibliography found in the end-of-section report.

Moreover, each self-assessment gives lawyers the chance to provide anonymous feedback. If you know of additional articles that you think would be useful to other lawyers assessing their practice, let the subcommittee that designed the self-assessments know. The anonymous feedback section gives you the option to do just that. Identifying new resources and incorporating them to the online platform or print survey keeps the content pertinent, timely, and useful for lawyers in the state.

More information on the Lawyer Self-Assessment Program, including links to the online and print surveys, as well as an affidavit to claim continuing legal education for program completion, can be found through the following link: