Colorado Supreme Court

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.

OARC attorney graduates from COBALT

Catherine Shea, one of only 20 attorneys in the state chosen for this year’s highly selective leadership program, says a leader isn’t always the one out front.


Fall 2015

Sometimes the best leaders are the ones that take a step back.

That’s something Catherine “Cat” Shea learned this year at the Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training program, also known as COBALT.

“I came away with the idea of the servant leader,” she said. “Instead of imposing your personal views, you guide and facilitate others to get where they want to go.”

Shea, an Assistant Regulation Counsel in the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, was one of just 20 attorneys chosen this year for the prestigious COBALT program, which brings together acknowledged leaders in the profession to build on their leadership skills and promote new leadership experiences. It seeks to foster professional relationships, promote professional ethics and community service, and raise awareness of the issues facing the legal profession and the overall justice system.

It’s not an easy program to get into. Since its inception in 2007, COBALT has trained just 100 attorneys across the state. Shea is the second attorney from the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel to graduate. Former OARC attorney Adam Espinosa graduated in 2014. Espinosa joined the Denver County Court bench last year.

Shea already had experience in leadership positions. She’s on the board of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, is co-chair of the Denver GLBT Commission, and is on the Gender Identity Center of Colorado’s Board of Trustees. But she said COBALT pushes participants to be introspective and consider different leadership styles. Shea was drawn to the concept of servant leadership.

Traditional forms of leadership involve the wielding of power. Servant-leaders share power, building up those around them and fostering an environment where others develop and perform to their highest potential.

“That really resonated with me,” she said.

Each participant of COBALT commits to at least a day of training every month for six months in places across the state. Shea said the immersion was one of the best parts of the program. The sessions allowed the attorneys to forget their normal stresses and focus on the program. It also gave her the opportunity to bond with her 19 classmates on a level regular CLE programs don’t allow for.

“It’s one of the best things I’ve done in my career.”

James Carlson is the Information Resources Coordinator for the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.