President's Quarterly Report- Quarter 2, 2019

Amigos y Colegas – 

The second quarter was amazing! I am proud to report that in the second quarter we sponsored 3 CLE’s and offered membership 3 social events.

Abril - Asociaciones:

The first month of the second quarter focused on partnerships. CHBA sponsored Su Teatro’s XicanIndie Film Fest XXII (April 4-7, 2019). We received 24 tickets in exchange for advertising in the program, to promote awareness in the Hispanic community of our mission and scholarship opportunities.

Board Members Annie Martinez, Hon. David Juarez, Hon. Andrea Kopennhoffer, Bryon Large, and myself (apologies if I missed anyone) were in attendance for APABA’s annual banquet on April 5, 2019. As always, the food was amazing! We were also very proud to support Justice Monica Marquez in receiving the Minoru Yasui Community Service Award.

Our Pro Bono Committee held another successful Legal Clinic at the Mi Casa Resource Center on April 9, 2019. And then on April 10, 2019, we had our second Membership Meeting for the year, sponsored by the Pro Bono Committee. Thank you to Mike Belo and Spencer Fane for hosting us at the Wells Fargo Building. Unfortunately, we were hit by yet another snowstorm, causing attendance to be very low. Representatives from RMIAN (Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network) provided information on how non-immigration attorneys can make a big difference in the life of an immigrant, without any immigration experience and minimal time commitment. Please reach out to me if you are interested in taking on a pro bono immigration case from RMAIN.

Judge Susan Blanco, Arnold Hanuman (SABA President), Nicoal Sperrazza (APABA Immediate Past President), and myself continued planning our Diversity Bar sponsored CLE for the Annual Judicial Conference. The title for the panel is: “How to Champion an Unbiased Courtroom in a Multicultural Community”.

On April 29, 2019, Chair of our Membership Committee, Hon. Adam Espinosa, and myself met with Professor Karey James and paralegal student, Ruben Armendariz, from the Community College of Denver’s Paralegal Program. We discussed ways to get the paralegal students involved in the Hispanic legal community and with CHBA. We invited the students to attend our YLD Cinco de Mayo event (4 students did attend). We also encouraged the students to volunteer as interpreters for our Mi Casa legal clinic. The paralegal students are required to complete a 150-hour internship requirement in order to graduate, so please let me know if you or your firm is interested.

Mayo - Comunidad:

On May 3, 2019, our YLD Committee sponsored a Cinco de Mayo Social Mixer at Dos Luces Brewery. We enjoyed gluten-free Chicha and Pulque while decorating sugar cookies.

Beginning on May 6, 2019, the Presidents of APABA, CHBA, CWBA, LGBT Bar, SABA, and Sam Cary Bar have agreed to meet the first Monday of every month for coffee. We brainstorm ideas and discuss how we can work together to support our diverse brothers and sisters in the Colorado legal community. There are a lot of projects in the works – stay tuned!

On May 8, 2019, we held our third Membership meeting of the year at Wilmer Hale, sponsored by our Professional Advancement Committee. No snow this time and we had a great turnout! Board Member, Meranda Vieyra, presented on the topic of “Building an Effective Online Reputation”. We had a good mix of members, non-members, and Board Members in attendance and there was a lot of socializing after the CLE. A great success!

May 14, 2019, our Pro Bono Committee held another successful Legal Clinic at the Mi Casa Resource Center.

CHBA sponsored the Annual LSYWC Dinner on May 16, 2019. Myself, along with Board Members - Amber Gonzalez, Todd Fredrickson, Alejandro Monarez and Kathryn Starnella were in attendance (apologies if I missed anyone). The evening was inspirational seeing the next generation moving toward their goals.

On May 22, 2019, I attended Denver DA Beth McCann’s monthly Advisory Council on Immigration. We discussed how the Turn Over A New Leaf Program was going in Denver, as well as in Boulder (the process is easy, however there has not been an overwhelming number of applicants, please spread the word). Most interesting, we discussed how Denver is starting to see potential effects of “sanctuary” policies that have recently been put in place in Colorado and how federal funding may be affected – there are now additional questions on applications for federal grants that specifically ask about any state, city, or municipal policies that are “immigrant friendly”.

Board members, Ruth Mackey, Lucia Padilla and myself continue to participate in the Colorado Supreme Court’s Wellness Task Force. On May 28, 2019, Lucia and myself participated in a planning call for the Law School subcommittee. Our committee is planning the following to promote mental health awareness in the law schools: 1) Presentation to law school faculty about signs to look for in students (stress, anxiety, depression, etc.) and provide resources to share with students 2) Create a placard that is accessible to students on mental health resources, and 3) Draft a proposal allowing COLAP to present in every Ethics class (a required course for all students) every semester on wellness, as well as provide resources for mental health. I raised the issue of how diverse students are particularly susceptible to wellness issues due to feeling isolated. The reason I became a part of the task force was to ensure that our membership and our law students were included in the discussion of wellness.

On May 29, 2019, the Governor signed HB-1124 (Protect Co Residents from Federal Government Overreach). This was the bill that I had testified in favor of and which complimented CHBA’s work on the Probation Memo. We have still not heard from the State Court Administrator’s Office regarding our requests for additional modifications to the Probation Memo, since our meeting in March.

On May 31, 2019, I attended a stakeholder meeting at the Capital organized by Representative Springer from Longmont. Based on complaints from constituents (2-3) regarding how common law marriage affects/complicates/makes for extra work during the estate process, Rep. Singer is considering a proposal to abolish common law marriage in Colorado. CHBA had been part of a Task Force in 2007, in which this same topic was discussed and we proposed, along with the Sam Cary Bar, obtaining additional information regarding the effects of abolishing common law marriage on minority populations in Colorado, before a decision was made on whether to abolish common law marriage. As a result, the issue was tabled in 2007. I spoke at the meeting on behalf of the immigrant population, in my capacity as an immigration lawyer, and raised concerns about the ability to obtain a marriage license without an ID and how “unions libres” are common in many Spanish speaking countries. Nothing formal came out of the meeting, it was an information gathering meeting for the representative to hear all sides before moving forward with any proposals. A second meeting was scheduled for July 19, 2019, but was cancelled. Please let me know if you are interested in this topic/area of law.

On May 31, 2019, CHBA’s Executive Committee met with the CHBA Foundation’s President, Vicki Lovato, and President-Elect, Todd Fredrickson, to brainstorm ways to strengthen/expand our scholarship opportunities.

Junio – Estudiantes:

On June 2, 2019, CHBA partnered with the CBA Spanish Speaking Lawyers Committee and sponsored a tent with food/drinks at Jazz in the Park.

As a result of my determination/work on the Colorado Supreme Court’s Wellness Task Force to address feelings of isolation experienced by diverse law students, I proposed a program/panel/event focused on diverse students. At our June 3, 2019, Diversity Bar Leaders’ Breakfast, I pitched the idea for a panel of diverse lawyers to speak frankly to law students at DU and CU, about our law school experiences (touching on feeling isolated, fear of not being top in your class, pressures of law school, and the realities after law school). There was overwhelming enthusiasm for the idea and planning will go forward for the fall. We are currently in talks with DU and CU to set a date for the panels. In separate conversations with Board Members Lucia Padilla and Sonia Anderson, we discussed how this same type of panel would benefit young lawyers/new lawyers, especially diverse attorneys in large firms - stay tuned!

On June 3, 2019, I attended the June Swearing In for our new attorneys, at the Boetcher Center. CHBA was 1 of only 3 organizations that had a table set up with swag. Congrats to Board Member Rachael Million-Perez, who is now an official member of the Colorado Bar, as well as all of our recent grads! Please reach out to our YLD Committee to learn about ways to get involved!

On June 4, 2019, our Ethics Committee partnered with the CBA’s Immigration Section for a CLE on the “Ethics of Pro Bono Representation of Immigrants”.

On June 11, 2019, Board Members, Arnulfo Hernandez, Sonia Anderson, and myself spoke with young diverse students (middle school/high school) from Denver Kids, as part of the Daniels/Espinosa Dream Team’s Courtroom Program. We talked about our journeys to becoming a lawyer and the challenges/obstacles we faced, as well as talked about what a typical day is like in our shoes. It was a great event! That evening our Pro Bono Committee held another successful Legal Clinic at the Mi Casa Resource Center.

On June 13, 2019, our Business Development Committee partnered with the CBA’s Real Estate Section to host a Happy Hour and 2019 Legislative Update regarding changes impacting landlords & tenants.

On June 24, 2019, I participated in a planning call with representatives from Gibson Dunn, IAALS, and DU to discuss our Fall event titled “What Different Legal Employers Look for in New Hires”. The event is focused on diverse law students and young attorneys looking for a lateral move and will take place on October 3, 2019, at Gibson Dunn from 5-7pm. There will be representatives from: small firm, big firm, government, non-profit, in-house counsel, and judges speaking about clerkships. Students will have the opportunity to network and then will break up into groups and rotate between the tables to learn what employers are looking for in applicants. Phil Weiser and Justice Monica Marquez have already agreed speak and be part of the event.

On June 26, 2019, I participated in a call with CWBA President, Sarah Parady and our CWBA rep, Magistrate Mariana Vielma, and Carime Lee, a CWBA At-Large Member and CHBA Member who lives/practices in Breckenridge. We brainstormed ideas to create events for our membership outside of the Denver Metro area – stay tuned!

Que sigue?

As always, the third quarter proves to be a VERY busy time of year, with multiple opportunities for socializing and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.  We are sponsoring Su Teatro’s Music Festival July 24-27 – let me know if you are interested in tickets.  August is already jammed backed with a fourteener, a CLE on Pathway to Judgeships, and a few Happy Hours (August 8 at Wilmer Hale and August 23 at the Skyline Beer Garden).  As always, please feel free to reach out me if you have any ideas or suggestions – I welcome your input!  


Christine M. Hernandez, Presidente

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