By Peter Rossi, LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER — Looking to bone up on your civil rights pointers and pitfalls? Want tips on saving money while increasing efficiency, and glean the intricacies of medical malpractice from a judge’s perspective?
These are a few of the dozens of programs on tap for the upcoming Colorado Trial Lawyers Association’s annual convention at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Aug. 6-8.
The three-day event will also include a members’ luncheon, golf and a barbeque.
One program, titled Civil Rights Pitfalls, will be led by Denver attorney Darold Killmer of Killmer Lane & Newman. It’s designed to be a “nuts and bolts” description of the issues of enforcing the constitution in civil rights cases, and also provide instruction on the difficulties of litigating civil rights cases.
Killmer said he will hash old war stories that his firm has handled over the years – including representing Ward Churchill (handled by his partner David Lane).
“The Churchill case helps explain a lot of the pitfalls of civil rights litigation,” Killmer said. “One of the pitfalls is we’re going against the power structure in society, and when you do that you face a lot of politically motivated decisions.”
Killmer is hopeful he’ll inspire other lawyers to take civil rights cases and hopes to instruct them how to properly litigate those cases. “It is really liberating to prosecute these cases because if you’re on the right side of the issue you’ve got more energy and some moral inspiration to litigating these cases,” he said.
In the afternoon on the second day, Colorado Springs attorney Tomasz Stasiuk is leading a session called The Paperless Law Firm, designed to provide tips on improving office efficiency and eliminating the use of most paper.
“One of the biggest problems in a traditional law office is the inefficiency in terms of finding documents and records,” Stasiuk said. “Going digital makes your office much more efficient; you can find records with just a few key strokes.”
Stasiuk said he used to dig for files in a somewhat cluttered office, but now can pull his client files up instantly. “That was a significant time waster working in a traditional office,” he said. “That’s no longer an issue.”
Stasiuk estimates he uses at least 50 percent less paper than he did before he went digital in 2006. He doesn’t spend excess money on ink. “I haven’t used a photo copier in well over a year,” he said.
On the last day of the convention, the Medical Malpractice Program will feature a panel of judges to provide judicial insight on the issues and trends in medical negligence cases.
David Woodruff, of Hillyard, Wahlberg, Kudla & Sloane, is chairing the program. “The star of the show is the panel of our judges,” Woodruff said, referring to three current judges (Denver District Court Judge Edward Bronfin, Denver District Court Judge Christina Habas, Routt County District Court Judge Michael O’Hara) and one former judge, Arapahoe County District Court Judge Cheryl Post, speaking at the program.
Douglas Keene, a voir dire specialist from Texas, will talk about how to appropriately select a jury. Woodruff says, in general, there is a bias against plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases because people think doctors “can do no wrong.” Keene will explain how to address those biases and select the best possible jury.
Attorneys can register for the convention online at the CTLA’s Website, www.ctlanet.org. A full schedule of programs, costs, convention videos and lodging information is also available on the site.
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters