2024 Affinity Bar Check-In

Two months into the new year, a lot has been happening for diversity/specialty bar associations across Colorado. Law Week checked in with the Colorado LGBTQ+ Bar Association, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association and the Colorado Association of Corporate Counsel to see what they have planned for the rest of the year. 

Colorado LGBTQ+ Bar Association 

According to its website, the CLBA “is a voluntary professional organization of LGBTQ+ and allied legal professionals living and working in Colorado.” The association was founded in 1993 and has over 350 active members and sponsors. In 2023, it celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Recently, the CLBA decided to update its name to the Colorado LGBTQ+ Bar Association “in order to reflect the inclusiveness we stand for but also to recognize and honor how colorful, diverse and unique our community is,” wrote Scott Rosenbach, 2024 president of the association and associate at Hogan Lovells, to Law Week via email.

Rosenbach has been with the association for five years. He said he joined because practicing as an out attorney in a large private law firm can feel very isolating at times. The CLBA provides him with a sense of belonging and safety that his workplace can’t, according to Rosenbach. 

“CLBA also provides me with the opportunity to advocate for our community and lead efforts to ensure our members’ inherent human rights and privileges are safeguarded,” added Rosenbach. 

The association also decided to launch a new website to elevate its member experience,  explained Rosenbach. 

“Our website is much easier to navigate and our members can now quickly find information about CLBA leadership, policy initiatives and events, and we now offer a public member directory and job board,” noted Rosenbach. 

The association wanted its new logo to reflect the energy and vitality of its leadership and membership, added Rosenbach. However, the new logo pays homage to the association’s former logo recognizing its history and past leadership. 

“I am keenly proud of launching the new website, name, logo and nickname. Though they seem like simple changes, a huge amount of time, thought and sweat-equity went into making those changes,” noted Rosenbach. 

The CLBA is launching its inaugural Pride Legal Conference on June 7. It will be an all-day conference featuring speakers, an employer expo and more. 

“Bringing this type of programming to the Rocky Mountain Region has never been done before and we are working very hard to make sure our members have access to the same career and professional-building resources that our coastal colleagues do,” explained Rosenbach. “We also have various socials, CLEs and student-oriented events planned, all of which can be found on the Events page on our new website.”

The association is also launching its new sponsor member level. Starting in 2024, law firms, local businesses and other community partners can partner with CLBA by becoming a sponsor. 

“These partnerships will increase our ability to provide meaningful and valuable resources and programming to our members,” added Rosenbach. 

I hope CLBA continues to grow in membership numbers and community influence,” reflected Rosenbach. “I want CLBA to be able to offer a large suite of programming and resources that makes our members feel supported and valued, both personally and professionally, from the minute a member accepts a law school admission offer or job offer to well beyond into their seasoned legal career.”

Colorado Association of Corporate Counsel

According to its website, “since 1983, ACC Colorado has served as the leading source for education, resource connections and information, networking, and community service opportunities for Colorado’s community of in-house counsel.”

ACC Colorado “holds events throughout the year for 900 members (plus prospects) to provide up to date legal information (CLE Credit) and social networking.” 

“The goal of the ACC Colorado Chapter is to continue to grow and serve our members of the Colorado in-house counsel community as they expand and build their legal networks and careers,” wrote Chief Operating Officer & Chief Legal Officer Sam Shapiro to Law Week via email.

“ACC Colorado is looking ahead to a robust 2024,” noted Shapiro.

Shapiro has been a member of ACC since 2009, joining ACC Colorado in 2013. He’s serving his seventh year on the board of directors for the Colorado chapter. 

“I knew that ACC was the premier organization serving in-house attorneys worldwide and I was looking to give back to that network in any way I could, whether it was in the form of helping with programming, sponsorships, or whatever else was needed from me,” added Shapiro. 

Shapiro has served as president for two years. Rose Stella will step in on Jan. 1, 2025. 

As I finish up my final year as President of ACC Colorado, I could not be happier with the strength and breadth of our Board of Directors, who I know will continue to offer exceptional opportunities for learning (yes, and CLEs!), connection and fun,” added Shapiro. 

ACC Colorado’s two flagship events are the In-House Counsel Forum on May 2 and Ethics Day on Dec. 5. Its annual Ski & CLE event sold out and happened on Feb. 7. 

“ACC Colorado has done some amazing programming (both educational and fun) in the decade plus I have been involved,” noted Shapiro. “What I am most proud of though is how involved our membership is with ACC and the true camaraderie of our members.”

The Colorado chapter has already sold out all but one 2024 sponsorship. Law firm and industry sponsors are invited to contact [email protected] for more information and the 2024 sponsorship packet may be found here

ACC Colorado’s LinkedIn followers have also doubled over the past year and a half and Shapiro invites everyone in the Colorado legal community to follow.  

“We look forward to a year filled with more networking, education and fun including Curling, Bowling, Baseball and more hosted by our wonderful sponsors,” added Shapiro.

Colorado Women’s Bar Association 

“The CWBA’s mission – advancing women as leaders in the law – cannot happen without community,” wrote CWBA President Emma Garrison to Law Week via email.  

Garrison joined the CWBA in 2014 and has been a member of the board of directors since 2016.

“My Presidential theme is ‘Intend to Thrive,’” noted Garrison. “Our goal is to thrive, and we act with intention so we will thrive. For the CWBA to thrive, we must build on our strengths, let go of what no longer serves us, and focus on quality over quantity.” 

The CBWA’s flagship event each year is the Annual Convention, which will be held in Vail May 17-19. The convention theme this year is “Empower. Advocate. Thrive.” 

“We want our members to feel empowered, we want them to advocate for themselves and others, and we want them to thrive – not just survive – in their lives and careers,” explained Garrison. 

At the convention, the association will present its highest honor, the Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Award, to Judge Charlotte Sweeny and Garrison will officially pass the gavel to President-Elect Carime Lee, who will be sworn in as the new CWBA President. 

Lee joined the CWBA in 2018 and joined the board as an at-large member in 2019.

The Membership Appreciation Reception on March 4 will celebrate the CWBA’s members and serves as the official kick-off for the annual convention. 

On the CLE front, the CBWA is planning its third iteration of the Profiles of Successful Pivoters event, which features a panel of speakers who have followed unconventional or nonlinear career paths. 

“Our members appreciate hearing from those who have been there, how they dealt with challenges, and how they determined what path was right for them,” added Garrison. 

It will also be launching a new three-part financial education series this year.

“A solid understanding and intentionality around money is a key ingredient for a thriving life and career, but it’s also something that’s hard to talk about and often feels overwhelming,” noted Garrison. “With this series we hope to provide a forum for our members to have these conversations and demystify money management.”

The CBWA has also continued its On What Grounds series, a monthly coffee talk session over Zoom, explained Garrison. On What Grounds has featured topics such as imposter syndrome, time management, mentoring, goal setting, allyship, inclusion and belonging, mental health and resilience.

The CWBA will continue its blog, the 1891, named as such to commemorate the year the first woman was admitted to practice law in Colorado. The blog won a national award from the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations in 2020 and focuses on practical tips, profiles of members doing great things, perspectives on social justice issues and CWBA news.

“As the CWBA creeps closer to its 50th year of existence, we want to ensure our members have the ability to learn about the amazing work and impact we have had thus far while also looking to how we can impact the future,” wrote Lee to Law Week via email. 

A medium-term goal for the CWBA is to revamp its current leadership structure, noted Garrison. 

“I hope our numbers continue to grow and I hope our allies continue to stand by us to ensure women are not just the largest growing demographic in the legal profession but actually have a voice and seat at every table including at the partner and C-suite level,” added Lee.

“I’m hopeful that the CWBA will continue to be a community of support for its members while continuing its work to eliminate the systemic barriers that women face in the legal profession and beyond,” added Garrison.

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