More than 400 first year law students gathered last month at the inaugural “For This We Stand” professionalism orientation, an initiative of Chief Justice Commission on the Legal Profession’s Working Group A, which focuses on opportunities for Colorado’s two law schools to engage with the larger legal community. Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Bender (’67) urged students to be mindful of the difficult circumstances that bring people to lawyers, saying memorably that “no one wants to need a lawyer,” but that being a great lawyer can make a difference in people’s lives.
Leaders in the legal community spoke at a general session that began the event. Chief Justice Bender, Judge Russell Carparelli, Colorado Bar Association President Mark Fogg (‘79), University of Denver Sturm College of Law Dean Martin Katz, Judge Marcia Krieger (’79), former University of Colorado Assistant Dean and Chair of Working Group A Lorenzo Trujillo (’93), and University of Colorado Law School Dean Phil Weiser each presented a unique perspective on the meaning and importance of professionalism, and challenged students to maintain the highest standards of conduct as they enter the legal profession. Following the general session, judges, attorneys, and clients joined students in discussion groups at the Denver City and County Building. Each group featured a judge, two attorneys, and a client who shared a personal story of the impact that interaction with the legal profession had on his or her life. Judges and attorneys shared their perspectives and students had the opportunity to ask questions. More than 100 judges, attorneys, and clients participated in the discussion groups, and many commented afterward on how much they enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the students.
Chief Justice Bender commented after the event, “It was inspiring and encouraging to see new law students engaging with and learning directly from clients, judges, and lawyers. Also, it was exciting to see the deans of both law schools delivering a shared message about the importance of building professional identity.” We are grateful to the members of our community who helped make this event so inspiring. To participate in future events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.