Colorado Bar Association Military Law Committee
Military Law Committee Meeting of December 13, 2006
The meeting began at 12:00 p.m., called to order by Chris Colclasure at the
Colorado Bar Association Ninth Floor Terrace Conference Room at 1900 Grant Street,
1. Chris Colclasure 10. Sean Kendall
2. Kevin M. Ward 11. John C. Lowrie
3. Robert Berry 12. Daniel J. Garfield
4. David S. Oppenheim 13. Mike Milazzo
5. Christopher A. Taravella 14. Ronald W. Servis
6. Kathy Hand
7. Mark S. Cohen
8. Jarisse Sanborn
9. Richard D. Crabtree
Welcome and Introductions
The members present at 12:00 introduced themselves. There were no telephone
conference participants. Chris distributed the Meeting Agenda, Minutes of November 8,
2006 meeting and Legal Services Referral List to the group.
Minutes online. Meeting Minutes are available on the CBA website.
January 10, 2007 meeting in Colorado Springs. The January 10, 2007 MLC
meeting will be held at Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, 90 S. Cascade Avenue, Suite 1300,
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903, 719.473.3800 at 3:00 p.m. Chris sent letters/e-mails
to the heads of each military legal office in Colorado inviting them to attend.
In conjunction with a presentation about ways the MLC can assist JAG offices,
John Lowrie will speak on behalf of the Colorado chapter of Employer Support of the
Guard and Reserve and will describe what the ESGR can provide.
Bob Berry mentioned concern over bad weather which might stop members from
traveling to Colorado Springs. Chris said that people can use the telephone conferencing
system but it’s important to hold a meeting in Colorado Springs to build our membership
base there. If there is inclement weather, the telephone would be the best way to
CLE on January 16, 2007, at 1900 Grant Street. The CLE scheduled for
January 16, 2007 will be held at the CBA offices at noon. Lunch will be provided. The
topic has been changed from USERRA to estate planning for military members. John
Buckley of the Buckley Law Offices in Colorado Springs will be the speaker.
The members agreed to hold future CLE’s quarterly. If more speakers want to
make presentations, we could schedule additional CLE’s. Chris said that the CLE’s
should have a cross-appeal for people which could include topics such as employment,
consumer issues or the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act.
Veteran’s Day gathering a success. In the future, the members discussed
holding either a monthly “social” at local breweries, or less frequent and more formal
gatherings. A reception was tentatively scheduled for January 19, 2007, at 5:30 pm at the
offices of Montgomery, Little, Soran, Murray & Kuhn, P.C. in Greenwood Village.
Legal Assistance Referral List. Chris asked the MLC to take another look at the
Referral List for any changes that any one may have. Chris commented on the “Military
Experience” section. He said that the column specifies who is retired and who had served
in the JAG Corps but not who is a reservist, if someone is separated, or ranks. The List
will be posted on the CoBar website with links to each attorney’s web site.
The CBA website will be reorganized beginning in January. When completed,
the CBA website’s lawyer locator will interface with the MLC list. Until then, the MLC
referral list will be a “stand alone” document on the MLC page.
Vote on Mission Statement. Chris asked the MLC to read the Mission
Statement. Chris said that it is a broad statement that highlights the goals of the MLC,
which include supporting service members and the military, educating the community,
serving as a networking venue, and a social forum. Chris asked if anyone had any
comments/edits for the Statement.
After discussions, the members agreed to expand the definition of military law to
include administrative law. The members also agreed to make the mission statement
reflect the MLC’s capability as a resource for the legislature and other state agencies.
This would provide a point of entry for the MLC to become involved in legislative and
regulatory initiatives, such as proposals about leaves of absence for Reservists returning
from deployments, consumer protections for military members, and support to families.
Dan Garfield stated that whatever stand the MLC takes must be approved by the CBA
Board. The members agreed that the MLC must be very careful about advocating for a
particular position. Jarisse Sanborn noted the committee could prepare white papers on
relevant topics, which need not necessarily advocate for a position. Further, members of
the committee could individually participate in Blue Ribbon Panels or otherwise
contribute to policy development without representing the MLC or the CBA. The
members agreed the mission statement should simply reflect the role of the MLC as a
resource base. The mission statement was adopted, subject to modifications Chris will
make to incorporate the discussions at the meeting.
Senate Bill 3421, Veteran’s Representation. Chris asked Sean Kendall to
comment on the Bill. Sean said the Senate Bill was passed by Congress late on Friday,
December 8, 2006. The legislation allows attorneys and VA-certified agents to accept
fees for representing veterans seeking benefits from the VA. Ever since the Civil War,
fees could only be paid for appeals of benefit determinations. Sean passed out a copy of
the statute. The law has not yet been signed by the President. It will take effect in six
Sean stated that the legislation is unusual because the ABA’s model Rules of
professional responsibility are incorporated. The law also allows non-attorneys to charge
fees. Federal pre-emption of state prohibitions on practicing law without a license could
raise issues of federalism. The Bill opens up a large area of practice to lawyers. There
are 400,000 pending VA benefits claims nationwide, and 12,000 in Colorado. This Bill is
a big change and is controversial and will come with heavy regulations, i.e., attorneys
have to become certified to show they have knowledge of military procedures. The
committee intends to invite a speaker from the VA to address the MLC about the new
MLC Article in Colorado Lawyer “Bar News”. Chris stated that Mark
Cohen’s press release about the MLC will be in the Colorado Lawyer. Colorado Public
Radio wants to air a story about the committee in January. Chris said that he got an e-
mail from the Department of Labor, which has a program to educate the public about
USERRA. The Department of Labor offered to provide a guest speaker, training
materials or other assistance.
El Paso District Court Request. Chris was contacted by an administrator from
the District Court in El Paso County. The Court is facing a high workload due to an
upcoming rotation from Fort Carson. The Court asked if the MLC could provide any
assistance to service members seeking pro se divorces, child support orders, and child
custody determinations. Chris informed the Court that the MLC does not have the
capability to provide a large amount of pro bono legal services. The MLC has compiled
a referral list which will be published shortly. Chris asked the members if there was
interest in presenting one or more pro se divorce seminars. Since no members were
present from Colorado Springs, and most of the members present do not practice family
law, Chris will contact the MLC via email about this proposal.
The members discussed how information could be provided to service members.
Jarisse Sanborn commented that standardizing the information could be a potential
problem, and that the committee does not want to intrude upon the military JAG offices’
legal assistance programs. Bob Berry mentioned the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act
should also be addressed in any information provided by the MLC.
John Lowrie described the ability of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
(ESGR) to provide advance information about military deployments and the need for
these services. ESGR has volunteers from each of military unit in the state. These
volunteers have an idea when activations are pending and could help schedule
presentations to reservists who will be activated.
Proposal: Colorado Lawyer military edition. Chris proposed the MLC work
with the editors of the Colorado Lawyer to publish a volume devoted to military law.
The Colorado Lawyer publishes one volume in October of each year devoted to a
particular topic. Military law is a broad topic which would make an excellent volume.
Potential topics include the criminal prosecutions of Guantanamo Bay detainees, multi-
jurisdictional divorces and child custody/support, the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act,
USERRA, estate planning for military members, government contracting, Base
Realignment and Closure (BRAC), and others. The editors are accepting proposals for
the special volume until January 15, 2007.
Preparing a special volume would be a large undertaking. The MLC would need
to arrange for 6-9 articles on particular topics of military law which have broad
“crossover” appeal to the larger legal audience. In addition to the work of the authors,
the MLC would need to arrange for at least 2 contributing editors to assist with the
substance and citations.
The members will solicit proposals for articles and volunteers to serve as editors.
Topics for articles should be submitted by December 31, if possible. If too few articles
are proposed to compile an entire volume, the individual articles can still be published.
Future events. Chris talked about a field trip to Ball Aerospace, a satellite
manufacturer in Boulder. Ball Aerospace conducts tours. You cannot see everything
there, but they do have tours for the public. Chris suggested a tour in February, and the
members indicated interest.
Membership and referral expertise. Bob Berry said he was getting phone calls
from around the country asking for referrals to attorneys who specializes in courts
martial. There is a need for civilian lawyers who have JAG courtroom experience.
David Oppenheim was contacted by an individual who received an Under Other Than
Honorable Conditions discharge and seeks to have it reviewed. Chris agreed that we
need to build the referral list with the names of attorneys who practice in these areas and
others. The MLC should also build its membership base in Colorado Springs and other
cities. Members who know attorneys who may be interested in joining the MLC or the
referral list should encourage them to do so. The MLC started with approximately 20
members and has now grown to 40.
Participation in ESGR employer outreach. John Lowrie stated the ESGR has a
budget for educating employers about the Guard and Reserves. His organization is
considering flying senior executives and human resource officers of Colorado employers
to San Diego via military airlift for an orientation to military special operations. ESGR
may invite some attorneys to brief these executives on USERRA. The objective of this
orientation would be to persuade employers to look more favorably upon reservists and to
accommodate their service.
Newsletter. Mark Cohen said he would like to get a newsletter together in PDF
format. Any suggestions can be made through sending an e-mail to
The next MLC meeting will be held on January 10, 2007 to be held at Holme
Roberts & Owen LLP, 90 S. Cascade Avenue, Suite 1300, Colorado Springs, Colorado
80903, 719.473.3800 at 3:00 p.m.
End of Minutes