CWBA’s Collaboration with Law Schools in Supporting Law Students Working at the Courts


Spearheaded by President-Elect Kathryn Starnella, the CWBA Judicial Task Force was formed last year as a call-to-action in response to complaints of inappropriate workplace conduct at our courts. The task force is comprised of various working groups, one of which includes the Law Student/Law School Working Group led by Kristin Arthur, Danielle Edwards, and myself. Since last August, our working group has had productive conversations with University of Colorado Law Assistant Dean for Career Development, Todd Rogers, and University of Denver Law Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Alexi Freeman, and Assistant Dean for Career Development, Eric Bono, about how CWBA can assist the local law schools in providing resources to students who intern or clerk at the courts. We are grateful to the deans for their time and dedication in supporting their students.


In November 2021, CWBA and CBA Young Lawyers Division circulated a survey to their respective members to assess their work experience at the courts and, specifically, their encounters with inappropriate workplace conduct. Out of the 79 respondents—comprised of law students, attorneys, and judges—11 had interned or clerked at federal courts and 36 had done so at state courts. 12 respondents indicated that they had personal experience or knowledge of inappropriate conduct by a judicial officer or employee. Ten people indicated that they were aware of reports by colleagues or friends who had encountered inappropriate conduct by a judicial officer or employee.


In view of these survey results, and in collaboration with the law schools, our working group, with the assistance of CWBA member Emily Mendoza, prepared resource sheets that have been distributed to law students who will be interning or clerking at the courts. Also, over 30 people who responded to the survey have expressed interest in speaking with law students about their work experience at the courts. Law students can fill out a form here if they are interested in being matched up with a legal practitioner. It is our hope that additional support from our collective legal community will help prepare students in navigating their work environment and result in a successful internship or clerkship experience.

 

Susan Minamizono passionately advocates for her clients in insurance coverage disputes, bad faith litigation, and high-value personal injury claims. She has been recognized for her work by Colorado Super Lawyers in the area of insurance coverage since 2019 and received the Consumer Protection Award in 2021 from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. Susan is devoted to serving the community and enjoys volunteering her time in various endeavors, including actively participating in committees that evaluate legislative bills that affect the rights of citizens in Colorado, offering pro-bono legal services to trafficking survivors and immigrant clients, presenting mock trials to educate middle and high school students regarding hate crimes, and advancing the recognition of women in the profession of law. She is truly grateful to live in Colorado and enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family.

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