CML Members' Guide to Legal Consulting Services and Amicus Briefs
The Colorado Municipal League (CML) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advocating for the interests of its municipal membership in a variety of settings. Among the services that CML provides on an ongoing basis include lobbying and legislative advocacy before the Colorado Legislature, providing both legal and operational education programs and conferences throughout the year, consulting with CML members on various legal questions, and preparing and submitting amicus or “friend of the court” briefs in court cases in which a significant municipal interest is at issue.
The provision of legal services necessarily implicates Colorado’s statutes and regulations regarding attorneys and the practice of law. In addition, CML is comprised of 269 municipalities with varying degrees of resources and experience in legal matters. CML has a long-standing commitment to assisting its members in regard to legal issues that may arise in the course of conducting the city or town’s business.
As with any organization, CML’s resources are not unlimited and depending on the scope of the matter, a member may need to consult with auxiliary legal counsel for the advice that the matter requires. Moreover, CML has found that the attorneys that regularly represent CML’s members as in-house or outside counsel are among the best in the country. CML has the utmost respect for Colorado’s attorneys who represent municipal interests as the town or city attorney or as special counsel. In all legal matters in which CML is requested to consult, it must be understood that CML does so only with the member’s understanding that the advice is being provided in deference to the member’s town or city attorney who has ultimate responsibility for assuring that his or her client’s legal matters are properly and professionally addressed.
In offering legal services, CML is committed to abiding by all applicable rules and regulations regarding the provision of legal services. CML is further committed to providing legal services in a manner that is fair to all of its members. This means that CML cannot advise one member against the interests of another, or one town or city official against the interests of another town or city official. With these guiding principles in place, what follows in an overview of CML’s member services and the conditions that a requesting member accepts upon requesting and receiving legal education, training or advocacy.
Overview of CML's Legal Education, Training, and Advocacy
The following is an overview of the legal service programs that CML offers to its members, and the terms and conditions under which they are provided.
Conferences, Trainings and Webinars. CML annually offers a variety of opportunities for its members to participate in legal education. These programs include continuing legal education (CLE) programs conducted by CML staff and volunteer legal experts at CML’s fall attorney conference, the CLE presentations at the CML annual summer conference, and CML’s recently launched webinar programs. Although such trainings may be open to non-attorneys, CML develops these presentations to meet the requirements for CLE accreditation. Each of these presentations attempt to educate and inform CML members of recent court decisions and legislation, as well as in depth trainings on specific legal topics of ongoing concern to Colorado municipalities and their officials. Information concerning these various legal education programs can be found on CML’s website or by calling CML. The information provided through CML’s general legal education programs cannot be regarded as specific legal advice to any given municipality or official. CML specifically disclaims any intent to create an attorney client relationship in connection with any legal service it may be requested to provide. The information shared by and with CML at these events may not be presumed to be confidential. Members are advised to consult their own legal counsel for specific legal advice before taking any action having potential legal consequences or liability.
Attorney Listserv. CML supports an attorney Internet “listserv” which attorneys that serve municipal clients may join for the purpose of sharing and obtaining information from their peers regarding a wide variety of legal issues and resources. CML’s attorney listserv is essentially a “blog” open to municipal attorneys only. In participating in the listserv, there are a number of conditions that participants are expected to follow. These conditions are posted on the CML website. To join the listserv, sign up here. The information provided through CML’s Attorney Listserv cannot be regarded as specific legal advice to any given municipality or official. CML specifically disclaims any intent to create an attorney client relationship in connection with any legal service it may be requested to provide, and the information shared with and by CML may not be presumed to be confidential. Members are advised to consult their own legal counsel for specific legal advice before taking any action having potential legal consequences or liability.
Telephone and email requests. CML welcomes telephone and email requests from members for general advice, direction, and information that CML may be able to provide in regard to legal questions that members, both attorney and non-attorney, may have in the course of performing their services and duties. However, members should keep in mind that CML staff availability to respond to telephone and email requests may be limited or delayed, particularly when the Colorado legislature is in session. The information provided by CML staff in response to telephone and email inquiries cannot be regarded as specific legal advice to any given municipality or official. CML specifically disclaims any intent to create an attorney client relationship in connection with any legal service it may be requested to provide, and the information shared with and by CML may not be presumed to be confidential. Members are advised to consult their own legal counsel for specific legal advice before taking any action having potential legal consequences or liability.
Amicus Requests and Briefs. CML takes pride in its long-standing practice of assisting our courts and our members by preparing and submitting amicus curiae or “friend of the court” briefs in court cases in which CML determines a significant municipal interest will be at issue. However, members should realize that amicus briefs are among the most resource-intensive requests that CML receives. CML maintains an Amicus Committee responsible for reviewing and providing a recommendation on requests for amicus support. Members are encouraged to make amicus request as early as possible in any litigation in which CML’s amicus presence may be considered potentially helpful. Late requests are less likely to be approved. Moreover, the ability of CML to respond to an amicus request will depend on the significance of the request to other CML members, and on competing demands on CML’s resources at the time the request is received. A copy of CML’s amicus policy can be obtained here.