On April 8, the Denver Bar Association will unveil a community-focused co-working space for members: Stratum. We hope you can join us for the opening!
There are many challenges facing lawyers and the legal profession today, from changing client needs to changing practice environments. Among those challenges are declining workplace resources, including technology, colleague collaboration, and basic business amenities. If you face these challenges or identify with these concerns, you are not alone. They impact all generations of bar membership. New lawyers are entering careers with increasing demands and unprecedented instability, while senior lawyers are encountering their own instability as they navigate a path to retirement that is less clear and, often, less fulfilling than they originally planned. Meanwhile, client needs have become more complex while our duty to close the gap in access to justice is as daunting as ever.
Building the Bar
In the face of these challenges, bar associations—like ours—are facing tough questions about how to build real value for their members. At the beginning of his term, DBA President Dan McCune established the Fit to Practice Task Force, which included a committee on career development and improvement. As a Task Force, we have been tasked with identifying programs or opportunities that meet immediate member needs. Because community is at the very foundation of the DBA’s value, we decided to root our solutions in the power of our legal community.
STRATUM: A Place to Work, A Place to Connect, A Place to Grow
Here in Denver, we boast a growing and energetic start-up industry full of smart people and community-centered solutions. Like lawyers, people who work in start-ups often work in small groups or even from home, which can be isolating. Many began migrating to coffee shops, but over time that option presented its own challenges. In these challenges, some saw opportunity. Today, spaces like Shift and Galvanize (located in the metro area) cater to start-ups and freelancers that want more than a place to plug in. These spaces cater to individuals seeking the kind of support that only a strong community can provide.
How do they do it? These workspaces offer an array of amenities, including meeting rooms, wi-fi, networking, and more. People who frequent them have a place to work in an environment that promotes collegiality, inspiration, and solutions to challenges they face. And from the looks of it, they even have a little fun. So we thought, why don’t we try it?
We are excited to announce Stratum, a members-only, co-working space for lawyers at the Denver Bar Association. Stratum will give members a stronger sense of community and collegiality, while providing them with the business amenities they need to enhance their 21st century practices.
Building the Foundation for the Bar and Its Members
Through Stratum, the bar association becomes a partner in the professional and practice development of its members. This space will provide valuable and tangible benefits (see Amenities sidebar) that will help members strengthen their own professional foundations while also giving members a reason and a forum to partner with the bar as it tackles the challenges ahead. After all, a bar association is only as good as its members. To borrow from our start-up friends, it’s time to galvanize. We can only do that together.
We hope to see you on April 8 for the ribbon cutting!
By Alli Gerkman and Jessica Schmidt
Alli Gerkman is Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers at IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Jessica Schmidt is an Associate at Ridley McGreevy & Winocur, P.C. in Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alli and Jessica are co-chairs of the Career Development and Improvement Committee of the Denver Bar Association’s Fit to Practice Task Force.