Taubman, Dan 2018

Last modified: 2021-02-21 05:44
Storyteller: Taubman, Dan
Interviewer: Houseman, Alan
Date of interview: 2018-05-11
Length: 0:42:07

Topics: Access to justice commissions, SSI disability, and Support centers
Geo, US: CO
Lists: Judges
Medium: Video
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NEJL I.D.: NEJL-009.000
Georgetown status: Add oral history
Georgetown notes: summary, bio note, keywords
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Video status: Large File
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Transcript link: Transcript
Transcript status: DeleteMeSoon
Transcript notes:

Consortium status:
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Excerpt:

Judge of the Colorado Court of Appeals. Previously directed Colorado Coalition of Legal Services Programs. Staff Attorney, Center on Social Welfare Policy & Law. Managing Attorney, Pikes Peak Legal Services.



Bibliographic citation:

Abstract:

Description

Bio note
From https://www.courts.state.co.us/Bio.cfm?Employee_ID=74:
Colorado Coalition of Legal Services Programs, April 1982-February 1993 (Director since March 1983); Staff Attorney, Center on Social Welfare Policy & Law, New York, September 1980-April 1982; Managing Attorney, Pikes Peak Legal Services, Colorado Springs, CO, August 1978-September 1980; Law Clerk, Stephen Zane Rothchild, San Jose, CA, October 1977-June 1978; Staff Attorney, Pikes Peak Legal Services, Colorado Springs, CO, November 1975-September 1977; Law Clerk, Hon. Charles E. Stewart, Jr., US District Court September, 1974-September 1975; Legal Intern, Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project, Summer 1973; Peace Corps Volunteer, Cuzco, Peru, July 1969-August 1971.

Full text of transcript

Consortium for the National Equal Justice Library
Oral History Collection
Interview with
Dan Taubman
Conducted by Alan Houseman
May 11, 2018

Alan Houseman:
This is an oral history of Dan Taubman, who’s on the Court of Appeals of Colorado. It’s being conducted in San Diego at the Equal Justice Conference on May 10th, 2018. The interviewer is Alan Houseman for the National Equal Justice Library.

Alan Houseman:
Dan, let’s begin with a brief overview of your life essentially. Where you grew up, where you went to high school and college and law school, hat jobs you’ve held since then. Then we’ll come back and talk in-depth about the legal aid work and your court work.

Dan Taubman:
Sure. Thank you for interviewing me. I really appreciate the opportunity. I grew up in Brooklyn until I was nine, and then my family moved to Long Island. I went to Oceanside High School on the south shore of Long Island. After that I went to Cornell University where I graduated in 1969. Then I served in Peru with the Peace Corps for two years. After that I went to Harvard Law School and I graduated in 1974. After that I clerked for a federal district court judge in the Southern District of New York for one year. Then I came to Colorado and worked for Pike’s Peak Legal Services for four of the next five years. Then I went back to New York and worked for the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law.

Dan Taubman:
Then I came to Colorado in 1982, and I’ve been in Colorado since then. I was with the Colorado Coalition of Legal Services Programs from 1982 to 1993. I was its director for the last 10 years I was there. Then since March of 1993 I’ve been a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Alan Houseman:
What factors led you to work with Pike’s Peak Legal Services? Religion? Family? Mentors? What people or factors influenced you to do that?

Dan Taubman:
Well, I had always been interested in working for a legal services program. I had worked for a migrant legal services program in Illinois after my second year in law school. So I got a job with Pike’s Peak Legal Services in Colorado Springs. My first wife had gotten a job there as well. So it turned out to be a good opportunity to start practicing.

Alan Houseman:
Could you describe the program a bit, what you did and some of the accomplishments there?

Dan Taubman:
Sure. I was there for two stints. The first time I was there almost two years. I was a general attorney in an office that had at that time 11 lawyers. That number is kind of impressive since I was just in Colorado Springs two days ago and the managing attorney told me they now have six lawyers, which I think is an increase over what they had a year or two ago. But we had 11 lawyers in two different offices. We handled typical legal services cases in family law, consumer law, public benefits, housing. I worked on all of those cases. Then I went briefly to California and came back. I was the managing attorney for Pike’s Peak Legal Services for an office in Canyon City that covered a four-county rural area.

Alan Houseman:
Were there any significant accomplishments that you had there, anything like that?

Dan Taubman:
I don’t think I worked on any really significant cases. I wrote an article then that was published in the Colorado Lawyer about the General Assistance Program, which was one of the 19th century public benefit programs that persisted in Colorado and other places. We called it “cowboys and indigents”, the Colorado General Assistance Program.

Alan Houseman:
Who was the director then at the time you worked there?

Dan Taubman:
When I first started there was a woman named [Loah? CANNOT FIND WITH GOOGLE] Bliss who was the director, and she left. She was replaced by Jack Donahue. I worked with him the rest of the time. He had been the director of Rhode Island Legal Services. He was a mentor to many people who worked at Pike’s Peak Legal Services.

Alan Houseman:
Then you went to New York. Why did you leave Pike’s Peak, and what did you do at the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law?

Dan Taubman:
Well, I think I wanted a change of scenery. I thought it would be a good opportunity to work at a national legal services program. I was able to get a job at the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law. I had the opportunity to work with Henry Freedman, who had been one of the lawyers who litigated Goldberg v. Kelly. So that was a unique opportunity to work there.

Alan Houseman:
Right. We have an oral history of Henry, by the way. Then you came back to Colorado. What brought you back to Colorado? Then describe the Coalition on Legal Services Programs, what it does and what you did there.

Dan Taubman:
Well, even though I am from New York, I tired of living in New York. I still had friends in Colorado. I thought I’d look for a position in Colorado. I got a job with the Colorado Coalition of Legal Services Programs. It was just for one year. Some people asked me, “Well, why are you taking a job for only one year?” I told them, “Well, if it only lasts for one year, I might be forced to accept a higher paying job.” I worked with the Colorado Coalition of Legal Services, which was the state support unit for the four existing legal services programs in the state of Colorado. We engaged in a variety of activities.

Alan Houseman:
Like what?

Dan Taubman:
Well, we did several things. Number one, I served as co-counsel with lawyers from those four legal services programs, occasionally with pro bono lawyers, to conduct impact litigation and class actions. Second, our office had a lobbyist who was able to lobby to a limited extent consistent with the Legal Services Corporation guidelines. Third, we put on training conferences throughout the state for legal services lawyers, paralegals, and support staff. Fourth, we coordinated task forces in the areas of public benefits, consumer law, and housing. We also coordinated the publication of a housing law manual and a consumer law manual.

Alan Houseman:
What do you think you accomplished there? There are a lot of things you were doing, obviously.

Dan Taubman:
Well, I think the most significant accomplishment was the cases that we litigated. We were very successful in a number of cases, many of which involved Social Security disability benefits. At that time in the early 1980s, the government was terminating Social Security benefits for thousands or hundreds of thousands of Social Security disability recipients around the country. Some of them were in the same or worse condition as when they were first awarded benefits.

Dan Taubman:
So we filed a case called Trujillo v. Schweikert to challenge. We said what was required was a medical improvement standard. There were similar cases filed throughout the country. Almost all of them were successful and ruled in favor of the Social Security disability recipients. Significantly, I think in 1984, Congress unanimously passed what was called the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act, which legislatively created the standard which we had been litigating for for the past several years. I thought that was significant.

Dan Taubman:
We had a number of other cases. We had a 10th Circuit-wide class action called Adamson v. Bowen, which involved what we call the treating physician rule. In our class action, we said that the Social Security Administration had to give significant weight to a claimant’s own treating physician’s opinion regarding the claimant’s disability. That issue became particularly significant because the Social Security Administration began espousing a theory of what is called nonacquiescence. In other words, the Social Security Administration said, “Well, even if you win in case A, that holding doesn’t apply to case B. Because it’s not required.” That’s part of the reason we filed the class action, and we were successful in that. So that required the Social Security Administration to follow the treating physician rule, not only in Colorado but in all states of the 10th Circuit.

Dan Taubman:
We also filed another case called [Polito? CANNOT FIND CASE IN GOOGLE] v. Heckler, which was another class action to challenge what was called the 75-mile rule. The Social Security Administration began a policy of not holding hearings close to where a claimant lived if the claimant was within 75 miles of another Social Security office. The practical effect of that was that claimants who lived in cities like Fort Collins and Greeley and Colorado Springs were required to come to Denver for hearings. Because we were dealing with people who were significantly disabled, that was a real hardship for them. We challenged that rule successfully in both the district court and at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dan Taubman:
We also had a case that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court called Sullivan v. Everhart. Unfortunately we lost that case in the Supreme Court by five to four. We won it in the district court, and we won it in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. We didn’t really want it to go to the US Supreme Court, but our win in the 10th Circuit created a split in the circuits which inevitably led to the US Supreme Court granting cert in that case.

Alan Houseman:
What was that case about?

Dan Taubman:
That case involved a kind of technical issue. My philosophy is if you’re filing a class action, it should be an issue where you can describe it to your mother, and then your mother should say, “Oh, that’s terrible. How can they do that?” But this was not one of those cases. It was a case where Social Security had a policy of offsetting overpayments against underpayments. It’s even hard to explain how the same person can have both an overpayment and an underpayment. But it actually happened to a fair number of people. So our position was that the Social Security Administration should not offset the overpayment against the underpayment, because Social Security had a policy that it could waive collection of an overpayment if it wasn’t the recipient’s fault for having been overpaid. But as I said, we lost that issue on a five to four decision.

Alan Houseman:
After the Colorado Coalition, you were appointed to the Court of Appeals?

Dan Taubman:
Yes I was.

Alan Houseman:
Who appointed you? How did that happen?

Dan Taubman:
Well, after law school I clerked for a federal district court judge, as I mentioned, in the Southern District of New York. I had an idea of what it was like to work in a judicial environment. At the Colorado Coalition, I had gotten a lot of appellate experience, because a lot of the cases that we had, as I mentioned, were impact cases. So that meant that if we won the cases, the other side would often appeal. If we lost the cases, then we would appeal.

Dan Taubman:
It seemed to me that it would be appropriate for me to apply to the Colorado Court of Appeals. I applied several times unsuccessfully. I became discouraged because I didn’t think any governor would appoint a legal services lawyer. I stopped applying for a little while. Then I asked some people and they said, “No, go ahead and apply. Don’t be discouraged.” I applied again, and fortunately I was chosen by governor Roy Romer. I was appointed in November of 1992, and sworn in on March 1 of 1993.

Alan Houseman:
On the court of appeals, what are some of the most important cases that you’ve decided, including the one that’s currently at the US Supreme Court.

Dan Taubman:
Well, I’ve decided a number of cases that I think people would consider significant. There are three that I would mention, two of which are ones where my position has been vindicated by the United States Supreme Court. The third, as you mentioned, is the case called Masterpiece Cake versus the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which is currently pending before the United States Supreme Court. As you know, that’s the case that involves a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple. The same sex couple challenged that before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, based on a relatively recent amendment that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Dan Taubman:
Our opinion upheld the decision of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and rejected claims of free exercise of religion and freedom of speech. That case has garnered a lot of publicity, not only in Colorado, but nationally.

Dan Taubman:
The first case that I will mention in which I was vindicated by the United States Supreme Court is called Peña-Rodriguez versus Colorado. That’s a case that the Supreme Court decided, I believe, in 2017. It involved a situation where, after the defendant was convicted, two jurors reported that a third juror had made racist statements or racially discriminatory statements about Hispanics and Mexican-Americans. The majority in our court said that you couldn’t challenge whatever was stated by a juror during jury deliberations because juror deliberations are sacrosanct.

Dan Taubman:
I dissented based upon various cases that had been decided by other courts. I said that basically the defendant couldn’t have gotten a fair trial if one of the jurors was biased against Hispanics and Mexican-Americans in particular. The case went to the Colorado Supreme Court, which affirmed the majority on our court by a four to three decision. That case went then to the United States Supreme Court, which reversed the Colorado Supreme Court in a five to three decision, and said that, “Yes, you can challenge a conviction when there are racially discriminatory statements made by a juror.”

Dan Taubman:
The other case in which my position was vindicated relates to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in a case called Miller v. Alabama, in which the United States Supreme Court held that juveniles who were convicted of murder couldn’t be sentenced a life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. So the issue arose after that about whether the decision in Miller v. Alabama was retroactive. There was litigation on that issue throughout the country in many courts. I wrote a special concurring opinion in a case called People v. Wilder in which I said that Miller v. Alabama should be retroactive. Then I think two years later the United States Supreme Court, in a completely different case, McDonald v. Louisiana, ruled that Miller v. Alabama was retroactive. My position was upheld there.

Dan Taubman:
I’ve written other decisions that may or may not be considered significant. One decision that I wrote that garnered a lot of publicity when I wrote it was the decision saying that a 15-year-old could engage in a common law marriage. Some people were in an uproar about that because they were saying, “How could a 15-year-old be married?” The governor put that on the agenda for a special session of the state legislature. Then the legislature changed the law. But that was completely consistent with my opinion, because common law marriage is based upon the absence of a statute. So if there is no statute, we said this is what the common law provided for. If the general assembly or the legislature wanted to change it, it could, and it did. So that took care of that issue.

Alan Houseman:
You’ve been on the Colorado Access to Justice Commission, which is one reason you’re here at this conference. Describe what the commission does, and some of its accomplishments and your role on it.

Dan Taubman:
Sure. I’ve been on the Colorado Access to Justice Commission since 2004. It was created in 2003. I was actually on an ad hoc committee of the Colorado Supreme Court in the late 1990s that recommended a whole series of recommendations, including the creation of a statewide commission. We didn’t call it an Access to Justice Commission then. I think we called it a Statewide Pro Bono Commission. But that led to the creation of the Colorado Access to Justice Commission.

Dan Taubman:
I think the Colorado Access to Justice Commission has done a lot of good things. It has about 20 members. Some were appointed by the court, some by the Colorado Bar Association. One by the Colorado Legal Aid Foundation. There’s one appointee of the Senate, another by the House, and a third by the governor. There’s a diversity of appointing authorities for the Access to Justice Commission.

Dan Taubman:
The Access to Justice Commission was instrumental in persuading the Colorado Supreme Court to initiate the Colorado Supreme Court Pro Bono Recognition Program, which is still in existence. It’s a program where law firms pledge that, on average, all of the lawyers in the law firm will provide 50 hours of pro bono service per year. It started with about 45 law firms participating, and now there are about 300. Not all of them satisfy their pledge, but about 2/3 of them do. I think that’s been significant.

Dan Taubman:
In addition to that, Colorado was one of seven states that in late 2017 received a Justice For All grant from the National Center for State Courts and the Public Welfare Foundation. It was for over $96,000 to enable us to conduct a strategic action plan. That resulted in a Justice For All summit in October of last year attended by over 100 people from throughout Colorado. Earlier this year it resulted in a comprehensive strategic action plan with over 60 recommendations that were approved by the Access to Justice Commission.

Dan Taubman:
More recently the Access to Justice Commission received another grant from the National Center for State Courts and the Public Welfare Foundation in the amount of $150,000, which is an implementation grant. It’s going to be used for an Access to Justice pilot project. The leadership team is in the process of choosing one rural judicial district and one urban judicial district with the goal of having those judicial districts enhance their Access to Justice activities during the course of the next year. It will hopefully provide a model, not only for Colorado, but nationally in terms of how to achieve 100% access to justice.

Alan Houseman:
That leads me to a broader question. You’ve been a local legal aid attorney handling basic cases at the local level. You’ve been at a national support center. You ran the state support center for many years. Now you’re a judge. In light of this extensive background, what is your vision of the future for Access to Justice? What would you like to see happen? Not what necessarily will happen, but what would you like to see happen?

Dan Taubman:
Sure. I’m glad you asked me a narrow question.

Alan Houseman:
Well, I can narrow it. But I don’t think I need to.

Dan Taubman:
I think that if you look at the strategic action plan that I mentioned, there are a whole host of recommendations of things that could be done in Colorado. I imagine similar things that could be done nationally to reach the goal of 100% access to justice. I might add parenthetically that in January of last year, I co-authored an article with then professor Melissa Hart — she’s now a justice on the Colorado Supreme Court — towards achieving 100% access to justice in Colorado.

Dan Taubman:
What I envision is that there would be a continuum of legal services provided to meet the needs of anybody who had a legal problem. That continuum would include representation by either legal services lawyers or pro bono lawyers. Then if people didn’t qualify that there would be modest means lawyers who could provide representation. There could be private attorneys who would provide limited scope representation or unbundling. People who had more means could pay for full representation. We have a long way to go to get there.

Dan Taubman:
In addition to that, I would like to see some way of improving the way to measure how much pro bono service lawyers do. There are about 10 states that have mandatory pro bono reporting, and about 15 states that have voluntary pro bono reporting rules. We don’t have either in Colorado, so we don’t really have a good sense of how many lawyers do pro bono service. Not only that, we did a survey on another committee that I’m on that involves access to justice that was answered by more than 2,000 lawyers throughout the state. That showed that a lot of lawyers, even when they say they’re doing pro bono service, are not doing pro bono service consistently with rule 6.1, which is the ethics rule that addresses pro bono service. There’s a lot of room to provide for lawyers to do more pro bono service there. Ultimately it would be nice to see a requirement that lawyers do pro bono service. But we tried to recommend that 20 years ago and there was such a firestorm of opposition. I’m not sure we’ll see that any time within our lifetimes.

Alan Houseman:
You’ve received some rewards over the years, which are in the resume. Which one of these are, in your view, the most important?

Dan Taubman:
I think the Judicial Excellence Award I received from the Denver Bar Association in 2012. That was completely unexpected. I think it was in recognition of the work that I’ve done in the area of access to justice, so I really appreciated that.

Alan Houseman:
You were active when you were at the Colorado Coalition in an organization called NOSSU. Could you describe what that organization was, and your role in it?

Dan Taubman:
Sure. Some people pronounce it “NO sue”. Other people pronounce it “NAH sue”.

Alan Houseman:
I think it’s “NO sue”.

Dan Taubman:
It’s an acronym for the National Organization of State Support Units. When I was with the Colorado Coalition of Legal Services Programs, I think there were about 35 states that had state support units. So we had a network of directors of state support programs that communicated with one another on a regular basis. We had telephone conference calls with 20 or 30 people participating. This was in the days before computers, before emails, before the internet, so it was much more difficult to communicate. We discussed various issues involving the Legal Services Corporation, and involving other issues of common interests to state support centers.

Alan Houseman:
Okay. Finally, do you have anything else you want to add to this discussion about your life and your work on Access to Justice? Any final thoughts or things we’ve left out that we didn’t cover that we should have?

Dan Taubman:
Sure. Let me mention a couple of things. In Colorado, the Access to Justice grant that we did last year showed that we had a huge number of different Access to Justice activities. We’re in the process of hopefully hiring a statewide Access to Justice coordinator. So there’s a real need to try and coordinate all of the different aspects of Access to Justice that are taking place.

Dan Taubman:
I have had the good fortune to participate in a variety of Access to Justice committees. There’s one that is part of the chief justice’s Commission on Professional Development that deals with pro bono issues. For four years I co-chaired the Colorado Bar Association’s Modest Means Taskforce. I think that’s a significant issue in terms of Access to Justice, going back to what you were asking about before. Originally Access to Justice commissions dealt primarily, if not exclusively, with access to justice for poor people. The Colorado Bar Association received a grant for writing a handbook or toolkit on modest means representation. That was the first time that the ABA, to my knowledge, indicated support for modest means representation. So I think that was significant. I think that’s an integral part of Access to Justice.

Dan Taubman:
Just a little while ago I went to part of a session on unbundling or limited scope representation. One of the things we did in Colorado as part of the Modest Means Taskforce, and that has continued, is to conduct what we called an unbundling roadshow. We’ve done several dozen presentations on unbundling throughout the state, mostly for private attorneys. But we’ve done some for state judges. In the last few years the federal courts in Colorado have done a 180-degree turn, and now are permitting lawyers to engage in unbundling in federal court. So we did a training session last year for federal judges and magistrates so that they would be familiar with unbundling rules. I think that’s significant.

Dan Taubman:
Before we started I mentioned I had brought some things. I have for you three articles that I wrote my third year in law school when I was on the Harvard Law Record, which is the law school newspaper. One was an interview I did with Sam Dash, who was the chief counsel for the Watergate Committee hearings. I had the opportunity to interview him. That was very interesting. Second, that summer I worked for the Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project. I wrote an article about that experience, and about the contracts that migrant workers were engaged in when they were hired to work in a Del Monte cannery in what were really illusory contracts. The third article I brought is about an interview I did with Justice Rehnquist when he came to Harvard Law School. That was very interesting.

Dan Taubman:
I also mentioned that I brought two other things. One is in 2005 we had a statewide legal services reunion. We compiled a list of judges who at one time had been legal services lawyers. There are over 40 judges and magistrates. Some of them were retired. Some of them were deceased. But I think that’s an unusual number of judges and magistrates who were at one time legal services lawyers in Colorado.

Dan Taubman:
Then I also brought a list of significant Colorado Legal Services cases. As I mentioned, unfortunately, I only have the even numbered pages of it, but I’ll email you the rest of it. The cases include the ones that I mentioned to you a little while ago, but also some of other significant cases, including one from Colorado Springs that predated my beginning with legal services that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where the legal services lawyers obtained a favorable decision from the Supreme Court on a welfare case.

Alan Houseman:
Good. Thank you.

Dan Taubman:
Thank you.

Alan Houseman:
One thing we forgot. During the time that you were at the Colorado Coalition of Legal Services, there was the effort to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation by President Ronald Reagan. One of his main targets was the state and national support centers. What do you remember of that?

Dan Taubman:
Well, I remember that because there was such a concerted long-lasting effort to defund legal services. One of their targets I think was the state support centers. So we were monitored several times. They actually had somebody look at our case files for the cases that we were litigating. For one of the monitoring efforts a law school classmate of mine reviewed the file in one of the cases we were litigated. He concluded that it was well litigated and efficiently litigated.

Dan Taubman:
One of the other related issues was the training conferences that we were doing. You might think that training would be something that would be perfectly innocuous and nonpolitical. But there was actually a comment in the Federal Register, if I remember correctly, that said, “Training has been used by legal services programs as a subterfuge for social engineering.” So at that time, one of the people on the national Legal Services Corporation board of directors was Pepe Mendez, who was a lawyer from Denver. He attended some of the meetings of the four legal services project directors and me, and he became interested in the training that we were doing. He established a National Legal Services Training Taskforce. Which doesn’t sound significant, but at the time it was very significant because there was virtually no communication between people in the Legal Services Corporation in Washington and people in programs throughout the country. This National Legal Services Training Taskforce actually included both. So it was very unusual for events occurring at that time.

Dan Taubman:
There was a hearing that was held in Denver about the quality of training. I remember that the director for the Continuing Legal Education program in Colorado spoke about the training and praised the qualify of the training that we were doing. Then I went to Washington DC and spoke at Pepe Mendez’s invitation to the LSC board of directors. He greeted me like I was his long lost brother, and praised all the work we were doing in the area of training. So I thought that was pretty significant. [The video is interrupted briefly here to change tapes or something.]

Alan Houseman:
We left out a few things earlier in the interview. we’re going to cover them now. Number one, you were in the Peace Corps in Peru. Talk a little bit about that, and how that’s been useful to you later.

Dan Taubman:
Sure. After I graduated from college, I was in the Peace Corps in Peru for two years, from 1969 to 1971. I worked in the area of potato cultivation, which might seem strange for a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn. But we had three months of training not only in Spanish, but in agriculture. I worked with campesinos, or subsistence farmers, in two villages, each for about a year, in the area of potato cultivation and microloans. They would learn how to use chemical fertilizers and insecticides to increase their crop yields. That was a really wonderful experience.

Dan Taubman:
Most of the people that I worked with spoke Quechua as their first language. That’s the language that the Incas spoke hundreds of years ago, but is still spoken by 10 to 15 million people in South America. So some of us lobbied the Peace Corps for training in Quechua. I learned some Quechua. When the people that I was working with saw that I spoke Quechua, of course they were eager to help me. So that was really a good additional experience. I told the people that the reason I was appointed to the Court of Appeals is that I was the only Quechua speaking judge on our court.

Alan Houseman:
We were talking about your Access to Justice work. We left out a couple of things. Why don’t we go over those things now?

Dan Taubman:
One of the things that I didn’t mention before was that, since 2006, I’ve been chair of what we call the Local Access to Justice Support Committee. Colorado is one of the few states, if not the only one, that has Local Access to Justice Committees in each judicial district. Or we have them in every judicial district except one. In each judicial district, the members of that Local Access to Justice Committee determine for themselves what activities they wish to undertake. Each committee has maybe 10 to 15 members consisting of a local judge or judges, local lawyers, maybe a legal services lawyer, a pro bono program coordinator, sometimes a district attorney, sometimes an interpreter. They come up with really creative and wonderful projects.

Dan Taubman:
In the last few years, a number of Local Access to Justice Committees have hosted programs like Family Law Resource Day, or Legal Resource Day, where they have had seminars for lay people. There is also an opportunity to meet with lawyers and get legal advice. Additionally, a judge or a magistrate is available to hear any cases or motions that can be resolved on that day. Those have been very successful and have been repeated in a number of locations.

Alan Houseman:
Was there one other thing, libraries?

Dan Taubman:
I mentioned one of the changes we’ve seen in Access to Justice in recent years is the increasing use of libraries. There’s a lawyer named Rick Morgan who’s provided information sessions for lay people throughout the state through public libraries. Many people have found those to be very beneficial. This is part of an increasing effort throughout Colorado and throughout the country to expand the number of areas where people receive legal information.

Alan Houseman:
Thank you. We’ve got it. We’ll end it there. Well, you should come up and see us this summer in Colorado.

Dan Taubman:
Well, if you invite us, then we’ll be up. That would be great.