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The American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution has awarded the 2012 Chair’s Award for Civility in the Law to Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Russell E. Carparelli. Lawyers are leaders throughout our society, and as such, have a unique capacity to influence the character of public discourse through our own actions and the advice we give our clients and others who seek it.  The Award recognizes lawyers who have taken meaningful steps to promote a more civil public discourse and who epitomize the highest professional standards of civility.  Deborah Masucci, 2011-2012 Chair of the Section of Dispute Resolution, said the “ABA House of Delegates has called upon all lawyers to take ‘meaningful steps’ to promote civility in public discourse and the practice of law.  The Section’s award is intended to recognize lawyers who are fulfilling that expectation.  Judge Carparelli is one of those lawyers.” 

Judge Carparelli was sworn in as a Judge of the Colorado Court of Appeals in February 2003. He has more than 30 years experience as a litigator, trial attorney, trial judge, appellate judge and mediator.  He served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force and retired in 1990 in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel. After retiring from the Air Force and before his appointment to the Court of Appeals, he was in private practice for twelve years as a litigator representing individuals and small and large businesses. Michael L. Bender, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Colorado, stated that “Judge Carparelli is without question one of the Colorado Legal Community’s greatest champions of professionalism and civility.”

Building on the principles that define professionals and the conduct that distinguishes civil from uncivil conduct, Judge Carparelli developed a program titled “Civility: It’s a Skills Thing,” that demonstrates to lawyers, judges, and others involved in the legal process how to apply the principles derived from mediation and negotiation theory to promote civility in the courtroom, business transactions, litigation, and involvement in public organizations and governance. Judge Carparelli chairs one of the working groups for the Colorado Chief Justice’s Commission on the Profession. In this role, Judge Carparelli is responsible for devising and promoting programs that enhance and improve communication and professionalism between and among judges and attorneys throughout the state.

Judge Carparelli has worked to develop roundtables of stakeholders in the legal process, including leaders of many American Inns of Court in Colorado.  He has developed programs and innovative approaches to promote and inculcate professionalism and civility among Inn members.  To supplement these outreach activities, Judge Carparelli has begun drafting a professionalism resource guide that draws upon his “Civility: It’s a Skills Thing” presentation, as well as resources from a wide variety of popular and academic publications that provide guidance and training in professionalism, conflict resolution, and negotiation strategies and techniques. Judge Carparelli is also an active member of the CBA/DBA Professionalism Coordinating Council, a statewide group dedicated to improving professionalism.

Deborah Masucci will present the award to Judge Carparelli at the Colorado Bar Assembly of Lawyers on October 29, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.