In its sixtieth year, the Arapahoe County Bar Association is reflecting on its roots and history, not only to understand its beginning and how it got to where it is now, but also to help map the future of the organization. The ACBA members are its lifeblood and the engine that continues to make the organization as powerful as it is, and without its members the ACBA does not exist. The ACBA owes its existence and success to its pioneering members.
While every member has a role to play in the organization, one member of the ACBA has worked tirelessly in helping to create the organization as we know it and continues to have a hand in its direction and future.
Michael P. Miller has been a member of the ACBA since 1978 and has filled almost every role (including serving as President) and has received nearly every award that the ACBA offers (including the Tommy Drinkwine Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award). While the positions and the awards are a testament to Mike’s dedication and commitment to the ACBA, the legal community, Arapahoe County and the State of Colorado at large, Mike’s contributions to the ACBA continue to be felt today.
Mike’s father, Martin (Marty) Miller (1924-2007) was one of the original founders of the ACBA who as a District Court Judge for the then 1st Judicial District, called from the bench to have the Arapahoe County lawyers form their own Bar Association. Mike stepped into the shoes of a bar leader and helped work to bring the ACBA to the next level of success. Michael has been instrumental in introducing and helping to incorporate modern initiatives and programs into the bar.
Prior to serving as an officer with the ACBA, Mike helped fund and produce a 35-minute video production captioned “The Birth of the Bar.” This film produced by the UC Denver Film and Theatre Department, interviewed every surviving founder of the ACBA and captured many of their thoughts and memories of the early days of the ACBA. This film is a must see and is available on the new ACBA web page.
When Mike served as President Elect, he was the first ACBA member to attend the Bar Leaders Institute conference in Chicago hosted by the American Bar Association. During this event, he discovered that the ACBA was the largest bar association in the country without a dedicated executive director. With this revelation and upon Mike’s insistence, the ACBA hired its first executive director, and continues to rely on amazing and dedicated people to help run and manage the day-to-day operations of the ACBA. The hiring of an executive director has allowed the ACBA to continue to offer the services, programming, and events that the members expect, and has made the ACBA one of the leading bar associations in Colorado.
Mike has also worked to implement another signature program of the ACBA which is the Arapahoe County Bar Foundation. Mike worked, pushed, pulled, and assisted in the creation of the Bar Foundation and its signature program. This organization’s mission, among other charitable endeavors, is to raise money for the “Laptops from Lawyers” program that gives laptop computers to deserving high school students in Arapahoe County who, but for this award, would be attending college or university without a laptop computer. Since its inception, the ACBF has given away over 200 laptops to deserving students. Much like the decision to hire an executive director, the Bar Foundation organization is a program that is a model program that continues to set the ACBA apart as a leading bar association in Colorado.
Mike continues to this day to play an integral role in the management and organization of the Arapahoe Bar Association and sits as the Chair of the Arapahoe County Bar Foundation. As importantly, Mike fills an important role as a “keeper” of the knowledge that is a critical link between the history and future of the bar. Retaining and understanding the history of the bar is critical tothe future of this outstanding organization.
The ACBA owes a debt of gratitude to many members, originators, pioneers, and leaders like Michael Miller. Thank you for everything that you have done, and continue to do, for the Arapahoe County Bar Association, the Arapahoe County Bar Foundation, Arapahoe County, and Colorado.
Nov. 2, 18 by Benjamin Currier, Esq.