History of the Continental Divide Bar Association

The Continental Divide Bar Association (CDBA) is the local bar association for attorneys practicing within the Fifth Judicial District.  That District includes Clear Creek, Lake, Summit and Eagle Counties.  The CDBA takes advantage of its mountainous location and plans annual Ski Day and Golf Day event. To further encourage potential members from across the state, the CDBA strives to keep its dues at a low rate.

The CDBA was the last local bar association to be recognized by the Colorado Bar Association (CBA).  It was accepted into membership by the Board of Governors of the CBA on July 1, 1941.  At first, the association included Eagle, Summit, Lake, Park and Chaffee counties although the initial officers resided in Leadville, Breckenridge and Eagle.  At some later date, perhaps in the 1950’s, Park and Chaffee counties were moved to the Heart of the Rockies Bar Association.

Until the early 1960’s, the geographical area of the CDBA had a mining and ranching economy, and Leadville was dominant.  In the early 1960’s the Breckenridge and Vail ski areas opened, and Summit and Eagle counties began to grow as resort areas.   Until 1972, one judge served the only three counties then present in the CDBA – Eagle, Summit, and Lake.  In the early 1980’s, the Climax Mine closed and negatively impacted the Leadville economy.

On July 1, 1975, Clear Creek County was moved from the First Judicial District to the Fifth Judicial District, causing that county to become part of the CDBA.  At the same time, a second district judge was added as well as the county court judge for Summit.  The Fifth Judicial District is now served by six district judges and four county court judges.  Summit and Eagle counties are dominant in terms of population. For a time, the Summit County bar operated informally as a separate association, without formal recognition from the CDBA.

In the new millennium, the Continental Divide Bar Association focuses on its members in all four counties and alternates meeting locations to accommodate the distance between the counties in the 5th Judicial  District.  The camaraderie of our attorneys is an important aspect of the bar association as well as coordinating volunteers in the areas of public and community outreach, volunteer mediation, and legal aid through advice clinics, pro bono commitment, and partial funding for legal aid and legal issues. The CBDA is also a conduit for information for attorneys practicing in the  5th Judicial District. The CDBA is also an opportunity to spend time on special event days for golf and skiing, among other activities.