John Sadwith Prepares to Leave CTLA

Executive director reflects on successes at organization

John Sadwith at the end of this year is retiring from his job as executive director of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. And after being the face of the association for 32 years, he’s going to try his best to step away so that it can find its new identity.

He has been involved in major lobbying efforts at the state capitol on behalf of the organization’s membership of plaintiff’s side litigators and has gotten the association involved in major philanthropic efforts as well. And beyond his noteworthy accomplishments with the association, many of those who know Sadwith recognize him for his “gruff exterior with a heart of gold” and the loyalty and familial feeling he has developed among his staff.


With the decades he’s been with the organization, he said he’s become a walking archive of history. Although he’s still learning that it’s the members’ organization and not his own, he is able to weigh in on what has been tried in the past and how the organization has carried on since the mid ’80s.

Sadwith’s career as an association administrator goes back long before working with CTLA. After attend-ing a Quaker-focused, coed boarding school, his experience at Ithaca College, where he went to school for his undergraduate studies, seemed backward, he said. So he went about changing it — he pushed to set up a coed governing board and as a result changed the culture at the university.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the September 4, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.