March 30, 2015

Colorado Law Schools Rise in 2016 U.S. News Law School Ratings

The 2016 U.S. News and World Report law school rankings are in, and both Colorado law schools saw slight increases. University of Colorado Law School ranked 40 this year, up from 43 last year. The University of Denver Sturm College of Law ranked 67 this year, up from last year’s 68. DU’s part time program was ranked 10 this year, up two spots from last year.

U.S. News changed their rating procedure this year, and schools were discounted for having large percentages of students in university-funded jobs. U.S. News did not completely eliminate employment information for graduates employed by their schools, since any legal job is preferable to unemployment.

In addition to the main law school ratings, each school had specialty programs with high rankings. CU’s Environmental Law program was ranked 5th nationally, the legal writing program at DU was ranked 7th, and DU’s clinical program was ranked 14 this year.

For the complete U.S. News and World Report law school ratings, click here.

DBA Award Winners Announced; Chuck Turner Receives DBA Award of Merit

The Denver Bar Association announced the winners of its 2015 DBA Awards on February 24, 2015. Award recipients will be recognized at the annual DBA Awards Ceremony on July 9, 2015 at the Ralph Carr Justice Center.

chuck turner 300Charles C. “Chuck” Turner will receive the Award of Merit, the DBA’s highest honor, for his outstanding leadership of the DBA and CBA. The Award of Merit recognizes outstanding service and contributions to the DBA and the legal profession, rendered to improve the administration of justice.

The Honorable Ruben Hernandez, magistrate judge at the Denver Probate Court, will receive the Judicial Excellence Award. This award is given to members of the judiciary who exemplify outstanding service or make exceptional contributions to the improvement of the justice system.

Gillian McKean BidgoodGillian M. Bidgood has been selected to receive the DBA Young Lawyer of the Year Award. This award is given to a DBA member and attorney who is 37 or under or has been in practice less than three years. Ms. Bidgood is a shareholder in the Denver office of Polsinelli PC who practices employment defense. Ms. Bidgood is a contributing author to CBA-CLE’s Practitioner’s Guide to Colorado Employment Law.

MCHUGH_FORMAL_use_logoJohn M. McHugh will receive the Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award. The Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award is given annually to a DBA member who has performed extraordinary voluntary legal or community service. Mr. McHugh is an associate at Reilly Pozner LLP, where he practices complex civil and commercial litigation. Mr. McHugh is active with the Colorado GLBT Bar Association, and serves on that organization’s board of directors and membership committee.

Doug Wilhelm, 8th Grade history teacher at Hamilton Middle School in Denver Public Schools, will receive the Education in the Legal System Award. This award honors educators or schools that exhibit outstanding participation in legal and civics education. Mr. Wilhelm received the 9News 9Teachers Who Care award in November 2010 for his outstanding classroom work.

The Denver Bar Association Court Mediation Services Program will receive the Projects and Programs Award. This award acknowledges the immense efforts of programs that provide legal education, outreach, pro bono services or fundraising.

Congratulations to all the award recipients!

In Memoriam: Billie Castle

Billie_CastleBillie Castle, Grand Junction trust and estate attorney and former author and speaker for CBA-CLE, died on February 22, 2015, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. Billie was respected and admired by colleagues and clients alike. She was a solo practitioner at the Law Office of Billie M. Castle, where she offered estate planning, disability planning, Medicaid, will probates, and preparation of wills and trusts.

Billie wrote a chapter, “Medicaid: Use of Trusts in Medicaid Planning,” in the Colorado Elder Law Handbook from 2004 to 2007, and she co-authored the “Trusts in Long-Term Care and Disability Planning” chapter in the Colorado Estate Planning Handbook (Orange Book Handbook) from 2006 to 2009. She was also faculty at the Colorado Estate Planning Retreat from 2004 to 2007. She was a CBA member and a former chair of the CBA Elder Law Section. She was certified by the National Elder Law Foundation as a Certified Elder Law Attorney, and wrote numerous articles on estate planning, Medicaid, and trusts.

Billie was a native of Colorado’s western slope and a strong supporter of Colorado Mesa University, where she received her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude. She received her law degree, magna cum laude, from Willamette University in Oregon, where she was ranked second in her class. She served on the Willamette Law Review and clerked for the Marion County District Attorney’s Office while in law school.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, February 26 in Grand Junction. Tributes to and memories of Billie can be left on this webpage. To donate in Billie’s memory to her charity of choice, Colorado Mesa University Foundation, click here.

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business Award

The Denver Business Journal is seeking nominations for its 2015 Outstanding Women in Business special section. Nominations can be in multiple categories, such as law, government and nonprofits, small and large business owner, lifetime achievement award, and Mile High leaders. Nominees will be evaluated on innovation, entrepreneurship, professional accomplishment, and community leadership.

The special section will run August 21, 2015, and women selected as Outstanding Women in Business will also be honored at an awards event. Nominations must be submitted via the Denver Business Journal’s online form and must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2015.

For more information about eligibility requirements and the nomination process, click here.

Denise D. Hoffman Recognized with 2014 Davis Award

Denise-HoffmanDenise D. Hoffman was honored on Thursday, January 22, 2015 with the 2014 Richard Marden Davis Award at a dinner in her honor. The award recognizes her outstanding service to the legal community, along with her civic and charitable leadership.

“It is truly an honor to receive such a prestigious award,” said Ms. Hoffman. “To be among such a highly regarded class of past winners is a humbling experience.”

The Davis Award is presented annually “to a Denver lawyer who is 40 years old or younger and combines excellence as a lawyer with civic, cultural, educational, and charitable leadership.” The award was created in memory of Richard Marden Davis, one of the founders of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, who devoted himself tirelessly to the profession and the community. Each honoree “best exemplifies the character and promise of Richard Davis at that stage in his career.” Ms. Hoffman follows a long line of past winners who have continued to serve the Denver legal community, including last year’s honoree, Shannon Stevenson.

Ms. Hoffman is the Managing Partner at Hoffman Crews Nies Waggener & Foster LLP. She holds an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law and represents both individual and organizational clients in all aspects of tax planning, and controversy resolution. She is primarily focused on tax exempt organizations, estate and business succession planning, and business formation and dispositions. She works closely with a variety of clients, including entrepreneurs, corporate executives, professional athletes, investment bankers, real estate developers, family offices, and philanthropists to help them identify their objectives and provide creative and pragmatic solutions designed to meet their specific goals.

In January 2012, inspired by her work with her nonprofit clients and her service on the Colorado Garden Foundation and Family Tree boards of directors, Ms. Hoffman knew she was ready to make a more direct impact. Her dream: to form a nonprofit organization that could serve as a vehicle to propel deserving young people towards success via increased opportunities for higher education. By June 2012 Ms. Hoffman founded CHOICE Education Foundation, a § 501(c)(3) nonprofit. CHOICE works to empower students from low-income households who have a dream of pursuing higher education and are dedicated to using that education to make meaningful contributions to their communities. CHOICE awards a full-ride scholarship on an annual basis to a Colorado public high school senior to attend a Colorado public college, university, or vocational school. CHOICE currently supports three college students who are in attendance at Colorado State University, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Northern Colorado.

“Ms. Hoffman is a talented and committed lawyer and community leader who has exhibited an uncanny creativity in her approach to the practice of law,” said Chris Richardson, Managing Partner at DGS. “I continue to be impressed by the selection committee’s ability to honor excellent lawyers who are also truly outstanding civic and community leaders.”

Chuck Turner to Receive Colorado Bar Association’s Award of Merit

chuck turner 300Charles C. Turner will be presented with the Colorado Bar Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, at the Colorado Bar Foundation’s Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.

Turner will step down from his position as Executive Director of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations effective Jan. 1, after 34 years of service.  Turner was the youngest executive director in the country when selected to the post in 1980.

“I’ve been honored to serve in this capacity with an outstanding staff and dedicated leadership and members,” Turner says. “Every day has been an adventure with both internal and external considerations to deal with, but I never, ever regretted my choice of career and feel blessed to have had the chance to have a small hand in the success of our Associations and our loyal members. To be named alongside the previous award recipients is simply overwhelming.”

The five most recent recipients of the Award of Merit – Bennett Aisenberg, Michael Berger, Gary Jackson, Constance Talmage and Anthony van Westrum – came together to write a nomination letter in support of Turner. They cited his impressive service and contributions to the legal profession, to the administration of justice, and to the community. It was noted that Turner went far above and beyond for three and a half decades, turning it into much more than “just a job.” His extra elements of service, delivered “with a devotion and positive effectiveness,” make him especially deserving of this honor.

“Chuck has done it all and has done it for thirty four years,” CBA President Charles Garcia says. “We all are indebted to him and this is a token of our gratitude for all he has done for the association and each of us individually as members.”

The Award of Merit, the association’s highest honor, is given annually to a member for outstanding service to the association, the legal profession, the administration of justice and the community. Turner and CBA Young Lawyers Division’s Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award recipient Ryann Peyton will be honored at the Colorado Bar Foundation’s Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Friday, Jan. 9, at the Hyatt Regency Denver.

Credit Unions Now Able to Offer Federally Insured Attorney Trust Accounts

On December 18, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 3468, “Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Parity Act.” This Act allows credit unions to federally insure attorney trust accounts to the maximum amount allowed under the Share Insurance Fund.

The Act requires the National Credit Union Administration Board to provide pass-through share insurance to shares of any interest in a lawyer’s IOLTA account. Previously, credit unions were not able to insure these accounts at the same levels as banks because not all clients were members of the credit union, creating a competitive disadvantage for credit unions with attorney trust accounts.

 

J. Ryann Peyton Named Colorado Bar Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year

RyannPeytonIn recognition of her exceptional contributions to the legal profession and the community, J. Ryann Peyton has been named the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year.

Peyton, 32, is currently Special Counsel to The Harris Law Firm. She received her J.D. degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and an LLM in Taxation from the University of Denver. Peyton is the current chair of the board of The GLBT Community Center of Colorado, and a founding member and current President of the Colorado GLBT Bar Association Foundation. She is also a Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors member.

“It is an honor to be recognized by my colleagues and peers to receive this award. As a diverse attorney, I approach my practice and community engagement with a passion for recognizing and meeting the needs of underserved populations,” Peyton says. “It is a privilege to work with and lead extraordinary organizations and individuals who are working each day to advance opportunities for these often under represented communities.”

The Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year award is given annually to a young lawyer with an outstanding record of professional success, community service achievements, and a strong commitment to civic participation and inspiring others. McPherson was honored with the award in 1993; he went on to serve three terms in the state legislature. The award was renamed in his honor following his death in 2000.

“It is my privilege and honor to work alongside Ryann Peyton each day in our family law practice. She exemplifies the best of the noble profession of lawyering,” Rich Harris, President of The Harris Law Firm, says. “Ryann is that rare individual who balances her law practice with her important charitable work. She is truly making a difference each day for her clients and for the community.”

Peyton will be honored at the Colorado Bar Foundation’s Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Friday, Jan. 9 at the Hyatt Regency Denver.

Start the New Year Right with the DBA Health Fair

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight and get healthy. The DBA Health Fair can help you reach your goals.  On January 8, 2015, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the DBA Fit to Practice Task Force will host the Second Annual DBA Health Fair at the CBA/DBA offices. For only $10 ($20 for non-members), you’ll earn one ethics credit and learn how to better manage stress within your practice, receive a biometric screening with cholesterol, glucose and body composition tests, have an opportunity to review your results with a physician, receive a breathing test, consult with other health professionals, and take advantage of healthy food and drinks and a free chair massage. The CLE will run from 11 a.m. to noon.

To register for the health fair and ethics CLE, click here or email lunches@cobar.org. Don’t miss this opportunity to start the new year on a healthy note!

Strikes for Tykes with the DBA Community Action Network this Saturday

Strikes4TykesThis Saturday, December 6, the Denver Bar Association’s Community Action Network will host Strikes for Tykes at Elitch Lanes from 11 am to 2 pm. Strikes for Tykes is a bowling event to benefit the Children’s Outreach Project, a nonprofit high quality early childhood education program for typical, accelerated, and developmentally delayed children in the Denver metro area. Adults can participate in Strikes for Tykes for $35 ($15 for children 12 and under) or can rent an entire lane for $150. To register, click here, and for more information, email Alexa Drago at adrago@cobar.org.

2014 Colorado Assembly of Lawyers and New Attorneys Sworn in at Fall Admissions Ceremony

groupoathMany of the 632 new attorneys who passed the Colorado bar exam in July of this year were admitted to practice law in Colorado on Monday, November 3, 2014, at the Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver. Preceding the admittance ceremony was the 2014 Colorado Assembly of Lawyers. The annual assembly culminates October’s Legal Professionalism Month, during which members of the Colorado legal profession rededicate themselves to the highest standard of professionalism and integrity. This year’s assembly featured a panel discussion about professionalism in the 21st century. Following the assembly, the new attorneys took the Oath of Admission, and were welcomed to practice by Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Marcia Krieger, and CBA President Charley Garcia. The keynote address was given by former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Bender.

The University of Colorado, University of Denver, and the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division all held receptions immediately following the fall admission ceremony. CU’s reception for their alumni was held at Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House and DU’s reception for their alumni was held at Rock Bottom Brewery. For the first time, CBA YLD held a reception for those just sworn into practice from out of state schools. The CBA YLD reception was held at Pizza Republica where more than 50 new attorneys and their family enjoyed drinks and appetizers.  

Legal Community Credit Union Offering Holiday Loan Specials

LCCUThe Legal Community Credit Union is an alternative financial service available exclusively to members of Colorado’s legal community. All members of the Colorado Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association, and the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado are eligible for membership in the credit union, as well as anyone who works in the 1900 Grant building or the Creekside at Columbine office park. Credit union membership extends to all family members, and does not terminate if you move, change jobs, or retire. Plus, the credit union offers great customer service and great interest rates.

The Legal Community Credit Union is offering loan specials through the end of the year for credit union members. Holiday stimulus loans, auto loans, and auto refinancing loans are all available at reduced interest rates. More information about the holiday loan specials is available here.

To apply for credit union membership and enjoy great rates on loans, click here.