May 24, 2018

The 2012 DU Law Stars Annual Gala to Be Held Sept. 13

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law Law Stars event is just around the corner, to be held Thursday, September 13, 2012. Earlier this year, the law school named its awards recipients for the year, who will be honored at the event. Since 1993, DU Law Stars has recognized distinguished alumni and faculty for their achievements at the annual gala, which includes a light-hearted, humorous, and personal commemorative video of each honoree, recounting accomplishments both professional and personal.

This year’s awards recipients are:

Bill Keating, JD’71, Thompson G. Marsh Award:

A co-founder of the firm Keating Wagner Polidori Free, Bill has been listed in the Best Lawyers of America for more than 17 years. His strong work ethic and a love of the law and working with people has resulted in many honors including the invitations to the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, whose membership is limited to 500 Fellows in the United States and the American College of Trial Lawyers – representing less than the top one percent of lawyers in Colorado, and the U.S.  Bill has also been elected to membership in the International Society of Barristers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Academy of Catastrophic Injury Attorneys. In 2008 he was again selected by Colorado attorneys for inclusion in Colorado Super Lawyers list, and this year included among the Top 10 Colorado Super Lawyers. He lectures locally and nationally on litigation matters and is past president of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association.

Michael O’Donnell, JD’79, Outstanding Alumni Award:

Mike O’Donnell is a founder and the chairman of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell. Mike has served as national and regional counsel for a number of Fortune 500 companies, including General Electric, Advanced Bionics, McKesson, Boston Scientific, Pfizer, and CNA.  Mike was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as the chairman of its Colorado chapter for two consecutive years.  He was also elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates.  Mike is a former chairman of The Network of Trial Law Firms, a 7,000-member lawyer organization that offers continuing legal education programs on litigation topics.  Best Lawyers® lists Mike in five litigation practice areas and named him “Denver Legal Malpractice Lawyer of the Year” for 2011 and “Denver Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year” for 2012. Mike has appeared on the Colorado Super Lawyers list since its inception, including making it onto its top-ten list multiple times.  In 2011, Law Week Colorado selected Mike as one of ten “Lawyers of the Decade.” In a survey conducted by Law Week Colorado in 2010, Mike was selected by his peers as the “Best Trial Lawyer” in Colorado.   In 2008, Mike became only the seventh defense lawyer to receive an award from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for the highest standards of competency, ethics, and professionalism.

Mary Jo Gross, JD ’79, Alumni Professionalism Award:

Mary Jo Gross is the Senior Vice President, Secretary, and Corporate Counsel of ET Investments, LLC. Mary Jo came to ET Investments from United General Title Insurance Company where she served as Vice President and Corporate Counsel. Immediately prior to joining United General, Mary Jo was General Counsel for Transwest Trucks. And prior to her in-house corporate counsel career, Mary Jo was a shareholder and director of Fairfield and Woods, P.C., a long-standing Denver law firm. Mary Jo is a past President of the Denver Bar Association and a past Chairperson of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Alumni Council.

Professor Joyce Sterling, Excellence in Teaching Award:

Joyce Sterling has devoted more than a decade to the study of the legal profession and legal education. Her recent research has focused on the problems facing women in legal careers compared to their male counterparts. Her most recent article appears in University of Texas Journal of Women and the Law (titled “Sticky Floors, Broken Steps, Concrete Ceilings in Legal Careers”.) Since 1997, Professor Sterling has been one of the co-principal investigators on the “After the JD” Study. Professor Sterling has been a Visiting Scholar at Stanford Law School (Academic Year 1985-86), Visiting Professor at University of Cincinnati Law School (Fall 1990) and most recently a Visiting Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation (Academic Year 2002-2003). Professor Sterling is called upon to give lectures about gender in the legal profession. These include the keynote address to the NALP Foundation annual meeting (2004), as well as speaking at the LSAC Annual Meeting, Law Access, Association of American Law Schools, and the Law and Society Association. Professor Sterling’s teaching areas include: History of American Law, Scientific Evidence, Legal Profession (course on legal ethics), and Law and Society Seminar.

The four will be honored at the gala event on September 13, 2012 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver. More information about the DU Law Stars can be found here.

Click here to register for the event. Click here for information about becoming a Law Stars sponsor and table sales.

Professors Calhoun and Wilkinson Named Winners of Jules Milstein Scholarship Award

Editor’s Note: Celebrate the opening of the Supreme Court’s next term. Details below.

The University of Colorado School of Law has announced professors Emily Calhoun and Charles Wilkinson as the 2012 winners of the Jules Milstein Scholarship Award. Prof. Calhoun is the author of Losing Twice, while Prof. Wilkinson was recognized for The People are Dancing Again. As noted on the CU Law website, the award is given to “Colorado Law faculty . . . for a substantial published work that best demonstrates excellence in legal scholarship. It is normally given once a year at the end of the spring semester for a work published at any point in the preceding two calendar years.”

Prof. Calhoun began her legal career in the early 1970s as a civil rights attorney with the Southern Regional Office of the ACLU. She has consulted with organizations and attorneys on civil rights issues, and has worked to protect faculty rights and privileges through administrative and other service at the University of Colorado. She teaches and writes in the areas of civil rights, intractable disputes, and federal jurisdiction. In addition to her faculty responsibilities, Professor Calhoun currently serves as both a mediator and an ombudsperson for faculty disputes at the University. In Losing Twice, Prof. Calhoun argues that Supreme Court decisions often inflict a second loss on the losing parties and that the outrage generated by well-known decisions such as Gonzales v. Carhart and Bowers v. Hardwick is a consequence of this second loss.

Prof. Wilkinson worked with the Native American Rights Fund and taught at the University of Oregon, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota before coming to CU Law in 1987. Prof. Wilkinson’s scholarship and teaching focus on federal public land law and Indian law. He is the author of thirteen books, ranging from text books on public land law and Indian law to books aimed at a general audience. Prof. Wilkinson received the 2005 Colorado Book Award in the History category for Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations and the 2000 Colorado Book Award in the Colorado/West category for Messages From Frank’s Landing. His latest book, The People Are Dancing Again: The Siletz Tribe Of Western Oregon, explores the history of Oregon’s Siletz tribe from initial contact with Europeans through termination of the tribe and eventual restoration of the tribe’s official status.

Please join Prof. Calhoun at the CBA-CLE offices on October 1, 2012, as we celebrate the opening of the Supreme Court’s next term. Prof. Calhoun will discuss Losing Twice, and encourages participants to bring examples of U.S. Supreme Court constitutional rights decisions that they consider to be outrageous. These decisions will be used to explore Professor Calhoun’s argument about losing twice in rights disputes.

CLE Program: Losing Twice – Harms of Indifference in the Supreme Court with Emily Calhoun

This CLE presentation will take place on Monday, October 1. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in two formats: video on-demand and mp3 download.

Candlelight Vigil for DU Law Professor Ann Scales Tonight

Editors Note: We are sad to report that Ann died on Sunday morning at the age of 60.

University of Denver Sturm College of Law Professor Ann Scales was taken off life support this past Friday after suffering an accident. The DU Law community will be showing its support and love for their beloved professor by holding a candlelight vigil/memorial in her honor.

The vigil will be held on the front steps of the law school at 8:00 pm this evening, Monday, June 18, 2012. Candles will be provided as well as a journal in which you will be able to write your thoughts, prayers, and favorite memories of her. In addition, the school will have those who were closest to her speak and afterwards anyone else who wants to will be able to stand and say a few words about the woman who impacted so many.

Please join DU tonight to remember the amazing life of Ann Scales and to support each other during this difficult time.

If you have any questions please contact Casey Krizman at ckrizman@gmail.com.

Local Case and Attorneys at the Supreme Court: Cheney’s Secret Service Agents Entitled to Qualified Immunity

It isn’t often that a case rooted in Colorado reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, but on June 4, 2012, the Supreme Court announced its decision in a case with deep Colorado connections, Reichle v. Howards. The facts of the case occurred in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and the respondent, Golden resident Steven Howards, was represented by Denver attorney David Lane of Kilmer Lane & Newman LLP, while the petitioner Secret Service agents were represented by Denver lawyer Sean Gallagher of Polsinelli Shughart, PC.

The case involved Howards, who confronted Vice President Cheney at a 2006 event at a mall in Beaver Creek. According to the Court’s opinion, Howards entered the line to meet Cheney, made critical remarks regarding the administration’s policies in Iraq, and touched Cheney on the shoulder before leaving (something Howards later denied to Secret Service agents). Howards was arrested by Secret Service agents Gus Reichle and Dan Doyle. He was charged with harassment, but the charges were later dropped. Howards then brought suit against the agents, claiming that he had been arrested without probable cause, a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and in retaliation for his comments to Vice President Cheney, a violation of the First Amendment.

The Court granted certiorari on the questions of (1) whether a First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim could be brought where the arrest was supported by probable cause and (2) whether there was clearly established law at the time of Howards’s arrest as to the first question. The Court only addressed the second question, and found that the law was not clearly established at the time of the arrest, entitling the agents to qualified immunity.

Lane summarized his thoughts on the ruling in a statement to the Associated Press, “‘They broke absolutely no legal ground while managing to duck every significant issue in the case.’” However, Gallagher saw the decision differently: “‘This ruling confirms that the federal courts will not subject law enforcement officials to personal liability except when it is absolutely clear that they have no basis to make the arrest.’” While it remains an open question whether a First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim can be brought where the arrest is supported by probable cause, this case was certainly fascinating for the facts and issues involved, as well as its connections to Colorado and two of Denver’s prominent attorneys.

Rebecca Love Kourlis is 2012 Recipient of John Marshall Award

On Thursday, May 17, 2012, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) at the University of Denver announced that its Executive Director, Rebecca Love Kourlis, has been named the recipient of the prestigious 2012 John Marshall Award, presented by the American Bar Association Justice Center. Kourlis will formally accept the award in Chicago in August.

The ABA Justice Center established the John Marshall Award to recognize individuals who are dedicated to the improvement of the administration of justice. Recipients are chosen based on their work to promote justice system reform and public awareness about the justice system. Previous recipients include Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (AZ), Justice Anthony Kennedy (U. S. Supreme Court), Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye (NY), Senator Howell Heflin (AL), and Governor Tom Ridge (PA).

Kourlis is a graduate of Stanford University and Stanford University School of Law. She served as a trial court judge for seven years and was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1995 where she served there for elevent years. She opened IAALS in 2006.

IAALS is a national, independent research center at the University of Denver dedicated to continuous improvement of the civil justice system. IAALS envisions a civil justice system that is accessible, efficient and accountable to the litigants it was designed to serve.

Kourlis has received numerous honors, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Legal Reform Organization of the Year Award (2007) and the ABA Judicial Division Robert B. Yegge Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Judicial Administration (2009). She is a Fellow of the Colorado Bar and American Bar Foundations. In 2010, she and husband Tom were named Citizens of the West by the National Western Stock Show.

Becky Bye: 2012 Pegasus Scholarship Exchange Program in the English Legal System

Last year, I applied for, and was selected as a Pegasus Scholar for 2012 by the American Inns of Court. I encourage you to find out more information about the American Inns of Court by browsing the material on their website. Generally, the American Inns of Court oversees and supports local Inns throughout the country. These Inns contain judges, lawyers, law professors and law students who meet approximately once per month to discuss professionalism, ethics, and to mentor. Each Inn is subdivided into “pupilage groups” which are smaller groups that typically have one judge, several senior attorneys, several junior attorneys, and several attorneys. These groups also gather outside of the more formal once-per-month Inn meetings, and each group is responsible for one of the monthly programs presented to the Inn.

The American Inns of Courts are loosely based on the mentoring structure within the UK legal system for Barristers. As I understand (and I will certainly learn more about this when I go to London), aspiring Barristers must shadow or apprentice with Barristers, have dinners with them, and work with them until the Barristers are satisfied about their knowledge about the profession. When they are satisfied, that apprentice is “called to the Bar” and admitted to practice as a Barristers. (Note: Barristers wear wigs and practice in front of judges; Solicitors are attorneys that do not practice before judges but work with Barristers when their client must go to court).

The American Inns of Court sponsors the Pegasus Scholarship which allows two young lawyers who have a few years of experience to go to the UK for approximately six weeks (and in exchange, two young Barristers from the UK travel to the US). During the six weeks, the US attorneys work with different Barristers and learn about their legal system and all of its nuances. This experience includes watching oral arguments, engaging in legal research, eating dinner with the Inner Temple Inn in London, and visiting Barristers in Edinburgh, Dublin, and Belfast, amongst many other priceless opportunities.

Since my second year of law school in 2003, I have been a member of the William E. Doyle Inn of Court. Joining my Inn has been one of the best and most satisfying decisions I ever made. Over the years, I established numerous mentoring, professional, and personal relationships with judges, lawyers, and law students. I can talk to people within my Inn openly about any questions I might have about a sensitive issue or discuss any trials or tribulations. I can always turn to someone for more mentorship or guidance and feel that others know they can turn to me about any questions they have about the legal profession, jobs, and handling situations tactfully.

One of the attorneys I initially met, who has served as my mentor and confidant, received the Pegasus Scholarship in the 1990s. He constantly spoke highly of the experience and indicated that it might have been one of the best, most educational experiences of his life. Having studied abroad in college, I understood that this was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience.

I always kept the Pegasus Scholarship at the forefront of my mind, but the time never seemed right between job obligations, professional obligations, and weddings. Luckily, in 2012 everything came together to allow me to immerse myself in this scholarship (and luckily, I was selected as one of two people to receive it!). My fellow scholar is John DeStefano, whom I have not yet met except via phone and email.

You can read more about our bios and announcements by clicking here, and for more information about the scholarship and a link to a PDF brochure, please click here.

One of the reasons why I’ll be writing these blog posts, besides memorializing this unique opportunity for myself, is to allow others to experience this journey with me. As such, please post in comments section below any questions or topics you would like me to explore about the UK (and Irish) legal system, the Inns of Court, mentoring, the UK government system, or any other questions you have. I will post them on the blog or write back to you directly.

I leave for London on February 17, 2012 and arrive back in the United States on April 1, 2012. I’m crossing my fingers for decent weather!

Becky Bye is an attorney in the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Golden, Colorado, where she practices in various areas of law, including environmental, administrative, and labor law. She received her J.D. from the University of Denver Strum College of Law and served as a chair of the Young Lawyers Division of the Colorado Bar Association from 2010–2011. She has started a blog to document her experience abroad, where this post originally appeared.

Stacy Carpenter, Past DBA President, Honored with Davis Award

When accepting the Richard Marden Davis Award on Tuesday, Jan. 24, Denver Bar Association past president Stacy Carpenter reflected on the people who have shaped who she is today, as a lawyer and as a member of the Denver community.

She spoke of her father, Will Carpenter, a Denver real estate attorney and a former DBA president. She recalled him introducing her at her first Colorado Bar Foundation meeting. “My father stood up and he said, in is very succinct style, ‘I am Will Carpenter. I have the honor of introducing you to my daughter, Stacy. She has good genes.’ And I thought to myself, it could not be said any better than that.”

He also taught her to become involved with the legal community, which wasn’t hard, considering she grew up attending bar meetings and events. Immediately after being admitted to the bar, Carpenter joined the CBA and DBA, and specifically the DBA’s Legal Services Committee.

“It wasn’t that I really thought about that choice and it wasn’t that I thought it was going to get me something or that I was going to meet people. It was simply I did it because I thought that was what you did,” Carpenter said. “It never occurred to me that there were lawyers out there who didn’t join all of the bar association committees because that’s the way that I was raised.”

Her mother taught her another important trait.

“My mother taught me compassion for other people,” Carpenter said. “I’ve never met a person who has such an ability to make another person feel so much better by simply listening to them.”

Carpenter was the 19th honoree of the Davis Award, which 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 Davis, one of the founders of Davis Graham & Stubbs, 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. For nearly 50 years, Davis tirelessly devoted himself to the profession and the community. He served as president of the DBA in 1959, and he played key leadership roles in arts, philanthropic, and other organizations.

Davis’ family, his law firm Davis Graham & Stubbs, and the Denver Bar Foundation established the award in his memory in 1993, honoring his belief that great lawyers should be professional and community leaders. The award was created not only to recognize successful and committed young lawyers, but also to inspire other young attorneys to follow in his footsteps.

Carpenter is a shareholder at Polsinelli Shughart and an experienced civil trial attorney whose practice focuses on commercial litigation, employment law, professional liability defense, and ERISA litigation. Carpenter has served on a number of Bar Associations in leadership roles, including the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors for three separate terms and as DBA President from 2010-11.

DBA President-elect Jim Benjamin introduced Carpenter at the award ceremony at the Brown Palace, noting her achievements thus far in her career: She dove in to politics and policy, heading up the Colorado Bar Association’s “No on 40” campaign in 2008, working to educate voters about the benefits of Colorado’s merit selection system.  She was honored in 2005 with the Sue Birch Legislative Award and remains active in the CBA’s legislative policy committee.

She has also been involved with pro bono legal assistance, and received the Donald W. Hoagland Award, given to leaders in the development and implementation of pro bono representation, in 2001. She received the DBA’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2004. Recently she was appointed to the board of directors of Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center, which provides legal advocacy for abused and neglected children.

And, even when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, pregnant with her son Jackson, things remained “business as usual,” Benjamin said.

“Ms. Carpenter continued in her law practice,” he said, “even appearing in oral argument before the Court of Appeals without sign of adversity other than the turban wrapping her head to cover the baldness from the chemotherapy and visibly pregnant. “

This led to another civic activity: serving as co-chair and honorary chair for the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Cocktails for a Cure, a fundraising event that celebrates Colorado women and supports the continued research and treatment of women’s cancers.

DBA President Ilene Bloom spoke of the intangibles that also make Carpenter a stand out.

“I know that being a good friend is not one of the formal criteria of the Richard Marden Davis Award,” Bloom said, “but I have had the honor of calling Stacy a good friend for the past decade and it has shown me a lot of her character over time.”

Carpenter channeled legendary Denver attorney Brooke Wunnicke, who when receiving the DBA’s Award of Merit (its highest award), said, “The practice of law is an honorable profession and one in which we should be proud to participate.”

She echoed Wunnicke’s sentiments and remarked on her own passion for the profession.

“The truth is that I absolutely love the practice of law,” she said. “There is never a day that I regret my decision to become an attorney.”

Among the dozens of guests were past Davis Award honorees, including Kristin Bronson, Michael Carrigan, Paul Chan, Todd Fredrickson, Richard Gabriel, Allan Hale, Natalie Hanlon-Leh, Kenzo S. Kawanabe, Chris Little, Tim Macdonald, Mari Newman, David Powell, and Celeste Quinones.

Carpenter said she knows that those there to celebrate her that night also understand the importance of service, and that she viewed the honor as one for them all.

“While I think you all for this honor … in my heart this award is really about all of us and is really about the legal community as a whole,” she said. “It is an honorable profession, we are honorable people, and I hope that Dick Davis would be proud of us all.”

Gary M. Jackson Receives Colorado Bar’s Highest Honor

In many ways, the culture of 1970s can seem very distant, as Gary M. Jackson noted when he accepted the Colorado Bar Association’s Award of Merit on Jan. 6.

When he started his first job out of law school at the Denver District Attorney’s Office in 1970, he said he had a four-inch afro, a new purple Dodge Challenger with a black racing stripe, and several expensive three-piece suits.

“You guessed it, ‘The Mod Squad’ was my favorite TV show,” he said, laughing.

At the time, he and other new prosecutors were photographed and appeared in a Denver newspaper. A Colorado Supreme Court justice later commented in an editorial that his appearance did not represent the dignity of the office of the Denver District Attorney.

“I guess he was talking about my hair and not my color,” he said.

At the time, Jackson was the only black prosecutor in the state. In rebuttal, his mother, Nancy, wrote the justice a letter praising her son’s abilities. That justice invited Jackson and his mother to lunch, which lead to a friendship.

Still, the landscape for lawyers of color was different. Jackson helped found the Samy Cary Bar Association, an African-American legal association, in 1971. When it was formed, there were only 15 black lawyers in Colorado, Jackson said.

“We came together to create a bar and expand our influence and to help provide opportunities for black lawyers and lawyers of color—not through separation, but through inclusiveness,” he said.

He also was a founding member of the Sam Cary Scholarship Endowment Fund, which provides scholarships to law students at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver, and he was the first black member of the Denver Athletic Club.

Jackson became a partner at DiManna & Jackson in 1976. Though there were jokes that Jackson took the position at a salary less than their legal secretary, he said money wasn’t the most important thing.

“What was important was the opportunity to own my own business,” he said.

Joking aside, CBA President David L. Masters said it’s important to recognize the achievements of Jackson: “A man who is dedicated to the legal profession, the administration of justice, and the community as a whole.”

Jackson chairs the Delta Eta Boule Foundation, which provides scholarships to Denver high school graduates. As an advocate for youth, he has chaired Northeast Denver Youth Services, which offers recreational and educational opportunities. He also has been involved with the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, the United Negro College Fund, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, 100 Black Men of Denver, Inc., Beckwourth Outdoors, and the Sixteenth of May Foundation.

He has been honored in the past by the Sam Cary Bar Association with King Trimble Life Time Achievement Award in 2006, and by the University of Colorado with the William Lee Knous Award in 2010, the Norlin Award in 2008, and the Order of Coif Award in 2003.

More than 400 people attended the Bar Fellows Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Denver to celebrate Jackson receiving the Award of Merit, the CBA’s highest honor. Also, for the first time, the CBA Young Lawyers Division’s Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year honoree Kara Veitch was honored at the event.

“I’m honored and humbled to be given this year’s Young Lawyer of the Year award,” she said. “I’m often asked how I do all of these things that I do, and believe me it’s not without help and support and inspiration of other people in this room.”

Veitch thanked her grandmother, calling her the glue that holds their family together; her parents for showing her the importance of community involvement; her husband, who makes sacrifices so that she can succeed; and her mentors.

Jackson echoed Veitch’s sentiments.

“I know that my life has been enriched by every person with whom I have come into contact in my 41 years of practicing law,” he said. “In sharing your knowledge and ideas with me, I have grown not just as an attorney, but as a husband, a father, a son, and human being.”

Sara Crocker is a communications specialist with the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations. She is also the editor of the Denver Bar Association’s member publication, The Docket.

Gary M. Jackson to Receive Colorado Bar’s Highest Honor

Gary M. Jackson will be honored with the Colorado Bar Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, on Friday, Jan. 6.

Jackson is a founding member and former president of the Sam Cary Bar Association, an African-American legal association, as well as the Sam Cary Scholarship Endowment Fund, which provides scholarships to law students at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. He likewise helped found the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, and was the 2010 Colorado Chapter President of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

He has also served his larger community. He chairs the Delta Eta Boule Foundation, which provides scholarships to Denver high school graduates. As an advocate for youth, he has chaired Northeast Denver Youth Services, which offers recreational and educational opportunities. He also has been involved with the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, the United Negro College Fund, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, 100 Black Men of Denver, Inc., Beckwourth Outdoors, and the Sixteenth of May Foundation.

Jackson has been a partner at DiManna & Jackson since 1976, focusing his practice on complex civil litigation and representation of legal professionals. He started his career in 1970 in the Denver District Attorney’s Office. He later served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado and received a commendation from the Hon. Edward Levi for trial excellence.

“I’m honored to receive the Award of Merit,” Jackson said. “It has been important to me to serve my community in any way I can, and it is gratifying to see that work be recognized.”

Jackson has given of his time at the Bar Associations, as well. He’s served as CBA Vice President and on the DBA’s Board of Trustees. He has chaired the Colorado and Denver Bar joint Minorities in the Profession Committee, which is now known as the Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee. He is a member of the Peer Professional Assistance Group and is a Colorado Bar Foundation Fellow.

“We at the Bar Association are thankful for his service, not just to our organization, but to the entire community,” said CBA President David L. Masters. “Gary is always eager to lend a helping hand and is an inspiration to all of us.”

He has been honored in the past by the Sam Cary Bar Association with King Trimble Life Time Achievement Award in 2006, and by the University of Colorado with the Merle Knous Award in 2010, the Norlin Award in 2008, and the Order of Coif Award in 2003.

The CBA Award of Merit is given annually to a member for outstanding service to the association, the legal profession, the administration of justice, and the community. Jackson and CBA Young Lawyers Division’s Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year honoree Kara Veitch will be honored at the Colorado Bar Foundation’s Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Friday, Jan. 6, at the Hyatt Regency Denver.

The Life and Times of Brian Boatright: An Interview with the Newest Colorado Supreme Court Justice

I have had the privilege of knowing the newest justice on the Colorado Supreme Court for over 17 years, since September of 1994, when I was hired as a deputy district attorney in Jefferson County.  Brian Boatright was a senior deputy then, prosecuting felony cases in district court.  One of the first memories I have of him was as an instructor of mine at “Baby DA School,” teaching evidence and procedure.  Even then, it was obvious to me that this was a really smart guy.  Scary smart.  In 2006, I joined him as a colleague on the First Judicial District bench.  I recently had the chance to sit down with Justice Boatright for an in-depth chat, something I wish I had done long ago.

Justice Boatright points to his father, an extremely well-respected and honored attorney, for having the biggest impact on his life.  He credits his dad with teaching him humility, and passing on a work ethic that has guided and shaped his career and life.  Professionally, Senior Judge Michael Villano (his godfather), played a huge role in setting the highest example for judicial temperament and demeanor for Justice Boatright to follow.  Judge Villano administered the oath to Justice Boatright at his ceremonial swearing-in at the state capitol on December 13, 2011.

He mentions former Governor Bill Ritter as someone who made a significant impact on him.  When Justice Boatright was nominated as a county court judge, he was told that talking to then-Denver DA Ritter regarding his upcoming interview with Governor Romer would be a good idea.  Brian is still astounded that, although they knew each other only slightly at the time, DA Ritter spent over 45 minutes with him, conducting a mock interview.  Having someone going out of their way for a virtual stranger like that made an impression on Brian that hasn’t faded many years later.

Justice Boatright served as a district court judge in Jefferson County for over ten years.  For the last several years before his appointment to the Supreme Court, he was overseeing a dedicated juvenile docket.  It is his devotion to juvenile issues and children that perhaps defines Justice Boatright the best.  He will miss seeing the joy that resulted from a successful adoption or a positive end to a dependency and neglect case with a family being reunited.  Being a parent had a huge impact on his handling of juvenile cases, giving perspective on virtually every decision.  In recognition of his tireless work on behalf of children, Jefferson County has named a playground at the Human Services Building the Honorable Brian Boatright Playground.

From a long and varied career, Justice Boatright has several ideas regarding the legal profession and the role of the judiciary.  A book he recommends to judges or those interested in the bench is Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.  It deals with preconceived notions, an issue that can obviously impact decisions from the bench.  Interestingly, Governor Hickenlooper has read the book, and it was mentioned during the Supreme Court appointment process by the governor.  One example of the problems preconceived notions can create was a situation that came up during Justice Boatright’s juvenile docket.  He was dealing with a difficult termination of parental rights case where the mother came across as “rough” with a questionable lifestyle.  During the proceedings, Justice Boatright started to question his initial impressions of this woman, wondering if the way she presented herself was prejudicing him against her.  He began to think the termination case might be more based upon her poverty instead of her inability to be a good parent.  In the end, he denied the petition, and did not terminate this mother’s parental rights, despite his initial perception of her.

Justice Boatright would like the attorneys who will be appearing in front of him, as well as all the citizens of Colorado, to know that he respects the separation of powers so fundamental to our system.  He trusts the law, and he trusts in our system of justice.  He knows he’s starting a new phase of his career in which people will likely disagree with him at times, but to the Colorado legal community, he sends the following: he will apply the law to the utmost of his ability, no matter the case or issue.  He is clearly honored to be appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court.  I feel the honor is ours.

Little-known facts and trivia about Justice Brian Boatright:

  • His dream job?  General Manager of the Colorado Rockies.
  • In the third grade, he appeared in a commercial for JetEx, where he was supposed to say “My dad wears a polka-dotted tie.”  He couldn’t say “polka-dotted,” settling for “poka-a-dot” tie.  He made $25 for the commercial, although he still seems bitter that his parents took 75% of that as his “agents.”  His potential drama career sadly ended after he played Snoopy in a middle school production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”  He seemed strangely reluctant to discuss this episode of his life.
  • He can remember and sing all the words to the Schoolhouse Rock classic “I’m Just a Bill.”  (“I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill . . . .”). Don’t read anything into the fact that he makes no such claim about the Schoolhouse Rock song about the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.  I’m sure he knows the preamble.  Well, pretty sure anyway.
  • Eating apples make him sweat.  The tarter the apple, the more he sweats.  (Good information for attorneys practicing before the Supreme Court to have.  If you’re planning to bring apples to the justices, a la one for the teacher in school, best to leave Justice Boatright out.  Or bring a very sweet apple.)  He views this . . . ability?  Talent? I’m not sure what to call it . . . as a “good party trick.”  I don’t know what sort of parties he goes to.  Or will get invited to now.
  • Despite last season, he still thinks CU joining the Pac-12 was a good idea.  Clearly, he has trouble leaving some irrational thoughts behind.  (I’m guessing Governor Hickenlooper didn’t ask him this question.)
  • He has thus far resisted the temptation to wear his purple Rockies robe, but doesn’t rule out wearing it if they win the World Series.
  • I’m exercising some discretion, and will not disclose his response to the classic “boxers or briefs?” question.  Just use your imagination here, dear reader.
  • He advises trial judges that he may reverse just so they can have the same attitude he had when he was reversed.  (Not that he was ever reversed.)  That attitude?  “Wow – the upper court really got it right!”
  • His most embarrassing moment on the bench?  (So far.)  When he was presiding over an allocation of parental responsibilities hearing and asked to no one in particular, “Who entered the APR order in this case?”  Following an awkward silence, his long-time clerk Sonya said, “You did. Two weeks ago.”  His response?  “Oh.”
  • His favorite saying while on the bench?  “Closed mouth gathers no foot.”
  • He wanted me to make clear that his brother is older than he is.  Much older.
  • For someone who has shot to the top of his profession, he has a surprisingly lousy sense of direction.  When we finished this interview at Buffalo Wild Wings after two hours or so (and, let’s be clear – no alcohol.  Just iced tea and Coke.  Honest.), Justice Boatright went completely the wrong way and tried to exit the restaurant through the back wall.

My deepest thanks and appreciation to the entire First Judicial District bench for their ideas for questions to their former colleague.  Special acknowledgement to Judge Margie Enquist, who tipped me off about the apple issue, the “poka-a-dot,” and the Bill song.  Justice Boatright expressed that his greatest regret about his appointment is leaving all these great folks behind.  I understand why he feels that way.

Bradley A. Burback is a county court judge in the First Judicial District.

Luis Rovira, Former Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, Passes Away

According to Law Week Colorado, former Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court Luis Rovira died over the weekend at the age of 88. Rovira served on the state Supreme Court from 1979 when he was appointed by Governor Dick Lamm until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 72 in 1995. He was chief justice during his last five years on the Court. Following his tenure on high court’s bench, he served as a senior judge on panels of the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Rovira was born September 8, 1923, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and grew up in New York City. He served in the infantry in Europe during World War II. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1948 and his law degree in 1950, both from the University of Colorado.  He was in private practice in Denver before serving as a Denver district judge from 1976 to 1979.

One of his most notable decisions came toward the end of his time on the Supreme Court when in 1994 he penned an opinion ruling that Colorado’s Amendment 2, an anti-gay-rights measure, was unconstitutional. The case, Romer v. Evans, was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rovira worked as an arbiter for the Judicial Arbiter Group, or JAG, after stepping down as chief justice. He stopped working full-time in the year before his death, but still had one ongoing case and checked in regularly, said JAG’s Bill Meyer.

Rovira was recently featured as a “Legal Legend” in the Denver Bar Association’s publication, The Docket. Click here to read the article.

Rebecca Love Kourlis to Premiere New Book at Signing Event; Former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Discusses Court Reform

Rebecca Love Kourlis, former Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court and Executive Director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, will discuss and sign Rebuilding Justice, the new book she co-authored with Dirk Olin. The event will take place at the Tattered Cover Book Store (Colfax) in Denver on Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

Rebuilding Justice: Civil Courts in Jeopardy and Why You Should Care tells the story of a civil justice system that has become alarmingly expensive, politicized, and time-consuming—so much so that it no longer meets the legitimate needs of the people it was created to serve.

Rebuilding Justice gives citizens and civil servants alike permission (and a roadmap) to write a new ending to the story—one that employs practical and empowering solutions to improve the efficiency, accessibility, and integrity of America’s civil courts.

The foreword, written by former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, can be read below, along with the Table of Contents and introductory material. Purchase the book at the event or click here to learn more and purchase online.

Preview: Rebuilding Justice – Civil Courts in Jeopardy and Why You Should Care