January 20, 2018

Toni-Anne Dasent Named Executive Director of Metro Volunteer Lawyers

toni-anne-dasentThe Denver Bar Association is pleased to announce Toni-Anne Dasent as the new director of Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL). She assumed her responsibilities on August 22, 2016.

Dasent holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Windsor, Canada, where she also served as director and group advisor of the university’s Community Legal Aid Program. She went on to become a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario, and after spending some time working for Canada’s largest law firm, she relocated to Colorado in 1994.

Shortly after moving to Colorado, Dasent started as an intake volunteer for the Legal Aid Society (now Colorado Legal Services). After passing the bar exam, she continued to work as a volunteer attorney, devoting her energies to Project Safeguard in Judge Brian Campbell’s Denver courtroom. There, she assisted clients who were seeking restraining orders. Her dedication to helping underserved populations with their civil legal matters fueled her longstanding commitment to volunteering with MVL’s Family Law Court Program and taking on individual cases in a pro bono capacity.

Dasent is well-versed in MVL’s 50-year history and wants to ensure that the organization remains a dynamic force in promoting a more equitable society. “As director of MVL, I am looking forward to working with a dedicated and knowledgeable team to continue to provide access to justice for those in our community who would otherwise not be able to obtain fair and competent legal representation,” commented Dasent. She feels fortunate to have a team that works with Colorado Legal Services to assist many clients through the Family Law Court Program, Pro Bono Attorney Program, Post Decree Clinic, Power of Attorney Clinic and Legal Clinic at the Denver Indian Center. “I am grateful for the dedication and hard work of the current and past team members and past directors who have achieved so much in their time,” she said.

For Dasent, MVL is more than a job: It is a passion infused with responsibility. “My intent is to steadfastly promote those aspects of legal services in which we excel and work toward achieving greatness in those areas where there is room for improvement,” she explained. “I look forward to working with the Denver Bar Association and Colorado Legal Services in this new capacity and to continuing to provide exemplary services to our community.”

Metro Volunteer Lawyers Announces Philip Lietaer as New Director

LietaerThe Denver Bar Association is pleased to announce Philip Lietaer as the new director of Metro Volunteer Lawyers. He assumed his new responsibilities upon outgoing Executive Director Dianne Van Voorhees’s departure from the organization on January 7, 2016, after an eight-year record of laudable leadership.

Lietaer, a native of Canada, holds a J.D. from Western New England University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario. In 2013, he moved to Colorado with his wife, Jessica, who is a federal attorney, and their two dogs. They are now the proud parents of a baby girl, Adelaide Quinn Lietaer.

Prior to joining MVL in 2013, Lietaer worked at a number of other public interest organizations, including Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, South Brooklyn Legal Services, the Massachusetts Justice Project and the Vail Center for Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles. He also worked for the immigration law firm of Goldstein & Lee, P.C. in New York City. “Working at these organizations has, in part, given me an understanding of different strategies implemented at various legal services organizations and what it takes to successfully run and manage a program like MVL,” said Lieater.

Lietaer embarked on his career at Metro Volunteer Lawyers as a Rovira Scholar Fellow. In early 2014, he went on to become the Family Law Court Program Coordinator. For Lietaer, MVL is more than a job: It is a passion infused with responsibility. As he commented, “Seeing our clients treated in a professional manner by a compassionate and capable legal professional, often providing a moment of dignity, has been one of the most rewarding aspects of this type of work.”

Lietaer looks forward to building upon MVL’s ability to provide quality help to a large number of people in need. “Philip knows that he has big shoes to fill (at least figuratively), and he is definitely up to the task,” said MVL Board Chair Candace Whitaker.

Barrister’s Benefit Ball 2015 — A Journey Through Fire and Ice

The 27th Annual Barrister’s Benefit Ball, benefiting Metro Volunteer Lawyers, was held on Saturday, April 25, 2015, at the Marriott City Center. Guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, face painting, and dancing in support of MVL.

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This year’s theme was Fire and Ice.

 

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MVL Executive Director Dianne Van Voorhees poses with Nathan Lucero during the cocktail hour.

 

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John Albertson, Patrick Flaherty (CBA/DBA Executive Director), and Janet Drake (incoming DBA president and BBB planning committee member) take a picture break during the cocktail hour.

 

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The face painting was a fun diversion.

 

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Guests enjoy camaraderie during the cocktail hour.

 

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Dinner is served.

 

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Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice busted a move on the dance floor.

 

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The night was a success! If you missed the Barrister’s Benefit Ball, you can still donate to Metro Volunteer Lawyers 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!

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.

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.

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.

Patrick Flaherty Named New Executive Director of Colorado and Denver Bar Associations

Patrick Flaherty 1-14Patrick Flaherty has been named the new Executive Director of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations. He will officially begin on Jan. 1, when current Executive Director Chuck Turner steps down after 34 years.

“I’m honored to be inheriting Chuck Turner’s legacy, and I’m excited to help the Associations take on new challenges and continue to move forward,” Flaherty says.

Patrick Flaherty was most recently Director of Policy Advocacy Programs at the Gill Foundation, where he served for nine years. Prior to that, Flaherty was Executive Director of the nonprofit Project Angel Heart, which he grew from a fledgling organization to a highly impactful service organization. Under his leadership, it received the El Pomar Foundation’s Award for “Most Outstanding Nonprofit Organization in Colorado.”

Flaherty also has nine years of legal experience. He began his law career at Lewis Roca Rothgerber, rising from summer associate all the way to partner. He is a graduate of the University Of Denver Sturm College Of Law, where he received his JD in 1987.  Flaherty has a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University as well.

Bringing a blend of legal knowledge, nonprofit management, and advocacy experience to the bar associations, Flaherty is well suited to lead bar members, and more importantly, guide the legal community into the future.

What to Do Now That You’ve Passed the Bar Exam

dba logoEditor’s note: There are several ways to become a licensed attorney in Colorado. This article is targeted to those Class C applicants who passed the Colorado bar examination.  If you are waived on a motion or have taken the Uniform Bar Exam and been cleared, click here for more information on your next steps.

Congratulations! You’ve passed the bar! Here are some next steps you should take while you wait to be admitted to practice law.

Complete your admission requirements and become familiar with helpful resources available to you

Even though you’ve passed the bar, you’re not quite a lawyer yet.  You still have a few more steps before you can become a full-fledged ESQ.

Visit the Employment Ads

You’re (almost) a lawyer! Time to find a job and start your legal career. New jobs from around the state are posted daily to the Colorado Bar Association’s employment webpage and via CBA’s twitter account. You can search for jobs and set up alerts so that new positions go straight to your inbox.

If you’re hoping to hang your own shingle, be sure to check out the CBA’s Law Practice Management Department’s resources and sign up for the Solo Small Firm Section.

Start Networking

Denver’s legal community is large, but there are many ways to network.  Check out the Denver Young Lawyers Division to join a smaller community of attorneys new to the practice of law, or attend DBA events to meet attorneys from different practice areas. DBA also offers 16 committees and myriad volunteer opportunities, which makes connecting with people in your practice area easy. Don’t forget to connect with DBA members and other new attorneys on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, too.

Write for The Docket and the DBA Young Lawyers blog

Be an active voice in the legal community! We know you have something to say, and we invite you to say it in The Docket and the Young Lawyers blog. Send an email to hclark@cobar.org with your ideas. Writing for The Docket or the blog is a great way to get your name out there and to show knowledge on your résumé and  LinkedIn.

Celebrate!

Now is the time to begin celebrating. Spend some time with your dog! Call your mom! Toast with some friends! Cheers to you—passing the bar exam is a huge accomplishment, and you did it!

Candidates who took the July 2014 bar exam will learn whether they passed the exam in early October via the Colorado Supreme Court’s website.

 

By Heather Clark, the communications and marketing director for the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, and managing editor of The Docket. She can be reached at hclark@cobar.org.

Hon. Richard Gabriel Awarded Highest Honor from Denver Bar Association

This is Part 1 of a series of posts about the DBA Award winners. The article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Docket.

GabrielLawyer. Judge. Trumpet Player. These are just a few of the words that describe Richard Gabriel—and none of them comes close to doing him justice. The two-dimension descriptions don’t catch what makes Judge Gabriel so unique—because he’s also the kid from Brooklyn with big dreams, an avid music lover, a grateful mentor, a social enthusiast, a proud family man, and most of all, a consummate professional.

“As a lawyer, you have your credibility and integrity. Once you lose that, you can’t get it back,” Gabriel says. “It’s critically important to take the high road regardless of what your opponent does.”

Gabriel is clearly the rare example of someone who lives by his words. He was the first generation in his family to attend college—at Yale, no less. After graduation, he went on to law school at the University of Pennsylvania. Gabriel spent more than 18 years at Holme Roberts & Owen before being appointed a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have people and opportunities that opened doors for me,” Gabriel says. “And that’s something, as a mentor, I’ve tried to do for others—it’s part of giving back.”

Citing Dan Hoffman as one of his great mentors, Gabriel says that he gave him the “case of a lifetime.” He worked with Hoffman on a Michael Jackson copyright case, in which a Denver woman claimed she had written Jackson’s hit “Dangerous.” This led to more opportunities for Gabriel to mix his two passions: the law and music. After working on another case for Sony years later, Gabriel was asked to be Local Counsel for Colorado, and later became the Lead National Counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America in its lawsuits against illegal file-sharers.

A strong sense of discipline makes Gabriel successful not only in the law, but also in music. He stills plays his trumpet an hour every day, and can often be found around town playing gigs with groups such as the Colorado Wind Ensemble.

Throughout his impressive career, Gabriel has been a consistent voice advocating for increased professionalism and civility. He explains: “On this side of the bench, I can confirm that Rambo lawyering doesn’t work. You just lose credibility.”

If you need proof that the highest levels of professionalism and civility build a lasting career, look no further than Award of Merit winner Judge Gabriel. He has impacted the legal community in countless ways, from his involvement in the bar association to his renowned work ethic and reputation.

“I’m very surprised and very touched,” Gabriel said of the honor.

Surprised, Judge Gabriel? We can’t think of anyone who is more deserving.

 

 

Introducing STRATUM: A New Co-working Space for DBA Members

StratumThe Denver Bar Association hosted the Stratum ribbon cutting and happy hour event on Tuesday, April 8. Stratum is a first-of-its-kind community focused, co-working space for members at the DBA offices. The space is free for members to use from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. Business amenities include high-speed wifi, meeting space, printing, scanning, copying and faxing, complimentary coffee and soft drinks, networking events and $5 passes to the on-site fitness center.

At Stratum’s unveiling, more than fifty members mingled and explored the new space while enjoying complimentary drinks and appetizers. DBA President Dan McCune, as well as DBA Fit to Practice Task Force members Alli Gerkman, Jessica Schmidt, Troy Rackham and Ilene Lin Bloom, aided in the ribbon cutting ceremony. Learn more about Stratum here.