July 18, 2019

Judge Dennis Graham Given DBA Judicial Excellence Award


This is Part 2 of a series of posts about the DBA Award winners (click here to see Part 1). The article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Docket.

As Judge Dennis Graham is describing his mentor, Hon. Robert McWilliams, whom he clerked for after law school, he says “his integrity and fairness were absolutely exemplary.”

The same could be said of Judge Graham today. An esteemed figure in the legal community, Graham attended Colorado State University, then went on to law school at the University of Nebraska. He was drafted in his first year, however, and spent three years in the Army before returning to finish law school. After working as a civil litigation attorney focused on securities law and commercial transactions from 1976 to 2002, Graham was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals. He is currently the Chairman of the Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board and Chairman of the Judicial Personnel Board When he isn’t working, Graham is riding his bike—he’s an avid cyclist and has completed numerous Ride the Rockies Tours.

Throughout his legal journey, Graham has always embodied judicial excellence and served the profession with dignity and a strong sense of professionalism.

“One of the reasons I mentor students today is because I had such wonderful mentors,” Graham says. “They were senior attorneys who were more interested in my development as a person than just my billable hours. I was very fortunate.”

Highly respected by practitioners and peers, Graham has focused on shaping the law since he was a young boy. He remembers growing up in a politically turbulent time: Kids were kept from attending school in Little Rock, President Kennedy was assassinated, Nixon was impeached, and more.

“I recognized that the republic is driven by the rule of law,” Graham explains. “I wanted to be a part of that.”

Now, he is much more than just a part of it; he is one of the leaders in our legal community. Graham strives to always tell the truth, saying it is simply the best advice he’s ever received. This laudable commitment to honesty and dedication to the improvement of our profession is just a part of why he is honored by the DBA as an esteemed judge. Amazingly, he isn’t quite convinced.

“I’m thankful to those who nominated me and hopeful that I can live up to their expectations,” Graham notes. “But I’m surrounded by colleagues on the bench much more deserving than me.”

The Judicial Excellence award isn’t the only thing Judge Graham is celebrating this year: he and his wife recently observed their 38th anniversary!

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  1. […] the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the retirement of Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Dennis Graham, effective February 12, […]

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