June 26, 2019

Archives for January 2015

ALPS 411: I Believe First Impressions Matter. Do You?

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the ALPS 411 blog on January 13, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

Mark3By Mark Bassingthwaighte

Like you, I’ve been a consumer for years and the older I get the more I’ve come to recognize the impact of first impressions. They really do matter. I can only speak for me, but these days if I am forced to interact with a pushy sales person when first entering a store, I often leave and rarely return. If I’m shopping online and a website fails to load properly because it’s outdated or it’s simply hard to navigate, I’m gone. If a grocery store is unclean, I will walk out and shop elsewhere. Heck, everyone knows that you can judge the quality of the food an unfamiliar restaurant serves by the number and types of vehicles in the parking lot, don’t they? First impressions matter and I don’t think I’m alone in believing this. If you agree, I would ask if you’ve taken steps to set the right impression at your own firm because it’s certainly going to be easier to establish and maintain an effective and trusting attorney client relationship if a potential new client’s first impression is a positive one.

Consider this. I have walked into more than a firm or two for the first time where I was placed in an unkempt reception area or an absolutely cluttered and dirty conference room featuring broken furniture. Some of these spaces looked more like old storage rooms than the client areas that they were. I have also been kept waiting for 30 to 60 minutes past my appointment time without explanation and on several occasions even forgotten about entirely. I have been the recipient of cold greetings by staff and treated by reception as if I was a bother. Such experiences can’t help but result in setting an impression. That’s normal. Now put yourself in my shoes. What might your response to any of the above experiences have been? If your own clients were to have a similar experience, what might their response be? I can share my initial response was to begin to question the business and even legal acumen of the attorneys who practiced there. Certainly my initial opinions were open to being changed, but it was now going to be an uphill climb.

First impressions are made at first contact, be it calling for an appointment, looking you up on the Internet, or walking through your front door. They are often set before you even have a chance to meet with a prospective new client. It’s all about presentation and experience. Is there a welcoming greeting? Is the space tidy and inviting? Is your website user friendly and functional on multiple platforms to include mobile devices? With all this in mind, I offer the following as ideas to help get you started in thinking about what you can do to try and make certain the right impression is set at first contact.

  • Train staff to greet every individual as soon as possible, certainly within a minute of their entering the office, and remember that even a sales representative who is turned away today may be a prospective client tomorrow. If your receptionist happens to be helping someone else, have them give a simple “Hello, I will be with you in a moment” in order to acknowledge the individual’s presence.
  • Never allow confidential or personal conversations to be overheard by others, particularly in the reception area. If conversations from an employee break area, a conference room, or attorney offices can be heard in reception consider some type of sound proofing. Periodically remind staff and attorneys that confidential or personal matters should never be discussed within earshot of any visitors. In fact, give staff permission to briefly interrupt a client meeting to perhaps shut a door if voices can be overheard in reception or by visitors elsewhere in the office.
  • Do not allow visitors to view computer screens. The receptionist’s computer screen will often have confidential information on it and thus should never be visible to anyone coming into the office.
  • Occasionally check the waiting area during the day. This is an especially good customer service technique. If anyone sitting there seems bored or frustrated and have been in the reception area less than ten minutes, there’s a problem. The space should be designed to make the wait as pleasant as possible. Remember they don’t like having to wait for you any more than you would like having to wait for them if you were in their office. You might even go sit in your own reception area for 10 or 15 minutes just to see how it feels. For example, does the reading material provided fit the clientele? While Scientific American is probably a great choice for an intellectual property practice, it won’t win any points from clients in a family law practice. If families use your waiting area, make sure there are materials suitable for children. All magazines and newspapers should be current as opposed to displaying outdated ones that have a home address label still attached.
  • Keep the reception area clean and orderly because an unkempt reception area is too easily seen as a reflection of the quality of service offered by the firm. Before the attorney-client relationship has even started, a potential new client may already begin to question whether the attorney has enough time to appropriately deal with their matter simply because it appears the attorney already doesn’t have enough time to pick up the place.
  • In a similar vein, do not minimize the importance of appropriate attire. Staff and attorneys alike need to dress the part whenever meeting potential new clients. This isn’t to suggest that casual Fridays and the like are inappropriate. Just be mindful that people will make initial judgments about someone they are meeting for the first time based upon overall appearance. I can share that I have actually walked into a law firm where I was given a nod by the receptionist who was dressed down, reading a romance novel, and chewing gum with her feet on the desk. Suffice it to say, my initial thought was I would never hire anyone in this firm because tolerance for the sloppy appearance suggests a tolerance for sloppy work. The message was they didn’t care.
  • Client information and documents must be kept confidential at all times. If client file material needs to be in the reception area in order for the receptionist to do his work, make sure that wandering eyes can never land on those materials. Never leave client file material, mail, or anything else that might identify a client on the counter or privacy wall around the reception desk.
  • Try to prevent anyone from having to wait longer than ten minutes. Most people are willing to be reasonable and wait a short amount of time for the right lawyer; but don’t expect them to wait as long for their lawyer as they might for their doctor. While medical emergencies do arise, lawyers can rarely claim a legal emergency. If prospective clients are waiting too long, consider altering your scheduling procedures. If a delay is unavoidable, have staff inform them of the delay as quickly as possible and discuss options. Some will wait and others will need to reschedule.
  • Be mindful of the difficulties the receptionist faces when assigned phone answering duties. Confidentiality can easily be breached in a law office when someone in the reception area overhears a phone conversation or a client name.  The receptionist should have a way of notifying attorneys that someone has arrived or that a client is on the phone without being forced to breach client confidentiality. Statements like “Your two o’clock appointment is here” or “you have a call on line one” as opposed to “John Smith is here and he wants to talk with you about getting a divorce” should be acceptable when necessary. Viable alternatives might include the use of privacy glass, email notifications of a waiting call, or the moving of phone answering responsibilities away from the reception area.
  • If your space permits, have visitor areas and work areas separated by a wall or partition. One never knows what impression potential new clients may have when they observe people working. Some may feel they are seeing energetic and busy staff members and take that as a positive sign while others may feel the staff is overworked or unprofessional and conclude the opposite. A wall with a tasteful picture or two is worth the investment. In fact, some firms place all conference room areas near reception and away from work areas for this very reason.
  • Finally, don’t overlook your Web presence. A poorly designed website, a website that doesn’t display properly on a mobile device, or a website that isn’t kept current can send a message about your competency and priorities as well. After all, who wants their lawyer to be someone who appears to think halfway is good enough or perhaps got started on something and then neglected to follow through?

As I shared above, all of this is about presentation and experience. At first contact if your presentation is poor and/or the experience of any potential client is bad, then you’re going to start off on the wrong foot if they even decide to let you get started at all. Do first impressions matter? You bet they do.

Mark Bassingthwaighte, Esq. has been a Risk Manager with ALPS, an attorney’s professional liability insurance carrier, since 1998. In his tenure with the company, Mr. Bassingthwaighte has conducted over 1100 law firm risk management assessment visits, presented numerous continuing legal education seminars throughout the United States, and written extensively on risk management and technology.  Mr. Bassingthwaighte received his J.D. from Drake University Law School and his undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College.

Contact Information:
Mark Bassingthwaighte, Esq.
ALPS Property & Casualty Insurance Company
Risk Manager
PO Box 9169 | Missoula, Montana 59807
(T) 406.728.3113 | (Toll Free) 800.367.2577 | (F) 406.728.7416
mbass@alpsnet.com | www.alpsnet.com

The opinions and views expressed by Featured Bloggers on CBA-CLE Legal Connection do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of the Colorado Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, or CBA-CLE, and should not be construed as such.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 1/29/2015

On Thursday, January 29, 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued three published opinions and 41 unpublished opinions.

People v. Barry

Whitewater Hill, LLC v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office

Rich v. Ball Ranch Partnership

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Rehearing Granted for Limited Purpose of Correcting Citation

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reissued its opinion in Tokoph v. United States on Monday, January 26, 2015. Appellant’s petition for panel rehearing was granted for the limited purpose of correcting a citation on page 6 of the original opinion. Rehearing was denied in all other respects. The petition for rehearing en banc was transmitted to all active judges, and as none requested that the court be polled, that petition was also denied. The Legal Connection summary of the original opinion is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Form 1040s Filed After IRS Tax Assessments Not “Returns” for Bankruptcy Dischargeability Purposes

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Mallo: Mallo v. Internal Revenue Service on Monday, December 29, 2014.

In these consolidated appeals, the debtors did not file tax returns timely and the IRS issued statutory notices of deficiency. The debtors in both cases eventually filed tax returns for the years at issue, changing their tax liabilities. The debtors in both cases later were subject to bankruptcy court orders discharging their debts but excluding their tax liabilities. They filed adversary proceedings against the IRS, seeking determinations that their tax debts had been discharged, and the IRS answered, denying that the debts had been discharged. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the legal question of whether the debtors’ tax debts were excepted from discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)(B). In the Mallo case, the bankruptcy court granted the IRS’s motion for summary judgment based on the court’s conclusion that the Mallos had not filed a return and therefore their debt was not dischargeable. In the Martin case, the bankruptcy court reached the opposite conclusion. Both cases were appealed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, where they were consolidated. The district court concluded the late-filed returns were not “returns” for purposes of § 523(a)(1)(B) because they served no tax purpose. The debtors then appealed, and the appeals were consolidated.

The Tenth Circuit found the plain language of § 523(a) unambiguous, and found that the late-filed returns were not returns for purposes of § 523(a) and therefore their tax liabilities were excepted from the bankruptcy courts’ general orders of discharge. The Tenth Circuit noted that the district court in this case utilized the long-established Beard test to determine whether a filing is a return, focusing on the third prong of the test, i.e., whether a Form 1040 filed after the IRS assesses tax penalties evinces “an honest and reasonable attempt” to comply with tax law. The district court in this case adopted the reasoning of several other courts to consider the issue and determined that because the IRS has no use for the Form 1040 after it has calculated tax liability, the late-filed returns have no valid purpose and therefore are not “honest and reasonable attempts” to follow tax law. The Tenth Circuit took a different approach, instead applying a plain language analysis to § 523(a). The Tenth Circuit found the phrase “applicable filing requirements” to include time limits for filing. Because the debtors did not file their returns by the deadline, an applicable filing requirement, they were not “returns” as required by the Bankruptcy Code.

The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service proposed a different approach, instead relying on the official IRS position, which is that “a debt assessed prior to the filing of a Form 1040 is a debt for which [a] return was not ‘filed.’” In essence, the Commissioner argued that focusing on the meaning of the word “return” was not necessary, and would impermissibly work a “major change” in bankruptcy practice. The Tenth Circuit rejected this approach, relying instead on the plain and unambiguous statutory language and finding that Congress intended the result achieved by the Tenth Circuit because the language it chose was unambiguous. It would not create a “major change” in bankruptcy practice because the language the Tenth Circuit interpreted was part of the Bankruptcy Code.

The district court’s rulings were affirmed.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/29/2015

On Thursday, January 29, 2015, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and two unpublished opinions.

United States v. White

United States v. Jackson

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

The Future of Law (Part Three): The Globalization of the Law

rhodesIn his book Between Two Ages: The 21st Century and the Crisis of Meaning, futurist Van Wishard introduces globalization this way:

Sir Fred Holye was an eminent British mathematician and astronomer. He made a remark in the 1940’s that was prophetic: “Once a photograph of Earth, taken from the outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” That photograph was taken in 1969 from the moon, and it provided a visual symbol of globalization for humanity. Globalization [is] the long-term effort to integrate the global dimensions of life into each nation’s economics, politics and culture. In my judgment, this is the most ambitious collective experiment in history.

Thus far, most of the globalization action has been along cultural and economic lines, while the law has remained mostly aloof. That will end: the law will become increasingly globalized.

Globalization is a megatrend, which one source defines as follows:

Mega trends are global, sustained and macro economic forces of development that impact business, economy, society, cultures and personal lives thereby defining our future world and its increasing pace of change.

Megatrends cut a wide swath; lesser trends derive from them and follow in their wake. Legal trends deriving from the megatrend of globalization will realign law beyond the federal and state distinctions we’re used to, adding new regional and supranational lines as in the European Union. Along the way, globalization will substantially reshape several practice areas, beginning with commercial, intellectual property, immigration, environment, natural resources, banking, and tax. In general, international law will step out of its esoteric shadows into mainstream prominence.

The implications of legal globalization are tough to get your head around. It’s useful to keep a few things in mind:

A trend is not a destination; it’s a vector, the direction and magnitude of which are rarely known at the time. Trends take us to surprising places, known only after the fact.

In the arena of law, globalization will require choice. Pop culture and technology readily cross political and geographic borders; the law will need to be deliberate about how it does so.

The law is culturally resistant to change, therefore its participation in globalization will likely be driven by national or international activating incidents or disruptive technologies that make embracing it no longer optional.

Van Wishard sees a big upside to globalization:

If it succeeds, humanity may enter an epoch of opportunity and prosperity for a greater proportion of the earth’s inhabitants than ever before.

A global civilization will be a human civilization in a far higher sense than any that has ever been before, as it will have overcome the constricting social, ethnic and national limitations of the past.

But there’s a corresponding downside:

If [globalization] fails, it could retard progress in some nations for generations.

The birth pangs of such a new consciousness will bring infinite suffering as familiar attitudes and institutions fall away.

There is no doubt that the globalization of law will see its share of both “opportunity and prosperity,” “birth pangs” and “infinite suffering.” We’re in for it, one way or another.

Kevin Rhodes has been a lawyer for nearly 30 years, in firms large and small, and in solo practice. Years ago he left his law practice to start a creative venture, and his reflections on exiting the law practice appeared in an article in the August 2014 issue of The Colorado Lawyer. His free ebook, Life Beyond Reason: A Memoir of Mania, chronicles his misadventures in leaving the law, and the lessons he learned about personal growth and transformation, which are the foundation of much of what he writes about here.

A collection of Kevin’s blog posts, Enlightenment, Apocalypse, and Other States of Mind, is now available as an ebook. Click the book title to sample and download it from the distributor’s webpage. It’s also available on from Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Amazon, and Scribd. The collection includes Forewords from Debra Austin, author of the Killing Them Softly law journal article which has been featured here, and from Ron Sandgrund, author of The Colorado Lawyer article mentioned above.

You can email Kevin at kevin@rhodeslaw.com.

SB 15-016: Clarifying Changes to Civil Unions When Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal

On January 7, 2015, Sen. Pat Steadman introduced SB 15-016 — Concerning Marriages by Individuals who are Parties to a Civil Union, and, in Connection Therewith, Prohibiting Marriages in Circumstances in which One of the Parties is Already in a Civil Union with Another Individual, Addressing the Legal Effect of Parties to a Civil Union Marrying Each Other, Clarifying the Dissolution Process when Parties to a Civil Union Marry, and Amending the Bigamy Statute to Include Parties to a Civil Union. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill addresses issues that have arisen in Colorado regarding marriages by individuals who are in a civil union or who will enter into a civil union after recent court decisions have declared same-sex marriage bans, such as section 31 of article II of the state constitution, unconstitutional. The bill amends the statute on prohibited marriages to disallow a marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier civil union of one of the parties, except a currently valid civil union between the same 2 parties. The executive director of the department of public health and environment is directed to revise the marriage license application to include questions regarding prior civil unions. The bill states that the “Colorado Civil Union Act” (act) does not affect a marriage legally entered into in another jurisdiction between 2 individuals who are the same sex. The construction statute for the act is amended to clarify that it must not be construed to create a marriage, including a common law marriage, between the parties to a civil union. Two parties who have entered into a civil union may subsequently enter into a legally recognized marriage with each other by obtaining a marriage license from a county clerk and recorder in this state and by having the marriage solemnized and registered as a marriage with a county clerk and recorder. The bill states that the effect of marrying in that circumstance is to merge the civil union into a marriage by operation of law. A separate dissolution of a civil union is not required when a civil union is merged into a marriage by operation of law. If one or both of the parties to the marriage subsequently desire to dissolve the marriage, legally separate, or have the marriage declared invalid, one or both of the parties must file proceedings in accordance with the procedures specified in the “Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act”. Any dissolution, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity of the marriage must be in accordance with the “Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act”. If a civil union is merged into marriage by operation of law, any calculation of the duration of the marriage includes the time period during which the parties were in a civil union. The criminal statute on bigamy is amended, effective July 1, 2015, to include a person who, while married, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in this state with another person and to include a person who, while still legally in a civil union, marries, enters into a civil union, or cohabits in this state with another person.

The bill was assigned to the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, where it was postponed indefinitely on January 21, 2015.

SB 15-049: Vesting Title to Real Estate in An Entity Upon Formation

On January 8, 2015, Sen. Beth Martinez-Humenik and Rep. Jon Keyser introduced SB 15-049 — Concerning the Vesting of Title to Real Estate in a Grantee that is an Entity that has not yet Been Formed Once the Entity has Been Formed. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Current law specifies that when a grantee of a deed is a corporation whose incorporation papers have not yet been filed, title to the real estate vests in the corporation once the papers are filed. The bill expands this law to apply to all entities, specifying that title vests once the entity is formed.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee.

SB 15-069: Repealing “Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 2013”

On January 14, 2015, Sen. Laura Woods and Rep. Libby Szabo introduced SB 15-069 — Concerning the Repeal of the “Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act Of 2013.” This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

In 2013, the general assembly enacted HB13-1136, the “Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 2013” (act), which established compensatory and punitive damage remedies, as well as front pay, for a person who proves that an employer engaged in a discriminatory or unfair employment practice under state law. These remedies were created in addition to equitable relief, such as back pay, reinstatement, or hiring, that was already available to employment discrimination victims. Additionally, the act: ! Expanded age discrimination claims under state law to persons 70 years of age or older; Authorized the use of moneys in the risk management fund to pay claims for compensatory damages against the state or its officials or employees; and Required the state civil rights commission to create a volunteer working group to assist in education and outreach efforts and provide the commission with information to post on its web site regarding educational resources available to employers to help them understand and comply with antidiscrimination laws. With the exception of the expansion of age-based discrimination claims to individuals who are 70 years of age or older, the bill repeals all components of the act and restores the equitable relief remedies that were available to employment discrimination victims making claims under state law prior to the passage of the act.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee.

Tenth Circuit: Contract Conflict of Laws Rules Govern Claims for Benefits Under Insurance Policies

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Kipling v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. on Monday, December 29, 2014.

Kathryn Kipling and her husband, Christopher, were Colorado residents involved in a motor vehicle accident in Colorado in July 2009 in which Christoper was killed and Kathryn was severely injured. At the time of the accident, the Kiplings were in a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban owned by Quicksilver for Christopher’s business and personal use. The other driver was solely at fault for the accident, but was underinsured, so Kathryn Kipling filed an underinsured motorist claim against State Farm, Quicksilver’s insurer. State Farm tendered policy limits on the Suburban and on one other vehicle insured to Quicksilver in Colorado. Kipling sought additional compensation from UIM benefits for four vehicles owned by Quicksilver and insured in Minnesota, but State Farm denied coverage.

Kipling filed a diversity action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, seeking payment of the UIM benefits. State Farm moved for summary judgment, arguing that Minnesota law applied and prohibited stacking of coverage. The district court denied summary judgment and agreed with Kipling that Colorado law applied. After a jury trial to determine damages, the district court entered judgment on the verdict. State Farm filed an F.R.C.P. 59(e) motion to alter or amend the verdict, arguing that even under Colorado law it would not have to pay UIM benefits because Colorado law did not prohibit the policy from tying UIM coverage to occupancy of the insured vehicle. The district court denied the motion as an improper attempt to advance a new argument. State Farm appealed, raising two arguments: (1) the same argument raised in its F.R.C.P. 59(e) motion regarding tying UIM coverage to vehicle occupancy, and (2) the district court erred in applying tort conflicts-of-laws principles in resolving which state’s substantive law governed the claim.

The Tenth Circuit rejected State Farm’s first argument because it was not timely raised in the district court. The Tenth Circuit found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s denial of State Farm’s motion as untimely. And, after reviewing the record below, the Tenth Circuit agreed with the district court that the argument had not been made previously. The district court’s judgment on this point was affirmed. As to the conflict of laws argument, the Tenth Circuit examined the Restatement provisions concerning tort conflict of laws and contract conflict of laws. The district court applied tort conflict of laws principles, but the Tenth Circuit found that an insurance policy is more akin to a contract, and the correct analysis would have been under contract conflict of laws. The Tenth Circuit remanded to the district court to determine whether Colorado or Minnesota law applied under a conflict of laws analysis for contracts.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/28/2015

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and one unpublished opinion.

Juarez-Gonzalez v. Holder

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

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.”