July 22, 2018

Interview with Jason St. Julien: Former History Teacher, Current Assistant United States Attorney, Devoted Mentor

Editor’s Note: In honor of Black History Month, Mary Dilworth, CBA-CLE’s Marketing Manager, is conducting a series of interviews of some of our distinguished faculty and authors. Click here for the previous post.

Colorado Bar Association CLE (CBA-CLE) continues the interview series with some of our African-American faculty and authors. Our hope is that this series is able to inspire others by sharing the journey and achievements of these successful attorneys.

Jason St. Julien, a CBA-CLE faculty member, is a charismatic, engaging, and driven attorney who hails from St. Martinville, Louisiana. Currently an Assistant United States Attorney in Denver, he works in the Major Crimes Section of the Criminal Division. Prior to becoming an Assistant United States Attorney, Jason served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Mary Ann Vial Lemmon, Senior Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Honorable Wiley Y. Daniel, Senior Judge in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.

Jason strives to affect positive change in the human condition each day. Prior to attending law school, Jason taught 7th Grade Reading and Texas History in Pearland, Texas where he was named New Teacher of the Year in Secondary Education. He continues his devotion to youth by serving as a mentor/facilitator with Denver Urban Scholars (formerly Colorado Youth at Risk). Jason is a graduate of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado’s 2014 Chamber Connect Leadership Program and the Colorado Bar Association’s 2017 Leadership Training class. He is also the immediate past President of the Sam Cary Bar Association.

What inspired you to become an attorney? My cousin is a patent attorney in Houston, Texas. While I taught 7th grade in Pearland, a suburb of Houston, we discussed a possible career in law. I chose law school over pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology because I believed a J.D. would open more doors. My choice panned out well. Law brought me to Colorado in 2012 and my world is a bigger place because of my experiences here in Denver.

What do you enjoy about the practice of law? As a criminal prosecutor, I know that I affect positive change every day. I know with absolute certainty that what I do makes a difference in the lives of Colorado’s citizens. I have my hand on the pulse of something much greater than myself. For that, I am thankful.

What historical black figure do you admire? Harriet Tubman

What about someone from today who inspires you? President Obama

Favorite Book? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favorite Movie? Star Wars: A New Hope. Return of the Jedi is a close second.

What do you do in your spare time for fun (if there is any spare time!) I am on my Harley Davidson Road King any time the weather permits! I usually purchase a season ticket package for the Colorado Symphony and get out to listen to live jazz music. And there is never a bad time for a good book.

What advice would you give to new attorneys? Whatever you “think” is happening or going on, it is not that serious. Really, it’s not. Find your advancement in the advancement of others and you will become your firm’s most valuable asset.

Interview with Eric Nesbitt: Real Estate Attorney, CBA-CLE Board Member, Basketball Afficionado

Editor’s Note: In honor of Black History Month, we will be interviewing faculty and authors throughout February. Stay tuned each Wednesday for a new faculty/author profile.

By Mary Dilworth

Colorado Bar Association CLE (CBA-CLE) is providing an interview series with several of our African-American faculty and authors. Our hope is that this series is able to inspire others by sharing the journey and achievements of these successful attorneys.

Our first interview is with Eric Nesbitt, an active member of the Colorado Bar Association, a CBA-CLE board member and a talented member of the CBA-CLE faculty, who has spoken at several CLE conferences including the annual Real Estate Symposium and Business Law Institute.

Eric is the sole shareholder of the Law Offices of Eric L. Nesbitt, P.C., which focuses on real estate law matters (visit them online at NesbittLawOffices.com). He is also the owner of The Nesbitt Commercial Group, a commercial real estate brokerage firm affiliated with Keller Williams DTC. Originally from Chicago, Eric moved to Colorado in 1996 to become the General Counsel and Director of Business Affairs for USA Basketball, the governing body for the sport of basketball in the United States. In that position, he was the attorney for the 1996 and 2000 Men’s Olympic Basketball “Dream Teams.” He loved Colorado so much, he decided to make it his home.

What inspired you to become an attorney? I visited Los Angeles and Beverly Hills as a kid and was in awe of all of the big houses and abundance of wealth. I asked my parents what job could I get as an adult to get a big house, and they told me to consider becoming a doctor or a lawyer. I thought being a doctor would be too gory, so I set my aspirations to be a lawyer. In addition, as a kid I always saw lawyers on the CBS show “60 Minutes,” and it seemed like a cool profession.

What do you enjoy about the practice of law? I really like helping people. I receive genuine satisfaction when I meet with clients and I can solve their problems or address their legal needs. It’s a very uplifting feeling. I also appreciate how legal training has provided me with the flexibility to pursue other business interests, such as commercial real estate brokerage and athlete representation. Being a lawyer prepares you to do practically anything!

What black historical figure do you admire? Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King, Jr. are probably the black historical figures I admire the most.

What about someone from today who inspires you? Oprah Winfrey and President Obama are people who inspire me today.

Favorite Book? Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun, by Reginald Lewis.

Favorite Movie? The Godfather.

What do you do in your spare time for fun? What spare time? I like hanging out with my family, wining and dining my wife, and traveling when I can get away. I also try to fit in a round of golf in when I can.

What advice would you give to new attorneys? Work hard, develop relationships, and have fun when you can.

Fare Thee Well: Gary Abrams Retires from CBA-CLE

On February 1, 1997, a fresh-faced young whippersnapper from the Badger State became the Executive Director of Colorado Bar Association CLE. Almost exactly 20 years later, Gary Abrams retired after a distinguished tenure.

Gary’s vision was to make CBA-CLE Colorado’s biggest and best provider of continuing legal education. Under Gary’s leadership, CBA-CLE grew from a small business with a four-person staff to Colorado’s biggest CLE provider with over 20 full time employees. Lisa Travis Fischer, CBA-CLE’s Publications Director, remarked that “Gary’s passion, dedication, and leadership changed CBA-CLE forever. He has left behind a legacy that will be cherished.”

Mark Masters and Gary Abrams at Hanging Your Shingle 2012

Working together with the faculty was arguably Gary’s favorite part of leading CBA-CLE. He started a tradition of wine tasting networking events, which quickly became everyone’s favorite social events at annual institutes such as the Family Law Institute, Trust & Estate Retreat, Real Estate Symposium, IP Institute, and others.

Laurie Hunter receiving the Richard N. Doyle Award of Excellence in 2012

The wine tasting also became a staple of CLE’s annual Faculty & Author Reception, a holiday event in which our volunteer authors and speakers are honored and winners of the Richard N. Doyle Award of Excellence are announced.

Gary and the author at a staff Secret Santa gift and cookie exchange

Gary loves to be the life of the party. At the annual CBA-CLE staff Secret Santa gift exchange and cookie extravaganza, Gary always enjoys playing “Hanaukkah Harry” and passing out the gifts.

Gary always has a ready smile

One of Gary’s favorite places to be is at the lectern, introducing speakers for CLE programs. When he’s not at the office, though, he can frequently be found on the ski slopes, playing golf, fishing, and sailing. He enjoys Colorado’s great outdoors, and is looking forward to spending more time sailing during his retirement.

Gary and Mark Fogg

Vince O’Brien, CBA-CLE’s new Executive Director, has known Gary for many years, including “his ready smile and CLE wisdom.” Vince remarked that for the past few weeks, “Gary has been like one of Dickens’ ghosts as he brings me up to speed on CBA-CLE. I’d like to think his spirit will be here for quite a while after he retires. Gary has been a friend and guide to Colorado lawyers for a long and important time. Many thanks and bon voyage!”

At the IP Institute in 2012

 

Gary at the 2016 Elder Law Retreat with Nena and Oscar

 

Daniel Deasy and Gary Abrams at the 2013 Family Law Institute

 

Gary and Marc Painter at the 2016 Faculty & Author Reception

 

What a long, strange trip it’s been. Thank you, Gary, for your excellent leadership. Enjoy your retirement – you deserve it.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day from CBA-CLE

Today, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights activist who bravely spoke out against racism and oppression so many years ago. Dr. King’s important work continues to be relevant. His full speech is available here.


“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”


“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”


“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

Oh, the Places You’ll Go — CLE Says Farewell to Assistant Executive Director Dawn McKnight

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It is a sad day at CBA-CLE as we say goodbye to our leader, coworker, and friend — Dawn McKnight. Dawn has devoted over fourteen years to CBA-CLE. She began her tenure in the publications department. However, she left CBA-CLE after a short time to utilize her varied skills on the partnership track in private practice. Her drive and enthusiasm so impressed CBA-CLE Executive Director Gary Abrams that when the position of Publications Director opened up, he wooed her for three months to take over the department. To our relief, she finally relented and accepted the position. We are so glad she did.

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As with everything she does, Dawn has tirelessly led the publications department with dedication and integrity. Under her guidance, the publications department went from a two-person department with a handful of books to a full-scale legal publisher with a staff of seven offering about 60 original titles.

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In addition to growing the publications department, Dawn became CBA-CLE’s Assistant Executive Director in 2006. She capably assumed the added responsibilities of assisting with the management of a large nonprofit corporation during the economic downturn while handling the challenges of a publications department in an increasingly digital age.

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Alas, though, all good things must come to an end. Dawn has accepted a position with the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. She has promised to return to us, though, to present at CLE programs. We are going to hold her to it!

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Congratulations, Dawn, on your new endeavor. Oh, the places you’ll go — you will continue to do amazing things, although you will be sorely missed at CBA-CLE.

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Happy Labor Day from CBA-CLE!

flagHappy Labor Day! The CBA and CLE offices will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2016, in observance of Labor Day.

Labor Day is always celebrated on the first Monday in September. It was established to honor the American labor movement and the social and economic achievements of American workers.

There is some debate as to who first proposed Labor Day. Many credit Matthew Maguire, a machinist who later became the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J. Others contend Labor Day was proposed by Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor. Regardless of whose idea it was, though, the first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882.

The Colorado legislature enacted Labor Day in 1887, and on June 28, 1894, Congress enacted a bill making the first Monday in September a national holiday, signed by President Grover Cleveland after the end of a bloody strike, the Pullman Strike.

Today, Labor Day is generally celebrated with barbecues and picnics, but the original plan for Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal as a street parade to exhibit to the public the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. Later, the day included speeches by prominent figures in the labor movement, although that has largely been abandoned today.

Denver celebrates Labor Day weekend with the Taste of Colorado festival, held in Civic Center Park. Additionally, the Colorado State Fair will take place in Pueblo this weekend, Colorado Springs will host its annual Labor Day Liftoff Hot Air Balloon festival, and the Buffs and Rams will have their annual showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium tonight.

No matter what your plans for the weekend include, we hope you have a happy and safe weekend, and a great Labor Day.

Dr. Ulrich Herrmann, Chief Judge of the III Civil Panel in Germany, to Speak at Brown Palace

Herrmann_pic_02The Colorado Bar Association International Law Section and the Colorado Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce are hosting a luncheon with Dr. Ulrich Herrmann, Chief Judge of the III Civil Panel of the Supreme Court of Germany. Dr. Herrmann will discuss the refugee crisis, Brexit, and political freedom of speech.

Dr. Herrmann was appointed presiding justice of the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) and chairman of the 3rd Civil Panel on August 4, 2015. The Bundesgerichtshof is the German Federal Supreme Court for civil, family, and criminal cases. As chairman of the 3rd Civil Panel, his jurisdiction includes state liability, liability of notaries, service contracts, mandate law, law of private foundations and several other subjects. Dr. Herrmann was first appointed to the Justice of the Federal Court of Justice and to the 3rd Civil Panel in December 2003. He has additionally served as judicial tasks representative for the court on IT matters since March 2007.

Dr. Herrmann began his law career as an assistant at the Institute of Civil Procedure and Insolvency Law of the University of Bonn, writing his doctoral thesis on “The Principle Structure of a Pending Civil Law Suit” (Die Grundstruktur der Rechtshängigkeit). He was appointed as a judge at the Regional and the Local Court of Bonn in February1990. Over the following seven years, Dr. Herrmann served first as presidential and later as presiding judge of the Regional Court of Frankfurt (Oder) in the state of Brandenburg. Here he was also responsible for the personal matters of the judges of the district court.

In August 1998, Dr. Herrmann became judge of the Higher Regional Court of Brandenburg, where he continued to take responsibility for the personal matters of regional judges. In December 1999, he became chief of staff of the Brandenburg Ministry of Justice and in December 2002, he was appointed vice president of the agency for legal exams of the state of Brandenburg.

He originally hails from the city of Bonn in North Rhine Westphalia. He is married and has two children, aged 24 and 30 years old.

The program will take place on Friday, August 5, 2016, from noon to 1:30 at the Brown Palace. To register, call (303) 860-1115, ext. 727, or email lunches@cobar.org.

Denver Senior Law Day is This Friday, July 29, 2016

2016 cover sample_Layout 1The Denver Senior Law Day will be held this Friday, July 29, 2016, at the PPA Event Center in Denver. The event will run from 8 am to noon. Join some of Denver’s top elder law attorneys to learn about legal issues affecting older adults. Topics to be presented include fraud prevention, Medicare issues, estate planning basics, probate procedures, and more. The Ask-A-Lawyer table will return for this year’s event, and each attendee will receive a copy of the 2016 Senior Law Handbook.

Registration is now open online — click here to register. Questions? Call (303) 757-4342 or email SLD@denverprobatelaw.com.

For more information, visit www.denverseniorlawday.com.

Sam Cary Bar Association to Host SEE ME Rally This Saturday

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Happy Fourth of July!

The CBA and CLE offices will be closed on Monday, July 4, in honor of the holiday. Colorado Bar Association CLE would like to wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July.

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“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” – Albert Einstein

“This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” – Malcolm X

“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” – Harry S. Truman

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” – Ben Franklin

Sean May Memorial 9 Mile and 5K Run/Walk This Weekend

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Sean May

The 8th Annual Sean May Memorial Run/Walk will be held at Barr Lake State Park on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Each year, the 17th Judicial District Access to Justice Committee hosts the Sean May Memorial Run/Walk to commemorate Sean May, a deputy district attorney from the 17th Judicial District who championed personal responsibility, including treating victims, the community, defendants, and the courts with dignity and respect. During his seven years of service in Adams County, May volunteered for the Child Victim Unit, where he pursued justice for children who had been physically and/or sexually abused. May died on August 27, 2008, when he was shot in his backyard when returning from work. At the time of his death, he was responsible for training and supervising new prosecutors.

This year’s event will feature a 9 mile run, a 5K, and a family fun run/walk at beautiful Barr Lake State Park. The course passes by several wildlife viewing stations and the park’s wildlife refuge. More than 350 species of birds have been spotted in the park. Numerous bald eagles winter at Barr Lake and one pair stays to nest and raise its young every year. Registration opens at 7:30 am, and the 9 mile run starts at 9 am, followed by the 5K at 9:15 and the fun run after that. Register online or at the race.

For more information about the run, click here.

J. Ryann Peyton Named Next Director of Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program

RyannPeytonOn Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the Colorado State Judicial Branch announced the selection of J. Ryann Peyton as director of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), effective July 1, 2016. Peyton will replace John Baker, who in February 2013 was named the first director of CAMP. Peyton will begin at CAMP on April 1, 2016 and will work with Baker through his June 30, 2016, departure.

Peyton is currently the Training and Legal Director at the GLBT Center of Colorado. She has been at The Center since March 2015. Prior to her work at The Center, Peyton was in private practice, focusing on domestic relations law for LGBT and non-traditional families. She has also served as an adjunct professor in the University of Denver’s externship program, serves on the board of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and is the former president of that association, served on the board of the Twin Cities Quorum (LGBT Chamber of Commerce) in Minnesota, and has been a board member for the Center for Legal Inclusiveness. She received her law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and her LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Denver.

The CAMP program was established in February 2013 to develop and administer mentoring programs in all of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts. CAMP programming occurs through bar associations, inns of court, law firms, agencies, and other legal organizations throughout the state. In locations where no organization-related programs are available, CAMP matches mentors with mentees in an individualized program.

For more information about Peyton’s directorship, click here.