June 18, 2019

Nominations are Now Being Accepted for CBA and DBA Awards

Do you know an outstanding lawyer who has greatly contributed to the Colorado legal community? Nominate her or him for a CBA or DBA award!

Nominations are now being accepted for the CBA Award of Merit, which is awarded annually to a current member for outstanding service or contributions to the association, the legal profession, the administration of justice or the community. Eligible persons are those who are members in good standing of the CBA. Nominees should have an outstanding record of professional success, community service achievements, and a strong commitment to civic participation and inspiring others, whether within the legal profession or elsewhere. Nominations are due January 31, 2019. Make a nomination here. A list of past recipients can be found here.

The DBA Awards Committee needs your nominations for the DBA awards. Nominate an attorney by submitting a statement of why the nominee deserves the honor. The committee will consider the following criteria: involvement with the DBA; involvement with the CBA; community contributions outside the bar associations and legal career/accomplishments. The statement need not be a complete essay; just provide a few salient points and the committee will follow up with the nominator and nominee for complete details.

The 2019 award submission deadline is January 31, 2019. Make a nomination here: https://denbar.org/About/DBA-Award-Nominations

Award of Merit

Recognizes outstanding service and contributions to the DBA and legal profession, or rendered in the interest of the improvement of the administration of justice. Criteria: lawyer, judge or law professor who is a regular member of the DBA and whose distinguished career exemplifies the purpose of the Award of Merit. Click here for a list of previous winners.

Judicial Excellence

Honors a DBA member of the judiciary for extraordinary service or exceptional contributions to the improvement of the judicial system. Click here for a list of previous winners.

Young Lawyer of the Year

Recognizes outstanding service and contributions to the DBA, legal profession and community. Criteria: a Denver lawyer who is a member of the DBA and is younger than age 37 or has been in practice less than three years. Click here for a list of previous winners.

Volunteer Lawyer of the Year

Presented to a DBA member who has performed extraordinary voluntary legal or community service. Criteria: lawyer, member of DBA, who has volunteered with distinction for various pro bono projects. Click here for a list of previous winners.

Education in the Legal System

Honors teachers, programs, and/or schools that exhibit outstanding dedication to teaching students about civics, the American legal system, and the Rule of Law. The DBA will provide a monetary gift to either the honoree teacher’s school, the program being honored, or the school being honored, in an amount and allocation to be determined by the DBA Board of Trustees. The gift will be used for educational purposes in the above described areas. Criteria: A teacher in a Denver school, a program conducted in a Denver school (whether or not sponsored by the school), and/or a Denver school educating students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Click here for a list of previous winners.

Outstanding Programs/Projects

Acknowledges those programs or projects that uphold the highest traditions of the legal profession such as ethics, professionalism, education, access to justice, community service or promoting charitable causes. Recognizes exceptional collaboration between members of the bar. Criteria: A program or project affiliated with the DBA. Click here for a list of previous winners.

Bill Walters to Receive DBA Award of Merit at Annual Awards Ceremony

The Denver Bar Association is hosting its annual ceremony to recognize the recipients of its 2016 DBA Awards on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. The winners of the 2016 DBA Awards are:

  • Bill Walters — Award of Merit
  • Maureen Watson — Young Lawyer of the Year
  • Jerry Pratt — Volunteer Lawyer of the Year
  • Metro Volunteer Lawyers’ Power of Attorney Clinic — Outstanding Programs/Projects
  • The Honorable Shelley Gilman — Judicial Excellence Award
  • Jerry Conover and Howard Rosenberg — Founders Award
  • Norman Campbell, Barbara Chamberlain, Lucy Marsh, Anthony Yuthas and Jon Nicholls — Outstanding Sustained Volunteer Award

3521Bill Walters will receive the DBA Award of Merit. The Award of Merit recognizes outstanding service and contributions to the DBA and the legal profession, rendered to improve the administration of justice. Walters is a past president of the DBA, past president of the CBA, former board member for CBA-CLE, past chair of the Colorado Lawyers Committee, past Chair of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, and a member of the Colorado Nonprofit Corporation Code Revision Committee. Walters is a former partner at Heizer Paul LLP, where he specialized in representing nonprofit organizations, including trade and specialty organizations. Walters has been a frequent lecturer on many topics, including legal risk management for directors and officers, contract law, copyright and trademarks, legislative intellectual property, employment law, computer contracts, social media, hotel negotiations, and antitrust law.

Maureen Watson will receive the Young Lawyer of the Year Award, which is given to a DBA member and attorney who is 37 or under or has been in practice less than three years. Watson is currently general counsel at CQG, Inc., and is the Executive Council Chair of the DBA Young Lawyers Division. Prior to her work at CQG, Inc., Watson was an associate at Fennemore Craig, P.C., where she practiced primarily in the areas of business torts and personal injury. Watson was a contributing author for the 2014 Annual Survey of Colorado Law.

10071Jerry Pratt will receive the Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award, which is given annually to a DBA member who has performed extraordinary voluntary legal or community service. Pratt is a solo practitioner at the Law Offices of Gerald D. Pratt in Lone Tree. Pratt has over 33 years of trial experience in both civil and criminal cases, serving as lead counsel in a wide variety of cases, including professional liability, products liability, personal injury, insurance bad faith, construction claims, insurance defense, and criminal defense. He has also devoted a significant part of his practice to legal ethics and is a member and past chair of the CBA Ethics Committee. He is a frequent speaker at CLE programs.

Gilman (Formatted)The Honorable Shelley Gilman will receive the Judicial Excellence Award, which is given to members of the judiciary who exemplify outstanding service or make exceptional contributions to the improvement of the justice system. Judge Gilman was appointed to the Denver District Court in 1998, where she has presided over domestic, civil, and criminal cases. Prior to her appointment, she practiced in several county trial offices and the appellate division of the Colorado State Public Defender. She was also in private practice in Denver, specializing in juvenile, criminal, and appellate matters.

MVL at 45Jerry Conover and Howard Rosenberg will receive the Founders Award. Conover and Rosenberg were founding volunteers of the Thursday Night Bar, the weekly legal aid clinic that has now become Metro Volunteer Lawyers.

Norman Campbell, Barbara Chamberlain, Lucy Marsh, Anthony Yuthas and Jon Nicholls will receive the Outstanding Sustained Volunteer Award. The Outstanding Sustained Volunteer Award honors long-term commitment to pro bono legal representation through Metro Volunteer Lawyers in furtherance of access to justice, while consistently showing outstanding professionalism and dedication to helping those of limited means. The five recipients have demonstrated years of commitment to MVL. Norman Campbell is a solo practitioner in Brighton. Barbara Chamberlain was the Executive Director of Metro Volunteer Lawyers for many years. Lucy Marsh is a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she has received the DU Law Star Excellence in Teaching Award. Anthony Yuthas is a solo practitioner focusing on bankruptcy law. Jon Nicholls is one of the founders of the Thursday Night Bar, and is also Of Counsel at Nicholls & Associates in Denver.

MVLMetro Volunteer Lawyers’ Power of Attorney Clinic will receive the Outstanding Programs/Projects award, which is given to programs that provide legal education, outreach, pro bono services or fundraising. The Power of Attorney Clinic pairs volunteer attorneys with elderly clients wishing to complete advance planning documents, allowing the clients to give legal authority to trusted friends or family members to arrange their financial or medical affairs.

To register for the DBA Awards Ceremony, click here, call (303) 860-1115, or email lunches@cobar.org.

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!

DBA Awards Reception on June 26 – All Are Invited!

GabrielThe Denver Bar Association is hosting a reception on Thursday, June 26, 2014 to honor its 2014 award recipients. Judge Richard L. Gabriel received the Award of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the DBA. Judge Dennis A. Graham received the Judicial Excellence Award for his exemplary judicial service. Ilene Lin Bloom received the DBA Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award, given to an attorney who proudly provides outstanding services to the community. Margrit Lent Parker received the Young Lawyer of the Year Award, recognizing her achievements as a young lawyer.

Everyone is welcome to attend the award reception on Thursday, June 26, 2014 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center. RSVP online, by emailing lunches@cobar.org, or by calling (303) 860-1115, ext. 727.

Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans Honored as DBA Outstanding Program

This is Part 2 of a series of posts about the DBA Award winners (for Part 1, click here; for Part 2, click here; for Part 3, click here; for Part 4, click here; and for Part 5, click here). The article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Docket.

When John Vaught returned home from Vietnam, something was missing: support from his fellow Americans.

Fast forward decades and a law school education later to Vaught’s involvement with Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans (CLCV). Determined to provide the support he didn’t get for those who have served our country, Vaught approached Mark Fogg (then CBA President) about creating a veterans affairs program. As it turns out, Chief Justice Bender was working on a similar idea. So, several factors and ideas converged, and Vaught and Ben Currier, the CBA YLD Chair at the time, were tasked with getting CLCV started.

Their immediate mission was to form clinics around the state where CBA volunteer lawyers could meet with veterans who needed legal assistance but couldn’t afford it. Now, there are nine clinics around Colorado, and the initial program concept has expanded to form the CBA Military & Veterans Affairs Section. The members of that section are responsible not only for maintaining and improving the clinics, but also for developing other ways to help veterans in the community.

Since its inception in 2011, the CLCV clinics have served more than 400 veterans and assigned 175 pro bono cases to volunteer lawyers. Common legal topics addressed include VA benefits, landlord–tenant issues and domestic issues. Lawyers across the state have been instrumental in volunteering their time to participate in these clinics and help veterans. Sometimes, all that’s needed is 15 minutes of advice or legal direction, while other times a pro bono case or reduced-free relationship is arranged. Any way you look at it, CLCV is a highly valuable program that’s helping to unite our community.

“There’s a huge satisfaction in helping,” Vaught says, “in reaching out to these people and saying ‘I get it, I understand what you’ve been through. I welcome you home and want to try to help you in a real way.”

Craig Dehning of Skinner Middle School and Theresa Storto of Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy Awarded DBA Education in the Legal System Award

This is Part 2 of a series of posts about the DBA Award winners (for Part 1, click here; for Part 2, click here; for Part 3, click here; for Part 4, click here). The article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Docket.

EDUCATION IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM AWARD WINNER:
CRAIG DEHNING, SKINNER MIDDLE SCHOOL

“It’s critically important that we teach civics in 8th grade because they’re not necessarily getting it later. It’s the foundation of law.”

Craig Dehning, an 8th grade U.S. History teacher at Skinner Middle School, is serious when it comes to shaping the future generation. He explains that for many, the last year of middle school is the only time kids will learn about the Constitution in Denver Public Schools. There is an elective civics class in high school, but it isn’t mandatory. And, the high school where many of his kids continue on has a shockingly high drop-out rate. So, he takes every chance he can get to impact their education.

“It’s so important for the kids to have some idea about the beginning of our country, the creation of the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—among others,” Dehning says.

Although he was almost a lawyer, Dehning has clearly found his knack in teaching. His voice fills with enthusiasm when describing the value of showing kids how success feels. His favorite part of teaching is seeing the learning curve—how those kids take that knowledge and become confident. Dehning encourages his students to always ask questions, explaining: “Learning comes from questioning.”

Praising the “We the People” program, Dehning says that it’s a really great way for kids to dive into the Constitution and learn more about legal topics, such as the structure of our government and the Fifth Amendment. He hopes that more schools will become involved in it in the future.

“We need to make sure the foundation of our government and society is taught to kids,” Dehning says.

EDUCATION IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM AWARD WINNER:
THERESA STORTO, KUNSMILLER CREATIVE ARTS ACADEMY

Typically, growing up means learning from your mistakes.

That same idea is often applied—in a more general sense—to education. The more students learn about the past, the better they can shape the future. Eighth-grade social studies teacher Theresa Storto believes this is a critical aspect of her history curriculum. She teaches the students at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy that to improve the future, you have to understand the past.

An important part of Storto’s social studies teaching plan is the “We the People” program. She encourages her students to participate in Mock Congressional Hearings each year, where they become experts in parts of the Constitution.

“They’re the future and they need to know the Constitution to understand that they do have power,” Storto explains, “so that they can make the changes they feel are necessary for a better world.”

Along with the legal knowledge, students also gain confidence in their expertise and abilities throughout the program. Storto says that showing kids how they can make a difference is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher. She strives to always provide them with inspiration and hope for the future—and the courage to believe in who they are and what they can do.

Ilene Lin Bloom Receives DBA Volunteer of the Year Award

IleneLinBloom

This is Part 4 of a series of posts about the DBA Award winners (for Part 1, click here; for Part 2, click here; for Part 3, click here). The article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Docket.

“I hope we can reach a point where volunteering is just a part of a lawyer’s practice, and not out of the ordinary.”

Ilene Lin Bloom is very grateful to be honored as the Denver Bar Association’s Volunteer of the Year, and she’s also hopeful that in the future a greater number of attorneys will take on volunteer projects. She wants to inspire other lawyers to integrate volunteering and pro bono into their practice and everyday legal lives.

Bloom refutes the excuse “I don’t have enough time.” As an attorney, volunteer, wife, mother and former DBA President, she does it all. In fact, during her 2011–12 presidency, Bloom worked to increase pro bono education within the community, and strove to help lawyers find room for volunteering on their list of priorities.

An enthusiastic activist, Bloom attended school knowing she wanted to help children through the law. She went through a first-of-its-kind Child Law program at Loyola Law School in Chicago, and trained to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children.

Since moving to Denver, Bloom has been consistently involved in the DBA. She chaired the DBA Legal Services Committee for seven years and served on the Access to Justice Commission, testifying as a commissioner in state hearings. She helps administer Legal Nights at El Centro, and recently increased her community involvement by chairing a silent auction for the local charity WeeCycle.

Bloom is the current co-chair of the Fit to Practice Task Force as well, channeling her energy into promoting a healthy lifestyle for the local legal community and making the DBA more relevant to its members.

“It’s very important for lawyers to be physically fit,” Bloom explains. “It helps them be mentally fit and it helps their happiness levels and their ability to step away from the practice of law and create a work–life balance.”

Finding a healthy life balance is vital for all professionals —and lawyers are no exception. Bloom notes that the happiest lawyers she’s met are those who are able to manage their professional aspirations, their health and their family as best as possible. In other words, follow Bloom’s impressive example.

Margrit Lent Parker Named DBA Young Lawyer of the Year

MargritLentParker

This is Part 3 of a series of posts about the DBA Award winners (for Part 1, click here; for Part 2, click here). The article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Docket.

Margrit Lent Parker isn’t sure why she’s been crowned Young Lawyer of the Year. In fact, her first reaction was confusion. And that’s exactly why she’s the best choice—she continuously gives her time to the bar association while working tirelessly at her firm, expecting nothing in return.

Now, Parker is gaining recognition for all of those times in which she says “I just saw something that needed to be done and did it.”

Take the Colorado wildfires and floods, for example. Parker volunteered to be the District Representative for the ABA Young Lawyers Division, and decided that their old disaster plans needed reworking. So, she put together a committee to draft a new one. Just a few months later, the Colorado wildfires began. Parker helped to set up a legal helpline and find volunteers. Then, the Colorado flooding occurred, and they had the basis to put more of a plan in place. Along with the helpline and call for volunteers, they created a website. Their efforts served more than 600 flood survivors.

Parker is very involved with the DBA and CBA, and also has thrown much of her time into the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP). “Working on that was so rewarding,” she says.

A recent transfer to the new Childs McCune firm, Parker is a down-to-earth attorney who loves to ride horses in her (rare) free time. In college, she started out on the veterinarian track and graduated with a double degree in Equine Science and Zoology. She loved the year she spent after college working in Kentucky on a Thoroughbred farm and at an equine hospital, but decided that law was her calling. She now mixes her passion and profession by working with the veterinary and equine industries.

One thing is certain when it comes to Parker’s future in the legal profession: She’ll continue to do what needs to be done—then more.

Judge Dennis Graham Given DBA Judicial Excellence Award

Graham

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!

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.

 

 

Congratulations to the 2014 DBA Award Winners

The DBA Awards Committee has chosen winners for the following awards: DBA Award of Merit, DBA Young Lawyer of the Year, DBA Volunteer of the Year, Judicial Excellence, Education in the Legal System and Outstanding Programs or Projects. Involvement with the DBA, community contributions outside the bar associations, career history, and accomplishments were all considered in the selection process. The winners listed below are outstanding individuals whom we would like to recognize publicly for their commitment to the legal field and our community. Thank you for inspiring us all!

  • Award of Merit: Richard L. Gabriel,Colorado Court of Appeals
  • Judicial Excellence: Dennis A. Graham,Colorado Court of Appeals
  • Young Lawyer of the Year: Margrit Parker,Kennedy Childs
  • Volunteer of the Year: Ilene Lin Bloom, Ilene Bloom PC
  • Education in the Legal System: Craig Dehning from Skinner Middle School and Theresa Storto from Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
  • Projects and Programs: Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans Clinic volunteers