July 21, 2018

Happy Fourth of July!

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In honor of Independence Day, the CBA, DBA, and CBA-CLE offices will be closed on Friday, July 3, 2015. The CLE offices will close at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 2. You can still register for classes, order books and homestudies, and sign up for the CLE Pass online at cle.cobar.org.

Happy Fourth of July!

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!

The Law Firm Throwdown Wants You to Sweat for Charity

12014-SE-Law-Firm-ThrowdownA new kind of legal challenge is launching this fall! Sweat Equity is stirring up some healthy competition among attorneys in Colorado with the debut of The Law Firm Throwdown.

Any firm in the state can sign up to be a part of this energizing challenge to increase fitness levels while raising money for charity.

The challenge will begin in early October, and each participating firm starts by throwing $250 into the “Winner’s Pot.” Your employees will track their physical activity for six weeks using the Sweat Equity website and mobile app, ending just before Thanksgiving . Participants with FitBits can also link those accounts to upload their data. Scores are determined by daily steps and time and intensity of workouts. Leaders among the law firms are based on a point-by-person average so that firms of any size can compete equally.

Along with a kick-off webinar for participants, Sweat Equity will provide communication, tips and tech support throughout the challenge. Incentives are also offered – for instance, one team will win “Most Improved,” and receive a special, separate amount to give to charity at the end.

Live leaderboards allow firms to check in on their status throughout the six weeks. The winning group then gets to choose which charity they want to donate their portion of the “Winner’s Pot” to. This challenge offers a unique twist in that if the winning team earns 80% of the overall points, they get 80% of the pot to donate. So, even if a firm doesn’t win but gathers 20% of the points, they will receive 20% of the pot to donate as well.

Once the winning firm is announced, there will also be an event to honor them with a trophy and check for charity. Sweat Equity sends out press releases about the challenge and winner.

Instead of just writing a check to charity, join the Law Firm Throwdown to build group morale, drum up healthy competition, and motivate your employees to move as well. With so many amazing organizations – such as Metro Volunteer Lawyers and the Legal Aid Foundation – in need of donations, we encourage you to sign up your firm today! Contact Sara Epstein at 303-503-4756 or sarap@teamsweatequity.com.

DBA’s Davis Award Nominations Sought—Deadline is Monday, September 1

The Denver Bar Association is seeking nominations for the 2014 Richard Marden Davis Award. The prestigious Davis Award is given to attorneys in Denver who are under 40 years of age and exhibit exemplary civic, cultural, educational, and charitable leadership. It is presented jointly by the Davis family, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, and the Denver Bar Association. Past recipients of the award include Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Marquez, Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Richard Gabriel, and former governor Bill Ritter. The 2013 recipient of the Davis Award was Shannon Stevenson.

Nominations for the 2014 Award are due September 1, 2014. Nomination forms are available for download here, and more information on the award is available here. Questions? Email Margee Fawley or call her at 303-892-7528.

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!

Denver Bar Association Releases Survey Regarding Second Judicial District Nominees

A Second Judicial District vacancy will be created by the retirement of the Honorable Norman D. Haglund on April 18. The Colorado Judicial Department has released the names of the three finalists for that vacancy on the bench. The finalists are Karen L. Brody, David H. Goldberg, and Jay S. Grant. See below for brief biographies on each candidate.

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey regarding the nominees. The Denver Bar Association, through its President, Daniel R. McCune, will provide the information from the survey to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s legal team.

The survey will be compiled by The Denver Bar Association and all survey responses are confidential. Each time a judicial vacancy occurs in the Denver District Court, the Denver Bar surveys its members on the nominees to provide feedback to the governor’s office.

The survey will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 14. You can begin the survey here. We apologize for the short turnaround time but the names were just released. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

The three nominees are:

Karen L. Brody
Brody is currently an attorney with Lowe, Fell & Skogg in Denver where she practices Commercial, Real Estate, and Eminent Domain Litigation. Ms. Brody received her undergraduate degree from the University of Denver in 1982, her M.A. from Tufts University in 1983, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Denver in 1996.

David H. Goldberg
Goldberg is currently a trial attorney at Greenberg Traurig practicing commercial litigation and arbitration. In addition, he was formerly the managing partner of an international law firm’s Moscow office, where his practice focused on international transactions, financing, licensing and distribution agreements. Mr. Goldberg received his undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1980 and his Juris Doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology in 1983.

Jay S. Grant
Grant is currently a Deputy State Public Defender in Denver. Mr. Grant previously was an attorney at Stiner, Beck, Jonson & Nolan, where he practiced criminal defense and family law, and was an attorney at Cudd & Associates, where he practiced securities law. Mr. Grant received his undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University in 1992 and his Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University in 1997.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Alexa Drago at adrago@cobar.org or (303) 824-5313.

Call for Nominations for 2014–2015 Denver Bar Association Leadership Positions

The Denver Bar Association Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for the 2014–2015 DBA leadership positions, including President-Elect, First and Second Vice Presidents, three members of Board of Trustees, and 11 members of the CBA Board of Governors. Deadline for nominations is Monday, Feb. 17 at noon. For more information or to submit nominations, contact Dana Collier Smith.