June 26, 2019

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!

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.

 

 

Michael H. Berger to Receive Colorado Bar’s Highest Honor

6113Michael H. Berger will be honored with the Colorado Bar Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, at the Colorado Bar Foundation’s Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Friday, Jan. 10.

In the numerous letters of nominations that were received by the awards committee, the overwhelming praise was to Berger’s intelligence, analytical skill, and commitment to professionalism. Many described him as the definition of a “lawyer’s lawyer,” an extraordinary lawyer and person.  His almost 40 years of service to the profession have been done quietly, without fanfare or self promotion.

“The CBA is comprised of many talented and dedicated lawyers who tirelessly work to improve our system of justice,” Berger said. “To receive this award from such an organization is a tremendous honor.”

Berger is a member of Husch Blackwell’s Financial Services team where he focuses on financial litigation while also handling commercial, appellate, employment and intellectual property litigation matters. He acts as a consultant in legal ethics matters and frequently serves as an expert witness, and is a frequent presenter of CLE programs in the areas of litigation and legal ethics and has authored a number of articles in the area of legal ethics. Berger is a past chair of the CBA Ethics Committee, current chair of the CBA Amicus Brief Committee, and a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Standing Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. He was recently appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to serve as a judge for the Colorado Court of Appeals.

“Each lawyer who has received the CBA’s Award of Merit has been astonished:  Why me? ” said Past Award of Merit winner Anthony van Westrum.  “But I am sure there is no one — with Mike as the possible exception — who doubts that Michael Berger is entirely deserving of this Award.  Everyone who knows him knows of the constant, quiet, thoroughly competent services he renders to the Association and for the good of the law and the legal system in Colorado.  Even the Governor knows that, for he has just elevated Mike to the Court of Appeals.”

The Award of Merit, the association’s highest honor, is given annually to a member for outstanding service to the association, the legal profession, the administration of justice and the community. Berger and CBA Young Lawyers Division’s Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award recipient Benjamin E. Currier will be honored at the Colorado Bar Foundation’s Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Friday, Jan. 10, at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center.

Benjamin E. Currier Named Colorado Bar Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year

BenCurrierRecognizing his leadership and service in the legal community and the community at large, Benjamin E. Currier has been named the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year.

Currier, 35, has been a leader in both the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations. His focus within the organizations has been on access to justice and the ongoing endeavor to meet the needs of those who cannot afford traditional legal services. In 2011, Currier helped establish the Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans program, a statewide pro bono legal services initiative that assists Colorado Veterans, some active duty service members, and their families. The Clinics provide free legal advice by allowing veterans to meet with attorneys who explain legal processes and forms, and distribute resources covering veteran benefits, taxes, housing and family law.

“In my practice and community involvement, I try to keep in mind the need for honesty, integrity, hard-work, and the responsibility to give back to the community on a consistent basis,” Currier said. “As an attorney, I continue to make efforts to be a good steward of and role model for our profession. I am  honored to be recognized by my peers.”

Currier is a shareholder and partner with Miller & Steiert, P.C. in Littleton. He litigates criminal, family law, and general civil disputes.

He is President-elect of the Arapahoe County Bar Association, a graduate and executive committee member of the Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training program, an executive council member and past chair of the CBA Young Lawyers Division, and an Associate Judge for the City of Littleton.  In 2007, the ACBA awarded him with its Young Lawyer of the Year award.

The Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Lawyer of the Year award is given annually to a young lawyer with an outstanding record of professional success, community service achievements, a strong commitment to civic participation and inspiring others. McPherson was honored with the award in 1993; he went on to serve three terms in the state legislature. The award was renamed in his honor following his death in 2000.

“Ben is a humble leader who works hard to promote fairness and justice and to improve the legal profession. He is beyond dedicated to his clients, the bar association, and the community,” said Emma Garrison, chair of the CBA Young Lawyers Division.

Currier will be honored at the CBA YLD holiday party on Dec. 11 and at the Colorado Bar Foundation Annual Bar Fellows Dinner on Jan. 10 at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center.

Bennett S. Aisenberg Honored with Award of Merit at Colorado Bar Foundation Annual Dinner

AisenbergFogg

By Sara Crocker

Colorado Bar Association Award of Merit honoree Bennett Aisenberg is more than a great attorney, according to a colleague; in fact, he’s a skilled horticulturist and his garden always bears quite a bounty – it’s one that people can see in law offices across the state.

“[Aisenberg] has germinated seeds in the hearts and minds of many folks who were in the early days of their learning how to practice law,” Senior Chief Deputy District Attorney Dick Reeve wrote in his letter of support for Aisenberg to receive the Award of Merit, which CBA President Mark Fogg relayed at the Colorado Bar Foundation Annual Dinner on Jan. 11.

“Those seeds have sprouted into individual professionals who today bring balance, ethics, objectivity, professionalism, and their humaneness to their legal work,” Reeves wrote. “Simply put: Ben has found a way over the years, through his various positions of service to the legal community, of connecting with and mentoring, to varying degrees, what I believe to be hundreds of Colorado lawyers.”

Aisenberg, was strongly impacted by the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird,” knew from a young age that he wanted to be a trial attorney. He said that receiving the association’s highest honor had nearly left him without words, but only nearly.

“I love and admire this profession so much that to be honored by its members is one of the greatest gifts an attorney can get,” he said.

The long-time sole practitioner served as a president of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association from 1984 to 1985, president of the Denver Bar Association from 1991 to 1992 and president of the Colorado Bar Association from 1998 to 1999. In 2003, he received the DBA’s Award of Merit — that association’s highest honor. He also has been honored by the Sam Cary and Asian Pacific American Bar Associations.

Aisenberg has been a long-time supporter of the Colorado Bar Foundation, and in 2004 he donated $10,000 to the foundation, which promotes the advancement of jurisprudence and the fair and equal administration of justice through grants that help educate the public and by providing assistance to Colorado’s legal institutions. In recognition of this generous donation, the foundation board created the Aisenberg Society for fellows who donate $10,000 to the foundation over 10 years or less.

Aisenberg has been a luminary on the CBA’s Ethics Committee, comprised of approximately 90 attorneys who offer ethics advice to colleagues and write formal ethics opinions on general ethical conundrums.

“I have found it one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had in the legal profession,” he said.

BrownFoggGary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Loren M. Brown also was honored at the dinner.

Brown said after it was announced that he would receive the award he got a flood of emails.

“I think the best one I got said, ‘Congratulations on still being young,’” he said.

The award is given annually to a young lawyer (those under 37 years old or who have been admitted to the bar for less than three years) with an outstanding record of professional success, community service achievements, a strong commitment to civic participation and inspiring others.

Though he is still young, the shareholder with Donelson Ciancio & Grant, P.C. has already accomplished much. He is a former president of the Adams-Broomfield Bar Association, a fellow of the Colorado Bar Foundation, a member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and a graduate and executive committee member of the Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training program, known as COBALT. This year, he was recognized with members of the 17th Judicial District Access to Justice Committee by the Adams-Broomfield Bar Association with its Liberty Bell Award as citizens of the year. In 2011, ABBA awarded him with its Volunteer Attorney of the Year award.

Brown is a part of a local bar association that is on the cutting edge of access to justice in Colorado, Fogg said.

“When I traveled across the state to my local bar associations we talked a lot about access to justice. All of the access to justice committees said we want to be like Adams County. Adams County sets the bar in this state on access to justice programs in this state,” he said.

Brown said he was humbled to receive the award and thanked his mother, who raised him and his sister alone, and his mentor Gene Ciancio.

“I take this as a charge to do more,” Brown said.