COBALT Executive & Sessions Committee

CBA President


Patricia M. Jarzobski, Colorado Bar Association President, is the CBA’s 5th female President in 119 years and the first female President in 10 years. a solo practitioner at The Law Office of Patricia M. Jarzobski, P.C. A seasoned litigator, Patricia’s legal practice focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury and wrongful death cases. She is married to her partner of 27 years, District Court Judge Emily Anderson, 17th Judicial District. Emily and Patricia were married on paddleboards, in Hawaii, on their 25th anniversary! Patricia is the 2012-2013 Past President of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association. She serves on the board of The National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.  Patricia served on the board of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for 6 years.  She is a mentor in the Colorado Supreme Court’s Attorney Mentoring Program.  Patricia also serves on the 17th Judicial Committee Nominating Commission and the Supreme Court Proactive Management Based Regulation Committee. Patricia is a member of many specialty bar associations including the GLBT Bar Association, CWBA, APABA, CHBA, Sam Cary Bar Association and SABA. Patricia is dedicated to having the diverse talent of our entire community engaged in shaping how our bar associations move forward. 


CBA Staff


Carolyn P. Gravit is Director of Public Legal Education for the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations where she leads law-related educational programs for students and adults, to promote in depth understanding of the legal system. Carolyn handles pro bono efforts at the CBA/DBA for the indigent in Colorado such as the Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans Program and numerous other clinics. She has been at the CBA/DBA for 12 years. Carolyn has been a speaker at the American Bar Association Law Related Education Conference on topics such as civility, free expression and education. She currently serves on the Rules Committee for the National High School Mock Trial Committee. Carolyn was a founding member of the Colorado Young Professional Advisory Council for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado. She grew up in San Antonio, Texas and moved to Colorado after working as a legislative assistant and several years for the Texas Bar Association. Carolyn graduated with BA in Political Science and Communications from the University of the Incarnate Word. After completing an internship at the Washington Center Washington, D.C. in Law and Media, she continued her studies in Alternative Dispute Resolution. She is currently working towards a doctrine degree of philosophy in public affairs.


2017 COBALT Executive Committee


Leia G. Ursery, COBALT Chair, is a partner at Lindquist & Vennum LLP, who specializes in estate planning, estate and trust litigation/administration and probate protective proceedings, including guardianships and conservatorships. During her last year of law school, Leia served as the law clerk for the Honorable Judge C. Jean Stewart of the Denver Probate Court. Thereafter, she began her practice at Olsen & Traeger, LLP, in October 2004. In 2011, Leia helped to establish the Probate Practicum at the University of Denver, College of Law, which she continues to teach at this time.  Additionally, Leia teaches Estate and Gift Taxation at the University of Colorado - Denver in the Masters of Taxation program.  She is a member of the Statutory Revisions and Orange Book Committees of the Colorado Bar Association - Trust and Estate Section and a former member and Chair of the Colorado Association Young Lawyers Division Executive Council. Leia concentrates her volunteer efforts within the community by serving as a frequent volunteer for Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans, Senior Law Day, Lawline 9, the Pro Se Clinic at the Denver Probate Court, and the Wills Lab and Tribal Wills Clinic provided through the University of Denver, College of Law. Leia was selected for the Class of 2013 Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training (COBALT) program.


Mariana Vielma, COBALT Whisperer, currently practices with the Adams County Attorney’s Office.  After two and a half years on the Child Welfare legal team, she currently works in the areas of child support enforcement and fraud recovery through civil & bankruptcy courts.   As a prosecutor in the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s office from 2007 to 2013, she served Adams County in a variety of leadership roles within the office and on juvenile justice initiatives, both locally and State-wide.   She clerked for the Honorable Judges Donald Marshall and John Popovich in Adams County District Court.  Prior to law school, Mariana was a paralegal for many years while earning her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Management from the University of Texas at El Paso (2001).  She earned her law degree at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN (2005).    Mariana is active in the Adams/Broomfield Bar Association (ABBA) where she has served as Secretary, Treasurer, and President.  Since 2008 she has served as the Treasurer of the 17th Judicial District’s Access to Justice Committee.  Since 2009, the first year of the annual Access to Justice Sean May Memorial Run, Mariana has served as co-chair for the event.  In 2009 she was honored by ABBA as the Volunteer Attorney of the Year, recognizing her commitment to community service, her leadership in youth ministry, and her contributions to local bar association projects, events, and community youth & service projects.  Mariana has served on the CBA Nominating Committee, the Colorado Mentoring Program’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, and currently serves on the Chief Justice Commission and the CBA Executive Council.   She is a member of the 2009 COBALT class, and has since served on COBALT Sessions and Executive Committees. 


Benjamin "Ben" Currier, COBALT Immediate Past Chair, was sworn into the practice of law in 2004 and is currently a shareholder with the law firm of Miller & Steiert, P.C. He has a general litigation practice in the areas of criminal defense, family law, and general civil litigation matters. Ben was also appointed in May of 2013 to sit as an associate judge for the City of Littleton. Ben received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado in 2000 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2004. He is also the Second District Vice President to the Colorado Bar Association and  is the immediate past president of the Arapahoe County Bar Association. Ben is a graduate of the 2010 COBALT class and currently serves on the COBALT Executive Committee. In 2013 Ben was honored with the Colorado Bar Association's Gary McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award. Previously in 2007 Ben was honored with the Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the Arapahoe County Bar Association.  Ben is a Colorado native and enjoys the outdoors by fishing, camping and skiing as often as possible. He lives in Denver with his wife, Suzanne, their young sons Samuel and Henry.


Katy J. H. Dunn, COBALT Chair Elect, is Assistant General Counsel with Forest City Stapleton, Inc., the master developer for the former Stapleton International Airport.  Her practice is primarily real estate development, including negotiation and drafting of purchase and sale agreements, brownfields regulatory issues, negotiations with the City and County of Denver on a variety of public-private development matters, managing outside counsel on a variety of matters, and due diligence issues. She serves on the Real Estate Section Council of the Colorado Bar Association.  She is a graduate of the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management Advancing Leader certification program.   Ms. Dunn obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings College of Law, and was Senior Executive Editor of the Law Review and worked in the Civil Justice Clinic during her time there, before graduating and being sworn in to the Colorado Bar in 2000.  Prior to that, she worked at the biotechnology firm Genentech, Inc., in the Legal Department, after graduating from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in Journalism.  Katy is a proud member of the 2014 COBALT class, and the 2015 Sessions Committee. She was chair of the Sessions Committee for 2016, and is Chair-Elect of COBALT for 2017.  She lives in Stapleton with her amazing husband and their equally amazing son.


Catherine “Cat” S. Shea, COBALT Session Chair, is a graduate of the COBALT Class of 2015 and Assistant Regulation Counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. In that capacity, she investigates attorney discipline and disability, law examiner, magistrate, and judicial matters. Cat received her undergraduate degree from Western Kentucky University and her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. After a brief stint in private practice, Cat clerked for the Honorable Robert D. Hawthorne at the Colorado Court of Appeals. Prior to joining the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, she served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Colorado in the Business & Licensing Section for nearly five years. Ms. Shea is an active member of the Colorado Bar Association’s Ethics Committee and Professionalism Coordinating Council and has served on the Colorado Women’s Bar Association’s Board of Directors since 2010.


Megan M. Downing, COBALT Events/Programs Committee Chair, is a partner at Recht Kornfeld, P.C. After graduating from DU’s Sturm College of Law, Megan began her legal career working as a deputy public defender in Adams County, Colorado. After almost eight years with the Colorado State Public Defender’s office, Megan ventured into private practice where she continues to practice criminal defense and related civil client matters. Megan represents clients in municipal, state, and federal courts at all stages and handles a broad spectrum of cases ranging from misdemeanor and traffic offenses to the most serious of felonies, including homicide. Megan is a COBALT alumnus, a committee leader for the ABA’s Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice Criminal Justice Committee, a member of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, and she is a cooperating attorney for the ACLU.  Megan graduated from COBALT in 2015.   


Miro Kovacevic, COBALT Alumni Committee Chair, is currently a member with the law firm of Fisher & Associates, P.C. He has a broad commercial litigation and real estate practice, and is the firm’s manager in those practice areas.  After graduating from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2004, Miro completed a clerkship with the Honorable Hilda G. Tagle, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas.  Miro is a graduate of the 2013 COBALT class.  He currently serves on the COBALT Executive Committee and is a representative for the Denver Bar Association to the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors.  Miro is also a loyal volunteer of the American Red Cross, currently serving as the External Relations Section Chief for the Region of Colorado and Wyoming.



2017 COBALT Sessions Committee


Alison Zinn, a 2016 COBALT graduate, is a partner at Lindquist & Vennum, LLP.  Alison completed her undergraduate studies at University of Colorado, Boulder where she majored in both political science and international affairs.  She obtained her juris doctorate from University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 2004.  Alison is a trial attorney who focuses her practice on trust and estate litigation, particularly wills, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, probate fiduciaries, beneficiary disputes, removal proceedings, and pursuit of non-probate assets. In addition, Alison accepts guardian ad litem appointments for the elderly and the disabled. Before turning her focus to trust and estate litigation, she represented commercial clients in various industries. Notable legal community involvement includes: serving as CWBA President during the 2014-2015 fiscal year, currently serving as Vice President; Member of the CBA Executive Council; and member of the Attorney Regulation Committee.

Amy Petri Beard, a 2016 COBALT graduate, is currently employed with the Seventeenth Judicial District Attorney’s Office as a Senior Deputy District Attorney.  She is assigned to prosecute cases involving child victims.  In June 2016, she was elected Vice-President of the Adams Broomfield Bar Association.  She is a 2016 COBALT graduate, on the Colorado Bar Association High School Mock Trial Committee, is the Adams/Broomfield High School Regional Mock Trial Coordinator, is a member of the Colorado Women's Bar Association, and is on the Broomfield Library Board.


Melissa Hart, a 2016 COBALT graduate, has been a professor at the University of Colorado Law School since 2001, teaching courses in employment discrimination, legal ethics, constitutional law, judicial procedure and judicial decision making.  She is now the Schaden Chair for Experiential Learning and the Director of the Byron White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law.  A 1995 graduate of Harvard Law School, she clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the United States Supreme Court. Melissa practiced law for several years in Washington, D.C., including as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.  Her scholarship focuses primarily on employment discrimination and access to justice. She remains active in the legal community, regularly handling pro bono cases and serving on the Colorado Access to Justice Commission and the Colorado Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. She has authored several amicus briefs in employment discrimination and constitutional cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and in other matters before the Colorado Supreme Court and several federal courts of appeals.


Kelley R. Southerland, a 2016 COBALT graduate, is a founding partner of Radley & Southerland, LLC, a multidisciplinary law firm providing best interests representation to children in Denver Juvenile Court proceedings.  Kelley has dedicated her career to serving children and families.  She serves as a guardian ad litem, Child and Family Investigator, and mediator, and focuses on children's best interests in each of those roles.  Kelley is active in the legal community, serving on numerous committees in Denver Juvenile Court, is an active member of the Colorado Women's Bar Association, and the Marsh Inn of Court.  Kelley also chairs the Family Law Evidence Practicum for CLE each year.  Kelley is a 2016 COBALT graduate, and is delighted to be serving the 2017 class as a member of the Sessions Committee.


Helen M. Hoopes, “Elly,”, a 2016 COBALT graduate, is currently a Senior Deputy Public Defender, and an Adjunct Professor at University of Denver, Sturm College of Law teaching Native American Appellate Advocacy. She also sits as the defense representative on the 18th Judicial District Veteran’s Treatment Court. As a Public Defender, Helen has represented thousands of juveniles and defendants in Colorado going to jury trials on everything from DUIs to Homicides.  She is the Juvenile Supervising Attorney in Douglas County specializing in Direct File defense. Helen grew up traveling all over the world with her family, her father being a U.S. Foreign Service Officer.  Born in Washington D.C., she moved to Calcutta, India, at a year, and lived in New Delhi; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Beirut, Lebanon, before returning to Washington D.C. at 12.  She attended Vassar College, receiving an AB in English Literature in 1986. Helen went on to receive her Juris Doctorate and LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Denver. While a student at University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, Helen, was the Treasurer for DU NALSA and the Vice-President of the Moot Court Board.  She ran the Hoffman Cup Competition in 2005.  Helen represented University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in the National NALSA Competition that same school year, and received Second Place for Best Brief and Second Place for Best Oralist. Helen received the SBA Outstanding Legal Masters Award 2005-2006.  Helen is the current DEBA President, on the CBA Board of Governors, a COBALT 2016 graduate, and on the COBALT Sessions Committee for 2017. Prior to moving to Denver to attend law school, Helen was an environmental educator, and humanitarian advocate working with local programs in Nepal and Mongolia, as well as, designing and leading rigorous travel trips to both regions and to Tibet.  Her passion for the mountains and indigenous and indigent rights is what inspires Helen.  When she is not in court or teaching, you can find her skiing, or hiking and camping in Colorado’s mountains with her English Mastiffs.

Arnulfo D. Hernández, a 2016 COBALT graduate, is founder and managing partner of the law firm of Hernandez & Associates, P.C. The law firm specializes in criminal defense and immigration removal defense. Arnulfo graduated cum laude from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, in 2001 with a double major in Political Science and Psychology. He attained his law degree from the University of Denver in 2005 and his LL.M. in taxation in 2007. Arnulfo clerked for the Colorado Attorney General's Office in their Foreign Prosecutions Division and the Procuraduria de Justicia in Guanajuato, Mexico. He is fluent in Spanish. Arnulfo is a Life Member of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and of the Faculty of Federal Advocates. He is a elected Board Member of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and an active member of the Rhone Brackett Chapter of the American Inns of Court. Arnulfo represents individuals in criminal and immigration proceedings before local Colorado state courts, U.S. Federal District Court, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nicolas M. Geman, a 2016 COBALT graduate, is one of Colorado’s leading and most-awarded criminal defense and trial lawyers. Mr. Geman has been recognized as one of Colorado’s Top Ten Under 40 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, one of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and multiple times as one of Colorado’s Top 10 DUI Defense Lawyers by the American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys in consecutive years. Mr. Geman has also been nominated for both Super Lawyers, and U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers in America. He is a requested lecturer in the field of trial tactics and techniques, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, and twice recognized by the Colorado Supreme Court for his work with United States Veterans in the community.  Mr. Geman also sits on the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar’s Professional Development Committee, and is an active member of the Colorado Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the National College for DUI Defense. Mr. Geman is a graduate of both the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and New York University, where he found a passion for defending the accused during his work on the Innocence Project in New York City. Since then, he has worked with many of the country’s leading attorneys on some of the biggest cases, including domestic terrorism, homicide offenses, and massive white collar financial frauds.