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TCL > January 2007 Issue > Bar News

January 2007       Vol. 36, No. 1       Page  7
In and Around the Bar
Bar News

Bar News
by Mindy Marks, Cheryl Law

Bar News is a monthly compilation of news from the Colorado Bar Association,
including Sections and Committees, Administration,
and Local and Specialty Bar Associations.

Please send information and photos about Bar events and activities taking place
around the state to: Mindy Marks—, (303) 824-5312;
or Cheryl Law, (303) 824-5333. Call toll-free in-state: (800) 332-6736.


The CBA Presidents’ Annual Dinner was held at the Broadmoor Hotel on November 4, 2006. Pictured above, left to right: David Lytle, Tom Cross, Frank Plaut, Bart Mendenhall, Bob Truhlar, Dan Hoffman, Liz Starrs, Les Ward, John Moye, Katherine Tamblyn, Phil Figa, Ben Aisenberg, Steve Briggs, Tom Carney, Rebecca Koppes Conway, Bill DeMoulin, Roger Clark, and David Wood.


Lawyers, law students, family, and friends are invited to join in the fun of the Seventh Annual Ski Train Trip to Winter Park on Saturday, February 24, 2007. The event is sponsored by the CBA Young Lawyers Division. The Ski Train will leave Union Station in Denver at 7:15 a.m. (boarding begins at 6:30 a.m.) and return from Winter Park at 4:15 p.m. (boarding begins at 3:30 p.m.). The cost is $45 per person, not including the lift ticket.

Contact Julie Haines at (303) 825-2700 or by January 31, 2007, for registration information. See also p.70 in this issue for a full-page notice about this event.


The CBA is pleased to announce the formation of a Military Law Committee (MLC). The MLC’s mission is to serve as a resource for attorneys and members of the public who are facing issues pertaining to all aspects of military law.

Created in September 2006, the MLC has attracted a large number of members from throughout Colorado. Committee Chair Chris Colclasure, an attorney with Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, believes interest in and need for such a committee is due in part to the large number of guard and reserve units activated to participate in U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Often, military members facing deployment find themselves having to deal with unanticipated legal issues. They may seek advice from attorneys whose knowledge of some aspects of military law, such as the Service Members’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA), is limited. Similarly, the activation of guard and reserve units creates legal issues for employers who must become familiar with their obligations under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

MLC member Mark Cohen, a partner with Cohen Horner, LLP, has volunteered to create a newsletter to keep committee members and the Bar informed about developments in military law. Cohen explains that "military law" may be a broader category than some might imagine. In addition to issues pertaining to SCRA or USERRA, it includes military justice, veterans’ benefits, administrative actions, defense industry contracts, the division of military pensions in divorce, security clearance disputes, and many other issues. The MLC has prepared a list of attorneys with expertise in each of these areas.

Many MLC members have served in the military, but membership is open to all Colorado attorneys with an interest in any aspect of military law. The committee meets the second Wednesday of every month at Noon in the CBA offices. For more information, contact Chris Colclasure at


The Colorado Judicial Institute (CJI) thanks its sponsors, as well as the individuals who attended the Fourth Annual Judicial Excellence for Colorado Dinner on November 16, 2006, for the success of the event. Four judges from the state court system were honored for their outstanding performance and commitment to excellence.

The 2006 Judicial Independence Award was presented to retired Colorado Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis. Kourlis is the Executive Director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver. She was recognized by CJI for her dedication to judicial independence and excellence.

Three jurists were recipients of the 2006 Judicial Excellence Award. The prestigious award was presented to: Tenth District Court Chief Judge C. Dennis Maes (Pueblo County); County Court Judge Lynn J. Karowsky (Weld County); and Eighteenth Judicial District Magistrate Louis A. Gresh (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln Counties).

Left to right: Rich Gabriel, former Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis, and Gale Miller.

Left to right: Hon. Louis A. Gresh; Hon. C. Dennis Maes; and Hon. Lynn J. Karowsky.


The Boulder Access to Justice Committee and the Availability of Legal Services Committee recently held an immigration program for the judicial officers of the Twentieth Judicial District and for Boulder attorneys who are interested in becoming involved with pro bono cases dealing with immigration issues. Presenters were Laura Lichter; Lisa Battan; Christina Fiflis; Laurel Herndon, from the Immigrant Legal Center; and Mekela Goehring, from the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network. The program covered current immigration issues in employment, family, and criminal law.

Sections of the Boulder County Bar Association will be including immigration in future CLE programs. Look for upcoming programs dealing with immigration issues in the areas of family, criminal, and employment law.


Joe Pickard

Hon. Leland P. Anderson (left), with wife Susan, and parents Amanda and Leonard Anderson.

The First Judicial District Bar Association (First J.D.) held its combined Judges’ Banquet and Annual Awards Dinner on October 7, 2006. The lovely weather, superb food, and elegant atmosphere at the Mount Vernon County Club made for an enjoyable evening. Attendees included members of the judiciary, First J.D. members, spouses, family, and friends.

The event provided an opportunity to formally introduce the newest members of the Bench. Among them are Judges Randall Arp, Bradley Burback, John DeVita, Lily Oeffler, and Tamara Russell. Retiring Judges Leland P. Anderson and L. Thomas Woodford were honored for their years of service.

Along with the introductions of incoming jurists and recognition of those who are retiring, the First J.D. presented several awards. The Award of Merit was presented to Aldo Notarianni; the Linda T. Palmieri Award to Seth Grob; the Liberty Bell Award to Michael Riede; the George Holly Outstanding Young Lawyer Award to Robert Hoban; and a new award, the Lisa Harness Memorial Award, to Deborah George.


The CBA Professionalism Committee is involved in three major projects:

1. The committee is continuing presentations on professionalism at the University of Colorado (CU) and University of Denver law schools. A Professionalism for Lawyers presentation was made to the litigation classes of the CU School of Law on October 16, 2006, by committee chairperson Mark Fogg and members Karen Burns and Dick Reeve.

2. Suggestions to the committee has lead to the hiring of a production company to help produce vignettes that members can use in professional presentations. Burns is the chair of this subcommittee.

3. The committee is updating the "Principles of Professionalism." The revised version will address issues lawyers may confront on a daily basis. Doug McQuiston is the chair of this subcommittee of the Professionalism Committee.

If you are interested in participating on any of these projects, or would like to become a member of the committee, contact Mark Fogg at (303) 825-2700.


On November 16, 2006, the Larimer County Bar Association; CBA; Elder Advocate; and Ligget, Smith & Wilson, P.C. co-sponsored a multidisciplinary training entitled "Financial Exploitation of the Elderly by People in Positions of Trust." Speakers included Renee Doak, Larimer County Assistant District Attorney; Judge Terence Gilmore, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District (pictured below, left); Amy Rosenberg, of Liggett, Smith & Wilson, P.C.; Professor Eli Wald, from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law; and Jan Zavislan, Deputy Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division. Participants included lawyers and bankers, including Corey Voggesser, from Wells Fargo Bank (pictured below, right). Adult protective services and law enforcement personnel and financial planners also participated in the program.


The “Highlight” page of Bar News spotlights recent activities and special events around the Bar, and presents brief stories that deal with lawyer activities outside the practice of law or short profiles of estimable individuals. If you would like to share print or digital photos of a recent event; if you would like to “highlight” a colleague; or if your local or specialty bar or legal organization has marked a notable milestone, consider the “Bar News Highlight” as your forum. For more information or to submit an article, contact Leona Martínez at

Michelle Adams, Executive Director of CASA
A Powerful Voice in the Legal System

By Michael A. Shea

Michelle Adams was born and raised in New York City. Her mother was a social worker for the City of New York, her father a computer programmer. There are no other lawyers or Coloradans in the family. Her sister Karen, an accountant, still lives in New York City.

Michelle’s early education was extremely eclectic. She attended public school for grades K–6, a Jewish private school for grades 7 and 8, and a Catholic high school. She attended St. John’s University in Queens, New York, for two years before transferring to Penn State. Although Michelle enjoyed her educational experience at Penn State, she experienced somewhat of a culture shock moving from New York City to rural Pennsylvania, and to a university with less than 3 percent African-American enrollment.

Michelle, vacationing in Florida last October with children Myles and Faith.

Michelle’s original intent was to go directly from undergraduate school to law school, and then immediately to begin a career in criminal defense. However, after graduating from Penn State, she took a detour, moving back to New York City to work in the financial and brokerage business—first with Dean Witter, then with Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF). Eventually, Michelle enrolled in law school, working full-time with TIAA-CREF during the day and attending classes in the evening. She graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1996.

Michelle’s work for TIAA-CREF frequently brought her to the Western Service Center in Colorado and, in 1997, she transferred to Colorado with husband Mark and infant son Myles. Mark, who also was raised in New York City, today considers himself a transformed Westerner. He works for a company in Golden that provides computer-based accounting services. In his spare time, he is an avid mountain-biker. In addition to Myles, who is now 10 years old, Michelle and Mark have a daughter, Faith, age 5.

Michelle’s involvement in Colorado’s legal community began while she was still employed with TIAA-CREF, where she served as an ombudsperson for claims of discrimination and sexual harassment. During that time, she also served as a pro bono attorney on dependency and neglect cases for the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center; became a member of the Sam Cary Bar Association; and began volunteering as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for abused children.

In 2004, Michelle saw a posting for the Executive Director position at Denver CASA. She is not certain what brought her back to public service related to the criminal justice system, but it likely was a combination of her undergraduate and law school training and a genetic predisposition to help children, inherited from her mother.

Although the Executive Director position at Denver CASA might not be considered a "traditional" legal job, the organization makes a substantial contribution to the justice system. Denver CASA provides advocates to represent the interests of abused and neglected children. The judges and magistrates of the Second Judicial District seek judicial remedies to provide a safe and stable environment for abused children, but the caseload is substantial, the court’s resources are limited, and the court has no investigative arm of its own.

The Department of Human Services investigates the problems and initiates cases, but it too suffers from a staggering workload and inadequate resources. The CASA volunteers obtain intensive training and are sworn in as officers of the court. They provide in-depth investigation, review, and reports on behalf of abused and neglected children, to help the court to render the best decisions. Each advocate’s goal is to "provide a powerful voice in a child’s life."

CASA does not target its services to a particular population; it takes its cases based on the urgency, complexity, and priority of cases filed by the Department of Human Services. The organization tends to serve a moderately higher proportion of minority families, however, simply because minorities and recent immigrants statistically face greater economic and social pressures that in turn create domestic and family problems. It is hoped that by promoting a safe and stable environment for the children in need, they will one day have the same opportunities for education, personal success, and advancement.

In her work as Executive Director, Michelle Adams oversees the interaction of Denver CASA with the court system and supervises countless other organizational matters, including interaction and coordination with government and other organizations serving children; recruitment, training, and supervision of staff; training and support for CASA volunteers; office and business administration; public relations; community outreach; and fundraising. Michelle Adams is indeed a powerful voice in the legal system.


Michael A. Shea is with the Denver office of Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons, LLP. He practices with an emphasis on nonprofit organizations, such as healthcare and educational organizations and charitable foundations—(303) 628-9565,

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