Vol. 37, No. 8
In and Around the Bar
Respected Attorneys Rush and Lallier Retire
by Arlene Shovald
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The original version of this article printed on June 27, 2008 in The Mountain Mail. The article is available at www.themountainmail.com/main.asp?SectionID=19&subsectionID=75&articleID=14068. It is reprinted by permission.
Two prominent Salida lawyers [retired on June 27, 2008]. Robert P. Rush and Paula M. Lallier of Rush & Rush [were] honored . . . at a public reception at Salida Golf Club. The event [was] hosted by Heart of the Rockies Bar Association. . . .
Robert P. Rush
Rush has been an attorney in Salida for fifty-two years and Lallier was one of the first female lawyers in the city. Colleagues of the two remember them for their guidance, compassion, dedication to the law, and service to the community.
When Rush graduated from Salida High School in 1947, there were two things he said he’d never do: he wouldn’t live in Salida and he wouldn’t go to law school. After fifty-two years as a lawyer in Salida, he looks back on those days with a smile.
"I was drafted after graduating from the University of Colorado and sent to Korea to serve in the infantry," Rush said. "I was married and my son was born while I was in the service. While I was away, I had a change in thinking and wrote to my dad, asking if he could get me enrolled in law school, and I’ve never regretted it."
Rush’s father, William Rush, received his law degree in 1922 and Bob followed in his footsteps, joining his dad in the law office in Salida in 1956.
"My father was assistant district attorney at the time and he had me appointed as deputy district attorney, with no salary," Rush said. "I did trial work that first year and within three or four years, I had a case before the Colorado Supreme Court."
Rush’s mother, Lois, also worked in the law office, filling in when one of the secretaries was gone. Eventually, she ended up with a full-time position and worked until she was 85 years old.
"I never planned to retire," Rush said, ". . . but I started thinking about it last fall and decided it would be a good thing."
He and his wife Linda plan to do some traveling.
"I think he just wants an excuse to play more golf," joked Pete Cordova, a longtime friend and attorney. "I hate to see Bob leave. I moved here in 1975 and have known Bob more than thirty years. I knew him before I was a lawyer and after I became one, and he is one of the most gracious and classy lawyers I’ve ever met. When I moved to town, some of the lawyers were less than encouraging about my entering practice, but Bob was welcoming and willing to help and do whatever he could to make my practice successful."
Paula M. Lallier
Lallier arrived in Salida in 1972 to take over [a] pharmacy. [She] was one of the first female lawyers in Salida. When she was admitted to the Bar in October 1969, she already had a pharmacy degree from the University of Kansas. She and her husband, Wayne, own Lallier Pharmacy.
Looking back on those days, Paula smiled and said, "Wayne and I were dating and it looked like we might get married. We were both small-town people and thinking ahead, we realized it might be best if we didn’t work together, so I needed a second career option. I’d always been interested in politics and government, so I decided to get a law degree from the University of Denver."
She began practicing at Holme Roberts and Owen in Denver and came to Salida in 1972, when they bought the former Alexander Pharmacy from Jack and Kathryn Long. The store has served Salida more than 100 years.
Initially she was in a solo practice in Salida. She joined Rush & Rush in 1993 and has found it to be "very rewarding." Her career primarily involved family law, real estate, estate planning, and probate.
"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to help all my clients and develop the special relationships with them over the years," she said.
Service to the Law
Ed Schlatter, retired [Eleventh Judicial] District and federal judge, said, "I’ve known Paula since we were in law school and I’ve always admired her for having degrees in pharmacy and in law. She’s a hard working, extremely intelligent woman."
Molly Walker, a lawyer in private practice, recalls Lallier was [Heart of the Rockies] Bar Association President when she (Walker) came to town.
"Whenever we had a pro bono case, Paula was always willing to participate," Walker said.
Ken Plotz, former Eleventh Judicial District Chief Judge, and now a senior judge in Denver, recalls how compassionate Lallier was.
"I always noticed that Paula cared passionately about her clients. She was always extremely well prepared and ready to fight for their best interests," Plotz said. "She and Bob Rush are two of the best in the legal community. They set the standards for those of us who came later."
When Plotz arrived in Salida, Rush was a mentor.
"When I first showed up in Salida, Bob was a wonderful shoulder to cry on. He had a sympathetic ear and fresh ideas," Plotz said.
Ed Schlatter . . . often went against Rush in court.
"I’ve know Bob since 1971 when he was assistant district attorney. I was public defender and we enjoyed sparring against each other. He was always fair and, when needed, compassionate."
Service to Community
Golfing has been one of Rush’s interests through the years. He was Salida Golf Club president in 1960 and served on the board. He served nine years on the Salida school board and nine years on the Salida Hospital District board of directors. He’s been involved with the Chaffee County Democratic Party.
"I got off the hospital board because of term limits," he said, "but I was pleased to be involved through the planning for the new hospital."
He is a member of the Elks Lodge [and] American Legion, and [was] instrumental in organization of the free Community Christmas Dinner, which began [around] 1984. . . . Rush donated his fabulous collection of more than 100 historic Salida photos that adorned his office walls to Salida Regional Library.
Dr. William Mehos, a longtime friend and recent retiree, went to school with Rush from the first grade through college. They were in fraternities across the street from each other at the University of Colorado.
"I’ve appreciated how he served the citizens of Salida on the school board, hospital board, and other organizations, and it’s been a distinct pleasure being his friend through the years," Mehos said.
Lallier has been involved in a number of community activities, including Chaffee County Planning Commission, Chaffee County Republican Central Committee, Salida school board, Hospital Advisory Committee, and Salida Enterprise for Economic Development. Lallier served on the First National Bank of Salida board of directors and on the board of directors for Historic Salida, Inc. and Salida Golf Club. She is a Vestry member for Salida Church of the Ascension, continues as a member of PEO Chapter F.N., and sings with "The Noteables."
Plans now are to soak up some sun, read, play golf, enjoy music, maybe take some piano lessons, and enjoy her new granddaughter. The Lalliers have two sons. Meric is in a master’s program at the University of Denver, and Marc and his wife Amy live in Colorado Springs with their infant daughter, Megan. Lallier Pharmacy will remain in business, with Paula continuing to handle a lot of the paperwork.
Reflecting on his retirement, Rush said, "I have no regrets coming to this community and practicing law for fifty-two years. I liked my clients and the people I worked with and feel fortunate to have served."
He has a son, Michael, in Durango and a daughter, Linda, in Olathe, and four grandsons—one of whom is thinking about carrying the practice of law into yet another generation of the family.
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