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TCL > November 2012 Issue > News From CBA Sections, Committees, Local and Specialty Bars, and More

November 2012       Vol. 41, No. 11       Page  9
In and Around the Bar
Bar News

News From CBA Sections, Committees, Local and Specialty Bars, and More

Bar News is a monthly compilation of news from the Colorado Bar Association, including sections and committees, administration, and local and specialty bar associations. It also includes notices of activities—past, present, and future—from local and national law-related organizations and groups. Please send information and photos to CBA legal editor Susie Klein at

CBA’s 2012 Leadership Program
Concludes With Fundraiser for Legal Aid

On September 21, graduates of the CBA’s 2012 Leadership Training Program (COBALT) capped off the six-month program by hosting a charity golf tournament at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton. The event raised $8,000 for the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, which supports Colorado Legal Services and its efforts to provide free civil legal assistance to low-income Coloradans who are facing serious civil legal problems. Tournament sponsors were Colorado Health Medical Group, Donley Law, Feldmann Nagel, Grant Hoffman & Kamada, Johnson & Cord, Key Op, Lass Moses & Ramp, Legal Community Credit Union of Colorado, Levy Wheeler Waters, LexisNexis,® Peters & Associates, Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons, and University of Colorado Health.

Left to right: Dave Kurtenbach, Mike Sauer, Michael Stuzynski, and John-Paul Sauer.

The mission of COBALT is to enhance, promote, and inspire the leadership of the legal profession. COBALT brings together Colorado lawyers from different practice areas and with a variety of experiences to build their leadership skills and promote new leadership experiences. Lawyers in the 2012 COBALT class were Marnie Adams, Thomas Byrnes, Debra Eiland, Olympia Fay, Allison Gerkman, Tamara Goodlette, Emily Jeter, Ryan Kamada, Amy Kolczak, Gary Kramer, Chuong Le, Nathan Lucero, Lisha McKinley, Richard Murray, Jerremy Ramp, Seth Ryan, Jennifer Shaler, Amber Tafoya, Daniel Wartell, and Karen Wheeler.

2012 COBALT class members gathered at the clubhouse following the tournament. Left to right: Dan Wartell, CBA Assistant Executive Director Dana Collier Smith, Amy Kolczak, Karen Wheeler, Marnie Adams, Jenny Shaler, Tom Byrnes, Seth Ryan, Legal Aid Foundation Executive Director Diana Poole, Ryan Kamada, Debra Eiland, and Jerremy Ramp.

CAN Committee Stays Active in the Community

On July 26, members of the Denver Bar Association’s Community Action Network (CAN) Committee volunteered their time in the kitchen of Project Angel Heart. Project Angel Heart is a Denver-area nonprofit that prepares and delivers healthy meals free of charge to individuals who are living with life-threatening illness.

This month, CBA members are invited to participate in the CAN Committee’s Strikes for Tykes charity event—a bowling benefit for Children’s Outreach Project. The event will take place on Saturday, November 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Elitch Lanes, 3826 Tennyson, Denver. The cost is $35 for adults and $20 for children (12 and under). For more information about Strikes for Tykes, contact CBA staff liaison Kate Schuster at (303) 824-5312 or

CAN Committee Chair Arax Corn helps out in the Project Angel Heart kitchen.   CAN Committee member Karen Spaulding measures flour with a fellow volunteer.

EPCBA Elects 2012–13 Officers

The El Paso County Bar Association (EPCBA) recently announced the election of new officers to serve on its Board of Trustees. HayDen Kane of the Kane Law Firm will serve as president for the 2012–13 year. Yolanda M. Fennick of the Law Office of Yolanda M. Fennick has been named president-elect and will serve as president during the 2013–14 year. David Webster of the Law Firm of Jaray and Webster has been elected Treasurer. Paul Haller of Weddell and Haller, P.C. and Vincent Rahaman of Rahaman Law have been elected to serve as Trustees.

The EPCBA has been serving the local legal community since its founding in March 1902. Its mission is to provide legal information and services to its members and to promote respect for the law and the legal profession.

Police Chief is Featured Presenter
at Aurora Bar Association CLE

  Aurora Police Chief Daniel J. Oates led a CLE presentation during a recent dinner hosted by the Aurora Bar Association. Chief Oates spoke about the rights of citizens and limitations on government powers regarding free speech and the First Amendment. In addition to being the top law enforcement officer in Aurora, Chief Oates is an attorney licensed to practice law in Colorado. He graduated from New York Law School in 1986.
Chief Daniel Oates and Aurora Bar Association President Bette Heller.    

Bar Associations Unite for Annual Golf Tourney

Left to right: Dave Gruber, David Silverman, Kenneth Hope, and John Eckelberry.  

The First Judicial District Bar Association (1st JD) and the new Colorado Creditor Bar Association (CCBA) teamed up on August 3 to host their first annual golf tournament at the Fox Hollow Golf Course in Lakewood. Twenty players participated in the tournament—thirteen from the 1st JD and seven from the CCBA.

To keep things moving on a hot day, a scramble best ball format and a Peoria handicap system were used. The foursome of John Eckelberry, Dave Gruber, Kenneth Hope, and David Silverman had the best score (64) before the handicap was applied. After the handicap was applied, however, it was the foursome of Joel Anderson, Sarah Domke, Scott Havn, and Kelley Shirk that claimed first-place honors. Bragging rights also went to Britten Hale, who had the longest drive, David Silverman, who had the longest putt, and Yosy Janson, who won closest to the pin. The event has the makings of a terrific tradition!

Left to right: Jay Schoemaker, Murray Wilkening, Ned Sperry, and Kevin Peters.   Left to right: Mike Sexton, Yosy Janson, John Vargo, and Jerry Vargo.
Left to right: Jennifer Rogers, Kimberly Martinez, Nathen Berry, and Britten Hale.   Left to right: Kelly Shirk, Sarah Domke, Joel Anderson, and Scott Havn.

CLI Summer Series Offers Diverse Programming

In August, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI) hosted two CLE programs as part of its 2012 Summer Series. The programs were co-sponsored by the CBA/DBA Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, Davis Graham & Stubbs, and Law Week Colorado.

The first program was a screening of Miss Representation, an award-winning documentary addressing mainstream media’s negative portrayal of women and girls. After the screening, Professor Tiffani Lennon from the University of Denver Women’s College moderated a discussion with panelists Vicki Johnson of Davis Graham & Stubbs, Rich Harris of the Harris Law Firm, and CLI Executive Director Kathleen Nalty. Panel members discussed the media’s influence in the legal workplace.

The second program—"Difference Works: Attorney Leadership, Retention, and Results"—was presented by Caroline Turner, a gender and generational diversity expert and former general counsel for Coors Brewing Company. Turner discussed how firms can increase employee engagement, reduce turnover, and maximize the value of their workforce by increasing awareness of the masculine and feminine approaches in the way people work.

Panelists for the Miss Representation CLE program, from left to right: Vicki Johnson, Rich Harris, Tiffani Lennon, and Kathleen Nalty.   "Difference Works" presenter Caroline Turner.

Women in Law Empowerment Forum
Honors Fennemore Craig

The Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) recognized the law firm of Fennemore Craig for integrating women into leadership positions. In Fennemore Craig’s six offices in Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada, 26% percent of the equity partners are women. The recognition took place during WILEF’s Gold Standard Awards Luncheon on September 12 at the Yale Club in New York City.

According to Elizabeth Anne Tursi, national chair of WILEF, Fennemore Craig is one of three nationwide certification winners that met or exceeded all six criteria set by WILEF. There were fifty firms that received the Gold Standard certification. Half of the committee members responsible for managing Fennemore Craig are female partners, bypassing the 20% award criteria established by WILEF. Additionally, more than a quarter of the firm’s equity partners and department heads are women.

Firms of 100 or more lawyers in the United States are invited to apply for the Gold Standard certification. Law firms must meet three of the six specific criteria to become eligible for the award. Applicants are required to demonstrate that women account for at least 20% of the firm’s equity partnership and show that they hold positions of power and serve on committees.

Six of Fennemore Craig’s women equity partners, from left to right: Amanda Cowley, Sarah Strunk, Laurel Davis, Ann Morgan, Jodi Goodheart, and Sue Chetlin.

DU 3L Claims National
Mock Trial Championship Title

Chris Wilcox, a member of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (DU Law) National Trial Team, traveled to Texas this past summer to compete in the Top Gun National Mock Trial Championship. On the fourth and final day of the competition, Wilcox bested a student from Yale Law School during the championship round to earn the title of 2012 Top Gun Champion.

As a third-year law school student, this was the last tournament in which Wilcox could compete. He was named Best Orator two years in a row in DU Law’s Hoffman Cup trial advocacy tournament, but he and his teammates had never won a mock trial championship.

The Top Gun tournament brings together some of the country’s best law student advocates. Like most trial advocacy tournaments, each round has the advocates presenting their cases before a jury of three scoring jurors and a presiding judge. The advocates are scored on their application of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the logical cohesiveness of their case theory, theme and thesis, and the prowess they exhibit "in the well."

Top Gun is unique in that the case is not released until twenty-four hours before the competitors must present it for trial. There are six witnesses to start; new witnesses and live depositions are added as the rounds progress. Only the competitor and one coach per school may read and develop the case. In addition, advocates and coaches do not know which side of the case their school will be required to present in any given round. Thus, they only have twenty-four hours to prepare both sides of the case for trial.

Top Gun is the brainchild of Professor Jerry Powell and his colleagues in the trial advocacy department at Baylor Law School. Professor Powell and his team deliberately make the tournament a tough experience—not only to test the critical-thinking skills that are taught in law school, but also to ensure the trial mimics real-world pressures and practices.

Top Gun champ Chris Wilcox.   U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, who served as presiding judge during the tournament, congratulates Wilcox.

MVL Welcomes Kevin D. Murphy
as Newest Staff Member


Kevin Murphy recently joined Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) as the Family Law Court Program Coordinator. Murphy has a diverse background that includes traveling to India and Africa, handling Fair Housing micro credit loans, working for the Colorado Public Defender’s Office, interning at a firm specializing in immigration law, and helping raise money for Amnesty International. He graduated from DU Law in December 2011 and is dedicated to using his legal training to assist disadvantaged communities.

MVL is a nonprofit organization that, through the efforts of volunteer lawyers, works to bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating pro bono legal services within the Denver metro area for individuals who could not otherwise afford legal assistance with their civil legal issue. For more information, visit

CTLA Annual Convention Packed
With Experts, Programs, and Networking

The Colorado Trial Lawyers Association’s (CTLA) 2012 convention, presented by Settlement Partners LLC, took place in August in Steamboat Springs. Chaired by Sonny Flowers and Carrie Frank, the annual convention brought together more than forty-two leading trial experts and litigators to share the latest ideas and strategies. It also featured a variety of networking opportunities, including the "Thursday Night Party" at the top of a ski gondola, special receptions, a golf tournament, an Auto Litigators’ lunch, and a Women Trial Lawyers Network lunch. Mark your calendars for next year’s annual convention, which is scheduled for August 1–3, 2013, in Snowmass.

Julia Thompson received the EAGLE Superstar Award during the CTLA’s Board of Directors meeting. Ross Pulkrabek, CTLA secretary, presented the award.   James Croshal, incoming CTLA president,with six of his granddaughters.   Michael Rosenberg, CTLA treasurer, during the CTLA membership meeting.
Patrick DiBenedetto (left) and Richard Kaudy at the Thursday Night Party.   Carrie Frank, CTLA immediate past president,and Peter Burg.   Kurt Zaner (right) congratulates Marc Harden during the golf tournament.
Deborah Taussig, Dave Miller, and Anna Martinez at the CTLA EAGLE Reception.   Left to right: Kirsten Palmquist, Peter Koclanes, Michael Keating, and Hollynd Hoskins.

Mianne Besser is Recipient of
NFPA Outstanding Leader Award


Paralegal Mianne Besser recently received the 2012 Outstanding Leader Award from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). The award recognizes an individual NFPA member for outstanding leadership contributions to his or her local association. The NFPA presented Besser a plaque inscribed with the words, "For dedication and service to the paralegal profession."

Besser is a paralegal with the Denver firm of Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti PC, as well as an adjunct professor of paralegal studies at the Community College of Aurora. She is the current president of the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association, a position she also held from 2007 to 2010.


CDLA Hosts Kick-Off Party
for Mentors and Mentees

To commemorate its participation in the Colorado Mentoring Pilot Program, the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association (CDLA) hosted a kick-off party for its mentors and mentees on September 20. The party was held at Speed Raceway, a new 60,000 square foot indoor kart racing facility in Southeast Denver. Attendees put their racing skills to the test before heading to the reception for food, wine, and socializing.

The Colorado Mentoring Pilot Program has been endorsed by the CBA, as well as the Chief Justice Commission on the Legal Profession. Each mentee and mentor receives fifteen free CLE credits and two ethics credits after successfully completing the program. Though group activities are part of the program, the emphasis is on the one-on-one professional relationship between the experienced lawyer and the new lawyer. For more information about the program, visit

New participants in the Colorado Mentoring Pilot Program chat during the CDLA’s kick-off party.
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