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TCL > January 2014 Issue > News From CBA Sections, Committees, Local and Specialty Bars, and More

January 2014       Vol. 43, No. 1       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

Ben Currier Named CBA
Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year


Ben Currier is this year’s recipient of the CBA Young Lawyers Division’s (YLD) Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to a young lawyer with an outstanding record of professional success and community service achievements, as well as a strong commitment to civic participation.

Currier, 35, is a shareholder and partner with Miller & Steiert, P.C. in Littleton, where he litigates criminal and family law cases and general civil disputes. He also is an associate judge for the City of Littleton. A graduate of the CBA Leadership Training (COBALT) program, Currier is a COBALT executive committee member. He also is an executive council member and past chair of the CBA YLD, and is the president-elect of the Arapahoe County Bar Association (ACBA). He was the ACBA Young Lawyer of the Year in 2007.

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.

CBA Section Co-Hosts Veterans Day Reception

In honor of Veterans Day, the CBA Military and Veterans’ Affairs Section and Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell co-hosted a Veterans Day reception on Monday, November 11. More than eighty lawyers attended the event. The reception included a lecture by Lt. Colonel Keith A. Robinson, entitled "Military Operations at Home and Abroad: A JAG’s Perspective." Robinson has served in the Army for more than twenty-eight years and currently is staff judge advocate for the Colorado National Guard. In this capacity, he is the chief legal and ethics advisor to the Colorado Adjutant General and his staff.

Program speaker Lt. Colonel Keith Robinson (left) with Andy Efaw, a partner at Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell and a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.   Colorado Chief Justice Michael Bender speaks to attendees at the Veterans Day reception. 

Colorado Courts Celebrate National Adoption Day

In November, judges and magistrates throughout Colorado finalized the adoption of 152 foster children during special court proceedings held in recognition of National Adoption Day. The events were coordinated through the courts, state and local human services departments, and other local and state child agencies and advocacy groups. The intent of National Adoption Day is to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care across the country waiting to find permanent, loving families. Since 2000, more than 40,000 children have had their adoptions finalized as part of National Adoption Day.

  Ceci, age 8, was one of thirteen children who were adopted during Arapahoe County’s November 14 court proceedings for National Adoption Day. Ceci was adopted by foster mom Abbey DeBoyes of Englewood during a proceeding led by Magistrate Kathleen Janksi.
In Denver County, forty-seven children were adopted on November 22. Among them was Amelio, who is pictured here (at center, being held) with his foster family (the Janz family, at left) and his adoptive family (the Valenzuela-Ceniceros family, at right). Magistrate Melanie Gilbert (center) presided over Amelio’s adoption.
In Adams and Broomfield Counties, nineteen children were adopted on November 16. Here, Judge Craig Welling (left) celebrates with the O’Dell-Winkelman family.   Pueblo County District Judge Larry Schwartz presided over the adoptions of ten children on November 22. He is pictured here with the Hermans, who have adopted several siblings during this and previous National Adoption Day events.
During the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Adoption Day event on November 22, twenty-three children found their "forever homes." Among them was Grace, who was adopted by her grandmother Michelle Ellis. They are pictured here with Children’s Law Center attorney Jordan Oates (left) and clinical consultant Jeff Romero.   Judge Mark MacDonnell (center) welcomed Elizabeth and Jeff Perry as featured speakers for the 16th J.D.'s (Bent, Crowley, and Otero Counties) first annual Adoption Day celebration on November 26. The Perrys are the biological parents of six children and two adopted children, and they have been foster parents for twin boys from the Sudan.

Wheels of Justice Hosts
Appreciation Party for Team Sponsors

In 2013, the Wheels of Justice Cycling team—comprising 271 riders—raised more than $375,000 for the Children’s Hospital Colorado. In celebration of this accomplishment and the sponsors who made it possible, Wheels of Justice hosted an appreciation party on November 6 at the CBA offices.

The presentation portion of the evening began with a welcome from Denver Bar Association (DBA) President Dan McCune. Wheels of Justice Founder Heather Leja then presented awards—framed cycling jerseys—to team sponsors. Among the numerous sponsors were the law firms of Cooley LLP; Dorsey & Whitney LLP; Dufford & Brown, P.C.; Hall & Evans, LLC; Lathrop & Gage LLP; Polsinelli LLP; and Pryor Johnson Carney Karr Nixon, P.C.

Following the sponsor awards, Dr. Thomas Smith from the Children’s Hospital Colorado Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders spoke and introduced a patient in remission—a young girl who has defeated cancer twice. The Wheels of Justice then recognized three team members as "MVPs": Dr. Cami Payne, Cathy Nixon, and Scott Nixon.

Since its inception in 2006, the Wheels of Justice has raised approximately $1.9 million for the Children’s Hospital. It has had the distinguished honor of being the top fundraising team, as well as the top fundraiser at the Courage Classic for four consecutive years.

Left to right: Team MVPs Cathy Nixon, Scott Nixon, and Linda Bradford with DBA President Dan McCune and Lorraine D’Aversa.   Left to right: Heather Leja presents a framed jersey to Polsinelli representatives Rob Ward (left) and Roy Bash. 

The Lambs are DBA Football League Champions

The Lambs (below) took home the highly coveted Madden trophy by besting the Untouchables, 21-8, during the DBA’s annual Football League Championship on November 13. During the semifinal round, the Lambs defeated last year’s champion, Collateral Attack, 19-15, while the Untouchables defeated Messner & Reeves, 43-12. The Madden trophy is named in honor of John Madden III, who developed the first Denver lawyers’ football league in 1968.

If you are interested in forming a team next year or being placed on the free agent list, please contact John Stevens at Each team comprises seven players (lawyers and law students), but it is suggested that each team roster have at least thirteen players. Generally, the league limits the number of teams to the first ten applicants. Preference is given to past participants.

Front row, left to right: Ross Buchanan, Patrick Pugh, Ryan Clement (with son Lane), Dan Reilly, and Jared Lamb. Back row, left to right: Mike Reilly, Gerritt Koser, Mark Premo-Hopkins, Jason Werner, Bob Nitido, Frank Patterson, Tim Lamb, Chris Michael, and Luke Buchanan.

Denver Paralegal Debra Hindin-King
Receives Leadership Award


The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) has selected Debra Hindin-King, Co-Chair of the CBA Paralegal Committee, as recipient of the organization’s 2013 William R. Robie Leadership Award. The award was created in 1993 to honor the memory of the late Chief Immigration Judge William R. Robie, who was dedicated to the paralegal profession, the expansion of legal services, and equal access to justice for all Americans. Hindin-King was presented the award on October 5 during NFPA’s Annual Convention in Hartford, Connecticut.

Hindin-King has been a paralegal for twenty-three years, specializing in the area of oil and gas class royalty litigation and commercial litigation. She currently is employed with Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP and formerly has been employed with Holland & Hart LLP and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. She is a frequent speaker and has published numerous articles on the subjects of general litigation, paralegal utilization, and technology related to law.

Hindin-King has held various leadership roles with NFPA and the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA). She was chosen as the NFPA Paralegal of the Year in 2009, and was recipient of the RMPA Pro Bono Paralegal of the Year Award in 2004. In addition, she was recipient of the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Service Award in 2006.

She is a member of the Colorado Association of Legal Support Staff, the Advisory Council of the Organization of Legal Professionals, and the Colorado Association of Litigation Support Professionals. With the support of her employer, she volunteers weekly at Colorado Legal Services, assisting low-income individuals who are unable to afford private attorneys.

Christopher Toll is New ACTL Fellow


Christopher Toll, a partner with Holland & Hart’s Denver office, has been named a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). Founded in 1950, the ACTL is known as a premier professional trial organization honoring the top trial lawyers in the United States. Fellowship is extended by invitation only to attorneys who demonstrate excellence in their practice and who have a minimum of fifteen years’ significant trial experience.

Toll has more than twenty-five years’ experience representing clients in contentious disputes, focusing on general commercial and trade secrets/non-compete matters. He has successfully tried numerous jury trials, bench trials, preliminary injunction hearings, and commercial arbitrations. He received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his law degree from the University of Virginia.

DBA Seniors Committee Roasts Bob Kapelke

More than 150 people gathered at the University Club on October 29 to roast Robert (Bob) Kapelke at the DBA’s annual Seniors Committee Roast. Guests were treated to a jab-filled roast by CBA Executive Director Chuck Turner, followed by a collaborative story and musical performance led by Josiah Hatch and Barbara Taylor.

During his years of practice, Kapelke focused on commercial litigation, including oil and gas, antitrust, real estate, corporate, securities, and contract disputes. He was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals bench in 1994, where he served until his retirement in 2005. He currently is an arbitrator with Judicial Arbitrator Group. In addition to his professional endeavors, Kapelke produces "The Burden of Spoof," a musical troupe of Denver-area judges and attorneys who perform satirical music revues on current affairs.

Left to right: Chuck Turner, Bob Kapelke, BrendaTaylor, and Josiah Hatch.   Bob Kapelke (left) with Seniors Committee Chair Leonard Plank.

Philip Lietaer Joins MVL Fellowship Program


Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) recently named Philip Lietaer as the organization’s newest Rovira Scholar. The goal of the Rovira Scholar Fellowship is to enhance the overall understanding of the complex and unique legal challenges presented in pro bono public service through the early training and professional development of outstanding law school graduates. One Fellowship is awarded each year.

Before moving to Colorado, Lietaer was an attorney with Goldstein & Lee, P.C. in New York City, where he primarily worked on employment-based immigration cases. He has worked with several organizations to provide access to justice for those in need, including the Vail Center for Immigrant Rights, Massachusetts Justice Project, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, South Brooklyn Legal Services, and Vail Center for Immigrant Rights. While a student at the Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts, he interned for U.S. District Court Magistrate Kenneth Neiman and was a research assistant for Dean Arthur Gaudio. He earned his law degree in 2012.

CBA Board of Governors Convenes
for Semiannual Meeting

The CBA Board of Governors (BOG) held its fall meeting on Saturday, November 9, at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. The approximately 100 leaders meet twice per year to discuss action topics, administrative matters, and informational reports. The BOG will next convene on May 10 at the Colorado History Museum.

During the fall meeting, the BOG approved all items on the agenda, including a bylaw amendment making the Animal Law Committee a standing committee of the CBA and a bylaw amendment granting the Military and Veterans Affairs Section a seat on the BOG. The BOG sunsetted the Attorney Regulation Committee and Membership Services Committee, and approved several changes to the timing of the petition process for nominations. The BOG also approved and will recommend to the Supreme Court certain measures to provide additional funding resources for civil legal services, as well as the continuation of the Environmental Law Section’s Tree Planting Project through 2014 for areas harmed by wildfires and floods in Colorado. In addition, the BOG received a report detailing the use of the transferred Attorney Regulation funds for Colorado Legal Services.

Deans Marty Katz, from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (Denver Law), and Phil Weiser, from the University of Colorado Law School (Colorado Law), held a panel discussion on the future of the legal profession and law schools. This was in response to the May 2013 BOG presentation by Mark Lassiter, entitled "Sea Change: Inside the Changing Legal Marketplace." Katz noted that Denver Law has a new website,, created in response to the American Bar Association’s statistics regarding job placement of recent law school graduates. Weiser discussed the average debt load Colorado Law students are carrying on graduation. Both deans reported that the law schools are seeing a gradual decrease in applications.

The meeting ended with a presentation by Barbara Ezyk, who reported on the Colorado Lawyers Assistance program. Ezyk had attendees stand up to stretch and then surprised them with Starbucks gift cards taped under five people’s chairs.

The BOG convenes in the Broadmoor’s main ballroom.   CBA President Terry Ruckriegle presents CBA Immediate Past President Mark Fogg (right) a scrapbook containing photo highlights of his year in office.
Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Bender provides a "court report." Bender, who retires from the Court this month on his 72nd birthday, received a standing ovation from the BOG in recognition of his years of service.   Margrit Parker, a member of the CBA Disaster Legal Task Force, discusses the Colorado Flood Legal Relief Program.

MVL is Among Employers at
Government and Public Interest Career Fair

On November 13, the University of Denver hosted the annual Government and Public Interest Career Fair for students and recent alumni of Denver Law and Colorado Law. The event gave attendees the opportunity to interact with public interest employers, as well as federal, state, and local government employers. More than forty organizations were represented at the event, including the DBA’s Metro Volunteer Lawyer program. Attending on behalf of MVL were Executive Director Dianne Van Voorhees and Family Law Court Program Coordinator Kevin Murphy, who spoke with students and recent grads about MVL and interviewed externs for 2014. A reception for attendees took place following the career fair.

Liza Prado, Associate Director of the Colorado Lawyers Committee, chats with a student.   Chris Halsor, Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor with the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, and MVL Executive Director Dianne Van Voorhees.

SCBA Presents Scholarship Awards at Annual Gala

The Sam Cary Bar Association (SCBA) held its annual Scholarship Endowment Fund Gala on October 18. During the event, seven deserving students were presented scholarship awards—Ashley Dennis, Mahogany Dodd, Anni Jean-Pierre, Lauren Ramirez, Casey Smartt, Genete Tekeste, and Michele Washington. In addition, the SCBA honored the following practitioners and community members with awards:

  • Jereme Baker, Billy Lewis Young Lawyer Award
  • Philip Cherner and Jeff Fard, Warrior for Justice Awards
  • Hon. Wiley Y. Daniel, King Trimble Lifetime Achievement Award.

Photos from the gala can be viewed at

Colorado College Honors Gregory James Smith


Colorado College, a national liberal arts college based in Colorado Springs, has awarded Gregory James Smith the Worner Award in recognition of his outstanding loyalty, service, and generosity to the College. The award is named for Lloyd E. Worner, class of 1942, who served as a faculty member, dean, and ultimately president of Colorado College (1964–81).

Smith is an attorney at Caplan and Earnest, LLC, where he works in the healthcare law practice group. Among other things, he assists healthcare professionals, including physicians, who are either establishing their practices or transitioning practices to others.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Colorado College before continuing his formal education at Cornell Law School, the University of Colorado, and Loyola University Chicago, where he currently is a Doctor of Bioethics candidate. In addition to endowing a scholarship to help students attend the College who are in need of financial assistance, Smith has served the College in a number of volunteer capacities over the past few decades, including service as president of the Alumni Association Board and as a member of its Board of Trustees.

First J.D. Judges and Awards Banquet
Recognizes Member Achievements

  First J.D. President Robin Beattie (left) and Chris Radeff.

The First Judicial District Bar Association (First J.D.) held its annual Judges and Awards Banquet on October 19 at the Lakewood County Club. Distinguished guests included Colorado Supreme Court Justice Brian Boatright and Colorado Court of Appeals Judges Laurie Booras, Terry Fox, and Robert Hawthorne. This year’s award recipients were:

  • Victor Boog, Award of Merit
  • Lisa Paganetti, Lisa Harness Memorial Award
  • Alexandra Harpp, George Holley Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
  • Magistrate Marianne Tims, Linda T. Palmieri Award
  • Jeff Glenn, Claudia D. Miller Liberty Bell Award.

The First J.D. also honored Judge Jane Tidball, who retired from the district court bench in July 2013, and welcomed incoming Judge Jeffrey Pilkington.

Left to right: Judge Jane Tidball, Kevin White, Annette Pilkington, and Judge Jeffrey Pilkington.   Susan Munsinger and Chief Judge Stephen Munsinger.
Outstanding Young Lawyer AlexandraHarpp (left) and Judge Laurie Booras.   Memorial Award recipient
Lisa Paganetti.
  Linda T. Palmieri Award recipient Magistrate Marianne Tims.

New Attorneys Sworn in
at Fall Admissions Ceremony

Many of the 747 new attorneys who passed the Colorado bar exam in July 2013 were admitted to practice law in Colorado on Monday, November 4. Preceding the swearing-in ceremony was the 2013 Colorado Assembly of Lawyers, entitled "Profiles in Professionalism and Inclusion." The annual Assembly of Lawyers culminates October’s Legal Professionalism Month, during which members of the Colorado legal profession rededicate themselves to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, and to promoting public confidence in the rule of law. This year’s Assembly featured inspirational stories about how inclusiveness enriches the legal profession and its service to clients.

Following the Assembly, the new attorneys took the Oath of Admission and were welcomed to practice by Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Bender, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Marcia Krieger, and CBA President Terry Ruckriegle. The keynote address was given by Alex Martinez, General Counsel to Denver Public Schools.

New lawyers Chris Esser (left) and Jesse DuBois.   Left to right: DBA President Dan McCune, Lily Calfee, and Deitrich Heofner.
Left to right: CBA YLD Chair Emma Garrison; CAMP Program Director John T. Baker; Christopher Achatz; and Erica, Kim, and Bret Siepman.
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