Denver Bar Association
May 2006
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Celebrate the 2005 DBA Award Winners


You’re invited to the DBA Annual Party on June 6, 5:30 p.m., at the Denver Public Library. Enjoy free food and drink, socializing with your peers, and honoring some very special members.

Award of Merit

The DBA Award of Merit will be given to Anthony van Westrum. He chairs the CBA’s Amicus Briefs Committee, is a member of the Legislative Policy Committee and Ethics Committee, and represents the Business Law Section on the Board of Governors. He served as secretary for the DBA/CBA Multidisciplinary Practice Task Force and is secretary of the Supreme Court’s new standing committee on the ethics rules. Van Westrum has been an active participant in the extensive revising of Title 7, C.R.S., over the last two decades and received the CBA Sue Burch Legislative Award in 2001. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Judicial Excellence

Denver County Court Judge Mary Celeste is awarded the Judicial Excellence Award. She has been a County Court Judge in Denver’s criminal division since 2000. Judge Celeste is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, has served as a board member of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association for many years and is a member of the CBA Board of Governors. She also has been very active in the American Judges Association, serving on the Executive Committee and Board of Governors. She was on the Mayor’s Committee for alternative sentencing and is a contributing writer for the Judge’s Bench Book on Motions to Dismiss. She is serving on two state Supreme Court committees.

Judge Lawrence A. Manzanares is awarded the Judicial Excellence Award. In 1998, Judge Manzanares was appointed to the Denver District Court Bench. Judge Manzanares has published articles and chapters in the areas of professional responsibility, civil procedure and trial practice. He has taught numerous legal courses for law students and practicing attorneys in the areas of commercial transactions, domestic violence, trial practice, evidence and legal ethics. Judge Manzanares is currently on the board of directors of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation, and Project Pave (Promoting Alternatives to Violence Through Education), and is a former board member and president of Latin American Research and Service Agency, and Mi Casa Resource Center for Women.

Volunteer Lawyer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year Neil Oberfeld is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rose Community Foundation, serving its Jewish Life Committee. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League since 1990, and was appointed a Member of the National Commission in 2001. For the ADL he served as past-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, the Governor’s Holocaust Remembrance Program, the Society of Fellows Luncheon, the Government and Media Relations Committee, and the Partners in Leadership Program. Oberfeld also serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Denver Bridge Project. In addition, he is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of the Latin American Research and Service Agency.

Young Lawyer of the Year

Young Lawyer of the Year Michelle B. Ferguson has served as co-chair of the DBA’s Community Action Network since June of 2004. Ferguson is a Colorado Bar Foundation fellow, a Denver Representative on the Colorado Board of Governors, and a volunteer for the "Lawyering Process Program" at DU’s Sturm College of Law. She also is an active participant in her firm’s Community Action Committee, which partners with several nonprofit organizations in the community each year. She is active in the Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ, and has served as the chair of the church’s Worship Board for the past two-and-a-half years. Ferguson also presents seminars and conducts trainings on various employment law topics, and co-authors the "Legal Forum" column in the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association’s quarterly magazine.


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