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Welcome to Metro Volunteer Lawyers


Co-sponsored by the following Bar Associations: Adams/Broomfield, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas/Elbert, and First Judicial District

MVL’s mission is “to bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver Metro Area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.”

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Welcome to Metro Volunteer Lawyers

Co-sponsored by the following Bar Associations: Adams/Broomfield, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas/Elbert, and First Judicial District

MVL’s mission is “to bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver Metro Area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.”

DONATE"I Need Help"Volunteer


Contact

 

"I Need Help"

Anyone seeking legal assistance or acceptance into any of our programs must call Colorado Legal Services (CLS) at 303-837-1313

or complete an online intake to begin the intake process. 

A CLS staff member will conduct an interview with you to determine your financially eligibility for free or low-fee legal services, and the nature of your legal issue. CLS may then refer your case to MVL. If referred to our organization, we will contact you to inform you if we can provide any assistance. If you first contact Metro Volunteer Lawyers directly you will be redirected to Colorado Legal Services. MVL will not respond to requests for legal assistance by those not yet accepted into one of our programs. MVL’s service area includes Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties. Unfortunately, we are not able to help everyone who seeks legal assistance. This could be for various reasons, including but limited to the following:

  • The demand for our help is huge, and we simply cannot help everyone who applies. We assist eligible clients referred to MVL on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Your income and resources may exceed our financial eligibility guidelines. A change in your financial situation could render you ineligible even if you were eligible when you first applied.
  • Your legal issue may not fall under the types of cases that we accept.
  • We may have a conflict of interest.
  • Finally, despite our best efforts, we may not be able to find a lawyer to take your case. Although strongly encouraged, lawyers are not obligated to volunteer their time and services.
Have you already contacted CLS, and MVL was not able to help you? Try visiting our Resources page for other possible options.

History

Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL), formerly the Thursday Night Bar, is the pro bono program of the Denver Bar Association, providing civil legal services to those in need in Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties. MVL serves people who are living at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines. Over 22% of Colorado’s population is financially eligible for free legal services from  MVL. Here's a summary from the U.S. Census about poverty in MVL’s service area as of 2017: Douglas County: 3.2%; Broomfield County: 4.6%; Elbert County: 4.9%; Gilpin County: 6.9%; Jefferson County: 7.6%; Arapahoe County: 7.8%; Adams County: 10.6%; Denver County: 12.5%.

Community Collaboration 
MVL works with the Colorado Bar Association's Pro Bono Appellate program to assist financially-eligible clients with appellate matters; the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations' Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans programs to assist financially-eligible Veterans who are identified at clinical programs as needing civil legal representation; and The Colorado Poverty Law Project (CPLP). CPLP is a non-profit organization with the mission to assemble and coordinate volunteer attorneys to participate in a monthly pro bono legal clinic at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH). CPLP provides resources to enable volunteers, at their discretion, to provide a range of services to attendees, including answering on-the-spot questions, providing referrals, and, if appropriate, providing limited representation.

Why Volunteer With MVL 
By volunteering with MVL you can have a direct impact in strengthening our community.  Each of us is impacted by our neighbor’s misfortunes, problems, and other challenges.  We can directly improve the quality of life for others less fortunate with a small commitment to use our legal expertise to assist them in addressing their problems.  While the work can at times be challenging, those challenges are outweighed by the reward of seeing someone motivated by the eased financial or emotional tension in their lives and the new opportunities that are now available to them.

Staff

Metro Volunteer Lawyers has three attorneys on staff: the Director, the Family Law Court Program Coordinator, and the Post Decree and Power of Attorney Coordinator. In addition, MVL has one grant attorneys, the Rovira Scholar, as well as a Legal Services Coordinator and a Program Assistant. 

Toni-Anne Dasent, Director

Elizabeth Jones, FLCP Coordinator

Ivonne Esparza

Legal Services Coordinator

Anthony Pereira, PDC and POA Coordinator

Virginia McClerkin, Administrative Coordinator

Anne Zogg, Rovira Scholar

Jacqueline Rowley, Allegretti Scholar

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Board

Metro Volunteer Lawyers’ Board oversees the organization’s operations. The Board is comprised of volunteer attorney members from the Denver Bar Association, Douglas/Elbert Bar Association, Adams/Broomfield Bar Association, Arapahoe Bar Association, and First Judicial District Bar Association. 

 

Chair for 2019-2020

Kyle W. Brenton

Kyle W. Brenton is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.  In that capacity, Mr. Brenton defends the United States and its agencies and employees in civil litigation and conducts affirmative civil enforcement investigations.  Before joining the Department of Justice, Kyle was Of Counsel at Childs McCune LLC, where he led that firm’s appellate practice, and prior to that he was a senior associate at Davis Graham & Stubbs, LLP.  Kyle graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School, after which he clerked for the Honorable David M. Ebel on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

I’m Kyle Brenton, and I am the incoming 2019-2020 Chair of the MVL Advisory Board.  I have served on the Board since 2016 as a representative of the Denver Bar Association.  I am an Assistant United States Attorney with the Department of Justice, but before joining the federal government I worked in private practice in Denver since 2010.  During my term as Chair, I plan to focus on MVL’s volunteer attorneys, making sure that our long-term volunteers are supported and appreciated, and reaching out to build our volunteer ranks with new training and mentorship resources.  I serve on the Board and volunteer for MVL because I recognize how incredibly daunting and paralyzing it would be to face the legal system without the knowledge, training, and resources I have been privileged to receive.
Designee from the Denver Bar Association

 

Vice-Chair for 2019-2020

Ben King

Ben King - W. Benjamin King is a Colorado native and third-generation trial attorney. Mr. King attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, Leeds School of Business. where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketing. Subsequently, he received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Miami’s School of Law in Florida and is licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Colorado.   Mr. King began his legal career with a prestigious Denver family law firm where he specialized in litigating highly-contested divorces and child custody cases.  Additionally, he also has experience in appellate work and has prevailed on issues in both the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court. Mr. King’s  practice now focuses on construction related matters, including construction defect claims, general insurance defense, personal injury, and family law.  
 
Mr. King has authored multiple legal publications and is a member of: the American Bar Association (ABA), Colorado Bar Association (CBA), Denver Bar Association, Arapahoe County Bar Association,  Colorado Bar Young Lawyers Division, Faculty of Federal Advocates, Metro Denver Interdisciplinary Committee (MDIC), the Douglas-Elbert County Bar Association (DEBA), and acts as the DEBA Representative to the Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) Board of Governors.
 
Mr. King is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys volunteering when he is not exploring the Colorado mountain ranges and spending time with his family.
Designee from the Douglas/Elbert Bar Association

 

 

Board Members

Jamie L. (Rutten) Cage

Jamie L. (Rutten) Cage is a founding partner of Cage Bucar Lewis, LLC.  Jamie has an extensive background in professional and legal research and writing. Jamie has an undergraduate degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University and served as an editor for law review in law school. Jamie has spent her career focused solely on family law. Jamie handles high asset divorce cases, high conflict custody matters, modification and enforcement proceedings, and adoptions. Jamie particularly enjoys cases with interesting legal nuances and appeals. Jamie served on the Board of the Adams/Broomfield Bar Association and is currently an appointed Committee Member to the Bench Bar Committee for the Adams/Broomfield Bar Association, as well as a representative for the 17th Judicial District for Metro Volunteer Lawyers. Jamie is also a councilmember of the Executive Council of the Colorado Bar Association. Jamie has presented at numerous Continuing Legal Education seminars on varying topics and is a published author.
Designee from the Adams/Broomfield Bar Association

Mindy Moses

Mindy Moses - Melinda, or Mindy as she is known, is an associate attorney practicing family law at Ciancio Ciancio Brown.  Before practicing family law, Mindy worked as a staff attorney at the Colorado Court of Appeals for almost twenty years.  She specialized in cases involving all aspects of family law, dependency and neglect, and workers' compensation.  The issues she addressed ran the gamut from adoption and paternity to complex financial matters.  In addition to her work at the court and in private practice, Mindy has presented or co-presented at several seminars, including the 2009 Colorado Family Law Institute, where she spoke on "Appellate Practice 101," a 2014 CLE seminar held at the Denver Juvenile Court on "Tips and Themes for Dependency and Neglect Appeals," and at the 2016 Colorado Elder Law Retreat, in a program on Grey divorce.  Mindy also serves as a member of the Board of Law Examiner's Law Committee, which oversees administration of the Colorado Bar Exam.
Mindy completed her undergraduate degree with distinction at the University of Colorado in English Literature, where she was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, was on the Dean's List all four years, and received the Dean's Scholarship.  She earned her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law, where she received the Moses Lasky Scholarship and the American Jurisprudence Award for Torts and Legal Seminar.  After law school, Mindy was a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Dale P. Tursi, and the Honorable John A. Criswell, both of whom served on the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Mindy is a fourth-generation Denver native.  She and her husband, an architect, have raised two daughters in their historic Denver square home.  Mindy enjoys time with family and friends, travel, museums, hiking, fiction, and films.
Designee from the Adams/Broomfield Bar Association

Tanya Akins
Tanya Akins brings a unique perspective to Sherr Puttmann Akins Lamb PC through her extensive background as a Master of Social Work (MSW). Prior to graduating cum laude from DePaul University College of Law, Tanya spent eight years as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker conducting custody evaluations and providing courtroom testimony of her custody findings and recommendations. Her experience gives her special insight into cases involving mental health and substance abuse issues, as well as complex dependency and neglect actions. Tanya recently completed her first Appeal and successfully overturned the District Court’s decision. Tanya is a founding shareholder of the firm and is the Chief Financial Officer. She is well versed in managing intricate financial issues in high asset cases and her broad perspective is invaluable in the often-complex world of family law.
Designee from the Arapahoe County Bar Association

Andrew Goertzel

Andrew Goertzel -I have a 9 year old son, I am married, I have two basset hounds named Tom and Jerry. I have lived in Denver since 1991. I was a member of the MVL Board back in like 2000 probably until 2004 and then took about a 4 year hiatus. In my spare time I enjoy riding bicycles and playing sports with my son. Practice areas: Family law, Child custody, Divorce, Traffic violations, Driving while intoxicated and Personal injury Admitted Colorado, 1995; U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 1998 Education University of Denver, J.D., 1995; State University of New York at Binghamton, B.A., 1991 Website: www.pgapc.com
Designee from the Arapahoe County Bar Association

Kama McConaughy Sarkissian

Kama McConaughy Sarkissian focuses her practice in all areas of family law. Ms. McConaughy Sarkissian has an extensive background in complex litigation, settlement negotiations, and appeals, having represented clients throughout the state of Colorado. Ms. McConaughy Sarkissian is licensed to practice law in Colorado, where she has lived since 1979. She attended Cherry Creek High School. Thereafter, she graduated in 1993 from the University of Colorado, Boulder, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Ms. McConaughy Sarkissian attended Tulane School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she earned her Juris Doctorate, cum laude. During law school, Ms. McConaughy Sarkissian was an associate editor of The Tulane International and Comparative Law Journal. Upon graduating law school in 1997, Ms. McConaughy Sarkissian returned to Colorado and began practicing family law. Ms. McConaughy Sarkissian is experienced in representing clients in all areas of family law, from financially complex divorce cases to high profile custody matters. While she strives to develop creative settlement solutions for her clients, she has the litigation experience necessary to successfully represent her clients in court when settlement is not possible. Ms. McConaughy Sarkissian is a member of the Colorado Bar Association, CBA Family Law Section, and the Arapahoe County Bar Association. Metro Denver Interdisciplinary Committee (MDIC), the Douglas-Elbert County Bar Association.   Ms. Sarkissian is the Arapahoe County Bar Association Representative to the Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) Board of Governors. Ms. McConaughy Sarkissian is trained in Collaborative Law and is a member of the Denver Source for Collaborative Divorce.  She is married with three hockey playing children. In her free time, she enjoys watching ice hockey, skiing, and spending time with her family. 
Designee from the Arapahoe County Bar Association

Lucy Hojo Denson

Lucy Hojo Denson is a native of Southern California. Lucy graduated from Chapman College in 1975, received her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver in 1979, and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver in 1988. Lucy has been with Hinds and Hinds Family Law since 1994. Her extensive experience in the field of family law is demonstrated by her keen perception on complex financial matters and compassionate outlook related to child custody issues. With a Masters Degree in Social Work, Lucy has a special understanding of the dynamics of families and high conflict situations. She represents clients with the perfect balance of strength and sensitivity. Lucy’s client representation and legal skills are reflected in her well-respected reputation in the Denver legal community. Lucy is incredibly well respected among her peers and clients. She has served as president of both the Colorado Women's Bar Association and the Asian American Bar Association. She has been recognized many times for her services to the community including most recently in September of 2016 by the Women's Bar Association.
Designee from the Arapahoe County Bar Association

James Garts

James Garts leads the Robinson & Henry family law practice in Denver. With over 13 years of experience, James oversees a dedicated team of attorneys and support staff with one goal in mind – obtaining the best possible outcome in a difficult family situation.

James graduated from The Colorado College in 1999, and obtained his law degree in 2002 from the Samford University Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama. He began his legal career in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, and moved to Colorado in 2006.

As a member and active volunteer with the Colorado Bar Association (CBA), James has furthered his interest in seeking justice and equity through voluntary dispute resolution and litigation when necessary.

He has chaired the CBA’s Young Lawyers Division and the Membership Services Committee. He was also Co-Chairman of the Modest Means Task Force and a member of the CBA Economic Task Force. James served a term on the CBA Executive Council and was the Young Lawyers’ Division liaison to the CBA Board of Governors and Budget Committee.
At the local level, James is a member of the Rhone — Brackett Inn of Court, the Denver Bar Association and was previously appointed to the 1st Judicial District Board of Trustees where he served as the Board’s liaison to the CBA Board of Governors.

He is an avid road and mountain bicyclist and supports trail conservation and common-use efforts.
Designee from the Denver Bar Association

Jerremy Ramp
Jerremy Ramp is a partner with the firm Lass Moses & Ramp LLC, where his practice focuses on family law. Jerremy grew up in Indiana but has been in Denver since graduating from Notre Dame Law School in 2003. Jerremy serves on the board of Metro Volunteer Lawyers, the Family Law Section Executive Council, and the Family Law Section Legislative Committee. He has been named as a Colorado Super Lawyer, 5280 Top Lawyers and to the Best Lawyers in America. After college, Jerremy spent a fascinating and rewarding year in Jerusalem doing archaeological work and volunteering at a hospital, and he spent his second year of law school in London studying international law. In his free time, Jerremy enjoys house projects, playing in the mountains, and most of all, tries—often unsuccessfully—to keep up with his three little kids.
Designee from the Denver Bar Association

Martin Champagne

Martin Champagne Martin J. Champagne, Jr. has tried numerous cases before judges and juries involving multi-million-dollar commercial disputes, contract disputes and various negligence claims. He has served as trial counsel for the trial division of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Companies and has been trial counsel for numerous Fortune 500 companies and municipalities. Martin was awarded a juris doctor, with honors, by the University of Florida College of Law in 2001. He also holds a B.A. in English from Keene State College in Keene, N.H. He currently practices business litigation and appeals in Colorado and Florida.

Growing up in a family of modest means, he recalls the Lions Club delivering food and presents to his family one Christmas Eve when he was 9-years-old. The generosity of a group of strangers left an indelible impression on him. Since becoming a lawyer, he has volunteered as a guardian ad-litem for neglected children, regularly accepted pro bono cases on behalf of those in need and helped people with their legal problems at monthly legal aid clinics. He believes Metro Volunteer Lawyers serves a critical need in the community.
Martin lives in Denver with a very big German Shepard.
Designee from  the Denver Bar Association

CasolaroChristopher Casolaro is a trial attorney at Faegre Baker Daniels, where he protects and defends clients in product liability and commercial litigation. Before joining Faegre, he was an associate at Hogan Lovells, where he concentrated his practice on the medical device industry. He previously served as a judicial law clerk to U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow and as counsel to judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Chris is deeply committed to public interest work. He has successfully litigated civil rights cases, and has secured favorable outcomes in First Amendment, due process, and contested asylum cases. He also fought to prevent a death row prisoner’s execution in a case contested in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court.  
Designee from the Denver Bar Association

Mo Watson

Maureen "Mo" Watson  is a VP and the General Counsel at CQG, a global software company. CQG provides high-performance trade routing, global market data, and advanced technical analysis. 

At CQG, Ms. Watson manage all active legal and compliance matters and work with a talented team to ensure CQG's global compliance with evolving regulatory regimes. She helps drive business growth in emerging and existing consumer markets through careful contract negotiation and strategic partnerships. She work broadly across the business to identify, understand, and mitigate risk. At CQG, Ms. Watson also manages all outside counsel relationships and direct all active litigation, including employment law disputes, intellectual property matters (including patent infringement actions), and commercial issues. 

Outside of CQG, Ms. Watson is active in the Denver Bar Association, where she served as president for the 2018-2019 term.  Ms. Watson regularly volunteers with MVL at their clinics and accepts full-service representation cases in family law matters. She also volunteers with the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Denver Ballet Guild.
Designee from the Denver Bar Association

Ric Morgon

Ric Morgan has long been deeply involved in Access to Justice programs, and was the founding co-chair of the 18th Judicial District’s Access to Justice Committee. Over the past dozen years, he developed and supported Pro Se Clinics and Domestic Violence programs in four nearby counties. In 2011, he coordinated efforts to set up a new Veterans Treatment Court in the 18th Judicial District, which was funded, established, and had its first graduates in 2015.   In 2013, he founded the Virtual Pro Se Clinic (VPC) program, which is a public-private collaboration delivering free monthly legal clinics to local libraries in 35 Colorado Counties, all by computer link. Ric also provides pro bono legal counsel for various local non-profit organizations, including farmers & ranchers organizations, veterans groups, municipal districts, local citizens groups, and governmental bodies.    

Ric is a graduate of Denver University Law School, and has an MS from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and his BS from Colorado State University. He and his wife operate a small dairy goat farm in rural Elbert County, and they have two grown sons, and three grand-daughters. In addition to goat farming, he enjoys genealogy, shooting sports, carpentry, beekeeping, and is an avid student of history.    
Designee from the Douglas/Elbert Bar Association since 2007.

Aaron Suazo

Aaron Suazo brings a long history of courtroom and negotiation experience to Heckenbach Suazo LLP. He launched his career as an intern at the Denver District Attorney’s Office while attending law school at the University of Colorado. Preceding his formal study of law, Aaron served in the United States Marine Corps for 12 years. He began his military career as a military policeman and was later sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey California where he learned to speak the Korean language. He then changed his specialty and worked as an interrogator in the military intelligence field. Immediately after graduating from Law School, Aaron worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Frank Plaut in the Jefferson County District Court. After his clerkship, Aaron returned to the Denver District Attorney’s Office where he was assigned as a Senior Deputy District Attorney for seven years before joining Heckenbach Suazo LLP. During his stretch with the Denver District Attorney’s Office, Aaron was assigned to several specialized units, including the High Impact Drug Trafficking Area where he focused on prosecuting criminals involved in multi-state drug trafficking organizations and was appointed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. He was also assigned to the Family Violence Unit where he gained valuable experience dealing with issues concerning families. While in the Family Violence Unit, Aaron prosecuted individuals charged with domestic violence crimes such as sexual assaults on their spouses or significant others, sexual assault on children and other crimes involving child victims, and all forms of domestic violence. Aaron has tried countless jury trials, ranging from simple assaults to complex multi-defendant homicides. His trial experience is highlighted by sixteen sexual assault cases and seven first-degree murder cases. Since joining Heckenbach Suazo LLP, Aaron has handled a significant number of complex, high-asset financial cases, high conflict dissolution and post-decree matters, and dissolution cases that have flowed over in the criminal realm. Additionally, Aaron has successfully defended numerous individuals who have been charged with crimes ranging from domestic violence assaults, to arson and driving under the influence.
Designee from the Douglas/Elbert Bar Association

 

Stephen Cook

 is the managing partner at Smith & Cook, LLC, a general litigation form with an emphasis in Criminal Defense, Family Law and General Civil Litigation. Stephen currently volunteers at the Legal Clinic for the Women in Crisis Center with Family Tree, Inc. and is the Continuing Legal Education Chairperson for the 1st JD Bar Association.  Graduating law school from Valparaiso University in 1996 and Indiana University with a bachelor of science in Marketing in 1993, Stephen has called Colorado home since 1996.  He is married with 3 children and in his spare time enjoys golfing, fly fishing and reading history. 

Immediate Past Chair of the Board
Designee from the First Judicial District Bar Association

 

Andy Hart

Andrew “Andy” Hart. Andy got involved with Metro Volunteer Lawyers after obtaining his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2007. Andy was then employed with Metro Volunteers Lawyers as the Family Law Court Program Coordinator for two years before going off into private practice. He has served on the Board of Directors since 2012. In his spare time, Andy spends time with his family exploring Colorado and all it has to offer - hiking, backpacking, cycling, and skiing all over the state. When not engaged in outdoor pursuits, Andy enjoys spending time with friends, family, a good book, and rabidly cheering on the University of Oregon Ducks. Andy remains grateful for the opportunity to have worked for an organization that helps so many people who lack the resources to hire an attorney, and continues to support their efforts as a volunteer. At a young age, he learned that the practice of law is an honorable profession full of good, dedicated people. Andy is currently an associate at the family law firm of Pelegrin & Radeff, P.C. (http://prfalaw.com/) in Lakewood.
Designee from the First Judicial District Bar Association

 

Jennifer Melton

Jennifer Melton is originally from De Soto, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1990 and Texas Tech University School of Law in 1993. Jennifer was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993 and to the Colorado Bar in 1995. After graduation from law school, Jennifer served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Osborne of the Eight Judicial District Court of Appeals in El Paso, Texas. Following this she served as a deputy district attorney in El Paso, Texas for a year before entering private practice. Jennifer is a member of the Colorado Bar Association, First Judicial Bar Association, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Texas Bar Association. Jennifer is currently serving as the Regional Director for the First Judicial District’s High School Mock Trial Tournament. Jennifer has been a trial attorney for twenty-six years. In addition to a private criminal defense and dependency and neglect practice, she currently has a contract with the Office of the Alternative Defense Counsel to handle court appointed criminal cases in Jefferson and Gilpin Counties and a contract with the Office of Respondent Parent Counsel to represent respondent parents in court appointed cases for Jefferson, Gilpin, and Clear Creek Counties.
Designee from the First Judicial District Bar Association


 

 

 


Archived Dockets

2018