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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


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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 to complete an intake interview. 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 county. 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 125% (free legal services) to 150% (low-fee legal services) of federal poverty guidelines. Over 12% of Colorado’s population is financially eligible (earn less than 125% of poverty level) for free legal services from CLS or MVL. Here's a summary from the U.S. Census about poverty in MVL’s service area as of 2012: Douglas County: 4.0%; Broomfield County: 6.1%; Elbert County: 6.0%; Gilpin County: 10.3%; Jefferson County: 8.6%; Arapahoe County: 11.8%; Adams County: 14.2%; Denver County: 18.9%.

Frequently our volunteers identify and resolve legal issues without going to court, or can resolve court cases more efficiently and fairly than if our clients represented themselves. Providing legal services helps stabilize families, saves taxpayers money, reduces the number of cases clogging the courts, and helps people move towards self-sufficiency and full participation in society.

Community Collaboration MVL works with the Colorado Bar Association's Pro Bono Appellate program to assist financially-eligible clients with appellate matters; and, 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.

Staff

Metro Volunteer Lawyers has three attorneys on staff: the Director, the Family Law Court Program Coordinator, and the Rovira Scholar. MVL also has a Legal Services Coordinator, a Program Assistant, and multiple student interns.

Toni-Anne Dasent, Director

Sahar P. Safi, FLCP Coordinator

Robin Van Atta

Legal Services Coordinator

Anthony Pereira, Allegretti Project Attorney

Virginia McClerkin, Program Assistant

Joanne Crebassa

Post Decree and Power of Attorney Coordinator

Board

Metro Volunteer Lawyers’ Board oversees the organization’s operations. The Board is comprised of sixteen 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. The Board is as follows:

 

Chair for 2018-2019

Stephen Cook
Smith & Cook LLC
8441 W. Bowles Ave, Ste 210
Littleton, CO 80123
www.smithandcook.com

Stephen 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.

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.

 

 

Board Members


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


Jamie Leaver Sawyer
is an Associate Attorney at The Law Offices of Brenda L. Storey, P.C. where she practices exclusively in the area of family law. Prior to joining The Law Offices of Brenda L. Storey, P.C., Jamie started her career at Metro Volunteer Lawyers, where she served as the Rovira Scholar. Jamie graduated from Belmont University College of Law in Nashville in 2016 and relocated to Denver immediately thereafter. Outside of work, Jamie volunteers for Family Tree and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. In her spare time, Jamie enjoys running marathons and half marathons to raise money for cancer research.

Designee from the Arapahoe County Bar Association

Kyle W. Brenton is Of Counsel at the law firm of Childs McCune LLC. Mr. Brenton is a litigator specializing in appeals, complex commercial litigation, and products and professional liability litigation. He has extensive experience in appellate litigation in state and federal courts in Colorado and across the country. In addition to his professional work, Mr. Brenton serves as the Co-Chair of the Associate's Advisory Board of the Legal Aid Foundation and on the Screening Committee for the Colorado Bar Association's Pro Bono Appeals program.
Designee from the Denver Bar Association

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

Eric Johnson. Eric grew up in New Orleans, LA, and is an Honors graduate from the Tulane University School of Law where he was named to the Order of Barristers for excellence in oral and written advocacy. A former career prosecutor, Eric represents businesses, professional athletes, artists, musicians, families, and individuals in immigration and criminal matters.  Eric is routinely consulted by criminal defense attorneys representing noncitizens for expert advice on the immigration consequences of criminal pleas, strategic advice on saving the immigration status of their noncitizen clients, as well as how to best navigate State and immigration bond issues in achieving the goals of the noncitizen client.
Designee from the Adams/Broomfield Bar Association

Rocco Dodson Dodson & Associates, P.C.

Rocco Dodson is a commercial litigation attorney with his firm, Dodson and Associates, P.C. A strong believer in equal access to justice, without regard to ability to pay, he has served as a volunteer attorney for Metro Volunteer Lawyers since he first passed the Colorado Bar in 1981, and was the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Denver firm of Fairfield and Woods, P. C., before joining the MVL Board. He is also Vice President and a Member of the Board of Directors of Peruvian Hearts, a nonprofit organization that supports the education, empowerment and leadership training of young women in Peru. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Nonprofit Loan Fund, and was President and Chairman of the Board from 2001 – 2009. Rocco has also been an active member of the Evergreen Colorado Rotary Club since 2001 and served on the Board of Directors of AfricAid, an organization that helps Tanzanian girls receive secondary level education, until 2016.
Designee from the First Judicial District Bar Association

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

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

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

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

Ric Morgon 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, and his practice focuses on assisting Pro Se litigants and Pro Bono clients in a wide range of legal issues.

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 26 Colorado Counties, by computer link. The program provides self-represented litigants with a one-on-one discussion with a knowledgeable volunteer attorney, on any civil issue. In October, 2016 the VPC program delivered its’ 500th free monthly legal clinic since stand-up in 2013. 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. Ric also provides Pro Bono legal counsel for various local non-profit organizations, including farmers & ranchers organizations, veterans groups, municipal districts, local citizen's groups, and governmental bodies.

Ric retired from the US Navy in 1999. Since 1999, Ric volunteers as the Elbert County Veterans Services Officer, helping Elbert County’s 3200 veterans and their families get the VA benefits they deserve. He also represents veterans across Colorado in their appeals against the VA, including before the US Court of Appeals of Veteran's Claims. 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 his other interests, he lectures on genealogy DNA testing & analysis; on Colorado's Indian Wars; and is a certified firearms instructor, an avid carpenter, beekeeper, and history student.   
Designee from the Douglas/Elbert Bar Association

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

 Jon Nicholls
Jon S. Nicholls, Esq.
Nicholls & Associates, P.C.
836 Saint Paul Street
Denver, CO  80206
303-329-9700
jon.nicholls@nichollslaw.com

Designee from the Denver Bar Association

Ted Koehler is a business litigator with Faegre Baker Daniels.  He specializes in complex commercial and appellate litigation.  Ted earned his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.  He clerked for two federal courts prior to entering private practice.  Before becoming a lawyer, Ted worked on the staff of a U.S. Senator, for a start-up company in the alternative fuels industry, and for a boutique winery in Sonoma, California. 
Designee from the Denver Bar Association


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


Tausha Riley is the founder of Signature Law Firm, a litigation firm that focuses on Family Law, Criminal Defense, Taxation, and Bankruptcy. Tausha began her career over fifteen years ago in accounting and finance, working mainly in large publicly traded companies. In addition to her corporate work, Tausha has been involved in multiple startups in the real estate, hospitality, and non-profit industries. She obtained her B.S. in Accounting from Barry University and Master of Accounting from Nova Southeastern University. Tausha then decided to achieve her original goal of becoming a lawyer and received her J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and her LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Denver. While in school, Tausha helped clients through the Denver Low Income Taxpayer Clinic as well as the Mediation Clinic. She deeply enjoyed giving back to the community, which inspired her to participate with Metro Volunteer Lawyers. In her spare time (if there is such a thing) she enjoys spending time with family and cooking.  You can reach Tausha at triley@thesignaturelawfirm.com. www.thesignaturelawfirm.com
Designee from the Denver Bar Association