Official Magazine of the Denver Bar Association

Meet the Incoming Vice Presidents and New Board of Trustees Members

PRESIDENT-ELECT: MAUREEN “MO” WATSON

Mo Watson

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.

In my day job, I am General Counsel at CQG, Inc., a software company in the financial services industry. I started my career as a civil litigator and made the move in-house about a year ago. In my current role, I love that I learn something new every day. Whether it is tackling a new area of law for a litigation matter or dealing with nuance in a contract or managing a new regulatory change, I am constantly challenged. Most importantly, I enjoy being able to work proactively with my company to strategically manage risk and create measurable, positive change.

I am married to my amazing husband, Jon, who is also a lawyer. It is great to be married to someone who understands the demands of the profession and can help me think through thorny issues. Together, we enjoy spending time with our giant dog, Atticus, and (as non-natives!) taking advantage of all that Colorado has to offer. Outside of the DBA, I am also active with the Association of Corporate Counsel, Metro Volunteer Lawyers, the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program and the Denver Ballet Guild.

What has been one of your most memorable DBA experiences?

The YLD Ski CLE to Vail. We had a great presentation on the bus (where we all learned things about ski law!) and then had an awesome day on the hill capped off with pizza and some après beverages…the perfect Colorado day!

If you weren’t practicing law, what career would you have chosen?

Now that I am working with a business, I have to say that I hope I would have pursued something entrepreneurial. I love the complex challenges of running a business and balancing risk and reward.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

You’ll never regret giving something your best.

1st VICE PRESIDENT: APRIL JONES

april jones

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.

I have been practicing law for almost 26 years. I started my own law practice in 1994. I originally had a general practice in the federal and district courts but eventually narrowed it to a practice focusing primarily on family law. I am currently a commissioner on the Independent Ethics Commission, where we hold public hearings on ethics complaints. I have served on numerous boards in the community, including the Kempe Foundation and the University of Colorado Hospital Board.

I have been married for 25 years, and my husband and I are the parents of three amazing young adults. We have enjoyed traveling across the country to college football and volleyball games and jazz performances. When I am not volunteering or practicing law, I enjoy reading, writing, globetrotting and spending time with family and friends.

What has been one of your most memorable DBA experiences?

I love attending the Barristers Benefit Ball. In 2016, the theme was “superheroes.” I dressed as Captain America in a blue gown with a toy shield. Then DBA President Janet Drake dressed as Poison Ivy, and then CBA President-Elect Patricia Jarzobski came as Robin (from Batman).

If you weren’t practicing law, what career would you have chosen?

I would be a news commentator with my own show addressing the issues of the day with wit and wisdom.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

My longtime mentor, Steve Farber, once told me, “If you want to do something, make up your mind and do it.”

2nd VICE PRESIDENT: LAURA LISS

Laura Liss

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.

Since growing up in the Chicago suburbs and attending Tulane University in New Orleans, I have lived in Colorado for the past eight years. I enjoy exploring new cities and traveling in my free time, as well as hiking, cooking, happily “nerding out” while reading law blogs, and watching crime/spy TV dramas like “Blacklist” and “The Americans.”

Professionally, I am a transactional franchise and corporate attorney in private practice at Brown & Kannady, LLC in Denver. I represent both franchisors and franchisees on matters ranging from creating new franchise brands to buying a franchise, buying and selling existing franchised outlets, trademark concerns, commercial lease negotiations and more, all typically relating to franchised businesses. Before joining my current firm, I practiced as a solo attorney after becoming licensed. During this time, I benefited from DU Law’s program to support new sole practitioners at the LawBank office space.

How did you first get involved in the DBA, and how has it advanced your career?

Early on in my career, I was invited to attend the Professionalism Coordinating Council, which is a joint CBA and DBA effort. I became involved almost immediately by co-chairing a campaign to make new vignettes highlighting professionalism. The project spanned multiple years and involved coordinating scripts, producing and filming, editing, and distributing the video vignettes showing unprofessional behavior and potential solutions one could try if one faces it. This experience instilled in me a commitment to professionalism early on. It also provided me with an opportunity to get to know many experienced professionals.

If you weren’t practicing law, what career would you have chosen?

I would be living in New Orleans operating cute boutique shops, listening to jazz and letting the good times roll!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

To borrow my father’s words, “the answer is always yes” when you are presented with any opportunity (even if you aren’t sure you want to do it or know how to do it). This motto has served me well by encouraging me to get involved early on. For example, after attending many fun DBA Young Lawyers Division events, I joined the DBA YLD Executive Council and now work to provide an experience that drives membership and engagement. I have also become chair of the Franchise Subsection of the CBA Business Law Section through a similar process. The bar has served as a welcoming and helpful resource to which I enjoy giving back.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES: JOSH BERRY

Josh Berry

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.

I grew up in Topeka, Kansas and love and respect the Midwest. (Don’t worry — I’m not moving. I love Colorado too much!) I graduated from Knox College (Galesburg, Illinois) and then worked in DC as a paralegal at Kirkland & Ellis. After living in DC for several years, I moved to Lawrence, Kansas and started law school at the University of Kansas. I moved to Denver after graduation and worked at Pryor Johnson Carney Karr Nixon (now Nixon Shefrin Hensen Ogborn). I’m now in my seventh year of practice and absolutely love our profession. I married the love of my life, Bridget Dyer, on June 24 in beautiful Ouray.

I am also a lover of all things comedy, fitness, craft beer and, yes, yard work. I make plenty of time to enjoy all four. I’m in Level III of my improv comedy training at VooDoo Comedy Playhouse and have grandiose visions of following in Stephen Colbert’s footsteps. I recently started brewing my own beer and debuted my first IPA at our wedding celebration. My mother is an avid gardener, and I never thought for a second that I would take after her in that regard. I was wrong!

How did you first get involved in the DBA, and how has it advanced your career?

My involvement in the DBA and CBA has been one of the highlights of my career. When I was on the Executive Council for the CBA Young Lawyers Division in 2011–12, we collaborated a great deal with the DBA Young Lawyers Division, and I met a ton of folks that way. I wanted to get more involved, and the DBA provided an easy way to do that. I started going to DBA YLD’s Barristers After Hours and soon thereafter was asked to serve as a DBA representative to the CBA Board of Governors. I guess the rest is history. Involvement in the DBA has advanced my career in so many ways. I enjoy constant referral sources, hack into the legal knowledge possessed by more experienced members and take on leadership positions that help make for a more well-rounded professional. Furthermore, I enjoy the people and the camaraderie.

What advice would you give a new lawyer?

Get involved in your local bar association immediately and ask to take on leadership roles. Bar associations are not elitist and enjoy enthusiasm from their younger members. Make your participation in the bar association as critical as your participation in your firm. I would also tell lawyers to treat your partners and superiors as your clients. You want to please and impress them. To do that, become a great communicator and anticipate their needs. It’s a learning process, and I’m still learning.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you do?

Stand-up comedy. That or hosting my own talk show. While Stephen Colbert is my idol, I’d give him a run for his money!

BOARD OF TRUSTEES: KLARALEE CHARLTON

Klaralee Charlton

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.

I am a shareholder at Katz, Look & Onorato, P.C., where I practice fiduciary tax. In my position, I work primarily with clients after loved ones pass away to mitigate income and estate tax consequences and ensure tax compliance by the estate, any associated trusts, and any related business entities. I also assist executors and trustees with the proper transfer and accounting of assets and the preparation of any required income or estate tax returns.

Outside the office, I am an active member of the DBA and CBA, and I enjoy participating in various community volunteer efforts. My husband and I can also frequently be found roaming the neighborhood with our pack of silky terriers.

How did you first get involved in the DBA, and how has it advanced your career?

Like every other young attorney — Barristers After Hours! I was fortunate to make key connections at these events that led me to the Young Lawyers Division Executive Board and now to the Board of Trustees. My involvement in the DBA has grown my personal and professional network, which, as a young attorney, is invaluable. In the process of organizing DBA events, I have had the chance to meet individuals I never would have crossed paths with otherwise. The DBA also provides opportunities for me to give CLE presentations and write articles, which, in turn, have opened doors for me to speak at local and national CLE workshops. The DBA offers unique ways for young attorneys to be involved while enabling them to gain skills that can transfer throughout their careers.

What advice would you give a new lawyer?

Follow up on connections. When you meet someone at a happy hour, get together with them later for coffee. When someone randomly adds you on LinkedIn, meet them for lunch to discuss how your professions intersect. Some of my best connections have been made this way, and I’ve been given amazing opportunities just from following up.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you do?

I would be the next MasterChef — or at least the next MasterChef Junior.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES: RUCHI KAPOOR

Ruchi Kapoor

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.

I am currently the appellate director and legislative liaison for the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC), where I have been working to create the state’s first appellate program specifically for respondent parents in child welfare cases. Our agency is only one of a handful like it in the country, which makes me very proud of Colorado. Before working for the ORPC, I was an associate at The Noble Law Firm, where I handled a caseload of appeals and criminal post-conviction work. I have always been a writer at heart, so I was drawn to appellate work in law school, and it’s always felt like a natural fit for me. I am a Colorado native, and I just got around to learning how to ski. I’m a pretty avid gardener, and I am always up for being outdoors.

How did you first get involved in the DBA, and how has it advanced your career?

I joined the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations right out of law school when I was clerking for the Denver Juvenile Court. I decided to attend a YLD happy hour on a whim and am so glad I did. It reminded me that networking can be FUN.

What advice would you give a new lawyer?

Don’t panic! You can do it! You survived law school.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you do?

Assuming that I am not independently wealthy at that point, I would probably attempt to try and get into the cartoon voice-over game. Talk about a fun day job! D

Look for a Q&A with new Board of Trustees member J. Ryann Peyton in the October/November issue of The Docket.

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS