Who’s Representing You in 2014? Meet the New Members of Your Board of Trustees

050614_JDrakeCBA_JCW-2588x(2)Janet Drake

President-elect

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally:

I am a Denver native, but moved around a lot as a child. My parents are Canadian, and currently reside in Canada. I also have a twin brother who currently lives in the Denver area. I graduated from Littleton High School in 1986. My undergrad degree is from the University of Denver (1990), and my J.D. is from the University of Colorado (1996). Todd Drake and I started dating in law school, and we’ve been married since 1997.

I started my legal career in private practice at a small firm that specialized in Federal Employers’ Liability Act litigation. After eight years with that firm, I transferred to the complex commercial litigation section at Brownstein Hyatt and Farber. In 2006, I had the opportunity to join the Special Prosecutions Unit at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, and I have enjoyed my work as a criminal prosecutor in that capacity for the past eight years. As a prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Office, I primarily work on complex multi-jurisdictional cases. My case load is diverse and includes Colorado Organized Crime Control Act cases, economic crimes, and human trafficking. Additionally, I have been quite involved with the Denver Bar Association (YLD Board; DBA Board of Trustees), the Colorado Bar Association (Criminal Law Executive Council) and the Colorado Women’s Bar Association (past president). Todd and I both enjoy skiing, golf and travel when our schedules permit.

What advice would you offer to a new lawyer?

Here are three pieces of advice for new lawyers: (1) Find a mentor who has a good reputation as a person and an attorney. (2) Be professional and courteous to everyone. (3) Be prepared.

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

If I were not practicing law, I’d be traveling around the world.

Catherine-Chan2Catherine Chan

First Vice President

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally:

I started out in solo practice until 2010, when I added attorneys and staff. Currently, we are a team of seven professionals. We primarily serve clients in all aspects of immigration law, including litigation and appeals. We also handle post-conviction criminal appeals and federal civil matters on behalf of our clients.

My husband, criminal defense attorney Pete Hedeen, offers perspective and knowledge to me on legal issues, and longterm career goals. At home I balance our two-year-old identical twin boys on one arm (not literally, they weigh too much), and a hot cooking pan or a book for pleasure on the other arm. Keeping my focus on the moment, I find a lot of laughter and joy.

What advice would you offer to a new lawyer?

I can offer three recommendations to new lawyers in developing their practice: First, I recommend that new lawyers seek opportunities to volunteer and to network. Pro bono practice opens many doors, both professionally and personally. Second, new lawyers should get involved with as many committees and organizations in their bar associations and in the legal community as possible. Their fresh perspective, eager disposition and willingness to learn are assets that are in high demand. And finally, I recommend that new lawyers seek mentors in their fields of practice. The mentors don’t have to be in the same firm. Mentors can provide practical expertise and guidance for the young lawyer throughout their career.

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

The practice of law is my calling. I knew in high school that I wanted to be a lawyer. Every day I am thankful that I have been given this immense privilege and opportunity to help others. If I won the lotto, I would add staff to try to help more people.

If I were to take on a third career (in addition to being a lawyer and a mom), I would choose a field that allows for fun with details, like interior design or wedding planning.

Matthew-Larson-(2)-Matt Larson

Second Vice President

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally:

I am an energy and environmental regulatory attorney at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP based in Denver. I work on regulatory matters before public utilities commissions and counsel clients regarding compliance with applicable environmental regulations. Outside the law, I live in Denver with my wife Ilana and 2-year-old daughter Sophia. Ilana is an accountant and Sophia is a self-employed expert on everything.

What advice would you offer to a new lawyer?

This answer assumes I qualify as a non-new lawyer. My advice would be to show initiative and be responsive. This applies with regard to client matters, bar involvement or any other community involvement.

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

I think I would like being an expert witness. My only limitation is that I am not really an expert on anything. Fortunately, if and when I make a career change, I have Sophia to get me up to speed.

Bidgood_Gillian_GMBID_HiResHeadshot2Gillian Bidgood

Board of Trustee Member

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally:

I am a Denver native. I live in Stapleton with my husband and two children. I am with Polsinelli. I have been practicing for 11 years and my practice focuses on employment litigation and advice. I mostly represent employers and I really like that solving employment issues draws on my interest in psychology and behavior.

What advice would you offer to a new lawyer?

Find an area of the law that you truly enjoy. You may not love everything you do every day, but you will be more satisfied and more successful if you enjoy most of what you do.

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

I would pursue something in the performing arts, such as musical theater. I spent a lot of my time growing up performing and I still love having an audience!

Hardy,-Franz2Franz Hardy

Board of Trustee Member

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally:

I am a proud born and raised Coloradan. I went to school at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Law School. I am married and have two children.

Professionally, I am a partner at Gordon & Rees LLP where my practice includes business dispute and insurance litigation, including the representation of lawyers and law firms in professional liability matters. I feel involved in and connected to the Colorado legal community, including recently serving as president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado, recently serving as a board member of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, and serving as a current board member of the University of Colorado Law Alumni Board. I also serve as chair of Gordon & Rees’ firm-wide diversity committee.

What advice would you offer to a new lawyer?

The legal world has changed from when I graduated law school in 2000. Finding employment and achieving success as an attorney is more challenging than ever. However, the advice of building and maintaining a strong network of contacts through involvement in the legal community remains important, if not critical. The legal community is relatively small and who you know matters. Your network is the best way to ensure you have opportunities in a changing and challenging legal climate.

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

I am always impressed by those who have the ability to do many different things at the same time, like Benjamin Franklin. If I had the time (and assuming talent), I would write a book, invent something, run a small business, get more involved in government, teach, and travel the world. As it stands, the practice of law (and fatherhood) is a full-time endeavor in and of itself!

Pratt_Edited2Gerald Pratt

Board of Trustee Member

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally:

I grew up in Denver, lived by Washington Park, and attended St. Vincent de Paul Grade School and Regis High School. I earned my Civil Engineering Degree from the University of Colorado at Denver, after which I worked for the federal government in Pierre, South Dakota and Dallas, Texas. I returned to Denver for law school at DU, during which I studied international law in Paris one summer. Challenges are what get me going. Professionally, I love trial work—both civil and criminal. Also, I learned early on from the various attorneys I worked for how important ethics and professionalism are in the practice of law. Therefore, I devote a significant amount of my practice to legal ethics and representing attorneys in professional liability and ethics matters. Personally, I love to do marathons and triathlons. I couldn’t be prouder of the three children my wife, Patty, and I have: Caitlin, a credit analyst with Bank of the West; Patrick, a Program Manager for the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry; and Shannon, Consumer Clubs Coordinator for the Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball team.

What advice would you offer to a new lawyer?

Don’t take yourself too seriously, strive to see things from other people’s perspectives, not just your own, and continue to grow.

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

Build bridges (I was a civil engineer before I became a lawyer), and then run and bike over them and swim under them.

Leave a Reply

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

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS