Official Magazine of the Denver Bar Association

DBA Member Highlight: Kwali Farbes

1. Why did you become a lawyer?
I wanted to have work that is intellectually challenging and to have an opportunity to give back to my community.

2. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Someone once told me that the only constant in life is change. The way you react to change, which is all you can control, will significantly impact your quality of life.

3. What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of your work as a Senior Assistant City Attorney?
I have some really wonderful colleagues, and I feel lucky to be able to work so collaboratively with them. I’ve also had the opportunity to work on some transformative projects, including the implementation of the new dedicated affordable housing fund. In addition, I helped develop the contract that provided a sustainable potable water supply to Red Rocks and participated in policy discussions about the redevelopment of the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

4. What are your hobbies outside of the law?
I love to read, hike and quilt. I started practicing yoga two years ago, and it has become my favorite way to start the day.

5. What inspired your interest in folklore and the arts and how have you been able to apply your knowledge at the City Attorney’s Office?
I interned with the curator of the Pre-Columbian Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (then known as the Denver Museum of Natural History) during the summer after my junior year in college. One day, the curator pointed out a potter’s fingerprint on a bowl that was made in 1000 AD. The fingerprint made the potter so real to me that I wanted to learn more about the potter and other craftsmen of the period. After college, I had the opportunity to work with the curator of the African Collection in the Anthropology Department at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I noticed that I was much more interested in the objects that were used in daily life, which is the hallmark focus of a folklorist. Like anthropologists, folklorists are interested in people, the culture they create and the way that culture is articulated around the world. Cultural differences play themselves out in so many ways. I think an understanding of basic ethnographic principals has been helpful in facilitating difficult discussions and seeking an understanding of the points of view of both my colleagues and my clients.

6. What is your favorite travel destination?
My husband and I were married in New Orleans in December. New Orleans is an amazing place, and each year we try to go back to explore a little bit more of the city. Where else would there be a 4-foot-tall joey kangaroo in the women’s locker room of a yoga studio?

7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people disagree by being disagreeable. We’re lawyers. We get paid to disagree with the other side, but being disagreeable just makes things harder for everybody.

8. If you could change anything about Denver, what would it be?
I would make Denver a place where all people from all walks of life could afford to live. I can’t believe how expensive it has become to live here!

9. What is your favorite play or musical and why?
I love The Brothers Size because it combines my folkloric and anthropological interests and is beautifully written and acted.

10. If you weren’t a lawyer, you’d be:
I’ve always wanted to be an elementary school teacher. D

Hometown: Denver, Colorado.
Lives in: Capitol Hill.
Lives with: My husband and the two plants that we haven’t managed to kill yet.
Works at: City Attorney’s Office, City and County of Denver.
Practices in: Finance, contracts and municipal law.
Law school: University of Colorado School of Law.

Editor’s Note: Do you know a DBA member who should be featured? Email nominations to Jessica Volz at

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