Award of Merit, Barbara Chamberlain
In a year that has seen the passing of several titans of the Colorado legal community, I am beyond humbled to receive the Denver Bar Association Award of Merit. I was a small cog in that community. I became a lawyer to help people. The DBA afforded me that opportunity, through its Legal Services Committee and the Thursday Night Bar/Metro Volunteer Lawyers programs. I got to help a lot of people, both directly and indirectly. I was also privileged to work with the good guys of the bench and bar, men and women who recognize the value of pro bono work and realize that it is good for clients, the courts, and themselves. My simple philosophy is that we are here on Earth to benefit the Earth and its denizens in some small way. I am so grateful to receive this award as an affirmation that I may have achieved that goal.
Volunteer Lawyer of the Year, Hannah Siegel Proff
It is a great honor to receive recognition from the Denver Bar Association for my volunteer work. Since graduating from law school 13 years ago, I have kept the words of one of my heroes, Toni Morrison, at the front of my mind. She said, “I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’”
It is an immense privilege to hold a law degree. Through my volunteer work, I have the opportunity to advocate for clients who do not have the means to hire a lawyer and advance systemic policy changes in the Colorado General Assembly. My work would not be possible without the staff of the organizations I volunteer with. They deserve endless recognition for their dedication. This recognition from the DBA inspires me to do even more to support the people, causes, and organizations I believe in. Thank you to the DBA, and to the other lawyers and community members who work tirelessly alongside me.
Young Lawyers of the Year, Matt Broderick and Ruchi Kapoor
Broderick: I am honored and humbled to share this year’s DBA Young Lawyer of the Year Award with Ruchi Kapoor. Ms. Kapoor is a true servant of the DBA and an outstanding young attorney. I am also very appreciative to the DBA for awarding me with this honor and I am so grateful to the many, many individuals who have encouraged and supported my involvement in the DBA, especially with the Young Lawyers Division. I also have had the honor and privilege of working alongside excellent young attorneys on the DBA YLD Executive Council over the last several years. The CLEs, networking events, fundraisers, business development programs, and many other activities planned and hosted by the DBA YLD would never have occurred without the countless hours and meaningful efforts of our DBA YLD Executive Council members. I truly believe all of those members could have been named Young Lawyer of the Year and I hope they view this year’s award as shared with them all. Volunteering for a great organization like the DBA takes the support of family, and I never could have reached this goal without the love and support of my wife, Heather.
Kapoor: Thank you to the DBA for honoring me as Young Lawyer of the Year — it is humbling to be recognized by this amazing institution of colleagues and peers. This last year of working from home has reinforced how important my bar association friendships are, and how much I look forward to these face-to-face connections! I am grateful this year has given me the chance to spread my wings into private practice and I am grateful that I was still able to lean on many of the connections at the bar association as I did so. I look forward to the next year as we continue to build the bar into the place we’d all like it to be.
Judicial Excellence, Judge Theresa Spahn
I have been a proud member of the CBA/DBA and/or Adams-Broomfield Bar Association since 1988. The DBA, or as I fondly call it, my bar association, has been instrumental in supporting me throughout my career. Membership has provided me the opportunity to develop treasured and long-standing friendships, learn how to be a compassionate and effective leader, and participate in numerous initiatives that positively impact communities in our state, advance justice, and protect the independence of our judiciary. Most importantly, it has brought me great joy to be a part of something that provides a true community to attorneys who practice in Colorado. The DBA creates an environment where we can step outside our attorney/advocacy roles and share common values and vision. It has never been so important to nurture this sense of community and foster these relationships. I’m truly honored and humbled to receive the 2021 Judicial Excellence Award from an organization that I so deeply respect and has been a pillar for me the past 33 years.
Outstanding Program, MVL Family Law Unbundled Program
Metro Volunteer Lawyers is deeply honored for the Family Law Unbundled Program to be named the DBA’s Outstanding Program of the Year. The Family Law Unbundled Program began in November 2019 thanks to a generous grant provided by Jerry Conover. Since its founding, over 50 different volunteer attorneys have helped or are helping over 300 families. While it started as a pilot program in Denver and Jefferson counties, it quickly expanded to serving all the counties MVL serves (Adams, Broomfield, Douglas, Elbert, Denver, and Jefferson).
The Family Law Unbundled Program enhances MVL’s mission to bridge the gap in access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers to families who could not otherwise afford legal services. In addition to serving families in need, MVL provides micro-volunteer opportunities to attorneys.
These pro bono opportunities include remote clinics, in-person programing, individually scheduled phone meetings, or pro bono mediation. Volunteers provide a one-time consultation, where they help draft motions, prepare for upcoming hearings, and give advice about next steps in a case. This program emphasizes and focuses on early resolution, including our expanded mediation program.
The program responded to COVID by changing from in-person meetings to telephone consultations and remote Zoom clinics.
Family Law Unbundled is only as good as its volunteers. Please sign up to volunteer today. Check out our website for more information: denbar.org/mvl. Or watch this video for more information about the program: youtube.com/watch?v=s1_EgB4ZKZk