2019 awards Luncheon 

On May 2, 2019, 475 lawyers and community leaders gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of Colorado Lawyers Committee volunteer attorneys and law firms, many of which were honored at the CLC annual Awards Luncheon. During 2018, more than 1,000 volunteers donated more than 7,800 hours and $3.03 million worth of time through the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s 29 active projects in the areas of Children’s Rights & Education, Civil & Criminal Law, Poverty & Public Benefits, Community Development, and Immigration.

Keynote speaker Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser inspired the luncheon audience.  He described his office’s mission and guiding principles and stressed the importance of creative problem solving with new and different approaches and the necessity of protecting the rule of law in these chaotic times.  He urged the audience to work together to solve the serious problems that face us, including the opioid epidemic.

CLC announced that its Hate Crimes Education Program, which has been offered in Colorado schools for the last 25 years, will now be available to be presented in every school in the country.  Due to a generous grant from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., the CLC has modified its well-respected program.  The new national effort will be unveiled across the country later this year.

Another highlight of the luncheon was the announcement of this year’s award recipients: The Board of Directors selected Snell & Wilmer as the Colorado Lawyers Committee Law Firm of the Year. Daniel A. Sweetser of The Sweetser Law Firm, P.C. received the Outstanding Sustained Contribution Award for his longstanding support and extensive contributions to the work of the Colorado Lawyers Committee, and Melanie Tsuchida, Colorado Nonprofit Association, received the Special Recognition Award. Past and present board members of the CLC Young Lawyers Division were also recognized for their contributions during the last four years.

The Jail Wait Litigation Team was recognized as the CLC Team of the Year, for its 11 years of advocacy for people with mental illness and the recent landmark settlement that will result in a significant reduction in the criminalization of the mentally ill in Colorado. The Jail Wait Litigation Team includes:

  • Iris Eytan (Eytan Nielsen LLC)

  • Allison Butler (Disability Law Colorado)

  • Sean Connelly (Connelly Law LLC)

  • Caleb Durling (Fox Rothschild LLC)

  • Mark Ivandick (Disability Law Colorado)

  • Scott Llewellyn (Morrison Foerster LLP)

  • Ellie Lockwood (Snell & Wilmer)

  • Kathleen Mullen

  • Jenn Purrington (Disability Law Colorado)

  • Tim Scalo (Snell & Wilmer)

  • Byeongsook Seo (Snell & Wilmer)

2019 Special Recognition Award Presented to Melanie Tsuchida

Photo courtesy of Hartmannphoto, LLC

Photo courtesy of Hartmannphoto, LLC

For five years, Melanie Tsuchida, Manager of Strategic Learning at the Colorado Nonprofit Association, was an essential part—and coordinator and administrator extraordinaire—of the Colorado Lawyers Committee Nonprofit Legal Audit Clinics and the CLC Nonprofit Working Group. She has been an invaluable resource for the nonprofit community and for Colorado Lawyers Committee.

Since 2006, the Colorado Lawyers Committee has co-sponsored a Nonprofit Legal Audit Clinic for small nonprofits with limited operating budgets. Teams of transactional attorneys review a checklist with participating nonprofits to evaluate their legal health. Client meetings are preceded by a CLE training for participating lawyers on various aspects of Colorado nonprofit law. The Colorado Lawyers Committee partners with the Association of Corporate Counsel—Colorado Chapter, the CLC Young Lawyers Division and the Colorado Nonprofit Association to offer these clinics. This award recognizes the extraordinary effort put forth by Melanie to organize, educate, and assist in providing legal services for several hundred local nonprofits.

Melanie has also been an essential partner in the Nonprofit Working Group. Since 2009, this Task Force has provided transactional-type legal services and representation to budget-constrained nonprofit organizations. Melanie has expertly solicited, evaluated and approved applications for assistance so that volunteer attorneys can be paired with nonprofits in need of pro bono lawyers. These two nonprofit programs have provided pro bono legal services to more than 400 nonprofits. The monumental success of the Nonprofit Legal Audit Clinic and the Nonprofit Working Group would not have been possible without Melanie’s tireless efforts, contagious enthusiasm, and skilled coordination.

The Jail Wait Litigation Team named 2019 Team of the Year

Jail Wait Litigation Team, Photo courtesy of Hartmannphoto, LLC.

Jail Wait Litigation Team, Photo courtesy of Hartmannphoto, LLC.

The CLC teams that were nominated for this year’s Team of the Year Award were the Anti-Bullying Subcommittee of the Education Task Force of Jessica C. Collier (Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP), Sara Nicole Maeglin (Lohf Shaiman Jacobs Hyman & Feiger PC), John M. McHugh (Reilly Pozner LLP), Daniel Ramos (One Colorado), Mark A. Spitz (Spitz Legal Counsel LLC) and Denise M. Whinnen (Gill Foundation); Hate Crimes National Team of Elizabeth Froehlke (Littler Mendelson P.C.), Beth Ann Lennon (Sherman & Howard L.L.C.), John M. McHugh (Reilly Pozner LLP), Tarek F. M. Saad (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP), Christine Snider (Ballard Spahr LLP), Valeria Spencer (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado), Phyllis V. Wan (Wanderful Ventures LLC) and Mark D. Wilding (Ballard Spahr LLP); and Taylor Ranch Litigation Team of Jason C. Astle (The Law Firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C.), Aaron A. Boschee (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP), Stephanie Carr (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP), Bennett L. Cohen (Polsinelli PC), Sarah Conley (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP), Jerome A. DeHerrera , Rebecca Anderson Fischer (Sherman & Howard L.L.C.), Watson W. Galleher (Don Galleher & Saliman PC), Jeffrey A. Goldstein , Peter S. Gould (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP), Martina Hinojosa (Butler Snow LLP), Jonathan S. King (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP), Carolyn L. McIntosh (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP), Laura Joan McNabb (Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP), Brent Owen (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP) and Elizabeth Weil Shaw (Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP). Read about their many achievements and advancements in recent litigation.

The honor was awarded to the Jail Wait Litigation Team of Iris Eytan (Eytan Nielsen LLC), Allison Butler (Disability Law Colorado), Sean Connelly (Connelly Law LLC), Caleb Durling (Fox Rothschild LLC), Mark Ivandick (Disability Law Colorado), Scott Llewellyn (Morrison Foerster LLP), Ellie Lockwood (Snell & Wilmer), Kathleen Mullen, Jenn Purrington (Disability Law Colorado), Tim Scalo (Snell & Wilmer) and Byeongsook Seo (Snell & Wilmer).

Congratulations to Snell & Wilmer, 2018 Law Firm of the Year

The nominees for 2019 Law Firm of the Year were Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC, Polsinelli PC and Snell & Wilmer. The CLC appreciates the strong dedication of all these attorneys.

Snell & Wilmer, Photo courtesy of Hartmannphoto, LLC.

Snell & Wilmer, Photo courtesy of Hartmannphoto, LLC.

During 2018, fourteen attorneys and one staff member (41% of their firm attorneys) from Snell & Wilmer’s Denver office participated in four Colorado Lawyers Committee projects.  Jim Kilroy served as the firm representative on the Board of Directors and chaired the Medicaid Trust Project, which is challenging the legality of Colorado’s efforts to prematurely terminate special needs trusts when Medicaid recipients move out of state.  Ellie Lockwood also worked on this project.  Stephanie Kanan and Ellie Lockwood served on the CLC Young Lawyers Division Board, as Co-Chairs of Denver Legal Night.  Fran Folin, Carter Gee-Taylor, Jordi Goodman, Stephanie Kanan, Eric Kintner, Michael Lindsay, Ellie Lockwood, Rachel Lynn, Luke Mecklenburg, Larry Myers, Tim Scalo, and Jessica Yates volunteered for Denver Legal Night, and assisted low-income clients. Denver Legal Night began in 2006 as an effort to provide legal information and referrals to individuals who did not otherwise have access to legal services.  The Colorado Lawyers Committee co-sponsors, with the Denver Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Denver Access to Justice Committee, two monthly Legal Night Clinics at Centro San Juan Diego.  Since Legal Night began, more than 30,000 individuals have been served.  Four firm volunteers were active in the Jail Wait Litigation Team: Ellie Lockwood, Byeongsook Seo, Tim Scalo, and Colin Trottnow.  For the last 11 years, the team has been pursuing litigation to force the State Hospital to assure that individuals who are presumed incompetent to stand trial are not held in jails for excessive periods of time before receiving treatment or being evaluated.  After extensive negotiation, the Team reached a ground-breaking settlement that will greatly impact mental health treatment in Colorado. 

2019 Sponsors

Thank you to our many sponsors and partners who support our Awards Luncheon and help us further our mission to increase opportunities for children, the poor and other disadvantaged communities through pro bono legal advocacy, negotiation and litigation.


Arnold & Porter
Bartlit Beck LLP
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Polsinelli PC
Snell & Wilmer


Anderson Hemmat, LLC
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
Colorado & Denver Bar Associations/CLE in Colorado, Inc.
Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP
Holland & Hart LLP
Husch Blackwell LLP
Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC
Judicial Arbiter Group, Inc.
Lass Moses Ramp & Cooper LLC
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti PC
Reilly Pozner LLP
Sherman & Howard L.L.C.
Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
The Harris Law Firm P.C.
Xcel Energy Services, Inc.


Ballard Spahr LLP
Butler Snow LLP
Colorado Bar Association-Real Estate Section
Colorado Nonprofit Association
Elkind Alterman Harston PC
Epstein Patierno, LLP
Eytan Nielsen LLC
Fox Rothschild LLP
Hernandez & Associates, P.C.
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Perkins Coie LLP
Tierney Lawrence LLC
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP


Alyn-Weiss & Associates, Inc.
Aponte & Busam, Inc.
Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Center for Legal Inclusiveness
Colorado Hispanic Bar Association
Colorado LGBT Bar Association
Disability Law Colorado

Hill & Robbins, P.C.
Rule 6 Communications
Seigneur Gustafson LLP
South Asian Bar Association of Colorado
The ART, a hotel
University of Colorado Law School

A Special Thanks To

Lewan Technology for printing the 2019 Awards Luncheon program and the 2019 Annual Report
Hartmannphoto, LLC for providing pro bono photography services for the Colorado Lawyers Committee
Landlocked Films LLC for preparing the special video presentation for today’s event
Cuttlefish Arts for layout and design of the 2019 Awards Luncheon program and Annual Report