Legal Lowdown: 5 Local Firms Add Attorneys, Wagstaff Law Attorneys Appointed to MDL Leadership Roles, CBA Launches New Job Board

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Law firm updates

Holland & Hart announced on June 7 that finance attorney Kyle Blackmer joined the firm as a partner in the Boulder office. Working with both lenders and borrowers, Blackmer handles financing transactions for virtually every type of asset. Blackmer assists with financing transactions that support large projects such as industrial parks, senior living centers, mixed-use and multifamily developments. Blackmer also has specialized experience negotiating complex funding for charter schools. Before joining Holland & Hart, Blackmer was a partner at a boutique Denver real estate firm. 

Sherman & Howard announced on June 10 the addition of litigator Peter Biberstein to the firm’s litigation practice group. From Washington, D.C., to Denver, Colorado, Biberstein has represented individuals in all stages of litigation, including commercial disputes, coverage disputes, general liability and other matters in state and federal courts. Prior to joining the firm, Biberstein served as in-house counsel for a mental health care coordination service, where he managed contracts, oversaw outside counsel, maintained IP portfolios, ensured compliance and supported sales, product, marketing and other teams. Biberstein received his Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas. He serves on the board of The Herd, Denver Zoo’s young professionals organization.

Tom Dolphin joined Northern Colorado law firm Lyons Gaddis, bringing his nearly 20 years of experience to the firm’s real estate and business practice group, according to a June 10 announcement. Dolphin, a graduate of the University of St. Thomas School of Law and the University of Notre Dame, specializes in real estate, finance, corporate, contract and business law. He is licensed in Minnesota and Colorado, according to the announcement. Prior to Lyons Gaddis, Dolphin was a senior associate attorney at Moye White, an associate attorney at Spencer Fane and general legal counsel for 21st Century Bank.

Norton Rose Fulbright announced June 11 that it added three attorneys to its Denver office. A dozen lawyers joined the firm’s Denver and St. Louis offices from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Joining partner Laura Perlov are senior counsel David Miller and associate Austin Hartley in Denver. Perlov’s practice focuses on crisis management, particularly where an investigation, government enforcement or litigation is possible, according to the announcement. She defends individuals and companies in state and federal investigations, complex securities regulation matters and enforcement proceedings. She received her law degree from Tulane University and her bachelor’s degree from Emory University.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced June 12 that Chris Ottele will join the firm as a shareholder in the Denver office’s litigation department. Ottele will advise employers on workplace issues and employment law disputes and he’ll chair the firm’s employment litigation practice, according to the announcement. Ottele frequently conducts workplace investigations about employee misconduct and represents clients in claims involving restrictive covenants, wage and hour issues, discrimination, retaliation and other claims of wrongful termination. Ottele received his bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced on June 13 that Michael Zehner rejoined the firm as a shareholder in the Denver office. Zehner will join the firm’s construction practice. Zehner focuses his interests within the construction law field. Zehner is the 2024 chair of the Colorado Contractors Association’s Associates Council and teaches a graduate course on legal aspects of construction at the University of Colorado’s College of Engineering & Applied Science in Boulder. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Boulder and his law degree from the University of Colorado Law School.

The judiciary

The El Paso/Teller Counties Recovery Court was initiated in January 2001 as the second drug problem-solving court in Colorado. On June 13, 17 participants were recognized for their successful completion of the program’s stringent requirements, which include sustained abstinence from the use of controlled substances and alcohol, satisfactory participation in a substance-abuse treatment program, completion of educational and employment objectives established by the court’s clinical team and frequent performance reviews conducted by Recovery Court Magistrate Judge Gregory Duncan. 

The 13th Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet July 30 at the Morgan County Justice Center to interview and select nominees for appointment by the governor to the office of district judge for the 13th Judicial District serving Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma counties. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Judge Charles Hobbs on Oct. 2. Applications are due no later than July 12 at 4 p.m. 


Aimee Wagstaff, a partner at Denver-based Wagstaff Law Firm, was appointed by U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley as national co-lead counsel in the federal multidistrict litigation involving toxic baby foods. She is joined by Brent Wisner of Wisner Baum as co-lead counsel, according to a June 10 announcement from Wagstaff Law. Joining Wagstaff as a member of the PSC is Wagstaff Law associate attorney Madeleine Clavier. The firm noted this is Clavier’s first appointment to a steering committee. The MDL consolidates federal lawsuits filed across the country that allege serious injuries and damages to children after they consumed baby food products with dangerous levels of heavy metals, according to the announcement.

Odds & Ends

Colorado will get $14 million from a Johnson & Johnson settlement over baby powder safety claims, according to an announcement from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Phil Weiser and 42 other attorneys general reached a $700 million nationwide settlement to resolve allegations that Johnson & Johnson deceptively promoted and misled consumers in advertisements related to the safety and purity of some of its baby powder and body powder products that contained talc. Colorado’s cut of the settlement will be paid over the next three years, according to the AG’s Office. Under the consent judgment, Johnson & Johnson must permanently stop the manufacturing, marketing, promotion, sale and distribution of all baby and body powder products and cosmetic powder products that contain talcum powder. 

The Colorado Bar Association announced on June 7 the launch of its new and improved job board. The enhanced platform is designed to better connect legal professionals with career opportunities across Colorado, according to the bar association. The revamped job board includes a resource hub and membership integration, among other improvements.

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