Legal Lowdown: McConaughy & Sarkissian Adds Two, U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan Resigns, Venable LLP Opens Denver Office

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Law firm updates

McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C. on May 15 announced it welcomed two new attorneys. Joining the construction law team is Judge David Taylor, who was previously a county court judge in the 1st Judicial District. Joining the family law team is Courtney McGregor, who formerly served as an assistant attorney general for the Delaware Department of Justice, and as a policy advisor, communications director, deputy state director and judicial law clerk for Judge Jennifer Ranji.

The judiciary

U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan announced May 15 he submitted his resignation to President Joe Biden effective at 11:59 p.m. on May 31. Biden appointed Finegan and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and took the oath of office on Dec. 1, 2021. The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted Finegan plans to return to the private sector. 

A Family Law Day for the 4th Judicial District serving El Paso and Teller counties is scheduled for June 7. The event will offer various free services, including one-on-one meetings with family law attorneys, classes and presentations. The event, sponsored by The Justice Center, Colorado Legal Services, the El Paso County Bar Association and the 4th Judicial District courts and probation, will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the El Paso County Combined Courts on 270 S. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs. Classes will be offered on subjects including enforcing court orders, child support and maintenance, divorce and allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting plans and presenting a case in court. A panel discussion titled “What Judges Want to Hear” will also be available. Contact [email protected] with questions. 

The 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission on May 15 announced it nominated three candidates for a district court judgeship created by the resignation of Judge Richard Gurley. On May 13, the commission selected nominees Scott Burill of Grand Junction, Craig Henderson of Fruita and JenniLynn Lawrence of Mancos. Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days from May 14 to appoint one of the nominees as district court judge for the 21st Judicial District serving Mesa County. Comments regarding any of the nominees may be emailed.

Gov. Jared Polis on May 15 appointed Kellie Starritt to the 7th Judicial District Court. The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge J. Steven Patrick and is effective July 1. Starritt is a district court magistrate in the 7th Judicial District, a position she’s held since 2017. Her docket consists of domestic matters, according to the announcement. Previously, she was the chief county deputy attorney in the Human Services Division for the Mesa County Attorney’s Office from 2015 to 2017; lead assistant Mesa County attorney from 2014 to 2015; attorney at Daniels & Sturgis, LLC from 2010 to 2014; guardian ad litem and child and family investigator at Kellie L. Starritt P.C. from 2004 to 2014; assistant city attorney at the Grand Junction City Attorney’s Office from 2003 to 2004; assistant Mesa County attorney from 1999 to 2003; and paralegal at the Mesa County Attorney’s Office from 1997 to 1999. Starritt earned her bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in 1990 and her J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1995.

Movers & shakers

Global 100 law firm Venable LLP on May 14 announced it expanded to Colorado with the addition of eight commercial and employment litigators and counselors based in Denver. Jim Sawtelle, a trial attorney with more than three decades of experience, will be the partner-in-charge of Venable’s newest office, according to the announcement. Sawtelle and seven colleagues are joining Venable from Sherman & Howard. The firm noted these lateral hires include commercial litigation partners Jessica Arett and Nick DeWeese; labor and employment partners Emily Keimig, Beth Ann Lennon and Heather Vickles; Tara Bailes, a counsel in the commercial litigation practice; and Carissa Davis, an associate focused on labor and employment law. Also joining the Denver office is Venable intellectual property partner Elizabeth Manno. According to the announcement, she’ll continue to focus her national practice on technology disputes — including patent infringement, licensing and litigation.


McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C., a Colorado-based law firm specializing in construction and family law, announced May 15 it’s celebrating its 20th year in business. McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C. was co-founded in 2004 by Ron McConaughy and Ivan Sarkissian. Since its inception, the firm noted it’s expanded its construction and family law practices and broadened its client base. In the past few years, the firm noted it has placed an emphasis on mentoring its legal talent by providing hands-on training and mentoring opportunities and has worked to recruit young, diverse lawyers who aspire to become industry experts. Looking ahead to the coming years, the firm noted it envisions expanding its clientele, forging new connections within its respective areas of practice and remaining dedicated to mentoring the next generation of legal professionals.

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