New Judge Appointed to the Denver Juvenile Court, 4 Firms Add Attorneys

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Law Firm Updates

Holland & Hart LLP announced the recent addition of two environmental law associates in Colorado: Lisa Claxton and Amanda Houseal. Water law attorney Claxton joins the firm in Aspen and helps clients develop functional solutions to complex water rights, use and development issues involved in commercial, industrial and residential real estate transactions and development projects. Energy litigator Houseal joins the firm in Denver and assists oil and gas clients with complex energy litigation, including royalty disputes. 

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced Margaux Trammell was promoted to chief talent officer and will lead the firm’s newly formed talent management function. Brownstein has integrated its recruiting, professional development and diversity, equity and inclusion functions to create a unified group under Trammell’s leadership. The group will support the firm’s strategic goals and manage its attorney and policy professional recruiting, onboarding, professional development and elevation processes. Trammell will ensure all recruiting, onboarding, professional development and elevation processes align with the firm’s core values. 

Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC announced attorney Brian Huebsch joined the firm as a director. Huebsch continues his 20-year practice of representing clients in all manners of disputes with federal, state and local taxing authorities. Huebsch has represented hundreds of clients in all manners of tax controversy. 

Moye White welcomed business and real estate attorney Marissa Kazemi to the firm’s Denver office. Kazemi focuses on real estate matters, including commercial leases, purchase agreements and acquisitions and dispositions. Additionally, she represents corporate and business clients in corporate governance and general business matters, including entity formation and organizations, joint ventures and contract negotiation. She also advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions and minority investments.

The Judiciary

A division of the Colorado Court of Appeals heard oral arguments at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood before an audience of high school students. The Courts in the Community program was developed to give high school students firsthand experience in how the Colorado judicial system works and illustrate how disputes are resolved in a democratic society. The division that heard cases included Judge Craig Welling, Judge David Yun and Judge Katharine Lum. The two cases heard were Bullington v. Barela and The People of the State of Colorado v. Saltzman. Proceedings started at 10 a.m. on March 14. Question-and-answer sessions followed the arguments in each case. After the second argument, students also had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the Court of Appeals judges. Audio recordings from the two arguments will be available online within one to two days of the arguments. 

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright has appointed Judge Elizabeth McCarthy as the presiding judge of the Denver Juvenile Court effective immediately. McCarthy was appointed as a district court judge to the Denver Juvenile Court in January. Prior to that, she served as a magistrate in the Denver Juvenile Court, beginning in 2019. Her docket covers all areas of juvenile law. Prior to joining the bench, she was a senior assistant attorney general from 2016 to 2019 and assistant attorney general from 2011 to 2016. She has also served as a municipal prosecutor at the Lakewood City Attorney’s Office and deputy district attorney at the Denver District Attorney’s Office. As presiding judge, she will serve as the administrative head of the juvenile court, responsible for appointing the court executive, chief probation officer and clerk of court, assisting in personnel, financial and case-management duties and seeing the business of the courts and probation is conducted efficiently and effectively.

The Colorado Supreme Court announced starting with the July 2028 administration of the bar examination, law school graduates will take the NextGen examination rather than the Uniform Bar Examination, which has been used in Colorado since 2012. Colorado administers the UBE each February and July, and will continue to administer the UBE until it transitions to the NextGen examination in July 2028. The National Conference of Bar Examiners will no longer offer the current components of the UBE after the February 2028 exam. The NextGen exam will cover nine “foundational concepts and principles” including civil procedure, criminal law, family law, contract law and real property. It will also test seven “foundational skills” including legal research, legal writing, client counseling and advising and negotiation and dispute resolution.

Gov. Jared Polis appointed Sean Murray as the district attorney for the 6th Judicial District, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Christian Champagne. The appointment will be effective March 16. Murray is an assistant DA for the 6th Judicial District, a position he’s held since 2022. He earned his bachelor’s degree and J.D. from the University of Virginia. Polis also appointed William Culver to the Otero County Court in the 16th Judicial District. The vacancy is created by the retirement of Judge Douglas Manley, effective May 1. Upon joining the Otero County bench, Culver will vacate his elected position as the DA for the 16th Judicial District, a position he’s held since 2021. To fill this vacancy, Polis will gather a panel of former DAs who will provide him with recommendations.


Ballard Spahr LLP real estate finance associate Peter Hamberger was accepted into the Downtown Denver 2024 Leadership Program. Arranged by the Downtown Denver Partnership, the leadership program develops downtown Denver’s future leaders, educates participants about the economic importance of downtown Denver, informs participants about the unique leadership opportunities and challenges that exist in a downtown environment and engages participants in creating the downtown Denver of the future. In addition to training and education, the participants will collaborate to produce a strategy, event or other project with the goal of promoting the newly renovated 16th Street Mall. In his practice, Hamberger focuses on real estate financing and restructuring. In particular, he works on construction lending, multifamily housing transactions and portfolio loans financed conventionally and bridge loans via warehouse lenders. In the western market, Hamberger works on lease negotiations representing landlords for commercial tenants, land development plans and related contract negotiations.

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