Spencer Fane and Vicente Sederberg Add Denver Partners, WTO Announces 2021 New Hire Class and Brownstein Adds One

Law Firm Updates 

On Nov. 12, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP announced its 2021 new hire class. The ten associates join the Denver-based boutique firm in a range of practice areas. 

  • Teresa Akkara, a University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School graduate, represents clients in complex commercial litigation at the trial and appellate levels. 
  • Alex Bransford, a Cornell Law School graduate, represents clients in challenging commercial litigation nationwide. 
  • Thomas Dec, University of California, Berkeley School of Law graduate, represents clients in challenging commercial cases nationwide. 
  • Charles “Charley” Gibson, a University of Chicago Law School graduate, represents sophisticated clients in complex commercial litigation and legal professional liability matters nationwide. 
  • Emily Linehan, a Chicago-Kent College of Law graduate, represents clients facing complex claims across a range of practices and industries. 
  • Robert McLeod, Vanderbilt University Law School graduate, represents clients in complex product and professional liability matters.
  • Rebekah Nickel, University of Denver Sturm College of Law first-in-class graduate, represents clients in commercial litigation matters nationwide. 
  • Geraldo Parrilla, a Quinnipiac University School of Law graduate, represents sophisticated clients in complex litigation nationwide.
  • Michaela “Mickey” Redlingshafer, a Washington University School of Law graduate, represents clients in challenging litigation matters nationwide.
  • Marisa Shearer, a University of Denver Sturm College of Law graduate, represents clients in complex litigation matters. 

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced Kachina Weaver joined its government relations team at the firm’s Denver office team as a strategic consulting advisor on Nov. 15. Weaver brings years of experience in Colorado public policy. Most recently she served in the Polis administration as the deputy legislative director and was also a senior political consultant for Aponte & Busam Public Affairs, chief strategic policy officer for the Colorado Department of Higher Education and policy advisor for former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Mark Ferrandino. She is a Charter Oak State College graduate and founded Weaver Strategies. 

On Nov. 16, national firm Spencer Fane LLP announced new hires at its Denver office. Joseph Sellars joins as a partner in the real estate practice group where he focuses on assisting commercial property owners, developers, sponsors and national homebuilders in closing industrial, office, retail, multifamily and mixed-use property transactions. Sellars, a University of Oklahoma College of Law graduate, also holds a master’s degree in regional and city planning. Laura Heinrich joins as an associate in the special districts practice group where she brings experience representing special districts, municipalities and community associations. Heinrich is a University of Colorado grad where she earned her undergraduate and J.D. degrees. 

National cannabis firm Vicente Sederberg LLP announced the promotion of several Denver office attorneys on Nov. 18. Jerrico Perez, who was named as a 2022 Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch”, will move from counsel to partner. Carl Werner will be promoted from senior associate attorney to counsel and associate attorney Yolanda Clarke will move up to senior associate. All three promotions are effective Jan. 1, 2022. 

The Judiciary 

Gov. Jared Polis appointed Judge Timothy Schutz to an upcoming vacancy on the Colorado Court of Appeals. The Nov. 12 appointment takes effect after Chief Judge Steven Bernard’s retirement on Jan. 1, 2022. Schutz has served as a district court judge in the Fourth Judicial District since 2010 handling mostly criminal and civil matters. The University of North Dakota Law School grad worked in private practice before his appointment. 

On Nov. 12, Gov. Polis appointed Craig Schuenemann to Saguache County Court in the 12th Judicial District. The appointment, which was effective immediately, fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Anna Ulrich. Schuenemann was an associate at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP where he worked on commercial litigation matters since 2011. The George Washington University School of Law graduate previously clerked for Nevada Judge Charles Weller

The 13th Judicial District Nominating Commission selected three finalists on Nov. 16 to fill an upcoming district court vacancy which includes Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Washington and Yuma counties. The vacancy which will occur Jan. 1, 2022 was created by the retirement of Judge Michael Singer. David Bute from Brush Graham Craig Fidler from Burlington and Justin Haenlin from Peyton made the short-list. Gov. Polis must appoint the position by Nov. 2.  

On Nov. 15, the Colorado Judicial Branch announced an upcoming vacancy for an El Paso County court position. The vacancy will be created by the Feb. 27, 2022 retirement of Judge Doug Miles. Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply for the position by Dec. 20. The Fourth Judicial Nominating Commission will select finalists in January 2022. 


Sherman & Howard was recognized for creating an inclusive culture for women by the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance’s 2021 New Partner Report. The regional firm was one of 67 nationwide law firms that hired 50% or more women in their new partner class, “tipping the scales” toward gender parity in law firm leadership, according to the report. In 2021, 57% of women Sherman & Howard the firm as members, the equivalent of partners. 

Movers and Shakers 

Longtime Lakewood firm Collins, Cockrel & Cole, P.C. announced Nov. 18 that it will split into two firms in the new year. Co-founded by Jim Collins in 1978, the firm concentrates on special districts and municipalities but starting Jan. 1, 2022, it will branch off into Collins Cole Flynn Winn & Ulmer, PLLC with a similar focus.

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