Meet the Incoming Vice Presidents and Board of Trustee Members

By Jessica Volz

Find out who is representing you on the Denver Bar Association Board.

1ST VICE PRESIDENT: ERICH BETHKE

BOT-Bethke

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.
I have had a rewarding 30-year career as a lawyer involved in diverse and challenging legal issues. I began as in-house counsel with IBM Corp. I then practiced with a large international law firm and went on to become a shareholder/director with small to medium-sized local firms. (I am currently a director with Senn Visciano Canges P.C.) My practice involves a broad spectrum of trial work that spans everything from commercial/business disputes to complex family law issues. I am blessed with a wonderful family. (My wife Shawn teaches literature at the University of Denver; my son Connor is in college and will be taking a break for a gap-year adventure; my daughter Sarah is loving her stage-craft/design emphasis at the Denver School of the Arts.) I love the Denver and Colorado environs and particularly enjoy outdoor and community-oriented activities.

What has been your most memorable legal moment to-date?
While I have enjoyed courtroom successes, I especially value my participation in collaborations between the Denver Bar Association and the Denver schools. It has been my privilege to work with wonderful attorneys, volunteers, bar association staff, teachers and students for mock trial competitions, reading/literacy tutoring, mentoring programs, court and legislative tours and classes, and a host of other great learning opportunities.

If you weren’t practicing law, what career would you have chosen?
If I wasn’t practicing law, I would want to be involved in a community-minded organization that works to educate and mentor young students to help them reach their highest potential as responsible and compassionate citizens.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve received was a long time ago from my grandfather: “Do the right thing, do it well, like what you do.”

2ND VICE PRESIDENT: JACLYN CASEY BROWN

BOT-Brown

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.
After practicing at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP since 2005, I am now embarking on a major career change as a District Court Judge for the 17th Judicial District. I am incredibly honored to have been appointed and am excited about this new opportunity to serve. I am also the proud mom of a one-year-old boy and 10-year-old twin stepsons. My husband, Loren Brown, just finished his term as president of the Colorado Bar Association. Things have been crazy in our household over the past year!

How did you first get involved in the Denver Bar Association, and how has it enhanced your career?
I volunteered for the Barristers Benefit Ball. From there, I co-chaired the Ball for two years, served on the Board of Trustees for three years and am ready to begin my term as Second Vice President. Through my involvement in the DBA, I have had countless opportunities to network, promote professionalism in the legal community and serve in a number of leadership roles. I am a better lawyer, a better citizen and a better human being as a result of my time with the DBA.

What advice would you give a new lawyer?
Always act professionally and with integrity. We practice in a small legal community. It does not matter if an attorney is opposing counsel or co-counsel — or someone you meet at an event. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you do?
I would probably be an actor. I was a theatre major for a while in college and have always had a passion for the performing arts.

NEW ADDITION TO THE DBA BOARD OF TRUSTEES: EMMA GARRISON

BOT-Garrison

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.
I am originally from Austin, Texas, and landed in Colorado eight years ago after spending a few years in California and Washington, DC. I studied Classics (Latin and Greek) at the University of Texas and received my J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. I began my career practicing environmental law and came to Denver when I accepted a two-year attorney fellowship position at the regional office of the EPA. I have since transitioned into commercial litigation and am now Staff Counsel at Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP, where I primarily write briefs and conduct legal research. I love research and writing, so this position is a great fit for me! I live in Golden with my non-lawyer husband and our dog. For fun, I enjoy running and training for triathlons.

How did you first get involved in the Bar, and how has it enriched your career?
I was first introduced to the Bar by a colleague when I was working at the EPA in 2009. My fellowship position was coming to an end, and I needed to find a new job. Sending out resume after resume did not seem to be working, and I slowly came to the realization that I was going to have to start networking. My colleague invited me to a few CBA Environmental Section CLE lunches, and I started attending other events as well. It ended up taking me until late 2010 to find permanent work. My stint of un- and underemployment was a very difficult time for me. The bar association turned out to be a wonderful lifeline. Attending bar association events gave me an opportunity to meet interesting people who helped me navigate my job search. And bar association events gave me a reason to get out of my apartment, out of my pajamas and (most importantly) out of my own head. In 2010, I joined the Executive Council of the CBA Young Lawyers Division because I wanted to help create a community for other young lawyers who were struggling like me. I served on the CBA YLD Executive Council for five years and was chair in 2013–14. I’ve since gotten involved with the DBA 15×15 Task Force, the Barristers Benefit Ball planning committee, The Docketand the Colorado Women’s Bar Association. I owe many wonderful friendships to my involvement in the DBA, and it is difficult to imagine my career without it.

What advice would you give a new lawyer?
Recognize that you will make mistakes in your career; that does not mean you are a bad lawyer. How you handle mistakes is what’s important. Admit your mistake, and do your best to learn and grow from it. When you feel that gnawing in your stomach and think that maybe if you don’t say anything it will just go away, that means it’s time to tell someone. And whenever you are reporting a mistake to a supervisor, come armed with a few possible solutions to fix it.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you do?
I always thought being a private investigator would be fun. Maybe I’ve just seen Veronica Mars too many times!

NEW ADDITION TO THE DBA BOARD OF TRUSTEES: MATTHEW LARSON

BOT-Larson

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.
My wife, Ilana, and I live in east Denver and have a daughter, Sophia, and a son, Andrew. We have about as much fun as a lawyer and an accountant can have. Given our professions, the kids are more fun than we are. Professionally, I am a partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, where I practice public utility and environmental law.

How did you first get involved in the Bar, and how has it advanced your career?
I got involved as a member of the DBA Young Lawyers Division. It has helped my career, as I have gotten to know a broad swath of the legal community and have had the opportunity to take on leadership positions and develop leadership skills, all of which have helped me in my day job.

What advice would you offer a new lawyer?
With all due respect to Malcolm Gladwell, I think he failed to note that practicing law is an exception to the 10,000 Hour Rule. A strong work ethic is imperative, and try to find a practice area where you like the underlying substance. This latter piece of advice came from a senior attorney shortly after I finished law school; it is one of the best pieces of advice I have received and employed in developing my practice.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you do?
I might like being a doctor. However, as I like to point out to doctors, I technically am a doctor.

NEW ADDITION TO THE DBA BOARD OF TRUSTEES: MAUREEN WATSON

Awards_Watson

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, personally and professionally.
I am currently General Counsel for CQG, Inc., a Colorado-based software company providing global solutions for the financial trading industry. Prior to working at CQG, I was an associate with Fennemore Craig, P.C., where I maintained a broad litigation practice. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Jon, and our giant dog, Atticus. If I’m not working or nerding out and learning about hot legal topics, you can usually find me enjoying the Colorado wilderness (skiing, hiking, running, etc.), dining out around town, or drinking wine with friends.

How did you first get involved in the Bar, and how has it advanced your career?
I got involved through the urging of my mentor, Troy Rackham. I found I was quickly welcomed into the Bar, and I discovered an engaging group of lawyers genuinely interested in making personal connections and helping me build my skills as a lawyer. I have found a wealth of friends and colleagues whom I can turn to for advice on everything from specific legal questions to learning to walk the work-life balance tightrope. The Bar has been an easy and natural professional community for me that goes far beyond a simple organizational membership. I hope we can continue to foster that approach and help bring more people real value from their membership.

What advice would you give a new lawyer?
Keep an open mind and be willing to try anything; you never know where it will take you.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you do?
Ideally? Travel and eat delicious food all the time!


Previously posted on The Docket.

Posted in Community, Member Profiles