Lost Username or Password? Click here.

July 29-31, 2021 Conference

Jan Spies and Rob Jones, Convention Co-Chairs

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Hotel Reservations


Upcoming Events

Back to Basics: Scope of Employment Law from Here to Ferrer

October 22, 2020, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Presented by:

Christina M. Huszcza, Stuart S. Jorgensen & Associates

Lee Mickus, Evans Fears & Schuttert LLP

Thursday, October 22, 12:05-1:05 p.m.

1 hour CLE applied for / CDLA Members Only Please

Claims against employers are common in all types of litigation. Here, we will focus on claims against employers for the negligence of employees. This CLE will begin with the basics by answering the following questions: (1) when is the employer liable for the negligence of an employee; (2) when can a Plaintiff bring a claim against an employer for the negligence of an employee; (3) who are the required parties; (4) how must such a claim be pled; and (5) how does such a claim impact the scope of discovery.

Then we will turn to special considerations raised by the Colorado Supreme Court in Ferrer v. Okbamicael, 390 P.3d 836, 840 (Colo. 2017), including potential defenses and motions to consider. We will also discuss recent legislative activity attempting to overturn the Ferrer decision.
To Learn More and to Register, Click Here


DORA Regulatory Boards 101

October 23, 2020, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

DORA Regulatory Boards 101

Presented by:

Ariana Busby and Ali Burke, Hall & Evans

CDLA Members Only Please / 1 hour CLE applied for

The program discusses

New lawyers, or those new to working with DORA, will learn the ins and outs of the DORA regulatory complaint process, settlement of claims, and next steps after a Board has instituted discipline.

As former Director of the Mental Health Boards, Ariana Busby will provide insider insight on how to successfully work with the regulatory boards to achieve the best outcome for your client. Ali Burke served as Deputy District Attorney for eleven years before transitioning to taking on regulatory board cases. She will reflect on how regulatory board matters differ from traditional litigation matters and can help further new and existing litigation attorneys’ practices.
To Learn More and to Register, Click Here


Communicating Professionally in the Heat of the Moment

October 29, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Presented by:
Anthony Viorst, The Viorst Law Offices
Michelle Harden, Messner Reeves

1 hour CLE applied for, Free to all CDLA Members

In honor of Legal Professionalism Month, the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association (CDLA) and the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA) are hosting a special CLE ethics discussion and trivia event.
Join us on Thursday, October 29 on ZOOM starting at 4 p.m. The Associations will honor this year’s Professionalism Award recipients - Anthony Viorst ,The Viorst Law Offices and Michelle Harden, Messner Reeves.

Anthony and Michelle will also co-present on “Communicating Professionally in the Heat of the Moment.”
Then, enjoy a fun, pub style trivia networking event!

Attendees will be randomly put on teams consisting of both CTLA and CDLA members. The format consists of five rounds of questions. Each team is toggled between the main quiz room with all attendees and his or her own personalized team breakout room to collaborate on the submission of quiz answers. Be sure to bring your favorite beverage or snack.

To Learn More and to Register, Click Here


PHC and DOWC litigation during COVID 19 How to properly prepare and present your case to the PHC Unit during pre-Hearings and Settlement Conferences during the Pandemic

November 5, 2020, 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Presented by:
PAJL John Sandberg

Perspective on litigation during COVID 19 from the Prehearing and Settlement Conference Unit. What has worked, what has not worked, what has changed, what has gotten worse, and what has gotten better?

Differences under the current mandates and emergency rules compared to prior settings. What changes may become permanent.

New issues/topics that did not arise prior to the pandemic. Also, what new issues have been the most frequent?

Most common mistakes in presenting your case to the PHC Unit and what to do to improve.
To Learn More and to Register, Click Here


TRO or Preliminary Injunction in Employment Cases: Strategize, Prepare and Execute in Court

November 10, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Presented by:

Michele Choe, Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell, and

Steven Gutierrez, Holland & Hart

CDLA Members Only Please / 1 hour CLE applied for

Injunctive relief is an important remedy used in many kinds of cases, including employment, trade secret, and non-compete cases. Courts issue injunctive relief in order to require or prevent a party from taking certain actions that may cause injury for which monetary damages would not adequately compensate a plaintiff. Injunctive relief can be issued by a court before the merits case is decided. Preparing for a hearing to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO) or preliminary injunction (PI) can be challenging because of the generally short timeframe from the time the motion is filed to the hearing.

Join us for an interactive discussion on how to prepare for some of the difficulties early on, including decisions on whether to seek a TRO or PI, tailoring the complaint to the elements you will need to establish to obtain preliminary injunctive relief, and whether to address expedited discovery to gain critically important evidence to support your claims.
To Learn More and to Register, Click Here


Boot Camp for New Lawyers

November 13, 2020, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

The program will be offered FREE
for those who have been members of CDLA for 3 years or less.

Limited to 30 participants

8 hours general + 1 hour Ethics CLE's applied for

Managing partners: Be sure to sign up your new recruits
(p.s. Did we mention it's free?)

This is an intensive all-day class intended to impart excellence in practice skills to new defense lawyers - our target audience is attorneys who have been members of CDLA for 3 years or less. Topics range from time management and work life balance, proactive case management. taking and defending your depositions, time recording and billing, professionalism and collegiality, and more. There will also be a presentation from Judge James Miller, Ret.

The program will run from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm with 30 minutes for a lunch break and two fifteen minute coffee breaks. Total class time will be 450 minutes. All of the subject matter is directed toward developing excellence is practice skills for new litigation attorneys.

Ellis Mayer (Nathan Dumm & Mayer) - Lead Instructor
Tom Rice (SGR, LLC)
April Connally (Hall & Evans)
Laura Martinez (Messner Reeves)
Billy George Hertzke (SGR, LLC)
The Honorable Judge James Miller, Ret. (Douglas County District Court)
Don’t miss this opportunity to get a leg up on the competition and jump start you career by learning state-of-the-art practice skills from our first rate panel of teachers.

Class Schedule:

8:30 a.m. - Introduction and the Tri-Partite Relationship, Ellis Mayer

8:45 a.m. - Proactive Case Management, April Connally

9:30 a.m. - Time Managment and Work Life Balance, Laura Martinez

10:30 a.m. - Break

10:45 a.m. - Taking and Defending Your First Deposition, Tom Rice

12:00 p.m. - Making a Good Deposition Record, Tom Rice

12:30 p.m. - Lunch

1:00 p.m. - Time Recording and Billing, Billy George Hertzke

2:00 p.m. - Presentation by Judge James Miller (Ret.) on ethical conduct in Court

3:00 p.m. - Break

3:15 p.m. - Professionalism and Collegiality, (ethics) Ellis Mayer

4:15 p.m. - Closing Remarks, Ellis Mayer
To Learn More and to Register, Click Here


Sick Leave for All: The Broad New Colorado “Healthy Families and Workplaces Act” requiring Paid Sick Leave—and Much More—for All Employees

November 17, 2020, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Jessica Allen, Senior Assistant City Attorney, Employment and Labor Law Section Denver City Attorney’s Office

1 hour CLE applied for / CDLA Members Only Please

The Colorado Legislature recently passed very broad legislation that will require all employers to provide sick leave to its employees. It also requires employers to allow employees to take “sick leave” for specified non-medical purposes, pay significant additional sick leave during public health emergencies, and sets forth significant liability and penalty provisions for employers who retaliate against employees. The CLE will cover the following topics:

How much paid leave must be granted to employees and how that leave may be used (hint: not just for medical issues and may be used for family members’ care);
Logistical requirements for employers paying sick leave;
The interplay between required leave and employers’ sick leave policies (such as how employers may not deny employees from using paid sick leave time even if employees fail to follow proper notice procedures);
How the law affects employees covered by collective bargaining agreements;
Types of leave employers must make available during public health emergencies (including time to be with children whose schools are closed);
Additional amounts of paid sick leave that employers must make available during public health emergencies; and
Stringent liability and penalty provisions for employers found to have retaliated against an employee seeking or using sick leave.
If you represent an employer or you are an employer in a law firm, government agency or any other entity, you won’t want to miss this discussion of the important new requirements for employers.
To Learn More and to Register, Click Here


More events + details


CDLA Membership Application and Renewal

Our members are among the most elite defense attorneys in Colorado. CDLA is a statewide organization that is nearly 750 members strong who benefit from access to resources and tools for legal professionals who strive to provide superior and balanced service to their clients.

CDLA Membership Application and Renewal

Want to contact our legislative committee? Please direct those questions to:

Bo Donegan
Executive Director
Colorado Defense Lawyers Association


Covid-19 Resources

We rely heavily on in-person CLEs for our educational seminars, but the COVID-19 virus has changed our method of delivery. Therefore, the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association will conduct webinars and promote them until further notice. The July 2020 Conference has been cancelled but we are excited that in July 2021 two Past Presidents, Jan Spies and Rob Jones will be co-hosting their conference in Tamaya, New Mexico, right outside Santa Fe.

Here are some helpful links:

Click here for COVID-19 Resources.

Click here for COVID-19 Small Business Response Resources.

Click here for official State of Colorado COVID-19 website.

Click here for help and resources from the Colorado Lawyer Assistance program (COLAP).

Download tips for teleworking and staying calm during difficult and changing times.


COVID-19 Stay at Home Blues, by Scott Nixon




CDLA Officers

Natalie Lien, President

Michele Choe, Vice President
Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell

Meredith McDonald, Treasurer
Hall & Evans

Hillary D. Patterson, Secretary
Patterson & Ripplinger

** Note 2021 Conference Chairs:

Jan Spies
Spies Powers & Robinson

Rob Jones
Paul Edwards and Associates

Full list of board members


CDLA's Diversity Statement

The Colorado Defense Lawyers Association has the goal of promoting diversity within the legal community and assisting charitable organizations with a relation to the civil defense community. Charity, outreach and diversity must be viewed as a perpetual practice rather than reaching certain numerical markers. Charity, outreach and diversity efforts require sustained commitment, leadership, innovation and financial support. Through the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association Foundation ("Foundation"), we are committed to leveraging our collective efforts through partnerships and alliances in order to foster leadership, awareness and communications enabling an environment of good will and inclusiveness within our Association membership. We also are committed to using the Foundation to advance charitable interests or organizations with a relation to the civil defense community, as determined by the Foundation.

Bo Donegan
Executive Director
Colorado Defense Lawyers Association
643 Dexter Street
Denver, CO 80220

Follow Us: