Margaret Kwoka Wins SALT Teaching Award

October 10, 2014

Margaret Kwoka, assistant professor at Denver Law, received the SALT Junior Faculty Teaching Award at the Society of American Law Teachers 2014 Teaching Conference. The award, given for the first time, honored Professor Kwoka as “an outstanding, recent entrant into the legal academy who demonstrates a commitment to justice, equality and academic excellence through teaching.”

SpearIt, Associate Professor at the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, presented the award, offering these words:

“I served as the chair of the selection committee for this award and saw firsthand how our winner impressed the entire committee. For its very first selection for this award, the committee wanted to set a high bar wanted to set a high bar, and in doing so unanimously chose Professor Margaret Kwoka from the University of Denver.

“Professor Kwoka was selected from a pool of 12 strong nominations. To the committee her work embodied SALT’s commitment to teaching excellence, social justice, and diversity.

“She impressed the committee by demonstrating:

• a deep commitment to teaching social justice concepts, focusing on diversity and access to justice;
• strong support for students outside the classroom; and
• scholarship that aims to improve student education and further social justice teaching.

“Testimony to her approach in the classroom is found in these comments from a student:

Professor Kwoka did not show up, teach, and go home. She imbued even the most abstract and dry legal concepts with significance, showing her students that law does not exist in a vacuum, but, on the contrary, has great consequences upon individual lives’ and should be used as a tool to improve those lives.

“From another student came these words:

Civil Procedure certainly is not one of the glamour subjects of law school, but through the use of interactive exercises and small group discussions, Professor Kwoka conveyed the importance and significance of civil procedure in litigation. As a litigator, taking Professor Kwoka’s classes had an undeniable impact on the attorney I turned out to be.

“I could go on describing more about her. But I am here to say that SALT stands proud in awarding Professor Margaret Kwoka the First Annual Junior Faculty Teaching Award. Congratulations!”


SpearIt (Thurgood Marshall School of Law), Olympia Duhart (Shepard Broad Law Center), Margaret Kwoka (Denver Law), and Ruben Garcia (UNLV Law)

Justice Sotomayor: Valuing her personal approach

October 07, 2014

NPR Morning Edition spoke with Joan Biskupic, author of “Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice.” From the report (read or listen here): “Her heritage is central to her identity. True, her odyssey in the legal profession was a cautious one; even after winning appointments to two lower federal courts, Sotomayor avoided controversy and continued to build alliances. But at the same time, she made no attempt to tamp down her unreserved personality or her Latina sense of style.”

We are reminded that four years ago, Justice Sotomayor spoke at Denver Law to an audience of law students joined by high school and middle school students, an early pipeline event at the law school. “It was amazing,“ recounts Catherine Smith. “She was so accessible, so warm. The students loved her. They were in awe.”

Read about Justice Sotomayor at Denver Law in 2010 here. C-Span broadcast Justice Sotomayor’s address that day. See the video-recording here.

Kimberlè Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, reviewed Joan Biskupic’s Sotomayor biography in the New York Times Book Review, October 12, 2014. Professor Crenshaw praised the book for capturing “Sotomayor’s remarkable up-by-the-bootstraps performance that propelled her to the front of the competition,” but found it wanting where it “fails to fully capture the complex contours of Sotomayor’s life story, or the deeper element of racial politics that exists under its surface. Biskupic reveals but does not address how the intersections of race, gender and class continue to drive skepticism about her competence and performance. Nor does she examine how judicial politics have become ground zero in the struggles to demonize integrationist visions of diversity.” Read the review here.

Undefeated!  Congratulations National Trial Team

October 01, 2014


national trial team

Fall 2014. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our National Trial Team competed in the Puerto Rico Trial Advocacy Competition. Our squad, which* won the Hoffman Cup Championship* just 3 days prior, traveled to Puerto Rico and went undefeated, sweeping Georgetown Law School in their last round. Incredibly, this squad won 8 straight rounds in 2 tournaments in 8 days…and never lost a ballot (winning 27 of 27 possible ballots).

Muy Bien!

  • Jonathan Coppom
  • Jordan Labonde
  • Arielle Hanser
  • Grant Grosgebauer


  • David Schott
  • Chris Wilcox

Catherine Smith: Gay marriage bans deny children of same-sex couples critical benefits

September 29, 2014

Catherine Smith, Denver Law’s Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness, and Susannah Pollvogt, Associate Professor at Washburn University of Law, argue in Slate that The U.S. Supreme Court should recognize that gay marriage bans have “a deeply detrimental effect . . . on gay couples’ children,” violating the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

See Dean Smith’s recent scholarship on the topic here.

On the Road at CU-Denver

September 26, 2014

Casey Smartt (3L) and Shaquille Turner (2L) met with undergraduates comprising the CU-Denver Prelaw Society on the CU-Denver Campus at Auraria. Prelaw Society President Sharice Bass introduced Casey and Shaquille. They spoke about their interest in the law, offered advice on applying to law school, and discussed their experiences at Denver Law.

Congratulations National Trial Team

September 25, 2014


tournament of champions

Tournament of Champions Semi-Finalist

Fall 2014. Waco, TX. Our National Trial Team competed in the Tournament of Champions, arguably the most competitive of all national tournaments in the country. Only the Top 16 Advocacy Departments in the country are invited. Our squad advanced all the way to the Semi-Finals…a feat never accomplished in the history of our school. Our students deftly displayed their* case analysis skills, evidentiary knowledge, professionalism and prowess “in the well.”*

Well Done.

  • Casey Brown
  • Adrienne Jones
  • Casey Krizman
  • Madalia Maaliki
  • Coach Sean Olson

The 2014 Henry and Mary Bryan Lecture: A Huge Success!

September 22, 2014


The Henry and Mary Bryan Lecture took place on September 18, 2014. The speaker was Dr. W. Douglas Jackson, President and CEO of Project C.U.R.E. Each week, Project C.U.R.E. delivers approximately three semi-truck loads of donated medical supplies and equipment to desperately needy people around the world. Since 1987, Project C.U.R.E. has delivered equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics in over 130 countries. Project C.U.R.E. is consistently recognized with the highest Four Star ranking from Charity Navigator, and was named by Forbes as one of the top 200 charities in America.


Dr. Jackson was presented a certificate in recognition of the Gift of Life he has given to countless people around the world. Dr. Jackson’s lecture was inspirational as well as informative. He talked about his father’s journey of founding Project C.U.R.E. and how he himself joined Project C.U.R.E. and in 1997 became its President and CEO. Dr. Jackson graduated magna cum laude from Northwest Nazarene University in 1982, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. In 1985, he earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado at Boulder, receiving the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in the study of law. In 1992, he was awarded a Ph.D. in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and econometrics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, authoring a dissertation on leveraged buyouts and secondary public offerings. Dr. Jackson is a member of the Alpha Delta Sigma and the Beta Gamma Sigma national honor societies.

The Nanda Center was honored to welcome Mr. Douglas Scrivner and Mrs. Mary Scrivner, who have sponsored this annual event.


Denver Law’s CED Clinic honored by CLLARO

September 20, 2014

At the 50th Anniversary Celebration for CLLARO — the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization, an organization whose predecessor was LARASA — Denver Law’s Community Economic Development Clinic (CEDC) was presented the CLLARO Alianza Award, “presented to organizations that exemplify the power of alliances by building and nurturing effective partnerships and coalitions in the Latino community.” Pictured below, left to right, are Kontar Tonee Mwamba, Chair of CLLARO’s Board of Directors; Patience Crowder, assistant professor and CEDC Director, who joined Denver Law in 2010 and pioneered the CEDC; third-year Denver Law student Meredith Spears; and Denver Law ’14 grad (and CEDC alum) LaLonnie Villa-Martinez. The award, said Ms. Villa-Martinez, “demonstrates that the Clinic is succeeding it its vision of assisting community-oriented entities. It is an appreciated recognition that our work matters.” Learn more about Denver Law’s CED Clinic here.


New Statehood and the Law: the 2014 Scottish Referendum

September 17, 2014

On September 16, 2014, the International Law Society hosted an interesting lunchtime lecture concerning the secession of Scotland. It was attended by numerous students and faculty members wanting to learn more about the implications of the secession for the UK and the rest of the world.

UNA Denver Events

September 12, 2014

Peace Day Celebration

Saturday, September 20, 2014 from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm at 16th Street Mall – Downtown Denver

The International Day of Peace is a UN-declared day of cease-fire and non-violence to promote world peace. The year 2014 marks the 30thanniversary of the General Assembly Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace. This proclamation was made with the intention of strengthening international peace and security for the full enjoyment of human rights for all. Thirty years later, there is still much work to be done in a world where political turmoil impacts people and their human rights every day in all corners of the world.

The United Nations Association of Denver is taking a stand to honor the Right of Peoples to Peace. Please join us on Saturday, September 20 for a Peace Day observance and celebration, with Jovial Concepts and other community organizations dedicated to peace. The event is free and open to the public and will feature educational activities, speakers, live music, and much more! Don’t miss UNA Denver’s presenter on stage at 4:55pm – Dr. Art Jones, Associate Dean of Inclusive Excellence at Colorado Women’s College and founder of The Spirituals Project.

We need volunteers at our booth! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Meghan Brenner at We will have two hour shifts available throughout the day and would love to see our members!

Model United Nations

Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm at Boulder High School

Boulder High School will host a training session for new members to learn parliamentary procedure and for experienced members wishing to act as presiding officers at local Model UN meets.

The first official meet will be held at Kent Denver on October 11 at 8 am. If anyone in the UNA community is interested in serving as a judge at one or more of our meets this year, please email Celia Bard at

UNA Women Presents “Arise” Film Screening

Friday, Octover 24, 2014 (UN DAY) from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Ballroom A, Tivoli Student Union – University of Colorado, Denver 900 Auraria Parkway

“Arise” – A film that captures the portraits and stories of extraordinary women around the world who are coming together to heal the injustices against the earth, weaves together poetry, music, art and stunning scenery to create a hopeful and collective story that inspires us to work for the earth. Panel presentation to follow screening with special guests from the film and UN Youth Ambassador, Jackson Dougan!

UNA Salon Series

UNA Denver presents a panel series on timely topics and world events with UN / World Issue experts to stimulate learning and participatory discussions.

Location: Tears-McFarlane House 1290 Williams St., Denver 80218.
Tickets: UNA members free / $5 for nonmembers.

Wednesday, October 8, 6:00-8:00pm

Occupation, Apartheid & the Right of Return in Israel & Palestine with guest panelist, Alan Gilbert, John Evans Professor at DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

Wednesday, November 5, 6:00-8:00pm

Guest panelist, Mark Goldberg, editor of the United Nations and global affairs blog, UN Dispatch.

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