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Real Estate Deeds, Titles and Finance

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Frederick B. Skillern

Adjunct Professor

J.D., University of Colorado, 1976
B.A., Dartmouth College, 1973

Fred Skillern returned to the practice of law in 2003 after serving as a District Judge in Colorado’s Eighteenth Judicial District, sitting in Arapahoe County. As a judge, he presided over more than sixty jury trials. He joined Montgomery Little as a shareholder and director.

Before taking office as a judge in 2000, Mr. Skillern was in private practice in Denver, specializing in real estate law and related litigation. He started his career as a criminal prosecutor, trying a wide range of felonies to a jury. He then practiced law with several leading Denver firms for twenty years, developing an interest in real estate law, until he was appointed to the bench in 2000.

Mr. Skillern has handled and tried cases relating to all aspects of real estate and mortgage lending, and has developed a special interest in complex title and lien priority disputes. He represents property owners, title agents and title insurance companies in insurance coverage questions and title insurance claims, and represents property owners in all types of business litigation. His experience as a trial attorney, transactional attorney and judge adds special depth to the services he performs for clients. He has received the highest “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell since 1988, and has been selected each year since 2006 by Colorado Super Lawyers based on annual surveys of Colorado lawyers for pollster Law and Politics and Denver’s 5280 Magazine.

Mr. Skillern is a regular speaker at continuing legal education seminars. He is the author and continuing editor of several chapters on law of real property, civil trial practice, and the Colorado court system in Krendl’s Colorado Methods of Practice (West, 2012), the leading treatise on Colorado law. He has published an annual case law update for the state’s real estate lawyers at the Colorado Bar Association’s Real Estate Symposium and other CBA programs since 1999. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, teaching an upper level course in real estate transactions and finance since 2006.

Interested in reform of the Colorado statutes and rules relating to real estate, Mr. Skillern has served on the Colorado Supreme Court’s standing Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure since 1987, and was lead author for many rule changes dealing with the foreclosure process, attorney fee awards, the appointment of receivers, and other aspects of real estate litigation. He is currently an ex-officio member of the governing Council of the Real Estate Section of the Colorado Bar Association, serving as liaison to the courts and the Supreme Court’s Civil Rules Committee. He was elected in 2003 to serve a three-year rotation as an officer of the Real Estate Section, serving as Chairman in 2005-2006. In the course of his legislative work with Real Estate Section, he co-authored legislation concerning the release of spurious liens from real property, and has worked closely with the bar association and various trade groups on statutory revisions dealing with foreclosures, common interest communities, adverse possession, and Colorado’s version of the Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities. Mr. Skillern served as a member of the CBA Title Standards Committee from 1997 to 2007.

Representative published cases:

• Joondeph v. Hicks, 235 P.3d 303 (Colo. 2010)
• R.C.R., Inc. v. Deline, 190 P.3d 140 (Wyo. 2008)
• Hewitt v. Rice, 92 P.3d 961 (Colo. 2007) (amicus brief)
• Argus Real Estate v. E-470 Public Highway Authority, 109 P.3d 604 (Colo. 2005)
• Board of County Commissioners v. Timroth, 87 P.3d 102 (Colo. 2004)
• Taylor v. Canterbury, 92 P.3d 961 (Colo. 2004) (amicus brief)
• Collie v. Becknell, 762 P.2d 727 (Colo. App. 1988)

In addition to his work for clients, Mr. Skillern regularly serves as an expert witness in cases involving real estate titles, title insurance, legal malpractice, attorney fees, and conflicts of interest.

Mr. Skillern regularly serves as a neutral third-party mediator and arbitrator in real estate cases. In 2009, he completed the 40-hour training program for mediators at Harvard Law School’s Negotiation Institute.