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Civil Litigation Clinic 2021 Highlights

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Sturm College of Law

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Civil Litigation Clinic 2021 Highlights

Not fancy, but fierce. Think eviction defense, protection orders, and wage and hour litigation. Think county court. In fourteen weeks (a semester), nine fierce students represented twenty-five fierce clients. Immigrant day laborers who thought a day’s work would amount to a day’s pay. Tenants who, despite working through the pandemic, could not afford their rent. People stuck at home, experiencing intimate partner violence. Children who witnessed the same.

Meet one client, Karen Julye Porter, who was awarded $1,622.00 in a county court tort case, represented by students in the Sturm College of Law Civil Litigation Clinic (CLC).

Karen’s case was one that most attorneys would never consider, given its monetary value. Yet winning this judgment was transformative for her. Since the conclusion of the CLC’s representation, Karen has advocated for Denver lawyers to volunteer the most valuable thing they have—time—to do some of the most under-valued types of litigation. One type, which most of us haven’t thought about since the day it was covered in property class, is replevin.

CLC client Karen Julye Porter
Civil Litigation Clinic client Karen Julye Porter at a presentation to the Colorado Faculty of Federal Advocates.

Karen makes real the lifechanging value of replevin to people experiencing domestic violence. Since most shelters don’t allow pets, she explains, leaving an abusive home is not possible for many. Imagine for only a minute the notion of leaving your pet in the hands of an abusive partner. It’s not happening. Replevin, an expedited remedy in county court to get or recover pets and property, opens up options. It provides some room to breathe. Above, Karen is pictured at a presentation to the Colorado Faculty of Federal Advocates on September 29, 2021, to share her story, and to call for the gritty pro bono work needed for cases like hers—cases that are the bread and butter of the Civil Litigation Clinic. 

So too have cases and clients like Karen provided sustenance for Professor Tammy Kuennen, named 2021 Pro Bono All Star by the Denver Bar Association. The award recognized the many hours Kuennen clocked and the passion she brought to projects outside of the work of students in the CLC which she describes as “food for her soul.” 

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CLC Faculty Highlights

Professor Tammy Kuennen

Publications

  • Intimate Partner Violence Through the Eyes of the “Dependent” Military Spouse, 100 Oregon L. Rev. __ (with Alexander Franklin) (forthcoming 2021).
  • What Happened to “Part Two” of the Power & Control Wheel? 26 Domestic Violence Report __ (with Jennifer Eyl) (forthcoming 2021).
  • Direct Action versus Legal Action, in Unjust Wages: Day Laborers and Advocates Fighting Wage Theft from a Mile High (Rebecca Galemba, Ed.) (Stanford University Press) (forthcoming 2022).


Presentations

  • What is Domestic Violence Really? Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Training for Pro Bono Guardians Ad Litem, with Amy Pohl (Project Safeguard), Denver, Colo. (October 28, 2021).
  • Panelist, Expanding Renters’ Rights in Colorado Under SB-173, with Rep. Gonzales-Gutierrez and Colorado’s Covid19 Eviction Defense Project, Denver, Colo. (October 25, 2021).
  • Economic Justice and Intimate Partner Violence: Providing Representation in Replevin to Advance Safety, Faculty of Federal Advocates CLE, with Karen Julye Porter, Jennifer Eyl and Pamela Maass, Denver, Colo. (September 29, 2021).
  • Colorado Access to Justice Commission, Listen & Learn Tour, facilitated by Justice Melissa Hart (September 22, 2021).
  • Colorado Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure, Guest-taught Civil Litigation Practice Seminar, University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, Colo. (September 1, 2021).
  • Panelist, Inclusiveness and Professionalism Case Study, Sturm College of Law First Year Orientation, with DU Clinical Fellow Sara Hildebrand, Judge Neeti Pawar, and Deputy Attorney General Maritza Dominguez Braswell, Denver, Colo. (August 8, 2021).

Appointments & Awards

  • 2021 Pro Bono All Star, Denver Bar Association
  • Member, Promotion & Tenure Committee, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022
  • Co-Chair, Appointments Committee, 2020-2021
  • Member, Appointments Committee, 2021-2022