Ann Frick ('78)

Alumni of the Month Aug '12

Ann Frick has never been one to sit still. Frick grew up in Dallas during an era when, as she puts it, the only girls' sports were "shopping in malls or playing with pom-poms." She fell in love with Colorado during a family trip to the state, and moved to Colorado in 1969 to attend Colorado College, where she earned her undergraduate degree. In between college and law school, Frick's love of the outdoors took her to Steamboat Springs, where she spent two years waiting tables and skiing as often as possible. Frick knew she wanted to become a lawyer, and in 1978 she earned her law degree from the University of Colorado Law School. Following law school, Frick went to work at the firm of Holme Roberts & Owen, where she immediately had the opportunity to work in litigation, and realized her calling as a trial attorney.

On the advice of a mentor, Frick joined the Denver district attorney's office, to get "hands on" courtroom experience. Here, she tried felony cases, developed confidence as a trial attorney, and became known for her courtroom skills. From the district attorney's office, Frick joined the firm Kelly Haglund Garnsey & Kahn, where she became a partner and handled many high-stakes matters, including a case where she and her co-counsel won the highest jury verdict in the state at the time. Frick's ability to connect with juries and clients, as well as her tenacity as an advocate, earned her a reputation as one of the best litigators in the area.

Then in 1995, Frick joined a former mentor and became a founding partner at the firm of Jacobs Chase Frick Kleinkopf & Kelly. In addition to her trial work, she frequently served as a mediator and arbitrator and put her advocacy skills to use for both sides in negotiation matters. She continued in this capacity until 2010, when Governor Bill Ritter appointed Frick to the Denver District Court, where she serves presently. Frick sees mentoring as one of a judge's biggest responsibilities, and routinely give back to the community, in part, by mentoring soon-to-be lawyers.

Her involvement in the community is not limited to mentoring future lawyers: Frick was instrumental in drafting and instituting the CAPP Rules (Pilot Project). She is a former state chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the Colorado College Board of Directors, and the Law Alumni Board at Colorado Law. Frick maintains a close relationship with the law school as well, and is more involved now than ever. Last summer, Frick sat on a panel during orientation for the incoming class of 2014 at Colorado Law, and shared her advice with new 1Ls on how to maintain perspective and balance during law school. In addition, she currently serves on the Dean's Advisory Council , a group comprised of alums and members of the business community who provide the dean with strategic advice and counsel.

Five Questions for Judge Ann Frick

What is your fondest memory of being a student at Colorado Law?

I would not say that these are my fondest memories of law school, but they are my most vivid: At orientation, the first hour, the first day of law school, I happened to be sitting next to Jan Steiert and we instantly became close friends. We were both terrified by Larry Treece, then a Colorado Law professor, who stalked the stage like a lion, exhorting us to study 12-15 hours a day outside of class! Fast-forward three months, and Professor Treece was mercilessly grilling me on UCC 2-207—it was so brutal that both Larry Treece (who later became a colleague and friend) and I remember it to this day.

What do you know now that you wish you had known in law school?

That if you want to be a litigator, you should first clerk for a federal district court judge and then you should try and be a public defender.

What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate?

Develop your social skills as well as your analytical and writing skills, because your ability to understand and relate well to people is a necessary tool for landing a job, being successful with colleagues and clients, attracting clients, and persuading judges and juries. 

Who was the biggest influence on your career?

My two mentors, Ed Kahn and Jeff Chase.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

Never losing sight of what is truly important: my relationship with my husband and two daughters. We are a very close-knit family.