Date: Thursday, March 12, 2020
Now in its 39th year, the annual Colorado Law Alumni Awards Banquet is the University of Colorado Law School's signature alumni event, where we celebrate our community and honor our distinguished alumni. Save the date for the 2020 banquet, which will be held on Thursday, March 12.
With more than 550 guests in attendance, the 2019 Alumni Awards Banquet was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who attended and sponsored the event.
2019 Alumni Award Recipients
William Lee Knous Award
Colorado Law’s highest alumni honor was jointly awarded to William "Bill" Gray and John Purvis in recognition of their long history of service to the University of Colorado and longtime outstanding reputation in the Colorado legal community. After meeting in law school, Gray and Purvis teamed up in 1970 to form the first Colorado State Public Defender’s Office in Boulder and went on to co-found the tort litigation firm now known as Purvis Gray Thomson, LLP in 1985.
William R. Gray (A&S '63, Law '66)
Bill Gray recently retired from Purvis Gray Thomson, LLP, where he devoted his practice to civil litigation and focused on representing seriously harmed plaintiffs. As of his retirement, he was one of only three practicing Colorado lawyers to be a fellow of all four of the preeminent, peer-selected trial lawyer organizations—the American College of Trial Lawyers; the International Society of Barristers (of which he served as national president in 2008-2009); the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; and the American Board of Trial Advocates. Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for more than 15 years, Gray was named the 2011 Personal Injury Litigator of the Year in Denver. He served the Colorado attorney regulation system as a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Grievance committee for six years, two years as chair, and served both as a mediator and hearing board member for more than 30 years in cases alleging lawyer misconduct. Gray is also a recipient of the Colorado Bar Association Professionalism Award. He has been lead counsel on many of the most highly publicized criminal and civil cases in Colorado. In 1985, he was presented with the rarely given American College of Trial Lawyers’ Award for Courageous Advocacy for his defense of the accused in a high-publicity murder case.
John A. Purvis ('67)
John Purvis is an attorney at Purvis Gray Thomson, LLP, where his career has focused on civil litigation and trials. He has long had a special interest in brain injury victims and cases and has frequently written and lectured on the subject. He has been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America since 1989, and is currently included in the areas of personal injury, product liability, professional liability, legal malpractice, and mass torts. The Best Lawyers in America named him Denver’s Lawyer of the Year for mass torts (2011), personal injury (2013), and product liability (2014). He is one of three lawyers in Colorado elected to the International Society of Barristers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has been Colorado State Chair of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and has chaired the Committee on Conduct of the United States District Court for Colorado, the Litigation Council of the Colorado Bar Association, and the Colorado Public Defender Commission. Prior to attending Colorado Law, Purvis graduated from Denver’s North High School and Harvard University.
Alumni Awards for Distinguished Achievement
Distinguished Achievement—Judiciary: The Honorable Kristen L. Mix ('85)
Kristen Mix is a federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. Her extensive involvement with Colorado Law includes service as an adjunct professor; creation of the Public Interest Diversity Internship/Externship Program, which helps diverse second- and third-year law students secure internships with public employers and nonprofits in the Denver area; and her endowment of the Kristen L. Mix Scholarship at Colorado Law. Mix was appointed to the federal bench in 2007. In addition to serving as a full-time Magistrate Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, she has served on the Judicial Conference of the United States’ Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judge System, the Executive Committee of the Federal Magistrate Judges’ Association, the District of Colorado’s Local Rules Committee, and as a member and Chair of the Colorado Judicial Coordinating Council. Mix will join the Sedona Conference’s Judicial Advisory Board in December 2018, and will serve as president of the Federal Magistrate Judge’s Association in 2021-2022. She is the judicial co-founder of the Colorado Intellectual Property American Inn of Court and is on the Executive Committee of the Sonia Sotomayor American Inn of Court. Mix’s efforts to better serve pro se litigants led to the opening of a federal pro se clinic in the District of Colorado’s Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse in June 2018. She is the proud mother of a Colorado Law graduate (Class of 2015) and a frequent writer and speaker on the law.
Distinguished Achievement—Private Practice: Todd A. Fredrickson (PolSci '87, Law '91)
Todd Fredrickson is a partner in the Denver office of Fisher & Phillips LLP, where he also serves as chair of the firm's Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee. He is a former chairman and member of the Colorado Law Alumni Board and is widely respected and recognized for his work in diversity, inclusiveness, and advocacy. Fredrickson is a "double Buff" and serves as a trustee for the CU Foundation. He maintains a strong connection to both the University of Colorado and the law school. His practice involves representing employers in various matters arising under such laws as Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, National Labor Relations Act, and Fair Labor Standard Act. He also is one of a small number of Denver labor attorneys who practice traditional labor law, representing employers in union campaigns, contract negotiations, grievance arbitrations, and unfair labor practice charges. Todd is "AV" Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been included in the Colorado Super Lawyers list since 2006. He has also been listed in Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers since 2009, and The Best Lawyers in America since 2012. He was recognized as an Employment Law – Management Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America in 2014, 2017, and 2019. Fredrickson was also selected as a BTI Consulting Group Client Service All-Star for 2011 and was named the "People's Choice" selection as the Best Employment Lawyer in Barrister's Best by Law Week Colorado six years in a row beginning in 2011. 5280 magazine has included him on its “Top Lawyers” list since 2008.
Distinguished Achievement—Public Sector: Jim Coyle ('85)
Jim Coyle recently retired after 28 years with the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court, including five years as the head. Under his leadership, Colorado remained the gold standard for attorney regulation systems with new, innovative, and effective programs that promote the public interest. He assisted the Supreme Court with regulating the practice of law in Colorado, including attorney admissions, registration, discipline, disability, diversion, mandatory continuing legal and judicial education, unauthorized practice, and inventory counsel functions. His office also acts as counsel for the Attorneys Fund for Client Protection and the Commission on Judicial Discipline. Coyle is an active member of the American and Colorado Bar Associations, National Conference of Bar Examiners, National Organization of Bar Counsel, ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, National Client Protection Organization, National Continuing Legal Education Regulators Association, Association of Judicial Discipline Counsel, and ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. His recent professional recognitions include the 2017 President’s Award from the National Association of Bar Counsel; the 2018 Isaac Hecht Award for Excellence in the Field of Law Client Protection from the American Bar Association's National Client Protection Organization; the 2018 Meritorious Service Award from the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs; and the 2018 Lawyer of the Year Award from the Colorado LGBT Bar Association. Coyle is dedicated to serving both lawyers and the public through his work with the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and as co-founder and co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, where he has focused on lawyer well-being, access to justice issues, and diversity and inclusiveness.
Dean's Choice Awards
Dean S. James Anaya will also present two Dean's Choice Awards, recognizing exceptional contributions to Colorado Law:
Dean Edward C. King Making A Difference Award: Meshach Y. Rhoades ('04)
Meshach Rhoades is an equity partner in Armstrong Teasdale LLP’s litigation practice group in Denver and serves as co-chair of the firm’s Inclusion Committee, where she works alongside firm leaders to drive inclusion programming and initiatives, and co-chair of the firm’s Food, Beverage and Agriculture practice group. Rhoades demonstrates an ongoing commitment to diversity through her own involvement with local and national organizations including the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, Colorado Legal Services, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, American Heart Association, American Civil Liberties Union, and Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. Rhoades is also co-founder of the Latinas First Foundation, which honors unsung heroines and trailblazers in the Colorado Latina community, builds community for Hispanic women, awards scholarships to collegiate and postgraduate students, and trains women on career progression. She is a past member of the Colorado Law Alumni Board, where she participated in the Alumni Mentoring Program.
Richard Schaden Adopted Alumnus Award: Korey Wise
Korey Wise is a philanthropist, activist, youth mentor, and namesake of the Korey Wise Innocence Project at the University of Colorado Law School. In 1989-90, he and four other black and Latino teenagers were arrested, tried, and convicted of charges stemming from the brutal attack and rape of a female jogger in New York City’s Central Park. The oldest defendant at 16, Wise was tried as an adult and sentenced to five to 15 years. In 2002, the true rapist confessed to the crime, which DNA testing confirmed, and the “Central Park Five,” as they became known, were exonerated. Wise ultimately spent 13 years and four months incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. In 2015, after receiving a civil settlement, he made a generous contribution to the Innocence Project at Colorado Law, which was renamed in his honor. He remains an active partner of the law school and other philanthropic organizations. Through his activism, Wise seeks to ensure that future generations don’t have to experience what he went through.