As a fourth-generation Colorado lawyer, Richard (Dick) Gast’s connections to the state and its legal community run deep.
Gast’s great-grandfather, Charles E. Gast, moved to Pueblo in 1873, and went into practice with Henry Thatcher, who later became the first chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Dick’s grandfather, Robert S. Gast, and father, Robert S. Gast, Jr., also carried on the family tradition of practicing law in Colorado.
Now, Dick is making his own Colorado legacy in Fort Collins where he practices real estate, business, and banking law at Gast Johnson & Muffly PC. Despite the influence of three prior generations of lawyers, Gast said he did not always know he would go into the legal field.
“I dabbled in different areas, but I was certainly challenged in the math and science areas, and having more of an affinity for political science, history, and English helped me realize the law was a better fit for me,” he said.
After Gast completed his undergraduate degree at Stanford University and got a “taste of California,” he said he knew that he wanted to live and practice in Colorado. Colorado Law was the natural fit for law school.
Gast said he had the privilege of studying under former Dean David Getches in his Water Law class. Even though Gast did not go on to practice water law, he said Getches was “influential” in his career.
“I was really impressed with his style and approach to the law, which was a kind of quietly exceptional competence,” Gast said.
Gast said he did not choose his practice areas while in law school. With a chuckle, he said, “I came to Fort Collins and practiced what we called ‘door law’ at the time. It was a smaller town, so you took anything that walked in the door and had to be adept at handling a variety of practice areas. Over the years, I’ve been able to hone my practice a bit so it’s now mostly transactional real estate, business, and banking.”
Now that he’s chosen his practice areas, Gast said he’s found them to be fulfilling.
“It’s happy law in that you’re making deals and bringing people together toward a positive outcome,” he said.
Gast has also found fulfillment in serving Colorado’s legal community through the Colorado Bar Association (CBA). On July 1, Gast began his tenure as president of the CBA, a role previously held by his great-grandfather in 1898 and his grandfather in 1923.
He said he is looking forward to helping all CBA members thrive in their practices, whether it’s a small-town practice in Cortez or a large firm in Denver.
Gast’s goals for the CBA include:
When he’s not spending his time being a leader in Colorado’s legal community, Gast enjoys doing “pretty much anything outdoors.” Gast and his wife, Bev, frequently go mountain biking, hiking, and skiing.
Gast also has two sons, Charlie and Shaeffer, who are both happily married. Gast speaks fondly of his two grandchildren, Caleb and Scarlet. Neither of Gast’s sons chose to carry on the generational Colorado lawyer tradition but are each accomplished in their own right, working in the medical and insurance fields.
What is your fondest memory of being a student at Colorado Law?
The friendships forged during long hours in the library and study sessions followed by the 11:30 p.m. runs to Eddie’s Mexican Café for that classic law school sustenance—nachos and beer.
What do you know now that you wish you had known in law school?
While substantive knowledge is an essential building block for a smaller town practice, clients place an even higher value on judgment and a trusting relationship.
What advice would you give to current students as they’re preparing to graduate?
Don’t let the law consume you. Find some balance, soak in a Colorado sunset over the high peaks, and enjoy each day.
Who was the biggest influence on your career?
My dad (also a lawyer) who taught me that the most effective arguments can be made without raising your voice. Also, my two former partners and mentors Ramsey Myatt and Bob Brandes (’75), who helped guide me along the practice path.
Of what accomplishment are you most proud?
Anything I have accomplished pales in comparison to my wife, Bev, first battling and beating breast cancer and now supporting others in their battles. She’s a hero.