As a Colorado transplant, University of Colorado Law School alumna Jennifer Hunt (’98) will tell you that it’s true what they say about Colorado—once you get here, you never want to leave.
Originally from Ohio, Hunt has compelling reasons to stay in Colorado, where she has found true purpose in her work serving Colorado’s citizens. Hunt currently serves as the first assistant attorney general for the Antitrust, Tobacco and Consumer Protection Unit at the Office of the Colorado Attorney General.
Hunt’s journey to Colorado began in Columbus, Ohio, where she studied English at The Ohio State University. Throughout college, Hunt was unsure if she wanted to be a lawyer, but eventually had an epiphany that her English studies would not give her the purposeful career that she desired.
“I had this light bulb flash of realization during a seminar that what we were talking about didn’t really matter to anybody in the real world,” Hunt said. “I realized that I needed to do something that has consequence to people, that does something practical.” She was active in an environmental group at Ohio State and thought she might want to focus on a public interest career.
After college, Hunt worked for a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer lawyers for legal advice and advocacy. Working closely with these lawyers made Hunt wonder if having a law degree could open doors in the public interest world, and she decided to try law school.
“It turned out to be a great decision for me because beyond just having a JD behind me to help open doors, I actually loved studying law,” Hunt said. “I loved the law and I still do.”
Hunt chose to attend Colorado Law for its strong environmental law program and its strength in other areas of the law. “To me it was important to go to someplace that is a strong law school beyond its environmental program,” Hunt said.
CU fit that bill, and it was not a tough decision to come to Boulder. At Colorado Law, Hunt was a member of the environmental law students group, as well as the University of Colorado Law Review. Her plan had originally been to return to Ohio after law school, but things did not work out quite as Hunt planned them.
“When I first came I thought, I’ll go to Colorado for three years and go back to Columbus,” Hunt said. “But once I was here for about a year I realized I was not going back.”
During law school, Hunt was drawn to litigation, persuasive writing, and advocacy. Her interest in natural resources law led her to Hill & Robbins, P.C. her 2L summer, particularly because of the firm’s work in water law.
Hunt was especially interested in water law because of its cooperative nature.
“Water law seemed to have less ‘white hat versus black hat’,” Hunt said. “It seemed to be more nuanced, more about collaboratively working together for the best solution.”
However, Hunt found that the things she truly loved about legal work were not as salient in water law, and she ultimately gravitated toward the complex civil litigation side of the firm’s practice.
“I loved the clients and getting out to the rural areas of the state, but I was not comfortable being a water lawyer,” Hunt said. “I missed the writing and I missed other aspects of litigation practice that are rarer in a water law practice.”
After 15 years with Hill & Robbins, Hunt had advanced to a shareholder position. When the firm shifted its focus more toward water law, Hunt realized she needed to make a change. She said she is forever grateful to the people she worked with there for teaching her everything she could ever want to know about being a lawyer and litigator.
She decided to move on to government work, which was an area that had always interested her in law school. Now at the Colorado Office of the Attorney General, Hunt supervises a unit within the consumer protection section that, among other things, enforces the Colorado Antitrust Act and protects Coloradans from a variety of consumer frauds, including telemarketing, debt relief, mortgage, and foreclosure frauds.
“What I love about it is that every day I come into work and I know that the work that I’m doing matters to people,” Hunt said. “I feel like I’ve been working toward this position my whole career.”
Outside of work, Hunt is involved with the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, which she said has been a great source of support for her through all the phases of her career. She is currently on the board of the related, but separate, Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation, which raises funds for scholarships for women law students at Colorado’s law schools and supports the mission of the Women’s Bar Association. Hunt is also a co-chair of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association’s annual Raising the Bar Dinner.
Hunt said she has thought about becoming a judge someday, but she is truly happy where she is right now.
“I have so much to learn still in this job,” Hunt said. “It’s never the same two days in a row.”
When she has spare time, Hunt enjoys spending time with her family, which includes two teenage daughters who are always busy with sports and theatre performances. Hunt said she is so glad that she has chosen to stay in Colorado, where her family gets to snowboard, camp, and hike on a regular basis.
“I am so grateful that I chose to come to CU and have been able to make my life here in Colorado,” Hunt said. “I loved the professors and I think what I learned there has definitely served me well. The friendships that I made there are still my closest friendships today.”
What is your fondest memory of being a student at Colorado Law?
The close friendships, most of which are still going strong today. I treasure both the memories we made and the support I’ve received from that core group of friends over the years, both personally and professionally.
What do you know now that you wish you had known in law school?
I wish I had appreciated the importance of learning by doing. I learned so much about how the law works in my classes, but I couldn’t really put it all in context until I put that law into practice.
What advice would you give to current students as they’re preparing to graduate?
Be flexible, and don’t let other people define what success means to you. By that, I mean always keep in mind what kind of lawyer and person you want to be and how you want to organize your life, and remain open to possibilities you may not have imagined.
Who was the biggest influence on your career?
Definitely the partners in my law firm, David Robbins, Bob Hill (’70), and John Walsh, each of whom, in their own unique ways, gave me the best examples of how to practice law with the highest levels of skill and integrity.
Of what accomplishment are you most proud?
Finding that elusive balance between my legal career and raising my two amazing daughters, now 17 and 14. They make me proud every day.