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Introducing the 2024 COBALT Class

March 2024

COBALT, the CBA’s annual leadership training program, welcomed its newest participants in January. Please get to know the exceptional lawyers who comprise the 2024 COBALT class.

Theresa Wardon Benz is a partner in the Trial Group at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, where she leads the firm’s appellate practice. She maintains an impactful pro bono practice, serves as a mentor for Law School . . . Yes We Can, and co-chairs the DGS Women in Leadership Lecture Series.

Gaby Corica serves as a senior assistant city attorney in the Denver City Attorney’s Office, where she maintains a diverse practice focused primarily on real estate, municipal finance matters, complex transactions, and general municipal law. Gaby is fluent in Spanish and volunteers with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network.

Lauren Davison is an assistant attorney general in the Tort Litigation Unit of the Colorado Department of Law, where she represents state agencies and state employees sued in federal and state district court. She founded and co-chairs the Department’s Pride Employee Resource Group, which provides a supportive environment for LGBTQ+ employees.

Patrick Esser was appointed as a magistrate judge for Larimer County in July 2021. He began his career as a public defender with the Fort Collins office of the Colorado State Public Defender and later focused his practice on criminal defense and representing the best interest of juveniles as a guardian ad litem.

Ellen Giarratana is the managing attorney at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, where she advocates for the equitable enforcement of legislation and represents community members in anti-poverty litigation. In her role, she has represented groups of mobile-home owners and co-counseled class cases on behalf of Medicaid beneficiaries.

Jenna Goldstein is deputy legal counsel to Governor Polis. Previously, she was deputy legal counsel to Governor Hickenlooper, an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP, and a judicial law clerk for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Márquez. She serves on the Colorado Common Cause Board and the Rose Medical Center Advisory Council.

Christine Harbison is a deputy district attorney in the Seventeenth Judicial District, where she is currently assigned to a district court docket. Before attending law school, Chris spent roughly 25 years working as a licensed clinical social worker, and she enjoys combining social work with her current role as a deputy district attorney.

Eric Hobbs is a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., where he represents companies as both plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation throughout the country. Eric is passionate about the Kansas City Chiefs, music, philosophy, trial work, and community service.

Dan Kramer has served as the town attorney for the Town of Estes Park since 2019. Previously, he worked as an assistant city attorney for the City of Longmont. He has published numerous works in the fields of natural resources and land use law, and has presented before the Colorado Municipal League on matters of public safety and homelessness.

Ari Krichiver is deputy chief municipal public defender in the Denver Municipal Public Defender’s Office. Previously, he worked in the appellate division of the Colorado State Public Defender and as county court supervisor for the Brighton Trial Office. He has argued two cases before the Colorado Supreme Court.

Alex Mancero provides general counsel for Ria Money Transfer’s digital products in 190 countries. He is a first-generation Ecuadorian American and a former space command and control officer in the US Air Force. He is the vice president of committees for the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, founder of the Colorado Lawyers Committee Racial Justice Summit, and a member of the inaugural class of the Colorado Diverse Attorney Community Circle.

Emily McDonnell is a director with Hernandez & Associates, P.C., where she oversees family-based cases and affirmative immigration filings with US Citizen and Immigration Services. While in law school, she interned as a law clerk for an immigration firm in Connecticut and continued working there until relocating to Denver. She is admitted to practice law in Colorado and Connecticut.

Maria Monclova founded the immigration and family law firm of Monclova Law P.C. upon graduating from law school in 2008. The firm is located in Denver’s Westwood neighborhood, where she was raised, enabling her to serve the Latino community she grew up with. She is a board member of the Miguel Pro Mission, an organization that helps build houses for people living in misery in Ciudad Juárez.

Yevgenya Muchnik is a corporate and securities transactional attorney with a passion for championing early- and growth-stage tech companies. Delving into the web3 domain since 2016, Yev has distinguished herself as an early adopter, but her commitment extends beyond adoption: she actively advocates for policy shifts and widespread adoption of nontraditional assets in an effort to expand wealth equity and financial inclusion.

Geraldo Parrilla is an associate with Hall & Evans, LLC, where he handles civil litigation matters involving healthcare, premises liability, products liability, and general liability defense. He co-chairs the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association’s Business Development Committee, volunteers as a mock trial coach at Arrupe Jesuit High School, and mentors students for Law School . . . Yes We Can.

Tom Plake is an attorney with Coan, Payton & Payne, LLC, in Fort Collins, where he practices in the areas of corporate, business, M&A, construction, real estate, finance/banking and other transactional matters. Licensed in Colorado and Oklahoma, Tom supports clients throughout both states and handles federal and international law matters in other jurisdictions. In addition to his private law practice, Tom has held senior positions in the in-house law departments of several large corporations.

Lucas Ritchie focuses his litigation and trial practice on complex business and securities disputes, investigations, and enforcement actions involving federal and state securities laws, the False Claims Act, consumer protection laws, and corporate governance and fiduciary laws. He is a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee and the CBA Board of Governors, and is the immediate past chair of the CBA Business Law Section. He is a frequent presenter on topics related to litigation, investigations, and legal ethics.

Amy Rogers practices plaintiff-side personal injury law at Ogborn Mihm, LLP, where she specializes in assisting individuals who have sustained traumatic brain injuries. She organizes voter registration drives for a nonpartisan nonprofit called HeadCount and co-chairs the women’s section of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. A proud West Virginia native, Amy says that her Appalachian identity has informed her belief systems and notions of justice.

Kiera Schwartz practices law with RBS Law, LLC, which primarily focuses on estate planning and probate administration. Family is deeply important to Kiera, and she enjoys educating and informing people on how to best protect their loved ones. She is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she played D1 soccer.

Jared West is a litigator and transactional attorney at Childs McCune, LLC, where he focuses his practice on intentional torts, commercial litigation, products liability, and medical malpractice defense in both Colorado state and federal courts. Jared has extensive transactional experience, having helped individuals and small businesses with a wide range of commercial and real estate transactions, including business formation, contract drafting, regulatory compliance, and risk management.