March 2023Download This Article (.pdf)
Hometown: Klagetoh, ArizonaLaw School: Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of LawLive in: DurangoWorks at: Colorado Legal Services, Inc.Practice Areas(s): Family Law, Landlord Tenant, Consumer, Public Benefits, Indian LawCBA Member Since: 2015
Julianne Begay is a staff attorney at Colorado Legal Services, Inc. Previously, she worked as an in-house attorney at the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and as an associate at Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel, LLP. She is licensed to practice law in Colorado and Arizona.
Describe yourself in five words.
Conscientious, introverted, independent, considerate, analytical.
Why did you become a lawyer?
I wanted to work in the field of Indian law and to advocate for Indian tribes in some capacity. While Indian law is not a large part of my current practice, my knowledge and background of Indian law is still useful given that Colorado’s two federally recognized tribes are in the region where I practice.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
One of my law school professors said to always have enough money saved so that you never have to choose between your ethical/professional obligations and a paycheck. It has stuck with me to this day.
What’s your favorite memory from law school?
I had a law school professor who gave 24-hour finals—meaning we had to stay awake an entire 24 hours to complete the exam. It was the most daunting experience ever. In the middle of the exam, at about 2 a.m., I had a moment where I seriously contemplated quitting law school. I somehow managed to keep going and ended up getting a pretty good grade. It’s my favorite memory from law school because it was the experience that eliminated any feelings of imposter syndrome I may have had.
Outside of the law, what are your hobbies?
Hiking, learning how to mountain bike, playing rec league soccer, and volunteering in my community.
What organizations are you involved in?
I’m a member of the Southwest Colorado Bar Association and recently completed a term as president. I chair the 6th Judicial District Access to Justice Committee and was a member of the 2022 CODACC (Colorado Diverse Attorney Community Circle) class. I also volunteer with 4 the Children (the nonprofit that runs our local CASA program) and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I spent Election Day volunteering for Native Vote Election Protection, which places volunteers at polling locations in various Native American communities throughout Arizona to assist people who have trouble voting.
What’s the most random job you have ever had?
I worked as a cart attendant at Target when I was in high school. Nowadays, I always make sure to return my cart once I’m done shopping.
How has the CBA impacted your career?
I’ve met attorneys from across the state who I would not have met otherwise. The CODACC program in particular has given me a supportive network of people that have many of the same challenges and passions as I do in this profession. I’m so grateful for the time I’ve spent getting to know the other CODACC participants.
Who is your hero and why?
Jon Olafson. He’s an amazing CBA leader and has had never-ending faith in me as a leader and as an attorney. Jon’s commitment to improving our profession and making it more inclusive is inspiring.