Arash Jahanian is a staff attorney with the ACLU of Colorado, whose mission is to defend and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Colorado. He was previously with the civil rights firm Rathod Mohamedbhai in Denver. Arash was one of the attorneys in the Wyoming marriage equality cases, has litigated a number of employment discrimination cases, and has successfully litigated police brutality and prisoner abuse cases against the City and County of Denver. Arash has previously served as vice presidents, judicial endorsement chair, and programming chair of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association, and he is Vice Chair of the Denver Mayor’s LGBTQ Commission.
Arash received his BA in psychology and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003, and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 2008. From 2003 to 2005, Arash taught middle school in Chicago Public Schools as a Teach For America corps member. Prior to joining Rathod Mohamedbhai, Arash was an associate in Crowell & Moring LLP’s Washington, DC office and a judicial clerk for the Honorable Wiley Y. Daniel, then-Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.
President Elect/Foundation Representative
John McHugh is a litigation associate with Reilly Pozner LLP where he focuses his practice on civil and complex commercial litigation. Since becoming an attorney, John has worked on high-stakes and notable matters. At Reilly Pozner, he has represented prominent clients including professional sports teams, SEC investment advisors, and national title companies. In 2014, John served as the lead attorney in the landmark lawsuit challenging Colorado’s laws that prohibit same-sex marriage. For his work in that case he was named the “Barrister of the Year” Award from the LGBT Community Center of Colorado, “Lawyer of the Year” and an “Up-and-Coming Lawyer” by Law Week Colorado and “Volunteer Lawyer of the Year” by the Denver Bar Association. He has also been selected to the Rising Stars list published nationwide in Colorado Super Lawyers. Prior to joining Reilly Pozner, John was an associate with the international law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in New York City. He earned his law degree from New York University School of Law and holds an undergraduate degree, with honors, in English and classical studies from the University of Idaho.
Immediate Past President/Programming
Bryon M. Large is an Assistant Regulation Counsel with the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Denver and his undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico. Prior to working at the Court, Bryon was a private practice immigration attorney in Colorado.
Bryon is a past Chapter Chair for the Colorado Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and has served as an elected member of AILA’s national Board of Governors. He serves as the Chair of AILA’s LGBT Working Group, a committee designated to advocating for LGBT issues in immigration law. Bryon is also a past Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association. Bryon’s true passion in life is being a father to his two children.
Sarah Spelts Loebl
Sarah Spelts Loebl has more than eight years of experience valuing businesses and calculating economic damages. Sarah has been endorsed as an expert witness in district and federal courts and has presented on valuation topics at the University of Denver, the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business, Colorado State University and valuation associations. Sarah holds a B.A. in Economics and Business administration from Hastings College, and a Certificate in Graduate Finance from Colorado State University. Sarah was an instructor of economics at CSU before moving to Denver to begin her career in finance. Sarah is passionate about improving her community – she volunteers and mentors with Colorado Youth at Risk, a program that empowers teens to make life choices that positively impact their future, and is on the Board of Directors for We Don’t Waste, a program working to eliminate food waste and hunger.
Website/Listserv and Membership Committee
Mr. Kuhn practices in the Colorado Attorney General’s office. Prior to that he was in private practice focusing on probate litigation, public benefits work and corporate and small business counsel. Mr. Kuhn brings more than a decade of business experience in information technology and consulting to his practice. His previous experience includes work in local government, large corporate and telecommunications sector, and small business consulting. Eric received his J.D. from the University of Denver and has a B.A. in Biology from Colorado College.
Mr. Gendelman is an associate attorney for Kirch & Rounds, PC, where he practices trusts, estates, and probate law. His practice includes estate planning, probate litigation, real estate, business succession planning, taxation, elder law, estate administration, and trust administration. Prior to joining Kirch & Rounds, PC, Laurence practiced family law where he focused on LGBT issues in divorce. Laurence graduated from the University of Colorado Law School in 2015, where he served as the Vice-President of the CU OUTLaws and as their Liaison to the Colorado LGBT Bar Association. Mr. Gendelman also holds a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Colorado. Mr. Gendelman is also a board member of the Rose Andom Center’s Young Professionals Council.
Amicus and Policy Committee
Rachel Catt practices family law at the Johnson Marquez Legal Group where she is a Senior Associate. She focuses her practice on LGBT divorces and high conflict custody cases. Before moving to Colorado with her wife and two young children, she practiced family law in San Francisco for over ten years. Rachel served as a cooperating attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and was active in the local LGBT Bar Association. She earned her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C. where she worked for U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and was a fellow at the Human Rights Campaign.
Name Change Project
Emma Shinn is a criminal defense attorney with her own firm, Shinn Law Office, LLC. After retiring with 20 years of service from the Marine Corps as both a judge advocate and an enlisted infantry Marine, she moved to Colorado and focuses her practice on representing US service-members at courts-martial and administrative discharge matters, as well as representing civilians in state and federal court on serious felony-level matters. She is a highly-decorated combat veteran, serving in places such as Fallujah, Iraq; Okinawa, Japan; Freetown, Sierra Leone; the Congo, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as well as many other locales. Ms. Shinn has testified to Congressional blue ribbon panels and received several awards for her legal work, including Top 40 Lawyers Under 40, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
In addition to her practice, Emma co-founded the Colorado Name Change Project and is committed to helping transgender individuals in achieving justice and equality. She has two amazing children who are the light of her world. She has been active in LGBT organizations since the 1990’s, serving in a manner of capacities with several advocacy and service organizations across the nation. She received her J.D. from Texas Tech University and her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Texas A&M University.
Andrew Birkeland works at Kokish and Goldmanis, P.C. in Castle Rock. Once admitted
to the Colorado Bar (admission pending), his practice will include family law, assisted
reproductive technology, adoption law and civil litigation. Andrew lives on a farm near
Elizabeth with his fiancée Daniel where they are planning their family.
In 2016, Andrew moved to Colorado from Minnesota where he worked at a general
practice firm and focused on employment discrimination law. In Minnesota, he served on the
board of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association which worked to help defeat the Minnesota
Anti-Marriage Amendment and pass the same-sex marriage bill. He was also on the board of the Hennepin County Bar Association, and a member of the Minnesota Bar Association. Andrew
received his Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law and his undergraduate degree
from the University of Mary.
Born and raised in Colorado Springs, Sam D. Starritt is a partner with the law firm of Dufford Waldeck Milburn & Krohn, LLP in Grand Junction, Colorado, where he concentrates his practice on complex civil and commercial litigation, trials, appeals, real estate, construction and labor and employment. Mr. Starritt is a Fellow of the American and Colorado Bar Foundations, past chair of The Colorado Lawyer board of editors, and past president of the Mesa County Bar Association. Mr. Starritt has served on the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) Board of Governors, CBA executive vice president, and chair of the CBA and DBA Joint Management Committee. Mr. Starritt was appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper to the Electronic Recording Technology Board, by the Colorado Supreme Court to the Continuing Legal and Judicial Education Committee, and serves on both the CBA Real Estate and Litigation Section Councils. For the past year, he served on the LGBT Bar judicial endorsement committee and now serves as its chair. He is a 2015 graduate of the CBA Leadership Training Program (COBALT). Mr. Starritt is admitted to practice before the state and federal courts of Wyoming and Colorado, including the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and husband, who was recently appointed to the District Court of the 21st Judicial District.
Owen Ziegler is a paralegal and Spanish/Portuguese interpreter at Kolko & Associates, a private practice immigration firm in Denver. Owen works with clients to obtain a variety of immigration benefits, focusing frequently on helping LGBT clients get protections and benefits for themselves and their family members. Owen has served as the Social Media chair at the Colorado LGBT Bar Association since 2016. Owen is also assisting with the up and coming Colorado Name Change Project, specifically translating materials as needed.
Owen received his two BAs in International Affairs and Spanish/Portuguese from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013, graduating summa cum laude. Prior to working in immigration, Owen also worked as a paralegal in worker’s compensation and family law.
Recently returned to Colorado, Karen is a family law attorney practicing with Gutterman Griffiths, where she specializes in LGBT family law and child custody cases. She is passionate about minimizing the trauma of divorce for children, and emphasizes child-centric dispute resolution. Karen has extensive experience in Child Welfare/Dependency and Neglect law, and holds certification as a Child Welfare Law Specialist. In Texas, she served as a chair of the State Bar’s LGBT Law Section, as Vice-Chair of the State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, and frequently organized and taught at CLEs regarding child welfare and LGBT family law topics. She has served for the past 10 years on the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and was one of the founding members of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in San Francisco where she graduated from Golden Gate University School of Law in 1982. Karen and her wife, Jill Wilcox, have two children, Zach (University of Denver 2014) and Kim (University of Arkansas 2016).
The Center Representative
Alex Ray is a 3L student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and the Legal Program Administrator for the GLBT Community Center of Colorado. Alex earned their Bachelor of Art Degrees in English Literature and Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Since beginning law school Alex has focused their studies on public interest practice with a focus on policy reform that advances LGBTQI equality and equal protection. In addition to Alex’s legal studies, they are the OUTLaws President at DU, and spent two semesters as a Legal Policy Intern with One Colorado. In their roll at the Center, Alex recently worked with several nonprofits, legal organizations, and passionate individuals to establish the Colorado Name Change Project. This organization strives to educate transgender individuals about how to legally change their name and gender markers and how to update their identity documents.
In their somewhat limited free time Alex enjoys reading fiction, thrift store shopping, crafting, and watching movies with their fiancée and fur family.
Law School Liaison
Ann Stanton is an associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP, where she practices civil litigation, maintains an active pro bono practice, and serves as co-coordinator of the Denver office’s LGBTQ Pride Group. Ann graduated from the University of Colorado Law School in 2016, where she served as President of the CU OUTLaws and as student representative to the Colorado LGBT Bar Association. Ann also holds a B.A. in Classics and a Concentration in Women’s Studies from St. Olaf College. Prior to law school, Ann served as an intake specialist and administrative assistant for a disability rights organization in Denver.
In addition to her legal practice, Ann is active in the Colorado LGBT community as a clarinetist with the Mile High Freedom Bands.
Law School Representative/DU
Shannara Quissell is a student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She serves as the DU liaison to the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and is the current Vice President of the DU OUTLaws.
Law School Representative/CU
Robert Dodd is a Senior Assistant Attorney General with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. He focuses his practice entirely on appellate and tax matters. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt Law School and his undergraduate degree from Auburn University. Robert began his legal career in his hometown of Tallahassee, Florida as an Assistant State Attorney. There, he lead the prosecution of significant felony cases resulting in numerous jury trials. He then joined an insurance defense firm, handling complex commercial matters.
Robert visited Colorado one summer after graduation from law school, and vowed to move to Colorado if the opportunity arose. When, several years later, he received an offer to come to Colorado, Robert relocated to Denver and took a position with the Attorney General’s office. Since joining the Colorado Attorney General’s office in 1998, he has represented the Colorado Department of Revenue in all phases of litigation, including serving as lead attorney in more than fifty significant appellate matters. Among the cases he has handled, Robert represented the Governor’s office in the case of Colorado Community Health Network v. Colorado General Assembly and Gov. Bill Owens, a case upholding the General Assembly’s right to set funding levels for health-related programs, even when the programs are subject to a pending constitutional amendment requiring minimum spending.
Maria DeHowitt is an attorney investigator with Mountain States Employers’ Council and is responsible for investigating alleged violations of equal opportunity and discrimination laws as they relate to employment. Maria partners with C-level executives and senior management to assess employers’ compliance with federal and state equal opportunity laws and mitigate employers’ exposure to liability. Prior to joining MSEC, Maria practiced workers’ compensation law with the law firm of Martinez Tenreiro & LaForett, and worked for the Colorado Civil Rights Division investigating allegations of discrimination in employment and public accommodations.
As a former civil rights investigator with CCRD, Maria investigated high-profile cases involving national origin, gender, and transgender status discrimination. Most notably, Maria’s investigation involving sexual assault and harassment of undocumented Latina workers in Vail Valley ultimately led to a $1 million settlement between the EEOC and a Vail condo association. In a nationally prominent case involving a six-year old transgender girl who was barred from using the girl’s bathroom in school, Maria’s investigation resulted in the offending school district modifying its restroom policy to allow transgender students the right to use bathrooms that match the gender with which they identify.
Maria graduated with a B.A. in History from University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. In 2008, Maria received her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law, where she was awarded several scholarships and grants. As a recent law graduate, Maria was an associate in a Chicago law firm where she practiced probate and estate planning. Maria’s experience prior to law school includes work in investment and corporate banking sectors, business consulting, editing and research, and various non-profit organizations.