Colorado Supreme Court

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.

James C. Coyle
Attorney Regulation Counsel

Jim Coyle is Attorney Regulation Counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court. Mr. Coyle oversees attorney admissions, attorney registration, mandatory continuing legal and judicial education, attorney discipline and diversion, regulation of the unauthorized practice of law and inventory counsel matters. Mr. Coyle has been a trial attorney with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel or successor Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel since 1990. Prior to that, he was in private practice. He earned his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1985.

Mr. Coyle is actively involved on a national level with the National Client Protection Organization (NCPO), the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), and the International Conference of Legal Regulators (ICLR). He served on the NOBC board of directors from 2014 – 2016, and currently serves as NOBC liaison to the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) Committee on ABA Model Rules on Advertising and as a member and co-chair of the CoLAP/NOBC/APRL National Wellness Task Force (WTF).

Recent committee work includes programming work on and hosting the first ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (CPR)/NOBC/Canadian Bar Association Regulators Workshop on proactive, risk-based regulatory programs, in Denver in May 2015, and participating in planning future workshops in Philadelphia in June 2016, Washington, D.C. in September 2016, and St. Louis in June 2017; acting as co-chair and organizer of the First ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection UPL School in Denver in August 2013; and member of the planning team for the Second UPL School in Chicago in April 2015; participating in the NOBC Program Committee and International Committee, including as Chair of the Entity Regulation Subcommittee now known as the Proactive Practice Management Programs Committee; and NOBC Aging Lawyers and Permanent Retirement subcommittees. Mr. Coyle is also an active member of the Colorado Chief Justice Commission on Professional Development and its mid-career working group, the CBA/DBA Professionalism Coordinating Council and its subcommittee on a professionalism rule, the Supreme Court Standing Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, and the University of Colorado Law Alumni Board’s Diversity Committee.

 

Executive Assistant

Cheryl Lilburn

 

Management Team

Matthew A. Samuelson
Chief Deputy Regulation Counsel

Matthew Samuelson is Chief Deputy Regulation Counsel. In his role, he oversees the intake division, admissions and mandatory continuing legal and judicial education. Mr. Samuelson received his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University in Minnesota and his law degree from the DePaul University College of Law. He is a former judge advocate in the United States Air Force. After leaving active duty, Mr. Samuelson practiced as a deputy public defender in Minnesota and was in private practice in Denver focusing in the area of defending municipalities and other governmental entities in civil rights litigation.

He has worked for the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel since September 2000, and is a member of the Colorado Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Organization of Bar Counsel.


Margaret B. Funk
Senior Deputy Regulation Counsel, Trial Division

Margaret Brown Funk is Senior Deputy Regulation Counsel with the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation.  Ms. Funk supervises the trial division of the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. She previously assisted in the supervision of the intake division, attorney admissions, continuing legal and judicial education and human resources.  Ms. Funk graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1994 after graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1991.  She was a member of the employment law firm King & Greisen, LLP, when in 2006 she left private practice to join the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel as a Trial Attorney. 

Ms. Funk is a member of the National Organization of Bar Counsel, the Colorado and American Bar Associations, the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and the National Continuing Legal Education Regulators Association.  She serves on the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Commission on Professional Development.  She is the primary instructor of the office’s Trust Account School and regularly teaches at Colorado Supreme Court Ethics School and Professionalism School.  She regularly lectures on the topics of law office management, trust accounts, fees and fee agreements, serving moderate-income clients and ethics for lawyers in small firms or solo practice.

While in private practice, she served as President and Vice President of the Colorado Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association (“PELA”).  Between 1998 and 2005, she served as a member of the PELA board of directors and was assigned the duties of chair of the legislative committee and liaison to the Colorado Bar Association.  She published several articles in the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association’s monthly magazine, Trial Talk, and lectured extensively on the topics of employment law, civil rights, and litigation.

 

April M. McMurrey
Deputy Regulation Counsel, Intake Division

April McMurrey is Deputy Regulation Counsel in the intake division. Ms. McMurrey also assists in the supervision of admissions and mandatory continuing legal and judicial education.

Ms. McMurrey received her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.

Ms. McMurrey joined the Office of Attorney Regulation in 2001 as a law clerk. She was later promoted to the trial division, where she worked for seven years as an Assistant Regulation Counsel. Ms. McMurrey then worked in the intake division as an Assistant Regulation Counsel.

Ms. McMurrey is a member of the Colorado Bar Association, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Douglas-Elbert County Bar Association and the National Organization of Bar Counsel.

 

Dawn M. McKnight
Deputy Regulation Counsel, Attorney Admissions, Attorney Registration and Continuing Legal and Judicial Education

Dawn McKnight is Deputy Regulation Counsel overseeing admissions, registration, and mandatory continuing legal and judicial education. Ms. McKnight received her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and her law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. After graduating from law school, Ms. McKnight practiced environmental law for a nonprofit, then became a civil litigation associate for a private firm. Prior to joining the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, Ms. McKnight was Assistant Executive Director and Publications Director of Colorado Bar Association CLE for 14 years.

Ms. McKnight is a member of the National Organization of Bar Counsel; the Denver, Colorado and American Bar Associations; the Colorado Women’s Bar Association; the National Conference of Bar Examiners; and, the National Continuing Legal Education Regulators Association. She is also a Fellow of the Colorado Bar Foundation and a Circle of Minerva member of the Women’s Bar Foundation. She is the current Co-Chair and Former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Legal Community Credit Union (d/b/a Options Credit Union). Ms. McKnight currently participates in the Supreme Court Advisory Committee’s Proactive Management-Based Regulation Subcommittee.

Previously, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association Board of Trustees, the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors, the Board of Directors of the Association for Continuing Legal Education Administrators, the Board of Directors of Community Shares of Colorado, and the Board of Directors of the Denver Women’s Hockey League. Ms. McKnight has lectured extensively about continuing legal education, legal publishing, law practice management, human resources management, and professional responsibility issues.

 

 

Intake Division

Assistant Regulation Counsel

Assistant Regulation Counsel attorneys fill Regulation Counsel’s traditional role of investigating, regulating and, when necessary, prosecuting attorneys accused of more serious violations of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. Assistant Regulation Counsel attorneys in the Intake Division act as the office’s triage unit. Its six attorneys are the front line for all complaints, deciding how a case is handled and whether it moves forward. Intake attorneys can dismiss cases outright, issue letters with educational language to the respondent attorney, agree in cases of minor misconduct to an alternative to discipline involving education or monitoring, or forward matters of more serious misconduct to the trial division. Assistant Regulation Counsel also educate attorneys by teaching the office’s Ethics School and Professionalism School and other continuing legal education courses.

Jill Perry Fernandez

Timothy J. O’Neill

Lisa E. Pearce

Catherine Shea

Rhonda White-Mitchell

E. James Wilder

Intake Division Investigators

Rosemary Gosda

Carla McCoy

Intake Assistants

Anita Juarez

Robin Lehmann

Margarita Lopez

Jesse Nava

 

Trial Division

Assistant Regulation Counsel

When the Intake Division determines that an attorney’s misconduct matter is more serious or requires additional investigation, Assistant Regulation Counsel attorneys in the Trial Division conduct further investigation and, if necessary, prosecution. At the end of an investigation, attorneys in the Trial Division can dismiss a case; enter into a diversion agreement; enter into a conditional admission of misconduct, in which the respondent attorney agrees to the imposition of certain discipline; or file a report recommending formal proceedings, after which a formal complaint might be filed. Attorneys in the Trial Division also handle disciplinary trials and appeals, as well as attorney admissions, unauthorized practice of law, and client protection fund matters. Assistant Regulation Counsel also educate attorneys by teaching the office’s Ethics School and Professionalism School and other continuing legal education courses.

Kim E. Ikeler

Erin Robson Kristofco

Bryon Large

J. P. Moore

Geanne R. Moroye

Alan Obye

Sara Van Deusen

Jacob Vos

Trial Division Investigators

Karen Bershenyi

Mary Lynne Elliot

Janet Layne

Donna Scherer

Laurie Seab

Trial Assistants

Renee Anderson

Kevin Hanks

Rachel Ingle

Sarah Walsh

 

Staff Attorney

Jonathan P. White

 

Case Monitor

The cornerstones of Colorado’s attorney regulation system are the diversion (alternative-to-discipline) agreement and probation conditions in discipline matters. Diversion agreements and probation conditions protect the public while allowing an otherwise competent attorney to continue practicing. The office’s full-time case monitor ensures compliance with the conditions of probation and diversion programs. Those conditions can include attendance at the office’s trust account school or ethics school, submitting to drug or alcohol monitoring, or receiving medical or mental health treatment. The case monitor also helps run the various schools for attorneys intended to improve the provision of legal services to consumers.

Nicolette (Nicole) Chavez

 

Attorney Admissions

Attorney Admissions is charged with administering the bar exam and conducting character and fitness reviews of exam, on-motion, and Uniform Bar Exam transfer applicants. The Director of Character and Fitness, one full-time investigator, one part-time investigator, and four staff assistants review applications for character and fitness qualifications. By addressing concerns with applicants before they become practicing attorneys, the character and fitness process takes a proactive role in protecting the public.

Director of Examinations

Susan Gleeson

Director of Character and Fitness

Melissa Oakes

Administrative Assistant

Sharon Orlowski

Character and Fitness Investigators

Michelle Meyer

Deb Ortiz

Staff Assistants

Julie Aguirre

JoAnne Dionese

Gloria Lucero

Lauren Paez

Ashley Johnson, Receptionist

 

Attorney Registration and Continuing Legal and Judicial Education

Once an applicant meets admission requirements, Attorney Registration completes the process by ensuring the proper administration of the oath. Attorneys then register annually with the office and pay annual license fees. The annual license fees fund the Attorneys’ Fund for Client Protection and defray the costs of attorney regulation (including the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge), attorney registration, continuing legal and judicial education, enforcement of the unauthorized practice of law rules, the Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program, the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program, the Commission on Judicial Discipline, and some library services. The office is run by the Clerk of Attorney Registration and Continuing Legal and Judicial Education, and is aided by five full-time staff members.

Clerk of Attorney Registration and Director of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education

Elvia Mondragon

Deputy Clerks

Jessica DePari

Valencia Hill-Wilson

Alice Lucero

Andrew Strelau

Danielle Trujillo

 

Inventory Counsel

When an attorney is no longer able to perform his or her duties to clients, either due to disability or death, and there is no other party responsible for the attorney’s affairs, the office steps in to file a petition for appointment of inventory counsel. With the assistance of volunteer Colorado attorneys, and investigators and attorneys from the office, the Inventory Counsel Coordinator reviews all of the files and takes steps to protect the interests of the attorney and the attorney’s clients.

Carola Rhodes, Inventory Counsel Coordinator

Adrian Radase, Staff Assistant

 

Operations

Nadine Cignoni, Office Manager

Brett Corporon, Director of Technology

Karen Fritsche, Operations Manager

Erica Leon, Receptionist

David Murrell, IT Support Technician

Steve Russell, Data Base Developer/DBA

Christina Solano, Receptionist

Trish Swanson, Administrator, Accounting/Payroll