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The CWBA's Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Award is presented annually to an outstanding female attorney who has enriched the community through her legal and civic activities. 
The Award recognizes the tradition begun by Mary Lathrop, an early woman lawyer in Colorado, who blazed many trails for other women in the profession. 

   2017 - Rebecca C. Alexander
2016 - Helen C. Shreves
2015 - The Hon. Sandra I. Rothenberg

Nominations for the 2018 Mary Lathrop Award were due October 31, 2017. 
We will announce this year's winner at our Holiday Party on December 7, 2017 and recognize her at our 41st Annual Convention on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Please contact the CWBA’s Professional Advancement Committee Co-Chairs
Elizabeth Howard or Kym Smiley if you have any questions
about the award or nomination process.

Meet Our 2017 Mary Lathrop Award Winner
Rebecca C. Alexander

This year at the CWBA’s 40th Annual Convention, the CWBA will honor Rebecca Alexander with the 2017 CWBA Mary Lathrop Award.  Throughout her successful legal career, Rebecca has created a trail that has illustrated each of the traits that this award was created to honor. 

In October 1995, Rebecca joined BakerHostetler as an associate attorney, beginning her career as a litigation generalist. She gradually transitioned her practice to focus on the representation of individuals, and through this representation, Rebecca discovered her passion for guiding people through difficult personal situations involving the law.  She successfully built a family law group with multiple attorneys in a national law firm – a rather difficult and unique feat.

She was promoted to partner in 2001 and made equity partner in 2008.  She was only the second woman to be promoted to equity partner in BakerHostetler’s Denver’s office, and she was the first woman to be promoted to equity partner having spent her entire career with the firm.  When she started with the firm, she had two children under the age of two. Rebecca excelled in her position and reached these promotional milestones despite the demands of being a single parent for many of her career’s formative years.  Rebecca designed and implemented the initiative “Get Out There” (GOT), which addresses the stagnation of attorneys moving through their careers with respect to business development, and ultimately impacts their ability to become an equity partner. Outside of her firm, Rebecca founded the Florence Crittenton Legal Clinic, which serves to educate, prepare, and empower teen mothers and their children through a public-private partnership with Denver Public Schools.  Remarkably, 96% of the teen mothers in this program graduate from high school.

We are proud to present Rebecca with the 2017 CWBA Mary Lathrop Award, as she embodies the intelligence, strength, stamina, and character of a true trailblazer! 

Read more about Rebecca in The Advocate.

History of the Mary Lathrop Award 

Mary Lathrop was born in 1865 to a Philadelphia Quaker family. At age 19, she became a reporter at a local newspaper. She had a distinguished career until poor health forced her to choose a new profession at age 30. She came to Colorado and pursued a legal degree at the University of Denver College of Law where she graduated first in her class. She passed the Colorado Bar in 1896 with a score that would stand as a record until 1941. 

Lathrop hung her shingle in Colorado in 1897, specializing in probate law. She continued to influence this field, helping to redraft probate statutes and assisting in developing the Small Guardianship Law. Her most famous case was Clayton v. Hallett, which established the law of charitable bequests in Colorado.

Lathrop was a woman whose many “firsts” would inspire others to follow in her footsteps. After being turned down twice because “women should not practice law,”
she was the first woman admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court in Colorado. She was also the first woman to open a law office in Colorado, the first woman to argue before the Colorado Supreme Court, the first woman to join the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, and was one of the first two women to join the American Bar Association.

Lathrop recognized the importance of community involvement. During her lifetime, she made anonymous donations to help students. She also received numerous awards for her service work and excellence in the legal profession. After her death in 1951, she left the bulk of her estate to establish a student loan fund at the University of Denver.

In order to preserve and foster the memory of this woman who has left a legacy for us all, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association (CWBA) began presenting the Mary Lathrop Award in 1991 and has made an annual presentation each year since. The CWBA gives the Mary Lathrop Award to an outstanding female attorney who has enriched the community through her legal and civic activities.

The CWBA is grateful for the ongoing and generous financial support of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, LLP for sponsoring this award’s presentation each year at the CWBA Annual Convention.

Past Mary Lathrop Award Honorees:

2016  Helen C. Shreves
2015  The Honorable Sandra I. Rothenberg 
2014  The Honorable Patricia Coan 
2013  Lorraine Parker and Doris Truhlar
2012  The Honorable Janice B. Davidson, and Lynn Feiger 
2011  The Honorable Mary A. Celeste  
2010  Deborah R. Adams
2009  The Honorable Elizabeth A. Starrs
2008  Lynda A. McNeive  
2007  Pamela Robillard Mackey
2006  Fay M. Matsukage
2005  The Honorable Nancy E. Rice 
2004  Marla Williams
2003  The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Mary E. Ricketson
2002  The Honorable Mary Mullarkey
2001  The Honorable Rebecca Love Kourlis
2000  The Honorable Christine Arguello and Dottie Wham
1999  Gale Norton and Gail Schoettler
1998  Susan Barnes and The Honorable Claudia Jordan
1997  Cathlin Donnell and Mary Hoagland
1996  Sheila Hyatt, Barbara Salomon, and Mimi Wesson
1995  Norma Comstock, Karen Steinhauser, and The Honorable Zita L. Weinshienk
1994  Natalie S. Ellwood
1993  The Honorable Jean Dubofsky, Marilyn Traub Meadoff, and The Honorable Jacqueline St. Joan
1992  Mary Brickner, Margaret B. Ellison, and Brooke Wunnicke
1991  Elizabeth Adams Conour, Elizabeth L.Guyton Girch, Estelle Hadley, and
            Helen T. Street  

The CWBA is grateful for the ongoing and generous financial support of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, LLP for sponsoring this award’s presentation each year at the CWBA Annual Convention.

Colorado Women's Bar Association • P.O. Box 1918 • Denver, CO 80201
Telephone (303) 831-1040 • Email: execdir@cwba.org

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