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MARY LATHROP TRAILBLAZER AWARD
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.
Nominations for the 2021 Mary Lathrop Award
Due to both our 2020 and 2021 Conventions moving to a virtual platform, the CWBA's prestigious Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Awards will now be presented to both Velveta Golightly-Howell and Judge Karen Ashby during the 2021 Convention at a lunchtime celebration at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 21, 2021.
Meet Our 2021 Mary Lathrop Trailblazer
Judge Karen Ashby (Retired)
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,”
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.
Past Mary Lathrop Award Honorees:
2020 Velveta Golightly-Howell