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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 2019 Mary Lathrop Award
were due September 10, 2018

We will announce this year's winner at our Holiday Party on December 6, 2018 and will recognize her at our 42nd Annual Convention on Friday,
May 17, 2019.

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

Meet Our 2018 Mary Lathrop Award Winner
Beth H. McCann
Denver District Attorney
CWBA Past President 1985 - 1986

This year at our 41st Annual Convention, the CWBA will honor Beth McCann with the 2018 CWBA Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Award.  Throughout her successful legal career, Beth has created a trail that has illustrated each of the traits that this award was created to honor. 

Following a judicial clerkship, Beth got a job at the Denver District Attorney’s Office in 1976, where she worked her way up to Chief Deputy District Attorney – a post she held until 1983. Beth left the district attorney’s office for private practice at Cooper & Kelley, P.C. from 1984 until 1991, making partner in 1985. She returned to the public sector in September 1991, as the first female Manager of Safety for the City and County of Denver. She later served as the Safe City Coordinator, Director of Excise and Licenses, and a Deputy Attorney General for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

In 2008, Beth was elected to represent House District 8 and served as a Colorado State Representative until 2017. Her major legislative accomplishments include passing landmark human trafficking legislation, laws to provide due process for children facing charges as adults, obtaining funding for domestic violence survivors, prohibiting solitary confinement for children, requiring fairness for homeowners in the foreclosure process, requiring fair treatment of women by health insurance companies, and addressing prescription drug abuse in Colorado.

On January 10, 2017, after a previous unsuccessful run for Denver District Attorney in 2004, Beth was sworn in as Denver’s first female district attorney. Her preparation, unwavering determination, and tireless campaigning carried the day. She won this election by a 74 percent margin.

Beth is a founding member and Past President of the CWBA. She helped form the CWBA in 1978 not only to address discrimination in the profession, but also to focus on gender-specific legal questions about health insurance, maternity leave, property ownership, and more. She also served as Chair of the CWBA Foundation and helped raise money for the scholarship fund to enable young women to pay for a legal education.

While Beth is a founding member of the CWBA, and a dedicated public servant, she also has a robust personal life, including being a wife and mother to two children. Beth has climbed to the base camp of Mr. Everest and Mt. Kilimanjaro. She also continues to enjoy skiing and climbing Colorado’s 14er’s, is described as an “accomplished multi-tasker,” and revered for her daily four mile runs. Beth’s strength in the face of adversity, determination, courage and grit make her the perfect recipient of this year’s Mary Lathrop Award.

We are proud to present Beth with the 2018 CWBA Mary Lathrop Award, as she embodies the intelligence, strength, stamina, and character of a true trailblazer! 

Read more about Beth 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:

2017  Rebecca C. Alexander
6  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  

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

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