Annual Seminar on Municipal Law

CML's Annual Seminar on Municipal Law provides expert Colorado-specific information that is directly relevant to the daily practice of municipal attorneys in the state, as well as opportunities to network with peers.

Click here to view a list of those present at the Annual Seminar on Municipal Law.

Agenda and Presentation Materials

Friday, September 23

8 a.m. | Registration and continental breakfast


9 - 10:30 a.m. | Survey of Local Government Law

This session will review Colorado, Tenth Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court appellate decisions of interest to Colorado municipal attorneys, reported between September 21, 2021 and September 23, 2022. Areas of focus include Constitutional issues, employment law, municipal liability and government immunity, law enforcement, campaigns and elections, sunshine laws, zoning and land use, and tax.

Click here to view survey of local government law handout

Robert Sheesley, General Counsel, CML
Robert manages legal services for CML, ranging from educational support for municipal attorneys throughout the state to advocacy for municipal interests in the courts. He assists the legislative advocacy team, fields inquiries from Colorado municipal attorneys, staffs the CML Amicus Committee, and files friend of the court briefs in support of municipal interests. Robert is the former city attorney of Commerce City.

10:30 - 10:45 a.m. | Break


10:45 - 11:45 a.m. | First Amendment for Municipal Attorneys: “Let’s Talk About Speech"

This session will cover some basic First Amendment speech principles municipal attorneys should understand. The discussion will also cover some of the recent developments in the law and provide general guidance for how municipal attorneys can analyze issues that involve protected speech.

Click here to view the first amendment for municipal attorneys PowerPoint presentation

Chris Price, Partner, Widner Juran LLP
Christopher Price has practiced local government law since 2007. He is a partner at Widner Juran and currently serves as the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Centennial and the Town Attorney for the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs, in addition to assisting the firm’s other clients. In addition to general representation, Chris has represented municipal and special district clients in litigation in Colorado district and appellate courts.

Noon -1:15 p.m. | Luncheon: The Supreme Court for Local Governments 2021-2023

During this luncheon we will explore several major decisions made in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021-2022 term that will impact municipal government operations, including major First and Second Amendment decisions.  The session will also preview significant cases that the Supreme Court will hear in its next term and highlight the potential impacts of those anticipated decisions on local government.

Click here to view the supreme court for local governments PowerPoint presentation
Click here to view the review for local governments handout

Click here to view the luncheon preview 2022 for local governments handout

Lisa Soronen, former Executive Director, State & Local Legal Center
Lisa Soronen is the former Executive Director of the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) where she filed amicus curiae briefs to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of members of the Big Seven (National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State Governments, National League of Cities, United States Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, and International City/County Management Association) in cases affecting state and local government. Prior to joining the SLLC, Lisa worked for the National School Boards Association, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, and clerked for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. She earned her J.D. at the University of Wisconsin Law School and is a graduate of Central Michigan University.


1:30 - 2:45 p.m. | The Deep End: Issues in Municipal Taxation

Sales and use taxes are critical to municipalities and most derive nearly three-quarters of their general purpose tax revenues from sales and use tax.  While legislative and taxpayer challenges to municipal taxation continue to mount, the changing world of commerce also complicates the work to ensure that municipalities maintain revenue to provide critical services.  This session will examine some of the issues that municipalities are facing right now in the world of municipal taxation including legislation, ballot initiatives, legal challenges in the courts, and modernizing tax codes to keep up with new developments.

Click here to view municipal taxation PowerPoint presentation

Rachel Bender, Associate Counsel, CML
Rachel is the Associate Counsel at the Colorado Municipal League where she advocates for municipal interests in the courts, assists the legislative advocacy team, and provides training and educational support for municipalities around the state. Prior to joining CML in January 2022, Rachel worked as an Assistant County Attorney in the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office where she focused on Section 1983 litigation, property tax appeals, and serving as a legal advisor to the Sheriff’s Office.

Laurel Witt, Assistant City Attorney, City of Boulder
Laurel Witt is an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Boulder. Prior to this role, she was the Associate Counsel for the Colorado Municipal League. Laurel teaches a semi-annual course at the University of Colorado Law School on Local Government Law where she gets to speak about her enthusiasm for the municipal attorney profession and mentor law students. Laurel is also a founding member, along with Lena McClelland and Nina Williams, of the Rising Municipal Attorneys Group, a networking group of over 125 lawyers throughout the state.

2:45 - 3:00 p.m. | Break
3 - 4:15 p.m. | A Case of Cases (or Maybe Just Two Six Packs)

We as municipal lawyers may be the last of the generalists, but are there certain cases every municipal lawyer should know?  This presentation will identify and explore at least some of those essential cases crucial to the successful representation of municipal clients.

Click here to view the case of cases PowerPoint presentation


Kristin Hoffmann, Town Attorney, Town of Parker
Kristin Hoffmann is the Town Attorney for the Town of Parker, and has practiced primarily local government and real estate law in Colorado since 2001. Ms. Hoffmann, a Colorado native, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver and her law degree from Cornell Law School.  

Corey Hoffmann, Director and Shareholder, Hoffmann, Parker, Wilson & Carberry PC
Corey Y. Hoffmann is a director and shareholder with the law firm of Hoffmann, Parker, Wilson & Carberry, P.C., where he practices primarily in the areas of local government law, litigation, and urban renewal.  Mr. Hoffmann currently serves as the City Attorney for the Cities of Northglenn, Black Hawk, and Cañon City, Town Attorney for the Towns of Hudson, Foxfield, Elizabeth, Gilcrest, Deer Trial, Arriba and Genoa, and general and special counsel to several other local governmental entities. Mr. Hoffmann received his B.A. degree, with honors, from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1989, and his J.D. degree, cum laude, from California Western School of Law in 1993.
4:30 p.m. | Welcome Reception

Sponsored by: Butler Snow LLP; Widner Juran LLP; Hoffman, Parker, Wilson & Carberry, P.C. and Michow Cox & McAskin LLP



Saturday, September 24

8 a.m. | Continental breakfast


8:30 - 9:30 a.m. | The Color of Law (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion session)

A discussion on how governments, through the laws they enact, directly and indirectly support segregation and discrimination. An overview of federal and local laws that directly enforced segregation and discrimination, and a discussion of how municipal attorneys navigate this and ethically advise their clients on laws that have a disparate impact or that may not be consistent with an attorney’s own values or identity. What do we do as municipal attorneys when presented with such ethical dilemmas?

Click here to view the color of law PowerPoint presentation

Alicia Calderon, City Attorney, City of Brighton
Alicia Calderón is the City Attorney for the City of Brighton, and previously she was the Deputy City Attorney for Loveland. Government at all levels is where her career has been, including eleven years with the Attorney General’s Office representing the State Department of Human Services. Even before law school, Alicia became interested in education and trainings on the subject of Diversity and what is now “Diversity Equity and Inclusion” (DEI). Beginning in 1993, she was a part of the Speakers’ Project to End Discrimination, a non-profit that used experiential exercises to raise awareness and examine one’s own biases. While Alicia reads on these topics for herself, when the opportunity presents, she likes to share and discuss with others.

Lena McClelland, Assistant Town Attorney, Town of Castle Rock
Lena McClelland is the Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Castle Rock and has served in a similar capacity in the City of Brighton and the City of Littleton since 2016.  She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law.

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. | Workforce & Affordable Housing - A Governmental Function

Municipalities have responded to the housing crisis through a complex variety of approaches. This session will consider the Town of Breckenridge’s housing strategies and programs through a legal lens considering the municipal charter, legislative grants of authority, and division of roles between stakeholders including the municipality, housing authority, private developers and non-profit entities.

Click here to view the workforce & affordable housing PowerPoint presentation

Kirsten Crawford, Town Attorney, Town of Breckenridge
Kirsten J. Crawford is the Town Attorney for the Town of Breckenridge where she is the legal advisor to the Breckenridge Town Council and the Town administration. After graduating from D.U. Kirsten was a law clerk to the Honorable Raymond D. Jones, Colorado Court of Appeals, and then went into private practice as an associate litigation attorney for Wells, Anderson and Race, LLC, where she defended government entities and individuals in employment and constitutional claims. Kirsten has held positions with two counties, served as the City Attorney of the City of Littleton, and served as the chief legal advisor for the Denver City Council where she was involved with a broad spectrum of issues, including significant charter, ballot, and land use matters.

10:30 - 10:45 a.m. | Break


10:45 a.m. - noon | Defense of Municipal Law Enforcement in Challenging Times

This presentation will cover the current state of civil rights litigation against law enforcement officers and agencies in Colorado through the lens of municipalities, including the new wave of cases arising out of protests and under the cause of action created by SB 217. The presentation will focus on the areas of highest liability for municipalities, cover new case law and outcomes of recent settlements and verdicts across the nation, and provide practical insight from litigators at two of the largest cities in Colorado who are at the front edge of these rapidly developing areas of law.

Click here to view defense of municipal law enforcement PowerPoint presentation
Click here to view defense of municipal law handout

Click here to view defense of municipal law handout two

Hollie Birkholz, Sr. Assistant City Attorney, City & County of Denver
Hollie Birkholz is a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the Civil Litigation section of the Denver City Attorney’s Office. For the last several years, she has defended tort and constitutional lawsuits filed against Denver, its officials, and employees. She recently served on the trial team that defended Denver and its officers in the first jury trial in the country resulting from the George Floyd protests. Ms. Birkholz also advises a variety of Denver agencies including safety agencies (including police, fire and sheriff), transportation and infrastructure, parks, and arts and venues. Prior to working with the Denver City Attorney’s office, Ms. Birkholz has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in various areas of civil litigation in Colorado, Missouri and Illinois.

Isabelle Evans, Litigation Manager, City of Aurora
Isabelle Evans is the Litigation Manager for the Aurora City Attorney’s Office. Isabelle began her legal career as a law clerk to Judge Bruce Jones in Denver. She then joined the Aurora City Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor in the Criminal Justice Division. Isabelle later moved to the Civil Division, where she served as general counsel to the City’s fire department and handled civil litigation, prior to becoming Litigation Manager. Isabelle handles all types of affirmative and defensive litigation on behalf of the City, but primarily is responsible for a docket of high-profile civil rights cases.

Noon | Seminar adjourns



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