President's Page by Jennifer Lorenz
It seems that people either think lawyers are Atticus Finch or Saul Goodman. I’m more of an Elle Woods, but I had my start in the world of Saul Goodman.
I don’t have a longstanding lineage of lawyers in my family. People in my family are more likely to need a lawyer than to be a lawyer. I’m the only lawyer in my entire family.
Why I went to law school- it’s not a particularly compelling story. My college boyfriend was going to law school. He was studying for the LSAT and I sat down with him one afternoon and took the practice exam. I scored pretty well. Actually, I scored way better than he scored after he had been studying for the exam for weeks. So, I decided to go to law school. Yep, much like Elle Woods, I went to law school because of a boy. I had no idea what to expect from law school. I watched the movie the Paper Chase. It depicted law school as intense, pretentious and humiliating. I thought that if law school was even a slight reflection of that movie, it was going to be awful. Wayne State University’s law school in downtown Detroit was no reflection of the rigorous Harvard curriculum depicted in the Paper Chase- thank goodness. Students were supportive of each other and no one stole chapters out of library books to sabotage their fellow students. Probably because we didn’t use library books and because everything was online, but still.
I am the rare person who thought law school was fun. Having no knowledge of the law, I thought the classes were intriguing. But I knew I would love being a lawyer after I landed my first job as a law clerk at a criminal defense firm in Detroit. The criminal law scene in Detroit, the murder capital of the United States, was busy. The cases I worked on were scandalous. My bosses were true professionals and taught me how to genuinely love the law, even when you don’t necessarily love your clients. I was hired to assist with the case of a man who was convicted of money laundering and other nefarious crimes. He was picked up at the airport with a considerable amount of cash on his person. He was also a Muslim, and it was shortly after 9/11. The case was not about terrorism, but the prosecution quickly painted the client as a terrorist. We worked on downward departure in sentencing guidelines based on wrongful terrorism accusations. It was new and it was fascinating, and I never want to work in the criminal defense world again.
I left Detroit after law school and worked for a firm in Cleveland. It was a professional sweat shop. I had over 1000 hearings during my first year of practice. If we stayed in Cleveland, I think I would have died, chained to a desk, crushed by a stack of files in a windowless office. My husband and I fled the Midwest for Colorado in 2006.
Shortly after moving to Colorado I joined the BCBA. It’s difficult transplanting to a new State and a new City and starting your career from scratch. I was lucky in finding a true home at the BCBA. I have been involved as a BCBA employment law section co-chair and Board Member for over 10 years. I remember my first BCBA Board of Directors meeting. I was intimidated. The attorneys on the BCBA Board were experienced, intelligent and respected attorneys. I had only been practicing for a few years and I was still finding my niche. I felt way out of my league. But then I met Renee Ezer, a BCBA Board member and trust and probate attorney. She sat next to me at dinner and we talked about everything from shoe shopping to client intake. Meeting Renee and becoming a Board Member changed the trajectory of my practice and my career. Now I’m a partner at Dietze and Davis, and I get to sit next to our new members at dinner and chat with them and hopefully make them feel comfortable and welcome.
The BCBA is important to me because it provides our profession with a supportive community. I've developed relationships and friendships with people I would have never met except for our mutual involvement in the BCBA. The BCBA promotes the personal and professional development of all Colorado attorneys. This year I am excited to continue building the BCBA community. I encourage each and every member to attend the BCBA CLEs, happy hours, fundraisers and events. Our community is built by its members. If you have any ideas, interests or want to discuss what the BCBA can do for you, contact me. If I’m not in my office, you’ll probably find me riding my bike or out running. #ridemoredriveless.