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TCL > July 2015 Issue > Loren M. Brown—#TheFutureIsNow

July 2015       Vol. 44, No. 7       Page  5
In and Around the Bar
Profile of 2015-16 CBA President

Loren M. Brown—#TheFutureIsNow
by Alexa Drago

About the Author

Alexa Drago is the communications and marketing manager for the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations—(303) 824-5313, adrago@cobar.org.


 
   

When meeting CBA President Loren Brown for the first time, you might be struck by his youthful appearance. At 38, he is the youngest attorney to hold the post of CBA president—and he’s proud of it. The theme of his presidency—#TheFutureIsNow—offers a glimpse into his focus for the year.

Brown is a Colorado native and has practiced as a litigator with the firm now known as Ciancio Ciancio Brown, PC since he clerked there during his days at the University of Denver College of Law (DU Law). He is known throughout the legal community as a doer, as well as for his voice of reason, his sense of humor, and his generosity.

Attorney Mariana Vielma and Brown have worked together over the last eight years in their respective roles of prosecutor and defense attorney, as members of the Adams/Broomfield County Bar Association (ABBA), and as participants on the 17th J.D.’s Access to Justice (ATJ) Committee. They have also worked together on various CBA programs, including COBALT, the CBA’s leadership training program.

"I have laughed, cried, brainstormed, worried, vented, and shared many celebratory fist-bumps with Loren," said Vielma. "What I always observe and remember is how people treat others, and how people put into action what they say they believe. Loren does both extraordinarily well. Loren has a great deal of respect for the justice system, the legal profession, the community, and for others. I admire him for being a living example of how lawyers serve not only their clients, but the legal profession and the communities in which they live."

The Past

Loren M. Brown was born in Denver and, except for his time away at college and law school, has lived his entire life in Westminster. Family was important from the start for Brown. He has been surrounded by strong women, including his mother and older sister, and an aunt and cousins who lived on the same street when he was growing up. His male role models also were very influential. Loren’s father, uncles, and grandfathers helped shape Loren into the man and leader he has become.

 
Skiing with Uncle Keith.   Playing baseball.
     
High jumping in high school.

Building a Foundation for the Future

 
  Fishing.
   

Brown describes his upbringing as "typical." He was interested in sports such as skiing, soccer, and baseball from an early age. He spent a lot of time fly-fishing with his grandfather—seemingly a prerequisite skill for someone holding the position of CBA president. Many presidents before him, including the three most recent (Mark Fogg, Terry Ruckriegle, and Charley Garcia), have been known to enjoy many a day out on the river.

He comes from a family of realtors; his mom, dad, and sister are licensed real estate agents. Brown had a different career in mind, though; he wanted to be a stunt man. Specifically, he wanted to be "The Fall Guy" from the 1980s TV show of the same name starring Lee Majors. His backup occupation was astronaut. Becoming a lawyer was something that never crossed his mind.

In high school, he thought he would become a major league baseball player—until he was cut from the team. When that happened, his football coach’s response was "Good. Now you can come and run track." He excelled at track and continued running while an undergraduate at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU).

Brown earned his BA in History from CU in 1999, focusing on Tudor and Stuart England, a niche not many can claim expertise in, but one that he found fascinating. Speaking with his professor at the time—one of maybe five people in the world who teach the subject—he was asked what he saw in his own future. Brown replied, "Well, I want to do what you do, teach the subject." Understanding his passion, but possibly recognizing his mental acumen, his professor replied, "You’re crazy. Go to law school." And so he did.

From Law School to Trial Lawyer

Brown enrolled at DU Law in 2000, thinking he would focus on commercial real estate and bankruptcy law. However, that plan changed shortly after he crossed paths with Cyndy Ciancio during his first year of law school. Brown met Ciancio when he was smoking a cigarette (he has since given up) outside his mother’s office, located in the same building as Ciancio’s firm. Without hesitation, Brown asked her if the firm needed a law clerk, and she said yes. He was hired after a fifteen-minute interview.

The firm’s concentration is litigation, and it was that exposure that steered his direction and focus in law school. He dropped Intro to Tax and picked up Trial Practice, diving into litigation headfirst. While still in law school, he became the president of the Student Chapter of Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA, now the American Association for Justice or AAJ), which is the plaintiff’s trial lawyers association. He was also on the Moot Court Board, which organized and ran DU’s trial competitions. Loren’s proudest achievement in law school came during his membership in DU’s ATLA Trial Team. In 2003, along with Daniel Wartell, Reggie Short, and Jennifer Gokenbach, the team won the ATLA National Championship.

Brown credits his trial team coaches, Karen Steinhauser and Chris Miranda,1 for the huge impact they had on how he practices today. Another defining experience he had in law school was taking Motions Practice taught by Colorado Supreme Court Justice Nancy Rice.

Given his many accomplishments during his law school years, it may be surprising to learn that Brown almost quit law school during his first semester. He says that he "just didn’t get it." Ironically, the class that almost did him in was criminal law—now one of the pillars of his practice. Everything seemed counterintuitive to him; and then, just before those first finals, it all clicked, and he was hooked. Notwithstanding his uncertain start, Brown now says he loved his time at DU Law and he would have stayed on past the three years if he could.

Before graduating from DU Law in 2003, Brown went through the on-campus interview process and spoke with many firms. He had clerked with Cyndy and Gene Ciancio throughout law school, and they both agreed that they wanted him to continue to work for their firm. Brown accepted their offer, considering it the best of all worlds.

It’s worth noting that Gene Ciancio’s father-in-law was Daniel S. Hoffman, legendary Colorado trial attorney,2 who also was a CBA president. Brown was fortunate to have worked on a couple of cases with Hoffman early on in his career. In Brown’s opinion, Hoffman is a true lawyer’s lawyer. Learning about trial practice and lawyering directly from him had an enormous impact on Brown.

The most important influence on his practice has been the mentorship provided by Gene Ciancio. Having worked side by side for the last fourteen years, Brown stated:

There are many times when I am in the courtroom, especially in difficult situations, where the voice in my head is Gene’s guiding me what to do next. When I am able to listen to my inner Gene Ciancio, I usually come out on top.

The Present

Brown is one of the founding shareholders of Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., formed in September of 2013. Today, Brown’s practice is 100% litigation. He focuses on wrongful death and personal injury, criminal defense, and commercial litigation. One of the most enjoyable parts of his practice, though, is liquor licensing. This is the one area where he actually has opportunities to create something.

Over the years, Brown has spent his fair share of time in the courtroom. When asked about memorable moments, there is one criminal case from his first year of practice that comes to mind. The case ended in a guilty plea. In Brown’s words, the complete details are "not appropriate for general consumption" and discretion is called for. However, it can be revealed that one of the critical pieces of evidence was Viagra. As he explained the circumstances of the case to the court, laughter and snickering could be heard from the gallery. He managed to maintain his composure through his sentencing argument, and the judge handed down the sentence.

Sometime later, Brown appeared in front of the same judge, who called him to the bench. The judge asked the clerk, "Are we off the record?"

"Yes, your honor, we are off the record," the clerk replied.

"Mr. Brown, I talked to my brother the other day who works at Pfizer. He wants your guy to be the new spokesman for Viagra," he said with a smile.

Brown was uncharacteristically speechless, and it took him a minute to catch up before he started to laugh, as well. The experience taught him that although there may be a barrier between the bench and bar, there is also potential for some really good interaction.

Longstanding Service to the Bar

Brown began his bar association involvement with the ABBA in 2003. He became the president in 2008. In 2010, he graduated from the CBA’s COBALT program, and served on the CBA Board of Governors from 2010 to 2012. Before COBALT, he would have said his practice was going well but that he was lacking leadership skills. He says that COBALT, whose mission is to enhance, promote, and inspire the leadership of the profession, was a complete game-changer for him. Listening to the many distinguished leaders in the community present their ideas on leadership introduced him to the tools and methods he felt he needed to master as a leader. He also made tremendous professional connections that he will have forever.

Dana Collier Smith, one of COBALT’s creators and who runs the program, says she has an arsenal of stories about Brown’s sense of humor and generosity. One memorable incident occurred at the ABA Leadership Institute in Chicago this past March.

"We were at dinner with our fellow Colorado attendees," Collier explained. "One of the gentlemen commented on Loren’s lapel pin, [which is issued to lawyers by the Colorado Supreme Court]. Without a second thought, Loren took off the pin and handed it to this lawyer, who was surprised and very appreciative. A true demonstration of Loren’s generosity and his passion for the legal profession."

A Natural at Pro Bono Service

One of Brown’s passions is the pro bono work he has been involved with since very early on in his career. He sits on the 17th J.D. ATJ Committee, as well as on the Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) board. Brown also served on the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) board for a time.

Brown’s commitment to the predicament of Colorado’s indigent litigants blossomed from his early experiences. He says:

When you learn about the huge number of people who are facing legal crises, and cannot afford representation, it is overwhelming. You feel as though there is too much need, and that there is little that can be done to improve circumstances of those in need of legal services. You learn quickly the very important efforts that can make a difference or bring about a change in circumstances, and recognize that even so, we still need to do more. At their core, these organizations are among numerous important organizations that advocate for and provide assistance to the traditionally underserved—abused and neglected children, indigent litigants, and pro se litigants. In my leadership roles, I can influence and support these organizations so that they are better able to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

Brown is proud of the work that he and the 17th J.D. ATJ Committee have done over the years, as the one of the front-runners in the state’s ATJ movement. Using funds from the Sean May Memorial Fund, the committee created a self-help center in the Adams County Courthouse that became the model for self-help centers throughout Colorado. Now, every judicial district has a center that is funded by the State of Colorado—an amazing achievement in the perpetual fight for access to justice.

Christa Kilk, who is the self-represented litigant coordinator at the Adams County Justice Center, spoke about Brown’s ability to get things done. She said:

[The ATJ Committee] had been discussing and thinking about developing ties with local librarians for quite some time. Loren got us on track to doing something about it, beyond our thoughts and discussions. There are a lot of people who are full of thoughts and ideas, but the doers are rare.

In 2012, Brown was awarded the Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year award from the CBA’s Young Lawyers Division. The award recognized Brown’s leadership and service in the legal community, and specifically his work with MVL, CASA, and the 17th J.D. ATJ Committee. In an interview at the time, Brown said:

I am thrilled to be recognized by my peers with the Gary L. McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year award. My goal is to help make the legal profession better, and I love getting the chance to be a part of organizations that help improve the profession from the inside out.

The Future

#TheFutureIsNow—this is Brown’s hashtag for strengthening the bar by engaging young attorneys and making the CBA a more diverse and inclusive organization. Brown believes that the future of the bar depends on engaging law students and young attorneys, and that is what he will focus on during his presidency. "The bar, the profession, the practice—everything is changing. Five years from now, it will not look the same." He feels the way to strengthen the bar is to help younger attorneys see why their involvement is so important.

He has formed a law school committee that is working closely with CU and DU to make meaningful connections with the schools and their students. Focus groups will be created to learn more about what aspiring and new attorneys want.

Brown has worked alongside Immediate Past President Charley Garcia for the last year to establish the groundwork toward an inclusive culture in the CBA and its governance. He plans to continue that push by forming a diversity council involving each specialty bar from across the state. Brown hopes to make real changes in the professional landscape.

The end goal of his presidency is the formation of a long-term strategic plan for the CBA, which already is starting to take shape. The plan will be steered by a committee and a professional facilitator, with the most important aspect being the feedback he hopes to garner during his presidential visits. He will begin touring the state soon to talk about the plan. Brown feels input from CBA members on what they want to see in the future of the bar will be incredibly valuable.

Living in the Now

 
  With the twins when they were born.
   

In May 2014, Brown married Jaclyn Casey, a commercial litigation partner at Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP, and a fellow COBALT 2010 classmate. He has twin 9-year-old boys, Sawyer and Jackson, from a previous marriage, and he and Jaclyn are expecting their first child in August—also a boy. His weekends revolve around the boys—outside sports, trips to the museum, pretending to be Spider Man—and he wouldn’t have it any other way. When he can find some free time, Brown says he follows the mold of your "cookie-cutter lawyer." He likes to fish, ski, and golf, even though he claims he’s not quite good enough yet to call himself a golfer.

"Loren has one speed," says Jaclyn. "He approaches every aspect of his life with the same level of energy, thoughtfulness, honesty, and savvy. I am constantly amazed at how well he simultaneously balances his work commitments, bar association obligations, and community involvement with dedication to his family. He deeply cares about the future of our profession and only involves himself in a project or association if he believes he can effect change or move the organization forward in the right direction. He takes seriously the opportunity to lead our bar association into the future, and I am excited to see that happen!"

Vacationing with Jaci in Florida.

Brown may be that cookie-cutter lawyer if it is measured by his outside interests, or by the long hours he devotes to his career. However, he does not intend to be a cookie-cutter CBA president. When asked how he feels about being the youngest CBA president, he replies:

Awesome. It’s huge! I think it speaks to the issue of how important getting young people involved in the bar really is. I love what I do and I love the profession. I want all young lawyers to experience these same feelings.

Notes

1. See "In Memoriam," 32 The Colorado Lawyer 125 (Dec. 2003), www.cobar.org/tcl/tcl_articles.cfm?articleid=2939.

2. See "In Memoriam," 38 The Colorado Lawyer 110 (Oct. 2009), www.cobar.org/tcl/tcl_articles.cfm?articleid=6242.

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