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Judging Her Judicial Career: What Jean Dubofsky learned on the Colorado Supreme Court

Earlier this year we spoke with Jean Dubofsky, of Boulder, Colo., who, in 1979, became the first female justice on the Colorado Supreme Court. She returned to private practice in 1988, and is now in the midst of winding down her storied career.

Below is an audio excerpt of what Ms. Dubofsky learned as a judge on the Colorado Supreme Court, and how those lessons played into her subsequent role as an appellate lawyer.

Here's the transcript:

Because you watch for long enough and you see how cases get resolved. And these are resolutions not just by one person-those are harder to predict-but by a group of people. And normally you'll come up with something that is not on either extreme, and usually closer to the middle, so you begin to see where compromises are made, and after a while people deciding things in groups tend to not push their own personal views quite as much.

This may not be true of the U.S. Supreme Court right now but certainly when I was on the Colorado Supreme Court people looked for ways to accommodate. And an opinion written by one person might very well include ideas from others. And so the cases resolved in a fashion that, if you thought about it, usually made sense. So my theory, in practicing appellate law, has been, in putting a case together, trying to figure out what is the more likely way a court is going to rule in your favor? And there's lots of rules of the road. Like: You don't usually raise questions of fact on appeal; you don't say that the trial court was wrong in terms of interpreting what witnesses said or their credibility, and you don't usually try to go against a trial court's findings of fact. That just doesn't work.

But you do have to find some legal issues that are significant enough for the court but at the same time you've got a good theory going for you. This isn't just a rule, some case you picked out and started quoting, you understand why the rule was developed. So from my standpoint you go back and look at some of the treatises, and figure out where the rule you're talking about came from and why. Then you can start putting together an argument that you can make appealing to a court. You can make it appealing in the sense that they're not going out on a limb in order to rule your way.

Our entire Q&A with Ms. Dubofsky, "Lone Ranger," can be read here.

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The Best of 2013: Super Lawyers Top Lists

As 2013 comes to a close, Super Lawyers celebrates another year of recognizing excellence in practice with the release of our Top Lists.

What are Top Lists? Published in each state, the attorneys included on a Top List are have not only been selected to their state's Super Lawyers list-they have also scored the highest point totals during our patented selection process, which is comprised of peer nominations, independent research and peer evaluations.


(The Super Lawyers selection process; click to view full-size.)

Attorneys on a Top List are truly the best a state has to offer, and this year is no exception. Among this year's Top List attorneys are:

  • Carter G. Phillips (Top 10, Washington, D.C.), whose 76 arguments before the United States Supreme Court are the most of any attorney currently in private practice.
  • Ted Wells (Top 10, New York Metro), dubbed the "go-to guy" for defense in high-profile white-collar criminal cases and complex civil litigation.
  • Charla G. Aldous (Top 50 Women, Texas and Top 10, Texas), the personal injury attorney whose verdicts and settlements from 2000-2005 garnered more than $675 million.

"Super Lawyers is proud to provide visibility to outstanding attorneys," said Julie Gleason, Director of Research for Super Lawyers. "The Top Lists take that step to the next level by highlighting those attorneys who demonstrate a truly exceptional level of accomplishment."

The size and specifics of each Top List (Top 10, Top 50 Women, etc.) vary depending on the list's respective state or region, and the number of attorneys selected to the state's Super Lawyers list for the year.

If you've been selected to your state's Top List, there are some easy ways to promote this accomplishment: Download our Super Lawyers Promotional Kit for templates to use on your website, blog or social media channels.

To view the Top Lists by state or region, please visit SuperLawyers.com/TopLists.

David J. Beck Representing the University of Texas in Farrah Fawcett Case

Attorney David J. Beck of Beck Redden in Houston, a member of the Super Lawyers National Advisory Board, is representing the University of Texas at Austin in the dispute with actor Ryan O'Neal over an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett. The Charlie's Angels star left her collection of art to the university before her death of cancer in 2009, O'Neal, an old flame, has had possession of it since soon after her death and claims that the portrait is his.

The case was recently covered by the Today Show and CNN.com.

In addition to his prestigious position on the National Advisory Board, Beck was featured in a profile in the 2008 edition of Texas Super Lawyers magazine. 

2013 Super Lawyers Advisory Board Retreat: Recap

(Note: This content is posted on behalf of Heather Walker, Super Lawyers Sr. Director.)

At Super Lawyers, our vision is to provide unparalleled visibility for the attorneys and firms on our list. Just as the business of law is ever-changing, the best marketing solutions for lawyers also evolve. Super Lawyers hosts a variety of focus groups, regional events, sponsorships, trade shows, quarterly webinars and retreats to better understand today's attorney.


Super Lawyers recently completed our 2013 Advisory Board Retreat, held November 13-15 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Attendees included our National Advisory Board (well-known attorneys) and members of our Marketing Board (marketing directors). The group participated in broad sessions and small breakouts designed to generate ideas that will grow our businesses together.

While the weather and the location were truly exceptional, the best part was the valuable insights we received on how to:

  • Expand our print distribution nationally and regionally
  • Make our lists even more relevant to attorneys and consumers
  • Deliver online marketing solutions that drive business development for top law firms


A special thanks to our attendees. The group's engagement, honesty and strategy will be truly impactful to Super Lawyers' long-term success!

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