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Judicial Excellence Awards

2018 Judicial Award Recipients— Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice, Colorado Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alan M. Loeb, District Court Judge Morris B. Hoffman, County Court Judge Thomas E. Vance, and Magistrate Lisa M. Gomez


Magistrate Lisa M. Gomez, Denver Juvenile Court
Magistrate Gomez graduated with a degree in criminal justice from Metropolitan State University of Denver.  She attended law school at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  After working as a guardian ad litem for Denver County and a respondent parent council, she joined the bench as a Denver Juvenile Court Magistrate.  In addition to her docket, Gomez leads many of her court’s efforts in defining best practices for dependency and neglect cases, truancy reform, and juvenile delinquency and paternity cases. She is very involved with task groups connected to the Child Support State Office and speaks annually at the Child Support Family Conference.


 Judge Thomas E. Vance, Jefferson County
Judge Vance was appointed to the Jefferson County Court in 2004. Prior to his appointment, he served for ten years as a Jefferson County Court Magistrate. He received a BA in Economics from the University of Denver and earned his law degree from the University of Denver Law School. He has presided over both criminal and civil dockets in Jefferson County.  Judge Vance presides over criminal, domestic violence, protection orders, and other civil actions. For more than the last year, he has presided over a civil-only court implemented to address a backlog of civil cases. Judge Vance is active in the local community working with and coaching teens. In addition, he conducts and judges  mock trials and attends small claims court with high school students.


Judge Morris B. Hoffman, 2nd Judicial District
Judge Hoffman was appointed to the Denver District Court in 1990. Prior to his appointment, he was in private practice in Denver, specializing in commercial litigation, real estate, and bankruptcy law. Judge Hoffman graduated with a degree in mathematics from the University of Colorado and received his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1977. He is judge-in-residence at the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research and was nominated in 2002 to be a fellow at Stanford’s Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.  In 2007, he was invited to join the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s grants for the study of law and neuroscience.  He is nationally recognized in the field of law and neuroscience and authored a book in 2014 entitled "The Punishers Brain".   


Chief Judge Alan M. Loeb, Colorado Court of Appeals
Chief Judge Alan Loeb, a Denver native, graduated from East Denver High School in 1964 and Stanford University in 1968. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1971 where he was editor of the Michigan Law Review.  Loeb practiced with the firm of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP from 1971 through 2003. He was a partner from 1977 through 2003.  His practice focused on complex civil litigation and appeals, with an emphasis on securities and corporate litigation and counseling. In 2003, he was appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals.  He became that court’s chief judge in 2013.  Chief Judge Loeb is a frequent speaker on appellate advocacy and procedure at continuing legal education programs and was managing editor of the Colorado Appellate Handbook. He served as the chairperson of the Colorado Supreme Court Standing Committee on Appellate Rules.


 Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice, Colorado Supreme Court
Chief Justice Rice was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1998 and was selected by the members of the court to serve as chief justice in 2013. Before that, she served as a district court judge in the Second Judicial District (Denver) from 1987 to 1998. Before taking the bench, Rice served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1977 to 1987 and as the deputy chief of the appellate division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado from 1985 to 1987. She also served as a deputy state public defender in the appellate division from 1975 to 1976. Rice received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University in 1972 and her law degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1975. She has served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Colorado Law School and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.