Theresa Wardon Benz was honored last night with the 2019 Richard Marden Davis Award at a dinner in her honor. The award recognizes her outstanding service to the legal community, along with her civic and charitable leadership.
The Davis Award is presented annually “to a Denver lawyer who is 40 years old or younger and combines excellence as a lawyer with civic, cultural, educational, and charitable leadership.” The award was created in memory of Richard Marden Davis, one of the founders of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, who devoted himself tirelessly to the profession and the community. Each honoree “best exemplifies the character and promise of Richard Davis at that stage in his career.” Ms. Wardon Benz follows a long line of past winners who have continued to serve the Denver legal community.
“Theresa’s dynamism as a lawyer and passion for social justice make her an inspiration to us all,” said DGS Co-Managing Partner Kristin Lentz. “We are pleased to recognize her with the Davis Award, and we wish her every continued success in her career.”
Ms. Wardon Benz, a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law and Boston College, is a partner at Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP, where she represents leading companies, including Ford, Michelin, and Whirlpool, in complex commercial, class action, and product liability trials, litigation, and appeals. She has served on winning trial teams in Arizona, Florida, and Ohio and has briefed and argued a number of winning appeals in the Colorado Supreme Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals. She recently authored several amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court for pro bono criminal matters, at the request of Sidley Austin and the Northwestern Supreme Court Clinic. Prior to joining Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP, Ms. Wardon Benz clerked for Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (now an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court). Ms. Wardon Benz’s achievements and potential have not gone unnoticed. In 2017, the American Bar Association named her among the top 40 young lawyers in its annual “On the Rise” list. In 2019, she was named a 40 & Under National Star by Benchmark Litigation. These accolades echo the recognition that she received earlier in her career: 40 Under 40 (Denver Business Journal, 2016); Top Litigators (Law Week Colorado, 2016); and Up-and-Coming Lawyers (Law Week Colorado, 2012).
Furthermore, Ms. Wardon Benz maintains an impactful pro bono practice. In addition to the amicus briefs that she has authored in criminal matters, she represents asylum seekers fleeing extreme violence in their home countries. She also assisted in negotiating access rights as part of an entitlement claim in a pro bono effort on behalf of more than two dozen families and landowners in matters relating to a large tract of land originally administered under a land grant dating back to Spanish colonial rule in southern Colorado. Ms. Wardon Benz’s dedication to fostering a more inclusive society has fueled her along the path to leadership. From 2012 to 2018, she served on the board of directors of The Gathering Place, Denver’s only daytime shelter for women, children, and transgender individuals experiencing poverty. She continues to serve as a mentor for Law School . . . Yes We Can, which is the first law school pipeline program in Colorado to target high-achieving college freshmen from diverse backgrounds and give them access to the legal profession.
“Theresa’s determination to use her skills for the greater good distinguishes her as a role model for other lawyers,” said DGS partner and Davis Award Committee member Catherine Hance. “We applaud her past achievements with the knowledge that she will continue to raise the bar wherever her career takes her.”
ABOUT THE RICHARD MARDEN DAVIS AWARD
Richard Davis’ family, his law firm Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, and the Denver Bar Foundation established this award in his memory in 1993, honoring his belief that great lawyers should be professional and community leaders. The award was created not only to recognize successful and committed young lawyers, but also to inspire other young attorneys to follow in his footsteps. For nearly 50 years, Mr. Davis tirelessly devoted himself to the legal profession and the community. He served as president of the Denver Bar Association in 1959 and played key leadership roles in philanthropic and arts organizations throughout his career. For more information, visit dgslaw.com/who-we-are/davis-award.
ABOUT THE DENVER BAR ASSOCIATION
The Denver Bar Association was founded in 1891 with the commitment to promote justice, support and assist member attorneys in delivering legal service, and uphold the honor and dignity of the bar. The association likewise works to foster respect for the legal profession, encourage ongoing legal education, and offer resources for the media and the public on legal issues. For more information, visit denbar.org.