Colorado Supreme Court
Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel
Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.
Jessica E. Yates
Attorney Regulation Counsel
Jessica Yates is Attorney Regulation Counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court. Ms. Yates oversees attorney admissions, attorney registration, mandatory continuing legal and judicial education, attorney discipline and diversion, regulation against the unauthorized practice of law, and inventory counsel matters. Prior to her appointment by the Colorado Supreme Court, Ms. Yates was in private practice as a partner at Snell & Wilmer LLP, focusing on appeals and litigation. She clerked for the Honorable David M. Ebel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2006.
While in private practice, Ms. Yates was the Denver lead for her firm’s ethics committee, and served as the firm’s co-chair for its pro bono committee. In these capacities, she helped set and implement policies and procedures for compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct, promoted the 50-hour pro bono goal within the firm, and encouraged associates to get involved in both pro bono work and community service. She was active in the Colorado Bar Association’s appellate group, helping organize its annual appellate CLE for several years, and served on the CBA’s amicus curiae committee. She also served on the Standing Committee on Pro Se Litigation for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. She participated on the Criminal Justice Act appellate panel for the Tenth Circuit. Ms. Yates also has served on boards of directors for numerous non-profit and civic organizations, including The Colorado Health Foundation and the Access Fund.
Ms. Yates transitioned into law from a career in public policy and public administration, which focused on management, regulatory and funding issues for health and human services programs. She received her M.A. in Public Administration and Public Policy from the University of York, England, and her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Outside of work, Ms. Yates enjoys trail running, yoga, and rock-climbing.
Margaret B. Funk
Chief Deputy Regulation Counsel
Margaret Brown Funk is Chief Deputy Regulation Counsel of the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. Her responsibilities include operations oversight for the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, which includes the Office of Attorney Admissions, Office of Attorney Registration, Office of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education, and the intake and trial divisions in the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. Ms. Funk graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1994 and was in private practice for 12 years before joining the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel in 2006 as a trial attorney.
In private practice, Ms. Funk represented individuals in civil rights matters, primarily in the area of employment law. Between 1995 and 1998, she served as President and Vice President of the Colorado Plaintiffs Employment Lawyers Association (PELA). Between 1998 and 2005, she served as a member of the PELA board of directors and was assigned the duties of chair of the legislative committee and liaison to the Colorado Bar Association. She has published several articles in the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association’s monthly magazine, Trial Talk, and has lectured extensively on civil rights, litigation, and legal ethics. She administers the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel Trust Account School. She is a faculty member for the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel Ethics School program and Professionalism School program, and has been a panelist and presenter at ABA conferences, NOBC conferences and numerous CLE programs in Colorado. Recent committee work includes the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC) Program Committee; the Colorado Supreme Court Advisory subcommittee on Proactive, Management-Based Regulation; the Colorado Supreme Court Advisory subcommittee on C.R.C.P. 251 rule revision; the Colorado Supreme Court Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct; the Colorado Board of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education rule revision subcommittee; the Colorado Chief Justice’s Commission on Professional Development, New Lawyer Working Group and Leadership Working Group; and the Colorado Bar Association’s Peer Professionalism Assistance Group.
April M. McMurrey
Deputy Regulation Counsel, Intake Division
April McMurrey is Deputy Regulation Counsel in the intake division. Ms. McMurrey also assists in the supervision of admissions and mandatory continuing legal and judicial education.
Ms. McMurrey received her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.
Ms. McMurrey joined the Office of Attorney Regulation in 2001 as a law clerk. She was later promoted to the trial division, where she worked for seven years as an Assistant Regulation Counsel. Ms. McMurrey then worked in the intake division as an Assistant Regulation Counsel.
Ms. McMurrey is a member of the Colorado Bar Association, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Douglas-Elbert County Bar Association and the National Organization of Bar Counsel.
Gregory G. Sapakoff
Deputy Regulation Counsel, Trial Division
Greg Sapakoff is Deputy Regulation Counsel in the trial division of the Office. Mr. Sapakoff grew up in Denver and graduated from North High School before attending and graduating from Colorado State University. He received his law degree from the University of Denver College of Law in 1986, and was admitted to the practice of law in Colorado that same year. He is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.
In more than 20 years in private practice, Mr. Sapakoff represented clients in a variety of civil and commercial litigation matters; and represented and counseled lawyers and law firms in connection with legal ethics issues, attorney regulation proceedings, and civil matters arising from the practice of law. He worked for the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel previously, from 1994-2005, as Assistant Regulation Counsel in the trial division.
Mr. Sapakoff is a member of the Denver and Colorado Bar Associations, and serves on the CBA’s Ethics Committee. He also is a member of the American Bar Association and the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, the National Organization of Bar Counsel, and the Association of Judicial Disciplinary Counsel. Mr. Sapakoff served on the Committee on Conduct of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado from 2006-2012, and is a frequent speaker on topics relating to legal ethics.
Dawn M. McKnight
Deputy Regulation Counsel, Attorney Admissions, Attorney Registration and Continuing Legal and Judicial Education
Dawn McKnight is Deputy Regulation Counsel overseeing admissions, registration, and mandatory continuing legal and judicial education. Ms. McKnight received her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and her law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. After graduating from law school, Ms. McKnight practiced environmental law for a nonprofit, then became a civil litigation associate for a private firm. Prior to joining the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel in 2016, Ms. McKnight was Assistant Executive Director and Publications Director of Colorado Bar Association CLE.
Ms. McKnight is a member of the National Organization of Bar Counsel; the American Bar Association; the Colorado Women’s Bar Association; the National Conference of Bar Examiners/Council of Bar Admission Administrators; and, the National Continuing Legal Education Regulators Association. She is also a Fellow of the Colorado Bar Foundation and a Circle of Minerva member of the Women’s Bar Foundation. She is the current Chair of the Board of Directors of Options Credit Union. Ms. McKnight currently participates in the Colorado Supreme Court’s Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being.
Previously, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association Board of Trustees, the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors, the Board of Directors of the Association for Continuing Legal Education Administrators, the Board of Directors of Community Shares of Colorado, and the Board of Directors of the Denver Women’s Hockey League. Recent Committee work includes the Colorado Supreme Court Advisory Subcommittee on Proactive, Management-Based Regulation, the Colorado Board of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education rule revision subcommittee; and, the New Lawyer Working Group of the Colorado Chief Justice’s Commission on Professional Development. Ms. McKnight has lectured extensively about continuing legal education, legal publishing, law practice management, human resources management, and lawyer licensure admissions issues.
Assistant Regulation Counsel
Assistant Regulation Counsel attorneys fill Regulation Counsel’s traditional role of investigating, regulating and, when necessary, prosecuting attorneys accused of more serious violations of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. Assistant Regulation Counsel attorneys in the Intake Division act as the office’s triage unit. Its six attorneys are the front line for all complaints, deciding how a case is handled and whether it moves forward. Intake attorneys can dismiss cases outright, issue letters with educational language to the respondent attorney, agree in cases of minor misconduct to an alternative to discipline involving education or monitoring, or forward matters of more serious misconduct to the trial division. Assistant Regulation Counsel also educate attorneys by teaching the office’s Ethics School and Professionalism School and other continuing legal education courses.
Jill Perry Fernandez
Lisa E. Pearce, Senior Assistant Regulation Counsel
E. James Wilder
Intake Division Investigators
Assistant Regulation Counsel
When the Intake Division determines that an attorney’s misconduct matter is more serious or requires additional investigation, Assistant Regulation Counsel attorneys in the Trial Division conduct further investigation and, if necessary, prosecution. At the end of an investigation, attorneys in the Trial Division can dismiss a case; enter into a diversion agreement; enter into a conditional admission of misconduct, in which the respondent attorney agrees to the imposition of certain discipline; or file a report recommending formal proceedings, after which a formal complaint might be filed. Attorneys in the Trial Division also handle disciplinary trials and appeals, as well as attorney admissions, unauthorized practice of law, and client protection fund matters. Assistant Regulation Counsel also educate attorneys by teaching the office’s Ethics School and Professionalism School and other continuing legal education courses.
Erin Robson Kristofco, Senior Assistant Regulation Counsel
J. P. Moore
Alan Obye, Senior Assistant Regulation Counsel
Jonathan P. White
Chief Trial Division Investigator
Trial Division Investigators
The cornerstones of Colorado’s attorney regulation system are the diversion (alternative-to-discipline) agreement and probation conditions in discipline matters. Diversion agreements and probation conditions protect the public while allowing an otherwise competent attorney to continue practicing. The office’s full-time case monitor ensures compliance with the conditions of probation and diversion programs. Those conditions can include attendance at the office’s trust account school or ethics school, submitting to drug or alcohol monitoring, or receiving medical or mental health treatment. The case monitor also helps run the various schools for attorneys intended to improve the provision of legal services to consumers.
Nicolette (Nicole) Chavez
Attorney Admissions is charged with administering the bar exam and conducting character and fitness reviews of exam, on-motion, and Uniform Bar Exam transfer applicants. Two full-time investigators and four licensure analyst review applications for character and fitness qualifications. By addressing concerns with applicants before they become practicing attorneys, the character and fitness process takes a proactive role in protecting the public.
Character and Fitness Staff Attorney
Character and Fitness Investigator
Attorney Registration and Continuing Legal and Judicial Education
Once an applicant meets admission requirements, Attorney Registration completes the process by ensuring the proper administration of the oath. Attorneys then register annually with the office and pay annual license fees. The annual license fees fund the Attorneys’ Fund for Client Protection and defray the costs of attorney regulation (including the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge), attorney registration, continuing legal and judicial education, enforcement of the unauthorized practice of law rules, the Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program, the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program, the Commission on Judicial Discipline, and some library services. The office is run by the Clerk of Attorney Registration and Continuing Legal and Judicial Education, and is aided by five full-time staff members.
Clerk of Attorney Registration and Director of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education
Assistant Administrator of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education
When an attorney is no longer able to perform his or her duties to clients, either due to disability or death, and there is no other party responsible for the attorney’s affairs, the office steps in to file a petition for appointment of inventory counsel. With the assistance of volunteer Colorado attorneys, and investigators and attorneys from the office, the Inventory Counsel Coordinator reviews all of the files and takes steps to protect the interests of the attorney and the attorney’s clients.
Inventory Counsel Coordinators
Laura Teaff, Inventory Counsel Coordinator
Brenda Gonzales, Assistant Inventory Counsel Coordinator
Karen Fritsche, Operations Manager
Kevin Hanks, Office Manager
Marci Hunter, Administrator, Accounting/Payroll
Kerry Miller, Controller
Kristie Miller, Staff Assistant
David Murrell, IT Support Technician
Steve Russell, Data Base Developer/DBA