Bill E. Kyriagis is a commercial litigation attorney with the law firm of Otten, Johnson, Robinson, Neff & Ragonetti, P.C., in Denver, Colorado. His practice focusses on real estate, land use, and development disputes, condemnation/eminent domain, landlord/tenant matters, special district litigation, and CCIOA litigation. Bill is also a regular speaker on marijuana law issues at Colorado and national conferences. He has advised local and national real estate industry clients on marijuana law issues, and has provided counsel on Colorado-specific leasing issues relating to the marijuana industry. He has also advised a major municipality in connection with its drafting of medical marijuana business regulations. Bill writes on a variety of marijuana law topics. He has co-authored a chapter on land use issues for a book on Colorado medical marijuana law, and is the author of the real estate and land use chapter for a forthcoming book on Colorado medical and recreational marijuana.
Cristal T. DeHerrera is Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of Denver. She was appointed in 2014 by Mayor Michael B. Hancock, and her responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations of more than 200 attorneys and staff in one of the largest public law offices in the Western United States. She also advises the city on a wide range of legal and policy issues. Prior to joining the City and County of Denver, Ms. DeHerrera was a shareholder at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where her practice focused on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, public and private securities offerings, capital formation and securities advice.
Prior to joining Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Ms. DeHerrera served as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge John L. Kane of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado and interned at the Denver City Attorney’s Office. In addition, she worked on the 2000 U.S. Presidential campaign and on several key political campaigns throughout the country.
Ms. DeHerrera has been recognized with several industry awards and is active in philanthropic and community issues. She is on the board of directors of Rocky Mountain Youth Clinic and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, and she served as co-chair of the National Hispanic Bar Association’s 2013 annual convention and on the planning committee for the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2014 CGI America conference. She also has held leadership positions supporting numerous community organizations ranging from the Downtown Denver Partnership to the Denver Public Library.
Ms. DeHerrera earned her J.D. from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and her undergraduate degree, with honors, in Political Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, California.
Dwight H. Merriam founded Robinson & Cole’s Land Use Group in 1978. He represents land owners, developers, governments and individuals in land use matters. Dwight is a Fellow and Past President and of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a former Director of the American Planning Association, a former chair of APA’s Planning and Law Division, a former chair of the American Bar Association’s national Section of State and Local Government Law; the Connecticut member of Owners’ Counsel of America, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute National Advisory Board, a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, a Counselor of Real Estate, a member of the Anglo-American Real Property Institute, and a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.
He teaches land use law at the University of Connecticut School of Law and at the Vermont Law School and has published over 200 articles and nine books and including Inclusionary Zoning Moves Downtown, The Takings Issue, The Complete Guide to Zoning, and Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in Context.
Dwight has been named to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list in the area of Land Use Law since 2006, is one of the Top 50 Connecticut Super Lawyers in Connecticut 2011, one of the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers in 2011 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.), ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in Connecticut in the area of Real Estate, listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Land Use & Zoning Law and Real Estate Law since 1991 and the areas of Litigation - Land Use & Zoning and Litigation - Real Estate for 2012 and 2013, and listed in The Best Lawyers in America® as Hartford Lawyer of the Year in the area of Litigation - Land Use & Zoning for 2013 and in the area of Land Use & Zoning Law for 2012.
He received his B.A (cum laude) from the University of Massachusetts, his Masters of Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, where he was invited back as the graduation speaker in 2011, and his J.D. from Yale. He is a featured speaker at many land use seminars, and presents monthly audio land use seminars for the International Municipal Lawyers Association. Dwight has been cited in the national press from The New York Times to People magazine and has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, MSNBC and public television.
Dwight served for seven years on active duty in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, including three tours in Vietnam, and 24 more years in the reserves, retiring as a Captain following his command of the reserve augmentation unit of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
Scott Martinez was appointed to serve as Denver City Attorney by Mayor Michael B. Hancock in January, 2014. Mr. Martinez brings focus, energy and an entrepreneurial approach to the five unique roles of Denver's chief legal officer, which include serving as: lead counsel to all elected city officials, departments, boards and commissions on municipal law, transactions and taxation; defender of the City and its 11,000 employees against legal claims and lawsuits; prosecutor of municipal crime offenders from domestic violence to graffiti and traffic crimes; chief counsel to the country's third busiest transportation hub, Denver International Airport; and protector of the most vulnerable as the county attorney for Denver Human Services.
Paramount to the ability to advise on these broad legal areas are the over one-hundred attorneys and one-hundred staff in the City Attorney's Office, comprising the best public law department in the country. The City Attorney's Office staff is integrated into every city project, initiative, and high-stakes matter that faces the city. To that end, Mr. Martinez is dedicated to creating a culture of inclusivity and innovation at the City Attorney's Office. He believes that culture creates positive ripples in every matter the people in the City Attorney’s Office touch and promotes opportunities for customer-friendly experiences for those interacting with the legal profession.
For the two years immediately prior to his appointment as City Attorney, Mr. Martinez served as the mayor-appointed Deputy City Attorney. The Deputy position serves as the Chief Operating Officer, managing the day-to-day operations of the office. Before coming to work with the City, Mr. Martinez practiced at Colorado’s largest law firm in its Government Investigations & White Collar Defense practice group. In private practice, Mr. Martinez represented companies under federal investigation by the Department of Justice, investigatory committees of the U.S. Senate and House, and by state and local government agencies. Many of those representations focused on the use of electronic data collection and storage, privacy issues, and data breach.
Mr. Martinez’s leadership approach to the City Attorney’s Office is formed by his experience in the private sector, where he regularly interacted with government regulatory systems. He believes that every city employee can be an entrepreneur in their public service and practical problem solver for those that need our help.
As City Attorney, Mr. Martinez has been on the forefront of major legal issues including: the implementation of the nation’s first retail sales of marijuana, revamping City laws to allow for open data sharing, challenging the legal framework prohibiting marriage equality, and tackling the legal issues around public safety.
Mr. Martinez remains active in the broader legal community. He is a Member of the Board of the Colorado Bar Association, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, and the Board of Advisors to the Byron White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law, at the University of Colorado. He has also received accolades as one of the twelve inaugural “Top Up and Coming Attorneys” by Law Week Colorado, honored as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Forty under 40, awarded the Dean Edward King “Pay it Forward” Award by the University of Colorado Law School, and the annual Alumni Award by the University of San Diego School of Law. Under his leadership, the City Attorney’s Office was also awarded the Outstanding Corporate Commitment Award by the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association.
Outside the legal community, Mr. Martinez is active on several boards and commissions. He serves as an appointee to the Municipal Victim Assistance & Law Enforcement Board, the Steering Committee for CitySummit, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Board, and board member of the Bell Policy Center. He previously served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Colorado Election Reform Commission and the Colorado Collection Agency Board.
In 2008, Mr. Martinez took a leave of absence from private practice to serve on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team where he worked with both the technical and legal teams regarding transparency and ethics in the federal government. He continues his work in the field and has been published on transparency in political campaigns and governmental ethics issues.
Mr. Martinez grew up in Lakewood, Colorado. He holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a J.D. from the University of San Diego, School of Law. Mr. Martinez’s most important role is as husband to his wife, Julie, and father to two young, rambunctious sons. His favorite spots are in the nose bleed section at a Red Rocks concert and Civic Center Park hitting the food truck scene. Mr. Martinez is a connoisseur of green chile, avid CU Buffalo fan and amateur psephologist.
Jeremy Németh, PhD is associate professor and chair of the Department of Planning and Design and director of the Master of Urban Design program at the University of Colorado Denver. His teaching and research focus on public space, environmental justice, and land use conflict.
Eric Ross is a lecturer in the Departments of Planning and Design and Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. He conducts geospatial research on urban morphology, access to opportunity, and regional, city, and neighborhood planning. He is the owner of Five Points Geoplanning, LLC.