Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1990 scholar Kenzo Kawanabe

10 Apr Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1990 scholar Kenzo Kawanabe

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova.

Name: Kenzo Kawanabe
Scholar Year: 1990
Hometown: Alamosa 
College(s), Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): University of Colorado, BA (1994), and Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. (1997)

Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?

For 18 years, I have been a commercial trial lawyer at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, one of Colorado’s oldest and largest law firms. I represent clients in a variety of matters relating to commercial disputes, mass torts and intellectual property, in a variety of industries including energy, technology, aviation, engineering and real estate.  I am a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and I enjoy helping my clients solve their problems. Prior to joining DGS, I served as a law clerk for the Honorable Mary J. Mullarkey, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court.

What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?

Obviously, the Boettcher Scholarship paid for my college, for which I am eternally grateful. But more importantly, the Boettcher family taught me about philanthropy and working towards the greater good of a stronger community and state. As a Trustee of the Boettcher Foundation and a member of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, I am committed the paying this generous gift forward.

Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations or groups outside of work.

In the legal profession, I teach trial skills and the rule of law, and serve as the Pro Bono Partner at my firm. I was the first-ever General Counsel for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and serve on the Boards of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, CO Lawyers Committee and CO Legal Services. In addition to my legal community service, I have served on the Boards of the Boettcher Foundation, Denver Foundation, Sakura Foundation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Community Resource Center and CO Nonprofit Development Center.

The activities I enjoy the most are spending time (traveling, eating, laughing, etc.) with my family including my wife (Irene), daughters (Mika and Aya), and 85-pound dog (Fozzie).

What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for new graduates entering your career field?

The rule of law is a pillar of our democracy, and attorneys are the guardians of the rule of law. The law opens so many doors to so many different jobs.  Find what makes you happy (your Happiness Factor). While I am not encouraging you to act on whims, I do believe that true introspection will allow you to obtain a satisfying career(s) in the law.

If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?

Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Carr: two lawyers who followed their moral compass to be on the right side of history.

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