2017 CBA YLD Gary McPherson Young Lawyer of the Year, 0418 COBJ, Vol. 47, No. 4 Pg. 64

Position:Vol. 47, 4 [Page 64]

47 Colo.Law. 64

Kelley Rider Goodwin: 2017 CBA YLD Gary McPherson Young Lawyer of the Year

Vol. 47, No. 4 [Page 64]

The Colorado Lawyer

April, 2018



Kelley Rider Goodwin is a fifth-generation Texan, and it’s fair to say she does her home state proud. She was born and raised in Austin, where her ancestors were among the famous Old Tree Hundred settlers who purchased land from Steven F. Austin between 1824 and 1828. Kelley’s father practiced law in town, and from the start she knew she wanted to follow in his footsteps—although she confesses that for a week or so in grade school she considered studying architecture instead.

When the time came to choose a college, Kelley did break from family tradition, leaving Texas to study at Auburn University in Alabama. There she majored in political science and criminology. She also earned a minor in Africana Studies, after spending spring break of her junior year in South Africa, and then returning for her fifth academic year.

For law school, Kelley was attracted to the University of Denver Sturm College of Law because of the school’s strong international focus. During her 1L summer she lived in Nairobi, where she took law courses and traveled extensively throughout the region, from the Serengeti to Samburu National Reserve to Rwanda and further a field. Back at DU, she planned to become a litigator, like her father, and became active in the Student Trial Lawyers Association, the Criminal Law Clinic, and Moot Court (it was through her trial partner on the Moot Court team that she met her future husband).

Upon graduating in 2009, Kelley found that the unstable economy thwarted her immediate plans of joining the D.A.’s office. Through volunteering at Colorado Legal Services, Kelley assisted low-income Coloradans and gained experience with Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, foreclosure defense, and mortgage modification. By participating in the Metro Volunteer Lawyers Family Law Court Program, Kelley started gaining experience and making connections in the area of family law, and found that it was very much to her liking. She also interned with a firm in Chicago, and passed both...

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