Remembering Ben Aisenberg: 1931-2021, 0621 COBJ, Vol. 50, No. 6 Pg. 60

PositionVol. 50, 6 [Page 60]

50 Colo.Law. 60

Remembering Ben Aisenberg: 1931-2021

Vol. 50, No. 6 [Page 60]

Colorado Lawyer

June, 2021



"Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends."

William Butler Yeats

Ben Aisenberg's remarkable life and career are pretty well known to those of us in the Colorado legal community who have been around a while. This profile highlights the salient way points along Ben's journey, followed by some well-earned words of tribute from Ben's friends and colleagues.

The Highlight Reel

Ben grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he excelled in academics and sports. He similarly made his mark at Brown University and then Harvard Law School. Upon graduation, he had an opportunity to join what was then one of the few Jewish law firms in Boston, but he chose Denver, having become acquainted with this area while serving in the Air Force in Colorado Springs and Denver. In those days, Denver's big firms were not inclined to hire Jewish lawyers, even those with a double Ivy pedigree. The firm of Gorsuch, Kirgis, Campbell, Walker and Grover was an exception. There, Ben became an accomplished commercial litigator known for his diligence, intellect, and preparation. He later opened his own small firm, where he excelled in representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases.

Ben became involved with the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association when it first formed in the late 1960s. Around that same time, he also became involved with the Denver and Colorado Bar Associations and began a decades-long stint on the CBA Ethics Committee. His dedication to the CTLA, DBA, and CBA resulted in his selection as president of each association—an unmatched "Triple Crown" achievement—and earned him Awards of Merit from the DBA, the CBA, and the CBA Ethics Committee. Over the years, Ben also received special recognition from the Colorado Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA) and the Sam Cary Bar Association for his generous support of those organizations and his passion for helping others, especially those underrepresented in the legal profession.

When not advocating for his clients or giving back to the legal community, Ben pursued another passion, bridge, which he once said helped finance his law school tuition. He became a Life Master at age 32, an unusual feat for someone so young. But Ben wasn't all law and bridge. A lifelong bachelor, Ben was always up for a good time—whether in Las Vegas, where he frequented the craps tables, or in Denver and the mountains, where he enjoyed a robust social life. Ben was also a political, history, and sports junkie; he was a voracious reader and always game for conversation and debate. His memory for details, whatever the subject—the law, the facts of cases, Jeopardy trivia—was elephantine.


Ben Aisenberg was a brilliant, benevolent lawyer who was ethical to the core. But as Yeats understood, the true measure of a man's life is not his professional successes; it's what his friends say of him. And Ben's friends and colleagues have a lot to say.

It is with great admiration that I write this tribute to my friend Ben Aisenberg. Given recent events, equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) have become common buzzwords in the legal world. However, Ben had been doing EDI work for his whole career. He was the first Jewish partner on 17th Street and knew firsthand the feeling of isolation in the legal profession. At his law firm, he welcomed their first Black associate lawyer, Trudi Morrison, and aided in her adjustment to 17th Street, when there were very few Black attorneys in the downtown law firms. He mentored Trudi in the firm, supported her with meaningful legal assignments, and encouraged her to join the Sam Cary Bar Association. Around that same time, in approximately 1976, Ben and I met at a CTLA meeting, and he welcomed me into the association.

Ben and I had discussions about the value of affinity bar associations, such as APABA and Sam Cary, since Ben had leadership roles in the DBA, CBA, and CTLA. My associate, Lucy Hojo Denson, was one of the co-founders of APABA and became its first president in 1990. Ben regularly attended the gala events of Sam Cary and APABA and made substantial financial contributions to their scholarship funds for Black and Asian American law students. In 2014 Ben received the Warrior for Justice Award, one of the most meritorious awards given by the Sam Cary Bar membership. The award recognized Ben's career advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. But Ben was more than an EDI advocate; he was an anti-racist in all aspects of his life. Multiple times, Regina and my family were welcomed into his homes in Denver and Aspen. The Blair Caldwell Denver Public Library, a library rich in Black history, will proudly display Ben's Warrior for Justice Award, which has been donated to the library by his estate.

—Hon. Gary Jackson

I loved Ben's sardonic/sarcastic sense of humor: "Do you really need that plate of breakfast today?" Or. when we were on opposite sides of testifying as experts he would ask, "Would it help you if I sent the controlling Colorado case law" (before you embarrass yourself on the stand)? I loved sharing his shopping list at the beginning of the pandemic: 3 bags of Doritos, 2 containers of Dreyers French vanilla, 2...

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