Aaron Boschee, senior associate in the firm’s Litigation Practice Group and resident of the Denver office, has been awarded the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s 2016 Individual of the Year Award. The annual awards luncheon was held on Monday, May 23, 2016 and highlighted Mr. Boschee’s pro bono efforts over the course of the past year.
Mr. Boschee and the firm have been actively involved in the Colorado Lawyer’s Committee’s Taylor Ranch pro bono litigation. The Taylor Ranch case is a 35-year effort to secure access to a 77,500 acre mountainous land parcel known as Taylor Ranch for residents of Costilla County, Colorado. The current case was filed in 1981 and has involved federal court review, two trials and multiple appeals. In 2003, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the rights of clients, the plaintiff property owners in and around the San Luis Valley, Colorado, to exercise their traditional rights to graze livestock and collect firewood and timber on the property. The Colorado Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court, directing it to identify all landowners meeting the requirements for access rights – namely, settlement prior to 1870.
On remand, the trial court ruled that all areas marked on a historic map were presumed to be settled prior to 1870 and, therefore, those living in the mapped areas have presumptive access to the mountain tract. In September 2009, the trial court revoked the favorable presumption of pre-1870 settlement for the area of Los Fuertes, leaving the residents of the area without access to the mountain tract. Following this ruling, our firm actively engaged in establishing the timely settlement of Los Fuertes, eventually reaching a stipulation with the current owner of the Taylor Ranch to secure access for virtually all of the affected landowners.
In 2013, Mr. Boschee took over as lead counsel for the plaintiff-class and spearheaded negotiations with the opposing side, which resulted in access rights for hundreds of additional landowners. Mr. Boschee also coordinates the efforts of dozens of volunteer attorneys from several law firms all working to establish and protect access holders’ rights.
“I’m honored and humbled to be recognized by the Colorado Lawyers Committee as Individual of the Year,” Mr. Boschee said. “The Taylor Ranch litigation has allowed me to contribute to this economically disadvantaged community in a truly meaningful way. I look forward to continuing to represent the residents of Costilla County in the fight for their historic rights, with the generous support of the Colorado Lawyers Committee and Squire Patton Boggs.”
Peter Gould, Office Managing Partner of Denver, said: “We are delighted that Aaron’s tireless efforts in the Taylor Ranch case have been recognized by the Colorado Lawyers’ Committee and the legal community. Squire Patton Boggs is dedicated to assisting our neighbors in need, and we are pleased to have these efforts praised by our peers. We look forward to continuing to support the Colorado Lawyers Committee and its good work.”