When I was 12, I decided to become a lawyer. My own father, a trial lawyer, inspired my decision with his presentation to my seventh grade class on career day. His deep passion for the law has always been both palpable and contagious. I wanted to feel that same way.
I never revisited that decision and luckily, in law school, my heart’s desire coincided with some actual talent. For reasons probably known only to my Maker, my brain lends itself especially to tax analysis, and so I found myself a tax lawyer.
Right out of law school, I went to work in the tax department of Holme Roberts & Owen (then a venerable Denver firm, now, sadly, a remnant of Denver’s history). I spent the next 22 years there, under the tutelage of the finest tax and estate planning lawyers in the Rocky Mountains. HRO added experience to my enthusiasm, intellect and education. HRO also added real, live (and some deceased) clients to the mix and I emerged a practicing lawyer. At HRO, I learned that honor in the profession lies only in using my knowledge and skills to solve people’s problems. Happily, working with families and charities at HRO, I also discovered that I am, as the saying goes, “good with people,” and narrowly avoided becoming (only) a tax nerd.
My partner, Michelle Rose-Hughes, and I, founded Tuthill & Hughes in 2007. Here, in a personalized, boutique setting, I help individuals transfer the fruits and wisdom of their life’s work, and I help charities deploy their resources to the world’s greater needs. On a typical work day, you might find me:
- At my desk, telephone appended to my ear, responding to the urgent needs of my clients who like to talk, or eyes glued to my computer screen, responding to the urgent needs of my clients who like to e-mail.
- In a conference room, counseling parents who are worried about how to pass wealth to children without “ruining” them, standing at the white board teaching someone as much as he or she would like to know about gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax, or comforting grieving survivors through probate.
- At my computer, drafting a complex trust, marital agreement, pleading, charitable fund agreement, healthcare directive, or a myriad of other legal documents that require thoughtful analysis and clear writing.
- At a charity board, either as a lawyer helping navigate thorny transitions in mission or governance, or as a contributing member of my community.
- In a courtroom, testifying as an expert witness about issues of fiduciary duty and transfer tax planning.
- With my colleagues, proving the theory that two heads are better than one.
- Surrounded by volumes of the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury Regulations figuring out why the IRS is wrong or how my client can do it right.
- Celebrating the victory, or bemoaning the defeat, du jour, of my twenty-something son and daughter.
- In my car, calling my very understanding husband to tell him I will be late to dinner (again).
Colorado Super Lawyer, 2007-2016
Colorado Super Lawyer Top 50 Women, 2012-2015
Colorado Super Lawyer Top 25 Women, 2008-2011
Colorado Super Lawyer Top 50, 2010
The Best Lawyers in America, 2003-Present
American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, fellow, 2006-Present; Editorial Board, 2009-2010; Communications Committee, 2010-Present
Arvada Council for the Arts and Humanities, 2001-Present, Chair Elect 2003/04; Chair 2004-2006
Center for Women’s Health Research, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Advisory Board, 2014-Present
Community First Foundation Board of Directors, 2005-2014; Chair, Audit & Compliance Committee, 2006-2010; Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, 2010-2011; Chair, Board of Directors, 2012-2013
Denver Estate Planning Council, 2002-Present; Officer, 2008-2011; President, 2011
Bradford Publishing Company Trust & Estate Advisory Board, 2005-2007
Volunteers of America, Colorado Branch, Resource Development Committee, member 1993-94
Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (Rocky Mountain Region), elected to Partners-in-Leadership program 1993-94
Order of the Coif, 1985
Phi Beta Kappa, 1980
J.D., University of Colorado, 1985
B.A., Economics, Northwestern University, 1980
Colorado since 1985