Our Attorneys

Our Attorneys

The attorneys at Hackstaff & Snow combine extensive experience in several areas, while understanding that clients’ needs often span several distinct practice areas. Accordingly, we combine in-depth expertise with a multi-disciplinary approach. This enables us to anticipate client needs and develop creative solutions. For example, our attorneys regularly integrate transactional expertise with in-depth tax planning. Likewise, we ensure that our public policy litigation efforts mesh with our clients’ public relations or political requirements.

James C. Hackstaff

James C. Hackstaff

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Practice Areas:
Alternative Energy Transactions, Business Formation, International Business Law and Transactions, International Taxation, Taxation, Commercial Law, Estate Planning, Probate, Asset Protection, Real Estate Development, Real Estate, Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations, Public Policy, Election and Campaign Finance.

Biography:
Mr. Hackstaff began practicing law in 1983. He became a partner in Jensen Byrne Parsons Ruh and Tilton P.C. in 1991. Mr. Hackstaff then co-founded the predecessor to Hale Hackstaff Tymkovich, LLP in 1993 which grew to a 21-lawyer firm. He formed his current practice, Hackstaff Gessler LLC (Hackstaff Law Group, LLC when his partner was elected Colorado Secretary of State) in 2004. The firm now consists of 10 lawyers, 5 of whom spend a significant portion of their time on wind and solar energy agreements, frequently representing landowners in wind energy lease/option agreements, more often than not from the Landowner’s side.

Mr. Hackstaff is currently working on numerous renewable energy projects with landowners, developers, lenders and investors. His practice areas also include domestic and international commercial transactions, and entity selection, formation, operation and dissolution. A focus of his practice is the tax consequences and concerns that surround renewable energy projects, and business and investment decisions. He also assists individuals with estate planning, probate, asset protection, real estate purchase, sale and financing, nonprofit and charitable organizations.

Prior to practicing law, Mr. Hackstaff practiced as a Certified Public Accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell, CPAs (now KPMG) and was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Colorado Society of CPAs. His concentration during his employment with Peat Marwick Mitchell was in the banking, oil and gas, real estate and charitable entity areas.

Education:
University of Colorado, B.S. Accounting, 1979 with honors, (with a concentration in Finance); Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1983 (with a concentration in Taxation).

Admissions:
Colorado

Professional Memberships:
Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, American Wind Energy Association, Colorado Renewable Energy Society.

Distinctions:
AV Rated by his peers (Martindale Hubbell). CPA 1982 – passed first attempt.

Over his career Mr. Hackstaff has presented numerous lectures and training seminars on a variety of topics, including Renewable Energy, Estate Planning, Estate Tax and Retirement Planning, Entity Formation, Operation and Dissolution, Income Tax Planning, Business Planning, and Asset Protection.

Mr. Hackstaff has served on numerous committees and councils of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce as well as other volunteer organizations. He received the Chamber of Commerce’s highest volunteer award in 1991. He served for five years on its Board of Directors and is currently serving on its Public Affairs Council.

Mr. Hackstaff was recently appointed by the Colorado Speaker of the House to the Permitting and Siting of Electric Transmission Facilities Task Force which is currently reviewing Colorado’s Transmission Regulations. The task force was created by S.B. 11-045, and is comprised of 17 members, all representing different stakeholder groups who have an interest in the transmission siting and permitting process in Colorado.

Mr. Hackstaff is currently a member (formerly the Chairman) of the Corporate Board of the Cancer League of Colorado. He has chaired two golf tournaments, successfully raising money for cancer research.

Previous publications include:
COLORADO PHOTOVOLTAIC SOLAR DEVELOPMENT CONSIDERATIONS
August, 2009. Prepared for the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, 2008 Solar Innovation Grant (with Bradley Haight and Ann West).

Developer’s Checklist Prepared for Bureau of Land Management Wind Energy Applications, August 31-September 1, 2010.

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John T. Snow

John T. Snow

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Practice Areas:
Renewable Energy, Corporate, Real Estate, Estate Planning, Nonprofit Tax

Biography:
Mr. Snow’s practice concentrates on renewable energy project development, estate planning, corporate law, real estate, entity selection and formation, and non-profit tax advice. Prior to joining Hackstaff Gessler LLC in 2005, Mr. Snow served as a lawyer with the legal department of the United States Postal Service.

Education: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, B.S.; University of Nebraska, J.D.

Admissions:
Colorado (2003), Nebraska (2006)

Professional Memberships:
Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association.

Community:
Mr. Snow has served on the Corporate Board of Cancer League of Colorado from 2005-Present. He also served as Chairman of the annual charity golf event from 2005-Present.

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J. Aaron Atkinson

J. Aaron Atkinson

Practice Areas:
Civil Litigation, Construction, Real Estate, Insurance Bad Faith and Claims, Business, Contracts, Collections

Biography:
Aaron practices generally in civil litigation in state and federal courts. After representing subcontractors and general contractors in lawsuits alleging construction defects, Aaron expanded his practice to representing small businesses in a variety of other disputes, largely in the construction industry. Insurance claims also play a very large part in his day-to-day caseload. In his career, Aaron has obtained judgment awards for his clients totaling over $1,000,000 against defendants in Colorado courts. Aaron has also successfully represented clients in arbitration proceedings and has appeared before administrative boards.

In addition to private practice, Aaron defended the State of Colorado with the Attorney General’s Office and served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Vincent R. White. His peers have rated him AV Preeminent through Martindale.com and also awarded him the “Rising Stars” designation through the Colorado Superlawyers magazine for the past seven consecutive years.

Education: J.D., Florida State University College of Law; M.S., International Affairs, Florida State University; B.A., Colorado State University.

Admissions: Colorado; United States District Court for the District of Colorado; Tennessee (pro hac vice); Florida (pro hac vice).

Professional Memberships:
Colorado Bar Association; Arapahoe County Bar Association.

Douglas R. Griess

Douglas R. Griess

Practice Areas
Business Law, Business Acquisitions and Sales, LLCs, Commercial Law, Exit & Succession Planning, Estate Planning, Real Estate, Non-Profits, Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Biography:
With roots in Wyoming, Douglas lived all over the country and in Italy as the son of an Air Force officer before ending up in Virginia where he finished school.

Douglas’s practice began in litigation representing both plaintiffs and defendants in the areas of insurance defense and bad faith, personal injury, commercial disputes, and construction. After several years litigating, Mr. Griess began advising businesses on transactional issues from formation to dissolution, particularly regarding LLC Operating Agreements, corporate structure, business exit and succession planning, contracts, and soft intellectual property issues from trade secrets to trademarks.

After working for others, Mr. Griess started The Griess Law Firm, LLC at the end of 2010 to focus on building his business practice where he built a broad client base that includes working with manufacturing, distributing, construction, technology, and professional service companies as well as their owners. After joining up with Aaron Atkinson in 2015, Doug and Aaron sought opportunities to augment their practices and resources available to their clients. As a result, they joined Hackstaff & Snow as partners in January 2016. Douglas lives with his wife and five children in Centennial, CO.

Professional Activities:
Mr. Griess engages in various teaching opportunities including presenting at local workshops, national trade associations, and providing professional education credits to lawyers and other professional through the National Business Institute. Courses he has contributed to include LLCs from A-Z, LLCs from Start to Finish, LLC Liability, and LLC Indemnification, where he addresses issues such as legal, regulatory, and registration compliance, operating agreements, company structure, liability and asset protection, and member/manager fiduciary duties and obligations.

Education:
Virginia Tech, B.S., honors baccalaureate, summa cum laude; University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.

Admissions:
Colorado, Tenth Circuit

Professional Memberships:
Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, American Bar Association – Sections on Business Law and Intellectual Property

Distinctions:
AV Rated; in addition to speaking, Mr. Griess volunteers at the Legal Aid Clinic at the Denver Rescue Mission, is on the Advisory Board of the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Clinic, is an allied attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom where he volunteers in aid of religious freedom rights, and is an Elder with his church.

Ann L. West

Ann L. West

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Practice Areas:
Alternative Energy, Business Formation, Business Acquisitions and Sales, Commercial Law, Securities Law, International Business Law, Tax Law.

Biography:
Ann West represents businesses in a variety of legal matters, including formation, financing, taxation and acquisitions. She has extensive experience working with alternative energy and high technology companies, in particular, although she works with businesses in a variety of fields. She has worked with Jim Hackstaff since 2002. Prior to that, she worked at the Boulder office of Cooley Godward LLP (now Cooley LLP), a large Silicon Valley based firm. Ann practiced in that firm’s corporate and securities group primarily representing start up companies funded through venture capital financing transactions.

Prior to law school, she worked as a financial statement auditor in the Denver office of Arthur Andersen LLP, working with clients in a variety of fields. Ann is a certified public accountant.

Education:
Bachelor of Business Administration—Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, summa cum laude, 1994; Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law, 1999. Professional Memberships: Ms. West is a member of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations.

Admissions:
Colorado.

Distinctions:
Co-author of “Colorado Photovoltaic Solar Development Considerations”, prepared for the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office pursuant to a 2007 Solar Innovation Grant.

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Nicole R. Finco

Nicole R. Finco

Biography:
Nicole Finco is an associate and primarily focusing on business law and trademark, pitching in on estate planning and commercial litigation as needed. Prior to joining Hackstaff & Snow, Nicole was a law clerk to the Honorable Devin Odell of the Eighth Judicial District of Colorado. While attending law school, Nicole externed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, served as a judicial intern for Justice David Prosser at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and was a student attorney for one year with the Family Court Clinic in Madison.

Education:
University of Wisconsin – Madison, Bachelor of Arts (2011), University of Wisconsin Law School, Juris Doctorate, cum laude (2015)

Admissions:
Wisconsin (2015), United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (2015), Colorado (2015)

Professional Memberships:
Wisconsin Nonresident Lawyers Division, Wisconsin Young Lawyers Division, Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association

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