Ms. Dolores S. Atencio

Visiting Scholar, Latino Center for Community Engagement & Scholarship
Denver, Colorado
United States


Dolores was designated the (first) Visiting Scholar at the University of Denver (DU) Latino Center for Community Engagement & Scholarship (Latino Center) where she is completing her original research project on the first Latina lawyers licensed in the United States, circa 1900-1980. In 2013, Dolores was the Scholar in Residence for the student honors Community Based Research Program at DU's Colorado Women's College where she continued her original research on the first U.S. Latina lawyers (1900-1980). Dolores is recognized as the national expert on the history/status of Latina lawyers in the United States, speaking and writing on the subject. Her most recent paper, "The Super Minority: The Status of Latina Lawyers in the United States" was released in April 2015, by the National Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession. In September 2014, the Mexican Government bestowed its prestigious Ohtli Award to Dolores, in part, for this research. A KNFP-VII fellow and Colorado native, Dolores earned a B.A. from Colorado College and J.D. from the University of Denver (DU) College of Law. Licensed for 33 years, she is admitted to practice in Colorado and before the U.S. District Court-Colorado and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Dolores worked within and outside the legal profession, notably, the Colorado Attorney General's Office (Asst. AG, Criminal Appellate Division), KUVO Radio Station (Development Director), Denver Grand Prix Auto Race, Inc. (Vice President and General Counsel) and the Colorado Division of Administrative Hearings (Administrative Law Judge and Division Director). During her last 11 years in private practice, Dolores specialized in employment and education law, having served as General Counsel to numerous public educational institutions. Involved in redistricting-reapportionment legal issues throughout her career, in 2011, she was appointed to the Colorado Reapportionment Commission, responsible for redrawing the state's 35 state senate and 65 house seats. Dolores was President of the Hispanic National and Colorado Hispanic Bar Associations, Commissioner of the American Bar Association Commission on Women, first Co-Chair of the HNBA's Latina Lawyers Commission and Chair of the Denver Women's Commission. As Co-Chair of the HNBA Commission, she chaired two ground-breaking national studies on the status of Latina lawyers in the United States: "Few and Far Between: The Status of Latina Lawyers in the United States" released 2009; and "Challenges in Serving the Public Interest" released 2010. For the Denver Women's Commission, Dolores initiated and saw through completion an assessment of issues, "Windows Into Denver's Women and Girls," released in March 2014.