Lisa R. Shellenberger is a partner at Smith & Shellenberger, LLC, and she is an award-winning lead litigator at the firm. In both 2017 and 2018, she received the Super Lawyers Rising Star award in the area of family law.
In 2017 and 2018, she was named as a Top 10 Attorney in Colorado the area of family law by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys.
Additionally, in 2017, she was nationally ranked as a Top 10 Under 40 Family Law Attorney by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys.
Lisa was appointed to the bench in January, 2018, to serve as an Appellate Judge for the Havasupai Court of Appeals in Supai, Arizona. Because her appointment to the bench is part-time, she still practices both in tribal courts throughout the West and in Colorado state district courts in the front-range area. Lisa’s law practice is devoted to helping families, children, Indian Nations, and tribal entities.
Lisa handles a variety of cases within the discipline of family law, which include divorce, child custody, adoption proceedings, dependency & neglect cases, guardianship actions, maternity and paternity actions, Indian Child Welfare Act cases, modifications of child support and parenting time, grandparent visitation actions, and third party allocation of parental responsibilities cases.
Lisa also has extensive experience in the special niche of federal Indian law and tribal law. Lisa’s practice related to these areas involves tribal employment issues, government-to- government relations, tribal health law, natural resource issues, and drafting tribal ordinances and resolutions.
Lisa also has experience working closely on improving and/or developing tribal court programs and advising state and tribal judiciary committees. Additionally, Lisa is one of the nation’s few attorneys that is well-versed and experienced in handling Tribe-to- State jurisdictional disputes.
In many family law cases, parents find themselves encountering a jurisdictional dispute when the question of whether a state or tribe has jurisdiction over the case. These types of cases are legally complicated and the applicability of certain federal, state, or tribal laws may be confusing or misleading.
However, Lisa has successfully represented clients in these cases in Colorado State District Courts and in various tribal courts around the country, and she does so frequently.
Lisa is extremely involved in matters related to the Indian Child Welfare Act in Colorado, which is a federal law applied in certain types of cases involving Indian children.
Specifically, Lisa is a member of the Indian Child Welfare Act Sub-Committee of the Colorado Court Improvement Program for the 17th Judicial District, and she was selected by the Honorable Judge Donna Schmalberger to be part of the committee that is developing and implementing the Denver Indian Child Welfare Act Court, which is the third specialized court of its type in the United States.
Lisa is also a member of the committee currently drafting revisions to the Colorado Children’s Code relating to the implementation and adherence to Indian Child Welfare Act.
Prior to coming on full-time with Smith & Shellenberger, LLC, Lisa served as a Clerk to Justice Nancy E. Rice at the Colorado Supreme Court. While working for Justice Rice, Lisa reviewed petitions for a writ of certiorari, researched the legal significance of the petitions, and made final written recommendations to the Justices as to whether the Court should accept or deny the petitions.
Lisa’s publications include: OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS: NATIVE AMERICANS, “The Reasoning for and Purpose of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cengage Learning, April 2012. Lisa’s legal work has been highlighted in numerous national news articles, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio (NPR).
Lisa attended law school at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder where she received the “Excellence in Clinical Education Award.” Lisa completed her undergraduate degree at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, with honors. Lisa is an Oklahoma Native, and she is a member of the Choctaw Nation.
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