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Q&A: Craig Silverman on his new legal gig, staying on Denver radio

Complete Colorado last checked in with Craig Silverman in 2014 to talk about his return to Denver radio with a solo show on 710 KNUS (Saturdays from 9-noon).  Prior to that he was the long-time co-host of the Caplis and Silverman Show on 630 KHOW.  Silverman is a hometown Denver guy who has spent decades as a well-known media personality, political commentator and practicing attorney, including a stint as a prosecutor with the Denver District Attorney’s Office.  He recently made the move from his own law practice to a larger firm.  Complete Colorado caught up with Craig via email to talk about his new legal gig, the radio show, and an ever-changing Denver.


Complete Colorado: The last time we did this, it was to talk about your return to radio with your own show on 710 KNUS. Now you’re taking on another new gig, moving from your own law practice to a bigger firm, Springer & Steinberg. Tell us about that move, and why you decided to to do it.

Craig Silverman: The decision was easy. I received an opportunity to work with two of the top lawyers in America, Jeff Springer and Harvey Steinberg. Beyond those two guys, the Colorado legal community knows and respects Springer & Steinberg for its assemblage of an elite team of trial lawyers. It is exhilarating and humbling to be a part of it now.

Everybody knows Harvey, but I know him better. And longer. Harvey was close friends with my older brother Bill, and I would tag along. They taught me how to play poker and other games of skill and chance. We were all obsessed with sports. Eventually, I followed them to the University of Colorado School of Law. Harvey began his career as a state prosecutor, and I did too.

I met Jeff Springer through sports and Harvey. Basketball was a love of mine and I was aware of Jeff Springer being an amazing all-State hoopster at Aurora Hinkley High School. Jeff and I played many years together in the Denver Lawyers’ League and won many championships. It was lots of fun for us, but not necessarily for the teams we played against.

There are lots of good personal injury lawyers in Colorado, but Jeff Springer stands out. He is experienced and Ivy League smart. Jeff is the kind of lawyer other top lawyers turn to when a problem seems intractable. Jeff has a well-deserved reputation as a world class legal strategist. Jeff’s built a team of Colorado catastrophic injury lawyers and paralegals second to none.

Harvey Steinberg is a fellow Denver native and GW graduate. Harvey and his family have long been close to the Silvermans. My dad, Sheldon Silverman, was a terrific Denver attorney who greatly admired Harvey and his amazing accomplishments as a trial lawyer. When Harvey would be in the news, which was frequently, my Dad would take joy as if Harvey was his own son, and make sure to tell me about Harvey’s latest triumph. My late father would have been thrilled that Harvey, Jeff, and I are now teammates.

My practice has evolved since I left the Denver DA’s Office in the mid-nineties. In 23 years of private practice, I’ve primarily worked in the civil justice system. I’ve represented hundreds of victims of motor vehicle crashes. I enjoy prosecuting civil jury trials on behalf of victims of bad drivers or other tortfeasors. Recently, I’ve gotten a big award, on the eve of trial, for a woman with a brain injury from a semi that crushed her. Late in 2018, I won a trial on behalf of a drunk driving victim who was unwilling to accept an insurance company’s weak offer and had a Denver jury award her nine times more.

Everything came together perfectly to make the move this June. Our lease was nearly up at my old law firm, Silverman & Olivas, P.C. Key staff retired. My partner lives in Boulder and understandably wanted to work up there. I am a Denver boy. Now, I am part of one of the greatest Denver law firms ever with headquarters right in the heart of Denver at 16th and Broadway.

Craig Silverman

Complete Colorado:  You started out in the Denver DA’s office, and that time as a prosecutor seems to have served you well as a jumping off point to becoming both a media personality and private practice lawyer. Talk about that evolution.

Craig: My boss, Denver DA Norm Early, was a leader in the victims’ rights’ movement. The most important person in the system is the individual who has been victimized. It is the victim’s life that just got wrecked. Victims deserve respect, attention, and justice. Lawyers will go on to other cases but the way an injustice is handled will leave an indelible impression on victims of a calamity. It has been a natural extension of my 16 years working at the Denver DA’s Office to keep on helping victims of crimes and other catastrophic events.

I had over a hundred jury trials as a Denver prosecutor. The experience was invaluable for me. Some of my trials were on COURT TV, and many others were covered by local media. Shortly after national coverage of the convictions at the Tom Hollar murder trial, OJ Simpson murdered Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman and I was asked to analyze the case in the media. In 1996, JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in Boulder and that led to lots of legal analysis. Other big media stories in which I participated were the Oklahoma City bombing trials in Denver, Columbine, the Kobe Bryant prosecution, and the Aurora theater massacre.

Complete Colorado: You’ve been an observer and commentator on Denver politics for a long time, was there anything in the recent municipal elections that stood out for you as interesting or noteworthy?

Craig: I am old enough to remember when former Denver DA Mike McKevitt was Denver’s Congressman, and he was a Republican! Pat Schroeder beat McKevitt in November, 1972 and it has been downhill in Denver ever since for Republicans and conservatives. Don Bain gave Mayor Pena a scare in 1987. After that, I watched my boss and friend, Norm Early, lose to the further left Wellington Webb. Mayor Webb remains a powerful presence in Denver and his support boosts Mayor Hancock. Mayor Webb agreed to remain neutral during my campaign in 1996 when I ran as an Independent candidate for Denver DA. He was about the only Dem who did. I lost that Denver DA’s race to Bill Ritter who, ten years later, was elected Colorado’s 41st Governor.

The Dems have their divisions, as illustrated by Bernie v. Hillary. Bernie Sanders won big amongst Denver Dem voters in 2016 so it was a little surprising to me that Michael Hancock embraced the support of Hillary Clinton and that Denver voters did not mind. Jamie Giellis had a lot of gumption, but she was not an experienced or well-defined candidate. It was never clear if she was on Hancock’s right or left. Jamie was a darling of Trump loving conservative local radio talk shows which Mayor Hancock avoided, and then she lost by a big margin.

Always bet on the person furthest left in any Denver political race. Denver used to be left leaning, but now it has toppled over to the far left. Look at the success of Democratic Socialist Candi CdeBaca in Council District Nine. Donald Trump is toxic in Denver and so is his Republican Party. I am worried about Denver’s political future.

Complete Colorado: You’re a homegrown Denver guy, and this town has seen dramatic change. What’s the best thing about Denver today? And what’s changed that you don’t like?

Craig: Denver has everything any world class city can offer except a beach. Some parts of downtown Denver are transformed for the better. Occupy Denver and the homeless are not as disruptive as they were several years ago. The Denver skyline keeps changing but the Front Range to our west never does. I look at the same formation of mountains my great grandparents did when they were Denverites.

I abhor the bad traffic. My work demands I drive all the busiest highways and roads during rush hours. It is nerve-wracking and dangerous. We have been Californicated and no one even asked us for a kiss. Bicycles and mass transit may work for some, but not for my job.

Denver’s economy is booming. Businesses are thriving. Property values have gone up and up. Denver is a magnet for young people, and they have transformed the city. Since working at Springer & Steinberg on the east end of downtown, I’ve gone a couple times over noon hour to Cherry Creek. Of course, I miss its prior incarnations, but Cherry Creek gets a little more interesting (and crowded) every year.

For those of us who grew up with the Denver Bears and the striped socks Broncos, we’ve come a long way. One great part of being a native Denverite is to know Denver’s history. Many people are interested in what Denver was like back in the day. I frequently talk about Denver and Colorado history on The Craig Silverman Show.

Complete Colorado: You’re keeping the radio gig, though, right?

Craig:  I cherish my Saturday morning radio show like a child. It has my name and I was there at its creation. The Craig Silverman Show is unlike any other talk radio show I’ve ever heard. We give out weekly awards for Best Bite, Call of the Week, and Best Guest. Every week, I have at least one prominent attorney visit the comfy confines of Craig’s Lawyers’ Lounge where prominent attorneys come to relax, tell war stories, and kick around current events.

I am proudly Independent and advertise my show as the Island of Independence at 710KNUS. My show has many loyal sponsors and an exceptional audience listening live on Saturday mornings, and afterwards, to my podcasts.

Prominent Democrats and Republicans come on my show. I treat people fairly and I’m not part of a team out to destroy members of another team. I’ve voted for Republicans more often than Dems over the course of the last decade. But I remain open to the possibility of voting for a Democrat. I do wish the Dems would lose their affection for socialism and stop acting like Iran is our friend, and Israel is our enemy.

For nearly nine years, I did a daily drive time afternoon radio show with my friend, Dan Caplis. We had an amazing run. Some people thought I was a liberal, but that’s not exactly accurate. I do confess to being liberal as compared to Dan Caplis. I am liberal and passionate when it comes to fighting for all the rights of my clients. I have strong opinions about the great issues of the day. I just don’t line up lockstep with one political party or the other, and I never have.

Complete Colorado: You told us you’re using those omnipresent scooters to get around downtown. Worried you might end up needing a personal injury lawyer?

Craig: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. I am in Denver where it seems wiser to ride one of the hundreds of downtown scooters than trip over one. They are fun, fast, and dangerous. I still possess the coordination required to be relatively safe. I prefer the B-cycles and I’ve been a member of that bike share group for many years. I am that tall guy in a suit and tie riding around downtown and occasionally on some bike trail. Its fast, good exercise, and easy on the knees and feet.

Life is full of risks. A personal injury can happen any time to anybody. It is like crime. You can take certain precautions, but good and careful people still get injured or victimized. Like everything else in life, it is a balancing test. Risk versus reward. The dangers include defective equipment or inadequate maintenance. But the biggest risk are the bad moves of someone else who might knock me off that scooter or bike.

If that happened to me, I’d rely on my colleagues at Springer & Steinberg, P.C.  I’m available at 303-861-2800 or online at csilverman@springersteinberg.com. I am on Twitter @craigscolorado. Please read my musings and follow my show and its podcasts which you can find through Complete Colorado, which links to The Craig Silverman Show. Check out my Craig’s Colorado page at www.springersteinberg.com.

 

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