McDermott Stuart & Ward LLP is pleased to announce that they have hired rising 3L Damen Ganze as their spring criminal defense legal intern.

Damen Ganze: Advocate for Criminal Justice

An upcoming 3L at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Damen is a Colorado native. He has a robust commitment to vigorous advocacy for those accused of crimes who deserve a voice in Colorado’s criminal justice system. With an educational background in criminal justice, his passion is to defend individuals’ rights, liberties, and freedoms with empathy, compassion, and hope to clients in need.

At the Sturm College of Law, Mr. Ganze is a 2L Representative for the Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform and a staff editor for the Denver Law Review. He also earned a certificate in legal research and was awarded the Robert B. Yegge Memorial Scholarship.

Damen is highly interested in criminal defense work because of the personal hardships of wrongful conviction his family has endured during his life. He possesses a strong interest in reforming a corrupt system into a just and fair process and impacting indigent defendants in the community.

Realizing the immense difficulties and unfairness the criminal justice system can place on individuals, Mr. Ganze decided to attend law school to help impact the individuals who are experiencing economic, political, and discriminatory hardships. He states that he “chose DU to become a zealous advocate for individuals in the community I call home.”

According to Ganze, empathy is the most important trait for a zealous advocate to have. “The ability to understand the hardships a client faces and voice that understanding through passionate representation makes for the best advocate. The more an attorney empathizes with the client, the greater their commitment to advocacy in criminal proceedings is strengthened.”

Duties at McDermott Stuart & Ward, LLP

Recognizing the importance of practical legal knowledge, Damen is focused on gaining as much experiential learning and real-world application as possible. He states that DU helped him understand that the best experience for gaining legal skills isn’t in a classroom but rather in narrowing his interests through practical experience.

He chose our firm because of our strong commitment to justice and our elite, award-winning criminal justice litigators who also have backgrounds in the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office. Regarding interning with us, he expressed, “I figured learning from the best in the state in criminal defense was the best learning experience for me.”

During his internship tenure at McDermott Stuart & Ward, LLP, which began in January 2022, Damen is:

  • Observing hearings, including contested motions hearings, pleas, sentencing, and post-judgment hearings
  • Conducting legal research on issues such as Fifth Amendment privileges, record sealing under the modified statutes, and review of summary judgment rulings in civil matters
  • Drafting motions and investigation requests on misdemeanor and felony matters

Damen looks forward to gaining experience in the ins and outs of legal strategies throughout criminal proceedings while interning at McDermott Stuart & Ward. He is also excited to learn argumentative skills from our firm’s attorneys and combine those with his writing skills to craft the best possible motions at every stage in criminal proceedings.

Education and Previous Experience

Mr. Ganze graduated cum laude from Metropolitan State of Denver in 2019, majoring in criminal justice and minoring in political science. Here he also earned a victims advocate training certificate and participated in the criminal justice honor society.

Damen has worked in other internships, as support staff, and as a paralegal in various other law firms. In these positions, his duties included:

  • Observing court hearings
  • Conducting legal research on first-degree murder cases, first-degree assault, and misdemeanor cases
  • Assisting in factual research of post-conviction relief cases, COCA cases, and family law matters
  • Researching legislative materials regarding the new felony murder rule effective September 2021
  • Organizing and managing client files and performing routine office filings
  • Drafting internal office memoranda relied upon for client’s cases and drafting legal memoranda for attorneys
  • Working closely with attorneys to prepare client’s estate planning documents and collaborating with clients’ will signings and attorney-client meetings
  • Performing extensive research on Lexis relied upon for client estate administration cases

Damen is also an avid outdoorsman. When he isn’t busy helping those charged with crimes seek justice, he can be found snowboarding, wakeboarding, fishing, camping, or hiking. He also enjoys weightlifting, football, and wrestling. He’s also traveled across the country to participate in dirt bike races.

We are excited to have Damen as an intern and a part of our team. We look forward to watching him grow and seeing what the future holds for him.

At McDermott Stuart & Ward LLP, we are committed to providing zealous and outstanding representation to all clients and mentoring the next generation of criminal justice advocates. If you need legal assistance, please get in touch with us at (303) 832-8888.

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