Four-year-long fib costs real estate attorney her law license

A business professor and real estate attorney at some of the city’s top firms has been barred from practicing law for 30 months because she carried on a years-long lie.

Cindy Lowery-Graber, who has been a lawyer in Colorado since 2002, was working in the Denver office of international firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in summer 2015 when she was introduced to a client who was having issues with the title of their home.

She determined that a quiet title action — litigation used for simple property disputes — was the best route. But she never filed the action, according to an admission she signed last month.

“In April 2016, (Lowery-Graber) informed the client that the complaint was filed, that she expected no responsive answers to be filed and that she would move for default,” that admission explains. “This was not true. No complaint had been filed.”

“This message began a pattern of communications…where she represented that a complaint had been filed, that her law firm was waiting on a court order, that they had heard from the clerk about the status of documents pending with the judge, that they were following up with the court and clerk, or some other variation of this general theme,” according to the admission.

Lowery-Graber provided those phony updates throughout 2016. And 2017. And 2018.

In 2019, she claimed to have filed a new lawsuit on behalf of the client. That, too, was untrue. Meanwhile, the property in question, unencumbered by litigation, was sold.

Her client, who is not named in last month’s paperwork, learned of the sale from someone else. In 2020 and 2021, Lowery-Graber told the client that she was investigating the sale.

Lowery-Graber stayed at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner until April 2021, when she joined Polsinelli, the sixth-largest firm in the city, to handle real estate and construction litigation. She became an adjunct professor at Red Rocks Community College that same year.

“She did not tell anyone at the firm before she left that she had not filed the original quiet title complaint” or other key paperwork in the case, Lowery-Graber admitted last month. “Following (her) departure, the law firm learned the complaint was never filed.”

A spokesman for Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner declined to discuss its ex-employee. A spokeswoman for Polsinelli said that Lowery-Graber is no longer employed there. Red Rocks Community College did not answer when asked if she is still teaching there.

Lowery-Graber admitted wrongdoing as part of an Aug. 28 settlement between herself and the state’s Office of Attorney Regulation, which investigates wrongdoing by lawyers.

In recommending a 30-month suspension, rather than a harsher penalty like disbarment, the office noted that Lowery-Graber was enduring severe personal hardships in 2016 and after, including the death of family members and her husband’s mental breakdown.

The office also noted that Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner had paid the scorned client for their losses and that Lowery-Graber had already been punished somewhat when Polsinelli placed her on unpaid leave in April due to the Office of Attorney Regulation investigation.

Disciplinary Judge Bryon Large also acknowledged those “substantial mitigating circumstances” when he agreed to the 30-month punishment Sept. 6. Her suspension took effect then.

In 2016, she won a case on behalf of U-Haul that curtailed the Colorado Department of Transportation’s power to condemn land, which it had been doing unlawfully for decades.

In her disciplinary case, Lowery-Graber was represented by Sara Van Deusen and Anthony Barbe with Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell. They and their client declined to comment.

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