Brooke at the Bar is a candid, lively, and sometimes humorous autobiography by Brooke Wunnicke, the first woman to be a trial and appellate attorney in Wyoming and who went on to become a legal legend in Colorado. In conversational writing, Brooke provides insights from a lawyer, mentor, and educator. She advocates that, while not perfect, the United States has the world’s best legal system and that all citizens need to understand and protect their rights, freedoms, and responsibilities.
Brooke shares vignettes of her early life—California in the Great Depression, college at Stanford, law school in Colorado during World War II, and the 1946 opening of her Cheyenne law office, a precedent for women in law. She vividly describes memorable and amusing experiences with clients, witnesses, lawyers, juries, and judges and explains some significant cases. She recounts important and dynamic events from her twelve years as Denver’s chief appellate deputy district attorney, an era during which she was an inestimable mentor to many young lawyers who became prominent in the private and public sectors.
Brooke passionately believed “the law has been and will continue to be civilization’s hope.” In her book’s final part, she demystifies many legal terms and procedures and describes the parts of a civil jury trial—including information for jurors and witnesses—and provides an enthusiastic and clear refresher on the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Brooke at the Bar is a unique and historically important contribution that will be of interest to general readers, scholars, and students interested in US law, political science, government, women’s history, twentieth-century western history, civil rights, and legal communities, including those in Wyoming and Colorado, where Brooke was “at the Bar.”
About the Author
Brooke Wunnickehad a long career as a prominent attorney, mentor, and educator, becoming a nationally recognized lecturer on ethics, teaching for two decades as an adjunct professor at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver, and authoring or coauthoring numerous articles and four books. She was a graduate of Stanford University (BA, 1939), Phi Beta Kappa, and University of Colorado School of Law (JD, 1945), Order of the Coif. Among the many honors bestowed upon her in her lifetime are the Defense Research Institute’s national Louis B. Potter Lifetime Professional Service Award, the William Lee Knous Award from the University of Colorado Law School, the Colorado Bar Association Award of Merit, and the Denver Bar Association Award of Merit. In 2021 the University of Colorado Law School established the permanent Brooke Wunnicke Outstanding Mentor Award to recognize honored attorneys who also are outstanding mentors.
“The person who taught me how to think and write like a lawyer, and who imparted upon me the importance of being ethical above all else, is Brooke Wunnicke. God bless Brooke for the considerable contribution she made to building a better world for us all.” —Bill Ritter Jr., former governor, State of Colorado
“If I had a martini, I’d lift it to Brooke Wunnicke, an amazing combination of brilliance, talent, tenacity, and charm. . . . Thank you, Brooke, for leading the way.” —H. Barton Mendenhall, former president, Colorado Bar Association
“There are lawyers among us who have led such extraordinary lives and careers that—in time—stories will grow around their memories like vines covering the walls of Old Main. They are the stuff of legend. Brooke Wunnicke is one of these.”
—Warwick Downing, The Docket (Denver Bar Association)