New deputy district attorney primed for experience in 14th

At a glance

Name: Patrick F. Welsh

Age: 37

Job: New deputy district attorney, 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Moffat County

Education: Bachelor's degrees in entrepreneurship and speech communication in 1995 from University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.; 2006 graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich.

Experience: Assistant prosecuting student attorney in 2005 and 2006 at Kent County Prosecutor's Office in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Denver District Attorney's Office, respectively.

— After working shorthanded for about a month, the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Moffat County added a third prosecutor last week, bringing the office back to full staff.

Patrick F. Welsh, 37, of Denver, started his first day Wednesday. He is the office's third deputy district attorney and will handle lower level felonies and Moffat County Court misdemeanors.

He is transitioning from life on the Front Range to the Western Slope and will work part time for the office until the beginning of February, when he begins full time.

Welsh, who graduated in 2006 from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich., said he felt comfortable with the staff at the Moffat County office when he visited earlier this month.

"I just seemed to click with them," he said, "and there's a wonderful opportunity to get in the courtroom as much as possible."

Welsh comes from a family of attorneys - his father and brother are civil trial attorneys in Omaha, Neb.

Before pursuing his law degree, Welsh owned a company that built telecommunications sites across the country, and he also worked in commercial real estate.

However, he later realized that a career practicing law was the right path for him.

"It's been in my blood, and I put it off as long as I could," Welsh said. He added, "I'm switching over to my passion, which is being a trial attorney."

The 14th will be the third district attorney's office Welsh has worked for.

He spent 2005 and 2006 serving internships as an assistant prosecuting student attorney in the Kent County Prosecutor's Office in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the Denver District Attorney's Office, respectively.

Those stints were vital in providing legal experience, he said.

During his internships, he performed tasks such as initial case review, case and statutory research, drafted and argued motions at various stages of criminal proceedings, negotiated with defendants and their attorneys on plea offers and handled sentencing hearings, among other duties.

Welsh also notched guilty verdicts in eight misdemeanor jury trials and two bench trials, he said.

He said he'll feel a swirl of emotions - most prominently, "accomplishment" and "exhilaration" - when he steps into the courtroom for the first time next month as the newest prosecutor in the 14th.

"I'm honored to represent the people of Moffat County, and I'm looking forward to settling into the community," he said.

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