James C. Hackstaff


Practice Areas: Alternative Energy Transactions, Business Formation, International Business Law and Transactions, International Taxation, Taxation, Commercial Law, Estate Planning, Probate, Asset Protection, Real Estate Development, Real Estate, Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations, Public Policy, Election and Campaign Finance.

Biography: Mr. Hackstaff began practicing law in 1983. He became a partner in Jensen Byrne Parsons Ruh and Tilton P.C. in 1991. Mr. Hackstaff then co-founded the predecessor to Hale Hackstaff Tymkovich, LLP in 1993 which grew to a 21-lawyer firm. He formed his current practice, Hackstaff Gessler LLC (Hackstaff Law Group, LLC when his partner was elected Colorado Secretary of State) in 2004. The firm now consists of 10 lawyers, 5 of whom spend a significant portion of their time on wind and solar energy agreements, frequently representing landowners in wind energy lease/option agreements, more often than not from the Landowner’s side.

Mr. Hackstaff is currently working on numerous renewable energy projects with landowners, developers, lenders and investors. His practice areas also include domestic and international commercial transactions, and entity selection, formation, operation and dissolution. A focus of his practice is the tax consequences and concerns that surround renewable energy projects, and business and investment decisions. He also assists individuals with estate planning, probate, asset protection, real estate purchase, sale and financing, nonprofit and charitable organizations.

Prior to practicing law, Mr. Hackstaff practiced as a Certified Public Accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell, CPAs (now KPMG) and was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Colorado Society of CPAs. His concentration during his employment with Peat Marwick Mitchell was in the banking, oil and gas, real estate and charitable entity areas.

Education: University of Colorado, B.S. Accounting, 1979 with honors, (with a concentration in Finance); Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1983 (with a concentration in Taxation).

Admissions: Colorado.

Professional Memberships: Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, American Wind Energy Association, Colorado Renewable Energy Society.

Distinctions: AV Rated by his peers (Martindale Hubbell). CPA 1982 - passed first attempt.

Over his career Mr. Hackstaff has presented numerous lectures and training seminars on a variety of topics, including Renewable Energy, Estate Planning, Estate Tax and Retirement Planning, Entity Formation, Operation and Dissolution, Income Tax Planning, Business Planning, and Asset Protection.

Mr. Hackstaff has served on numerous committees and councils of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce as well as other volunteer organizations. He received the Chamber of Commerce’s highest volunteer award in 1991. He served for five years on its Board of Directors and is currently serving on its Public Affairs Council.

Mr. Hackstaff was recently appointed by the Colorado Speaker of the House to the Permitting and Siting of Electric Transmission Facilities Task Force which is currently reviewing Colorado’s Transmission Regulations. The task force was created by S.B. 11-045, and is comprised of 17 members, all representing different stakeholder groups who have an interest in the transmission siting and permitting process in Colorado.

Mr. Hackstaff is currently a member (formerly the Chairman) of the Corporate Board of the Cancer League of Colorado. He has chaired two golf tournaments, successfully raising money for cancer research.

Previous publications include:
August, 2009. Prepared for the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, 2008 Solar Innovation Grant (with Bradley Haight and Ann West).

Developer’s Checklist Prepared for Bureau of Land Management Wind Energy Applications, August 31-September 1, 2010.

Recent and planned speaking engagements include:
Denver University School of Law. July 25, 2012.
Representing Landowners on Wind Projects.

Bureau of Land Management Wind Energy Applications Training Symposium Workshop in The Dalles, OR, scheduled for Oct 24, 2011. Development Agreements and Transmission Line Planning.

Bureau of Land Management Wind Energy Applications, August 23, 2011. Developer Panel. Renewable Energy Business Development and Financing for Tribal Communities.

Denver University School of Law. February 24, 2011.
Representing Landowners on Wind Projects.

Bureau of Land Management Wind Energy Applications, August 31, 2010.
Wind Project Evaluation Issues for BLM Land Managers.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Tribal Energy Program, July 28, 2010.
Financing Projects in 2010.

Bureau of Land Management Wind Energy Applications Training Symposium, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Wind Technology Center, June 28, 2010.
Land Agreements.

Montana State University Extension Office, December, 2009.
Representing Landowners.

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John T. Snow


Practice Areas: Renewable Energy, Corporate, Real Estate, Estate Planning, Nonprofit Tax

Biography:  Mr. Snow’s practice concentrates on renewable energy project development, estate planning, corporate law, real estate, entity selection and formation, and non-profit tax advice.  Prior to joining Hackstaff Gessler LLC in 2005, Mr. Snow served as a lawyer with the legal department of the United States Postal Service.

Education: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, B.S.; University of Nebraska, J.D.

Admissions:  Colorado (2003), Nebraska (2006)

Professional Memberships:  Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association.

Community: Mr. Snow has served on the Corporate Board of Cancer League of Colorado from 2005-Present.  He also served as Chairman of the annual charity golf event from 2005-Present.

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Kelly A. Breuer

Kelly A Bruer

Practice Areas: Litigation, Administrative Law, Family Law, Nonprofit Organizations, Education, Government Affairs, Election and Campaign Finance

Ms. Weist is an experienced litigator and advocate in administrative, state and federal courts with a background in criminal trials, civil litigation and administrative actions and rulemaking. She has also successfully managed legislative and grassroots advocacy campaigns for local groups, small businesses, associations and Fortune 500 companies. Ms. Weist has an extensive background in education choice, advocating and representing charter schools, nonprofit education groups and parents.
Ms. Weist started her legal career at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia, and has worked as a civil and tax litigator and lobbyist in D.C. After relocating to Colorado, Ms. Weist worked in the Arapahoe County Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Davis, Graham and Stubbs, and US West.
While raising her sons, Ms. Weist became a sought-after and respected political and legal commentator in print and broadcast, as well as a consultant to nonprofit groups.

James Madison College at Michigan State University, B.A. Urban Policy and Majority/Minority Relations; Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America, J.D.

Colorado, 1997; District of Columbia (inactive), 1992, Maryland (inactive) 1994.

Professional Memberships:
Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, 1st Judicial Bar Association

Volunteer Work:
Ms. Weist volunteers extensively at her children’s charter school and at her church.

Kristin A. Hauptman


Practice Area: Real Estate Transactions, Title Insurance, Litigation

Ms. Hauptman has more than ten years of real estate law experience, which includes purchase and sale transactions, land development and construction loan financing, foreclosures, resolution of title defects, access and boundary disputes, as well as reformation, lien priority, quiet title, mechanic’s lien, and title insurance claim litigation. Ms. Hauptman’s real estate law experience has involved practice as in-house and outside title insurance claims counsel, where she handled a wide variety of residential and commercial title claims. In Ms. Hauptman’s private practice she has represented title companies in real estate closing issues, including payoff disputes, construction loan disbursement litigation, and many other matters. She has also represented private property owners in various real estate transactions, such as the transfer of mountain acreage for open space and conservation easements, quasi-governmental condemnation, and real estate-related probate matters.

Education and Training:
J.D., Creighton University School of Law, Omaha, NE, 1999; B.A. in English Literature, Philosophy Minor, University of Colorado – Denver, 1993


Professional Memberships:
Colorado Bar Association (Real Estate Section), Denver Bar Association

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Mario D. Nicolais


Practice Areas: Election Law, Campaign Finance Compliance, Appellate Advocacy, Energy, Real Estate, Nonprofit Tax, Government Affairs, Constitutional/First Amendment, Civil Rights.

  Mr. Nicolais is a leading expert in the fields of Election Law and Campaign Finance. In addition to advising many multi-million dollar campaigns on both the state and federal level, he has successfully litigated and argued cases before courts ranging from the Denver District Court to the Colorado Supreme Court. Most notably, Mr. Nicolais argued and won a unanimous opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court in the 2011 case Colorado Ethics Watch v Senate Majority Fund. He frequently speaks on these issues before groups across the state and as a regular media contributor.

Mr. Nicolais also practices in the firm’s Energy, Real Estate, and Nonprofit groups.
Prior to joining Hackstaff Gessler, Mr. Nicolais served as a Senior Research Analyst for the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee, the Political Director for the 2004 Bob Schaffer for US Senate campaign and a former general consultant for Coffman for Treasurer 2002. Mr. Nicolais also has previous experience working for a tax negotiation firm.

University of Colorado at Boulder, B.A., B.S.  1997 Boettcher Scholar; University of Colorado School of Law, J.D.

Colorado (2007)

Professional Memberships
:  Colorado Bar Association, 1st Judicial District Bar Association, Federalist Society

Community Volunteer Organizations:
Make-A-Wish Foundation Colorado, Young Professionals Board; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; 1st Judicial District CLE Committee;

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Ann L. West 


Practice Areas: Alternative Energy, Business Formation, Business Acquisitions and Sales, Commercial Law, Securities Law, International Business Law, Tax Law.

Biography:  Ann West represents businesses in a variety of legal matters, including formation, financing, taxation and acquisitions. She has extensive experience working with alternative energy and high technology companies, in particular, although she works with businesses in a variety of fields. She has worked with Jim Hackstaff since 2002. Prior to that, she worked at the Boulder office of Cooley Godward LLP (now Cooley LLP), a large Silicon Valley based firm. Ann practiced in that firm’s corporate and securities group primarily representing start up companies funded through venture capital financing transactions.

Prior to law school, she worked as a financial statement auditor in the Denver office of Arthur Andersen LLP, working with clients in a variety of fields. Ann is a certified public accountant.

Education:  Bachelor of Business Administration—Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, summa cum laude, 1994;    Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law, 1999. Professional Memberships: Ms. West is a member of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations.

Admissions: Colorado.

Distinctions: Co-author of “Colorado Photovoltaic Solar Development Considerations”, prepared for the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office pursuant to a 2007 Solar Innovation Grant.

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Counselors. Advocates.

Located at 1601 Blake Street Suite 310 Denver, Colorado 80202
P: 303.534.4317 F: 303.534.4309 Email:

The attorneys at Hackstaff & Snow combine extensive experience in several areas, while understanding that clients' needs often span several distinct practice areas. Accordingly, we combine in-depth expertise with a multi-disciplinary approach. This enables us to anticipate client needs and develop creative solutions. For example, our attorneys regularly integrate transactional expertise with in-depth tax planning. Likewise, we ensure that our public policy litigation efforts mesh with our clients' public relations or political requirements.


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