Tom Downey

Director


 

Tom Downey

Director

BIOGRAPHY

Tom Downey is a Director at Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC. With his significant experience as both a government official and private attorney, Mr. Downey helps his clients navigate all aspects of regulatory law. The majority of his practice consists of advising and representing corporate clients in the administrative, transactional and disciplinary processes related to liquor licensing, legalized marijuana and licenses governed by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. Further, he represents investors, creditors, developers, intellectual property holders and others in and around licensed industries. In providing full services to his clients, Mr. Downey conducts a great deal of zoning, code enforcement and public policy work.

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Previously, Mr. Downey led Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses, issuing and regulating 25,000 business licenses in Denver in 180 categories. During that time, he redrafted Denver’s Policies and Procedures for liquor licensing and wrote the original Policies and Procedures for Denver’s legalized recreational marijuana licenses. Governor Hickenlooper appointed him to advise the administration and General Assembly on the legislation creating recreational marijuana. He created and ran the Business and Licensing Division of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Business and Licensing Section under A.G. Ken Salazar. His higher profile cases included the Congressional Redistricting, State Reapportionment, the GAVEL Amendment and the Blue Book battles. Mr. Downey routinely teaches Continuing Legal Education courses and gives other presentations on regulatory and licensing law around the country. Recently, he sat on the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s Licensing, and Permitted Economic Interest Rulemaking committee.

Mr. Downey started his legal career clerking for Judge D. Warren Donohue on the Circuit Court of Maryland. During law school, he spent the summer of 1992 in Budapest as a consultant to a founding member of FIDEZ, the first opposition party in Hungary, in preparing to redraft their constitution. He worked for a Congressman prior to law school. Mr. Downey and his wife, Lori Fox, have three young daughters, Cate, Ella and Meg, who are amazing singers and songwriters.

Presentations & Publications

  • Author, “How DEA should classify pot: A three-part approach can satisfy state, feds alike” The Denver Post, Perspective Section, June 19, 2016
  • Speaker, “The legalization of marijuana and its impact on nonprofit fundraising,” Colorado Society of CPAs, May 24, 2016
  • Speaker, The Future of Marijuana Industry Accountability; A Case for Providing a Solution,” Conference of Western Attorneys General, Brown University, April 5, 2016
  • Speaker, “Implications of Legalized Marijuana,” Ohio SHRM Conference, March 10, 2016
  • Speaker, “Regulation, Colorado Marijuana & the Next Frontier,” City Club of Denver, January 5, 2016
  • Speaker, “The Legalization of Marijuana and its Impact on Nonprofit Fundraising,” a combined event with the Colorado Nonprofit Association and the Colorado Association of Funders and Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC, July 14, 2015
  • Panelist, “The Business of Bud,” Above The Law, June 16, 2015
  • Panelist, Marijuana in Colorado: Advanced Tax, Legal and Accounting Considerations Seminar, Bloomberg BNA, December 1, 2015
  • Co-Presenter, The Impact of Legalized Marijuana, Metropolitan State University of Denver, June 30, 2015
  • Presenter, “Legal Overview of the Recreational Marijuana Industry: A Regulatory Perspective,” The Consuls General of the European Union’s Nations, December, 18, 2014
  • Author, “All That Glitters Green in Colorado Is Not Pot GoldThe Denver Post, November 28, 2014
  • Author, “We Need A New Social Contract to Avoid A Collision with Millennials,” The Denver Post, Perspectives Section, August 22, 2010
  • Author,“Transplants Unite!”Rocky Mountain News, December 13, 2004
  • Author,“A Sensible Redistricting Alternative,” Rocky Mountain News, January 16, 2004

Memberships

  • City Club of Denver, Member
  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Public Policy Forum
  • Marijuana Enforcement Division’s Licensing, and Permitted Economic Interest Stakeholder Work Group (August 2015)
  • Governor Hickenlooper’s Amendment 64 (Recreational Marijuana) legislative advisory committee (2013)
  • Denver Taxi and Limo Council, Chair (2012-2013)
  • Denver Medical Marijuana Working Group, Founder (2011-2012)
  • Governor Ritter Transition Team, Regulatory Agencies (2006)
  • Mayor’s Leadership Team on Early Childhood Education (2004-2006)
  • I-300 Marijuana Social Consumption Area Task Force, Member

Community Involvement

Mr. Downey strongly believes in engaging in our community. He took a break from government and legal work for five years to run the Children’s Museum of Denver. He is the Past Board Chair of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, and the former Board Chair of the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In 2000, Tom managed the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign in Colorado. In 1986, Tom ran a children’s home in Venezuela, “La Ciudad del los Muchachos.”


  • Westerly Creek Metropolitan District, Board Member (Elected 2014)
  • Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Livingston Fellow (2007-present) (focus: Creation of management theory, an execution model of Jim Collins’ Good to Great principles)
  • LoDo District, Board Member (2005–present)
  • Emerging Leaders in Development program, Steering Committee (2010)
  • Colorado Nonprofit Association, Board Member (2006–2012, Chair 2008-2010)
  • Heritage 365 Magazine, Editorial Advisory Committee (2006–2009)
  • Nonprofit Resources, Inc., Board Member (2006–2008)
  • American Association of Museums, Co-Chair, Host Committee 2008 Conference
  • Denver Preschool Program, Board of Advisors (2007)
  • DPS Capital Needs Committee (2005–2007)
  • Citizens for Denver Public Schools (2003)
  • Leadership Denver (1999)

Media


Contact Info

Practice Areas

Education

  • University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School Executive Education Program – High Impact Leaders (non-degree), 2009
  • Villanova School of Law J.D., 1993, Vice-Chair, Villanova Law School Honor Board Vice–President, Villanova Law School Women’s Law Caucus President, Villanova Law School Rugby Club
  • College of William and Mary Bachelor of Arts in Economics, 1989

Honors & Awards

  • 2016-2018 Top Lawyer for Marijuana Law, 5280 Magazine
  • Westword’s 2013 “Best of Denver” award for customer service
  • Denver 150 Unsung Heroes Award (2008)
  • Mile High United Way’s “Anna Jo Haynes Care About Kids Award” (2006)
  • Ballard Spahr’s National Pro Bono Attorney of the Year (2002)
  • Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 (2002)
  • Villanova Law School, Herman Mitchell Schwartz Award Recipient for the most significant contribution to the achievement of equality of opportunity and treatment for women in the legal community
  • Knights of Columbus Patriotism Award (1983)
  • Admissions

    • Admitted to practice in Colorado
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado