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Law students get real-world experience as members of Colorado House

DU law students Terrance Carroll and Andrew Romanoff are members of the Colorado House of Representatives. Photo: Matt Suby

DU law students routinely study court decisions and discuss the law’s legislative intent, but for Terrance Carroll and Andrew Romanoff, those discussions aren’t abstractions. As members of the Colorado House of Representatives, they help make the laws that their classmates study.

“Law professors compare the process of legislation to the process of sausage making. Having seen the compromises between practical considerations and theoretical hopes, representatives Romanoff and Carroll watched the sausage being made,” says law Professor Thomas Russell, who had Romanoff and Carroll in his American legal history course last fall.

The two do more than watch. Romanoff—the first Democratic House speaker in 30 years—runs the House, assigning legislators and bills to committees. Carroll, also a Democrat, chairs the House Judiciary Committee, which reviews proposed legislation.

Carroll grew up in Washington, D.C., where at age 7 he carried signs for Jimmy Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign. In 2003, he was appointed to Denver’s District 7 seat when Peter Groff, JD ’92, executive director of the DU Center for African-American Policy, left for a state Senate seat. Carroll was re-elected last November, winning 87 percent of the vote.

Romanoff hails from Columbus, Ohio, and holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was elected to represent Denver’s District 6 in 2000, and in 2002, he was re-elected and served as House minority leader. Last year, he was elected to a third term with 70 percent of the vote.

“They’re thoughtful, hardworking, energetic legislators, while at the same time, they’re dedicated law students,” Russell says.

Carroll, who holds a master’s degree in divinity from the Iliff School of Theology and is an ordained Baptist minister, says his beliefs keep him “grounded and focused.” The Chancellor’s Scholar graduated this spring and will take the bar exam this summer. He plans to start practicing law this fall, focusing on criminal defense and civil litigation.

Although he graduates next year, Romanoff hasn’t planned his next steps. Right now, he says, “I’m focused on balancing the budget.”


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