Chaffee County’s new County Judge Diana C. Bull, could say the law is the family business.
Bull, 37, was sworn in by 11th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Murphy Tuesday morning before assuming the bench in county court with family members in attendance.
Her father has been a Colorado trial attorney for more than 50 years. A brother practices criminal defense, a sister practices immigration law and her sister-in-law teaches constitutional law and history at the high school level.
Bull is a sixth generation Coloradan who was born and raised in Franktown.
She said in fifth grade she decided she wanted two things, to play basketball and to be an attorney.
“With a name like Bull, there’s not much else you can do than practice law,” she joked.
She earned her bachelor of arts degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in 2005.
A few years later she took a break to make a decision about the direction she would go.
“Law school is a very important decision,” she said.
Bull obtained her juris doctorate degree from University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2011 and was admitted to the Colorado Bar in October of that year.
She began her career as a temporary associate at Bull and Davies, P.C. in 2011 and then served as a public defender in the 11th Judicial District from 2012 to 2017, including a stint in Salida.
In 2017 Bull set up her own practice in Cañon City, which consisted primarily of criminal defense work.
With news of the retirement of long-time Chaffee County Judge William Alderton in 2020, Bull applied for the vacancy and was appointed to the position by Gov. Jared Polis in September.
Alderton’s last day on the bench was Monday.
During the swearing in ceremony, Murphy said he had known Bull for about 10 years.
He said he knew her to be highly ethical, an incredibly hard worker and one of the more positive people he’s met.
He said he was delighted that she will be his colleague.
Bull said Murphy was her first boss and a mentor.
She said she can’t wait to be as much of an institution as her predecessor and hopes to live up to Murphy’s high standards.
Bull is exhilarated and has been waiting since September for this to come to fruition, adding Murphy and the court staff have been warm, welcoming and helpful. She is excited, she said, and full of energy and ready to dive in.
“Law is an honorable profession where you can help people access and navigate the legal system, and try to help others navigate the world when it’s hard,” she said.
As a judge she said she hopes to provide everybody access to the courts and have them feel they have been adequately heard and justice has been provided to them.
She said there will be some changes in the way the county court does business and is working with the court clerks to streamline and make the court more efficient with technology.