David W. Heckenbach

Co-Founder of Heckenbach Malara P.C.

Partner & Attorney

Personal Note

Dave is a leader in the legal community and has received numerous prestigious distinctions and awards during his 40 years of practice as a litigator.

Dave began his career even before taking the bar exam at the District Attorney’s office for Denver, Colorado. After passing the bar on his first attempt, Dave was sworn into practice law and sworn in as a Deputy District Attorney, the same day, on October 9, 1979 when he was only 24 years old. He has been trying cases ever since.

Dave began prosecuting misdemeanors and major traffic offenses in County Court. He was promoted less than a year later to the juvenile court and prosecuted felonies and misdemeanors against juveniles. Again in less than a year, he was elevated to practice in the District Court where he prosecuted adult felonies from first degree murder to forgery, with everything in between. In 1983, Dave was promoted to Chief Deputy District Attorney for the Denver District Attorney’s office, one of the youngest in its history.

Dave entered private practice in the spring of 1984 and practiced as a civil litigator, doing primarily insurance defense work and the defense of U.S.C. section 1983 cases. However, in January of 1985, Dave was asked to return to the District Attorney’s Office, by D.A. Norm Early, as the Chief Deputy in charge of Complex Prosecutions for the Denver District Attorney’s office. He accepted that position and held it until October of 1992. During his tenure as the Chief Deputy in charge of the Complex Prosecutions unit, Dave handled a variety of high profile, high publicity, and difficult, complex matters. He was also in charge of all Denver Statutory Grand Jury matters and investigations, as well as public corruption prosecutions.

In 1992, Dave joined Christopher C. Cross as a partner in the firm of Cross and Heckenbach, PC. During the five years Cross and Heckenbach, P.C. existed, Dave began handling complicated divorce matters, security litigation, criminal matters, attorney disciplinary matters, and some personal injury matters. Upon his partner’s elevation to the bench in 1997, Dave became a founding partner in one of the preceding entities to Heckenbach Suazo LLP. First known as Gutterman Carlton Heckenbach, LLP, the name changes evolved to reflect Dave Heckenbach, Jim Thompson, and Mychael Dave as the primary partners in the same entity that began on August 1, 1997.

During his time with Heckenbach Suazo LLP, Dave continued to practice primarily in the area of highly complicated divorce matters for individuals of high net worth and income. He has handled literally hundreds of contested hearings in cases such as divorce, paternity, allocation of parental responsibilities, child support modification, child support enforcement, maintenance modification, step-parent rights and grandparents’ rights. Mr. Suazo left the firm in 2020 and Dave and formed Heckenbach Malara PC with his longtime friend and colleague, Valerie Malara who is also recognized as a Preeminent Family Law lawyer.

As a trial lawyer for over 40 years, Dave is well known for the respect he commands in the courtroom among attorneys and judges, and as a formidable adversary who is completely at ease and confident in the courtroom. Because of his courtroom presence and skills, Dave is generally successful in negotiating cases to a conclusion without the need for litigation. Adversaries have come to know his trial talent, skills and know he will present a case with zeal, skill and compelling strategies.

Areas of Practice

Family Law

Criminal

Wills / Probate

Civil / Corporate

Mediation

  • Divorce
  • Post-Decree Modifications
  • Paternity Actions
  • Juvenile / DNN
  • Marital Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
  • Same Sex / Cohabitation Issues
  • Grandparent Rights
  • Dependency & Neglect
  • Guardianship
  • Adoption
  • Child Support Modifications
  • Emergency Motions: Suspend Parenting Time
  • Non-Parent Rights
  • Protection Orders
  • Legal Separation
  • Child Custody
  • Contempt / Enforcement
  • Interstate / International Jurisdiction
  • Parental Relinquishment / Termination
  • Rights of Unmarried Parents
  • Rights of Cohabitants (Partition / Replevin)
  • Appeals (Family / Domestic)
  • DUI Defense
  • Misdemeanors
  • Domestic Violence Defense
  • Traffic Violations
  • Drafting of Wills
  • Medical Durable Power of Attorney
  • Financial Durable Power of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Probate / Estate Finalization
  • Conservatorship
  • Guardianship
  • Civil Litigation: Plaintiff
  • Civil Litigation: Defendant
  • Corporate Formatics
  • Full Service Mediation
    • 2 hour minimum
    • $300 / hour
    • Saturdays Available Upon Request

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado (1979)
  • U.S. District of Colorado (1979)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit (1984)

Professional Associations & Memberships

  1. Colorado Bar Association (member) Douglas / Elbert
  2. Denver and Arapahoe Bar Associations (member)
  3. American Bar Association (member)
  4. Douglas / Elber Bar Association (member and past President)
  5. Executive Council of the Family Law Section: Colorado Bar Association (Former Member)

Honors & Awards

  • Honors and Awards: Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Lawyer 
  • Colorado Super Lawyers since 2006; 
  • Recognized as one of the Top Ten Family Law Attorneys by the National Academy of Family Law Lawyers and as one of the Top Ten Family Law Lawyers in Colorado;
  • Perfect AVVO rating of 10.0; 
  • Recently recognized as a Best Lawyer in America; 
  • Featured in Forbes Magazine as Heckenbach Carlton Ammarell, LLP (10/17/’07); 
  • Recipient of the Pacemaker Award

Education

  • University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, CO [J.D – 1979]
    • Honors: Quarter Finalist, Rothgerber Moot Court Competition
  • Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA [B.A – 1976]
    • Honors: cum laude & Psychology – (Psi Chi National Honors Society for Psychology).
  • New York University Medical School:                    
    • Major: Forensic Sciences Graduate Work, Medial/Legal Causes of Death

Published Works

The Guide to a Smart Divorce; Case Law Update for Colorado Trial Lawyers Association – (Co-Author)

Pro Bono Activities

  1. Leukemia Benefit Top Fundraiser, Alzheimer’s Association (past Board Member)
  2. American Heart Association of Colorado (past Board Member/ Former Chairman)
  3. Toyota Celebrity Ski Challenge (Co-Chairman)
  4. Cross and Clef Ministries (past Board Member and Volunteer)       

Past Employment Positions

Deputy District Attorney, Denver District Attorney’s Office (2015 – 2016)

Chief Deputy District Attorney, Denver District Attorney’s Office (2016 – 2017)

Chief Deputy in charge of Complex Prosecutions, Cross and Heckenbach P.C. – Partner (2017 – 2019)

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