Attorney General Phil Weiser announces additional senior leadership appointments
July 5, 2023 (DENVER) — Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced appointments to key leadership positions in the Colorado Department of Law.
“I am thrilled to welcome new, current, and returning staff to leadership positions in the department,” Weiser said. “These dynamic and innovative leaders will bring expertise and fresh perspectives to continue to guide our teams and serve the people of Colorado.”
The appointments are as follows:
Scott Steinbrecher, Deputy Attorney General, Natural Resources and Environment Section
In Steinbrecher’s new role, he oversees a team of 70 lawyers and staff who represent agencies within the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Public Health & Environment. Steinbrecher has a deep history in Colorado water law—including representing the State in various interstate compact negotiations and disputes—and has dedicated much of his career to public service. He recently served as assistant deputy attorney general where he advised the attorney general on water policy and led a team of the 15 attorneys representing the Colorado State Engineer, Colorado Water Conservation Board, and the State’s compact commissioners. Steinbrecher and his family work closely with the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation to raise money for genetic testing and research. He has a J.D. from Boston University Law School and a B.A. in philosophy from Whitman College.
Tanja E. Wheeler, Associate Chief Deputy Attorney General
Wheeler returns to the Department of Law to fill a new position, associate chief deputy attorney general. In this role, Wheeler will implement the priorities of the attorney general in developing the legal talent in the department as well as promoting a strong, collaborative culture. She will also oversee the administrative section of the office. Previously, Wheeler served as a Denver County Court judge for three years. Prior to her appointment to the bench, from 2010 to 2020 she held positions in the State Service Section of the department, including five years as a first assistant attorney general leading the Human Services Unit. Wheeler has a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California.
Vanessa Devereaux, Director, Division of Community Engagement
As division director, Devereaux leads the attorney general’s engagement around the state through the following five units: Outreach and Engagement, Consumer Engagement and Data Services, Safe2Tell Colorado, Opioid Response, and Grants and Partnerships. Devereaux joined the department in March of 2018 and served as general and litigation counsel to the Colorado Division of Insurance. She was instrumental in designing and managing the attorney general’s Colorado Partnership for Education and Rural Revitalization initiative, which supports skilled trades programs at community colleges in Southern Colorado to address labor shortages and increase the availability of viable and affordable housing in rural areas. Originally from the town of San Luis, Devereaux has a J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School and a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Denver. She is a member and past president of the Sam Cary Bar Association and a member of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association.
Martha Fulford, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Division of Civil Protections and Rights
In Fulford’s new role, she will lead a team focused on the areas of fair housing, workers’ protections, and civil rights. Fulford will also continue to serve as the consumer credit administrator, a position she has held since joining the department in 2019, administering laws related to consumer credit, licensing and regulation of consumer lenders, student loan servicers, debt collectors, and debt settlement providers. Before joining the Department of Law, Fulford was senior counsel at the National Student Legal Defense Network. From 2012 to 2018, she served as attorney-advisor at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C. She clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Tucker L. Melançon and for Judge Michael A. Chagares on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Fulford has a B.A. from Yale University and earned her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Melissa Kessler, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Corporate Fraud
The Corporate Fraud team investigates and prosecutes civil and criminal fraud against the State of Colorado. It is comprised of the longstanding Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which pursues Medicaid fraud and abuse and neglect matters across the state, and the new False Claims Act Unit, which combats all types of fraud committed against the state. Kessler has more than 10 years of legal experience and, prior to her appointment at the department, she was a member of the senior leadership team in the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. She also served at the U.S. Department of Justice specializing in economic crimes and other complex criminal litigation and was a law clerk to Judge Troy L. Nunley in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Kessler has a J.D. from the College of William & Mary and earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton University.
Drew Williams, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Civil Litigation and Employment Law
Williams will join the department on June 5 to manage and coordinate the section’s civil litigation practice. Since April 2021, Williams has served as associate general counsel for the Texas Association of Counties. Previously, he held positions in the Travis County Attorney’s Office, and the 250th District Court of Travis County. Williams also taught courtroom advocacy as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Law School from 2012-2021. He has a J.D. from the University of Texas Law School and a B.B.S. from Hardin-Simmons University. Williams is a member of the Austin Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association, and volunteers at Central Texas Food Bank.