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Joe Smith

Partner at Barlit Beck

"Libraries were always an important inspiration to me.  The collection and preservation of thousands of years of knowledge impressed upon me the value of civilization and the humility and gratitude to prior generations with which one must approach learning."


Joe is a partner at the law firm Bartlit Beck and former Deputy Attorney General for the State of Colorado. A philosopher at heart, he recognizes the arena of possibility that resides in a library. DPLFF is pleased to share Joe's contribution to "What Denver Reads" and insight into his appreciation for the classics.

Who’s your favorite author?

William Shakespeare. 

I first read Shakespeare in high school.  I had acted in some school plays, but it was Shakespeare that got me more seriously interested in theater.

Which author would you most like to meet and why? 

Edmund Burke, because I would love to get his take on the pace and nature of change in the modern world.

I was introduced to Burke in college.  I was a Philosophy major, and one of my classmates suggested I read Burke.  In law school, I took Cass Sunstein’s “Elements of the Law” class, and he assigned some Burke.  I ended up founding the Edmund Burke Society at the University of Chicago, which is still flourishing at the school and has about 1,000 alumni.

What’s the last great book you’ve read? 

The Gorgias, by Plato - a great book and a GREAT BOOK.

Most people don’t realize that reading Plato can be fun.  He has a great sense of humor, and it really comes out in The Gorgias.