Kelley Duke literally helped write the book on Colorado’s regulations for transportation network companies. In 2014, Colorado was the first state to adopt a law regulating the companies, and Duke’s litigation and regulatory work in that space brought her to the drafting table for the regulations.
“It’s not like we could look to other states for regulations. … Colorado had to come up with its own regulatory framework, similar to what they did in marijuana, frankly,” Duke said.
Duke has a general commercial litigation practice at Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, where she chairs the firm’s litigation practice, and her work includes a lot of disputes involving contracts, construction, real estate, oil and gas and shareholders. She estimated she takes two to three cases to trial each year. In addition, Duke does regulatory and litigation work in the transportation space subject to the Public Utilities Commission.
In that work, she represents transportation network companies, like Uber and Lyft, though she declined to name her specific clients. Duke said she enjoys helping the companies navigate safety regulations for drivers and customers.
“The PUC is in the business of providing consumer safety, and the TNCs are also in the business of providing consumer safety,” Duke said. “So finding a middle ground on how we can do that but push business forward … takes a lot of time and strategy in working with the PUC to create a partnership.” She said she prides herself on her work coming up with business approaches for her clients that help them avoid regulatory trouble and litigation.
“We avoid litigation at all costs when it comes to dealing with public agencies, because we are subject to their regulations,” Duke said. Companies partnering with the PUC means they work together to come up with regulations the transportation network companies will follow, and Colorado was the first state to adopt a law regulating transportation network companies in 2014. Duke’s work meant she was part of the team that drafted the state’s regulatory framework for transportation network companies.