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Legally Speaking


Issue: February, 2007
Author: Mary Angell

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Cindy DeLancey: Carbon County's First Female County Attorney

Cindy DeLancey doesn’t waste any time. She’s a business owner; a wife and mother; an attorney; and now, Carbon County’s first female county attorney. And she’s become all of these within the last six years.

Not long ago, she was a dental assistant, intrigued by the career of her older sister, a New York attorney.

“I just thought that was kind of neat,” DeLancey said. “I was interested in what her practice was, and I thought it would be a good career--an interesting career.”

So she went to law school at the University of Wyoming. She graduated in 2000 and passed the bar exam the following year. She practiced with the Rawlins firm of MacPherson, Kelly & Thompson for several months before marrying Dave DeLancey and moving to Laramie, where she worked for Child Support Services of Wyoming. DeLancey soon returned to Carbon County, where she served as deputy county attorney for a year. Then, in 2003, she took the job of Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Criminal Investigation.

Not only was DeLancey the first woman in Wyoming to hold that position, she was only 30 years old at the time.

“The majority of agents in DCI are men,” she said. “A lot of the men I had to give legal advice to had been in law enforcement maybe as long as I had been alive.”

“It was an exciting career opportunity,” she added. “The staff and agents were wonderful to me. It was a real positive point in my career to have that opportunity. I loved being a member of the criminal division.”

While working in the Carbon County Attorney’s office and the AG’s office, DeLancey also took on some assignments for the U.S. Attorney’s office as special assistant to the U.S. Attorney.

“It was a really neat opportunity for me,” she said. “The U.S. Attorney’s office is the cream of the crop. That was one of the highlights of my career thus far.”

Her broad experience as a prosecutor gave DeLancey a genuine affinity for working for law enforcement, so she set her sights on the County Attorney’s office.

“I like helping people, sometimes people who don’t have much of a voice, and being able to be that voice in the pursuit of justice,” she said.

There’s a simple reason she’s Carbon County’s first female county attorney.

“There aren’t very many women attorneys in Carbon County,” she said. “I think I might be the first woman who ever ran for the position.”

In addition to her new position as County Attorney, DeLancey owns and operates several businesses with her husband Dave: the Rawlins Equestrian Center, the Carbon County Feed and Tack Store and DeLancey Trucking. They established the feed and tack store and equestrian center a couple of years ago and the trucking company less than a year ago. DeLancey said the couple manages their businesses as a team. She often tackles business matters at the end of the day, after getting home from work at 6:00 p.m., making dinner, and playing with and putting her kids --- 4-year-old Reagen and 15-month-old Beau -- to bed. She seldom gets to sleep until 11:30 p.m. or later, and her alarm is set for 5:30 a.m.

In her spare time (what little she has), DeLancey enjoys spending time with the horses, although she admits they are her husband’s specialty, not hers.

“I’m just a horse person by default,” she said.

Her schedule consists of “a lot of long hours and little sleep,” but DeLancey said she manages it with a great deal of organization and preparation.

“That’s part of the key to being a successful lawyer, too,” she said. “It’s crucial to be organized and prepared. You can never be over prepared.”

DeLancey doesn’t know where she gets her energy, but she acquired her drive to succeed from her father, a New York businessman.

“He’s probably the one who instilled a good work ethic in me,” she said. “He showed me that hard work can pay off.”

“What inspires me now is to work hard for the people, the victims, the system and the process,” she continued. “This is what the public deserves: someone who is committed to do the job as effectively and efficiently as my ability allows. I think I have some good ideas for positive change that will benefit the citizens of the county.”

Among her ideas for improvement are establishing office hours around the county in addition to Rawlins and a toll-free number so citizens don’t have to make a long-distance call to the county attorney’s office. She also plans to reorganize the division of cases and other areas of the office to help it run more efficiently.

“I’m not afraid of a challenge, and I see this as a challenge. I welcome that,” DeLancey said. “I’m excited. I think it’s going to be wonderful.”

Carbon County’s deputy county attorney, also a woman, is Dawnessa Snyder, a law school classmate of DeLancey’s. She served with the previous administration and has stayed on as deputy.

“We’re an office full of women right now,” DeLancey said.

Although she’s excited about her new position as county attorney, DeLancey has aspirations for the bench, particularly in a juvenile court.

“I’ve handled a lot of juvenile cases. It’s very important work,” she said. “To have the ability to practice in front of the judges in Carbon County is wonderful. We have two judges who preside here who are exceptional, caring, smart people --- Circuit Court Judge Jane Eakin and Second Judicial District Court Judge Wade E. Waldrip. If I could be a judge like them one day, that would be my definition of success in my career.”

Mary Angell is a freelance writer from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and a frequent contributor to the Wyoming Lawyer.

Copyright © 2007 – Wyoming State Bar