Carolyn Fairless
 
"She misses no details and seems almost always to be available to address concerns.
She is the ultimate client pleaser."
–Client comment to Chambers USA 2018

Carolyn Fairless is the managing partner of Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and professional liability defense. Carolyn represents sophisticated clients in matters including breach of contract, business torts, intellectual property, personal injury, insurance coverage and bad faith, and professional liability. Carolyn has been called "a lawyer's lawyer" and has successfully defended some of the nation's leading law firms and lawyers in high-stakes legal malpractice matters throughout the country. She also defends insurance, finance, and real estate firms and professionals.

There is a common misperception that jurors dislike the types of clients Carolyn represents. Her record of trial success proves otherwise. Carolyn humanizes her clients and presents their cases in fresh and creative ways for judges and juries. Especially when the underlying claims may be complex and potentially confusing, Carolyn develops clear case themes and trial strategies that engage jurors and help make critical information meaningful and memorable.

Chambers USA, the leading rankings directory in the legal industry, ranks Carolyn in Band 2 for General Commercial Litigation in Colorado, a distinction that places her among the top 25 commercial litigators in the state. In 2018, the directory wrote "She is noted by a source as 'talented and experienced beyond her years,' adding: 'She misses no details and seems almost always to be available to address concerns. She is the ultimate client pleaser.'"

In 2017, Best Lawyers recognized Carolyn as the Denver Lawyer of the Year for Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants. Benchmark Litigation has ranked Carolyn in its nationwide Top 250 Women in Litigation for five years in a row. Colorado Super Lawyers ranks Carolyn in the Top 100 Lawyers and Top 50 Women, as voted by her colleagues and peers. Carolyn is also Martindale-Hubbell AV peer-review rated.

Other Experience

IBM Corporation
    Computer Analyst

Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Chambers USA
 
   Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2013-2018
The Best Lawyers in America
    Professional Malpractice Defense Lawyer of the Year - Denver, 2017
    Commercial Litigation, 2013-2019
    Legal Malpractice Defense Law, 2012-2019
    Professional Malpractice Defense Law, 2012-2019
    Intellectual Property Litigation, 2017-2019
Benchmark Litigation
    Top 250 Women in Litigation 2014-2018
    Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2014-2018
    Future Star - Colorado, 2013
Colorado Super Lawyers
    
Professional Liability: Defense, 2009-2018
    Top 100, 2012-2018
    Top 50 Women, 2012-2018
    Top 50, 2011
    Top 25 Women, 2011 
Colorado Women's Bar Association Foundation
    2015 Raising the Bar Dinner Honoree,
    "Women to Watch: Five Female Attorneys Who Will Make an Impact
    Over the Next 10 Years"
Minority Corporate Counsel Association
    Rainmakers Who Always Shine, 2017
Law Week Colorado
   
 "People's Choice" Best Civil Litigator, 2017
    "Barrister's Best" Civil Litigator, 2015
    Lawyer of the Year, 2014
    Top Women Lawyers, 2010
Denver Business Journal
    Power Book Award Winner - 2016
5280 Magazine 
    Top Lawyer 
          Civil Litigation, 2016-2018
Colorado Corporate Counsel Black Book
    Business Litigation, 2007
The Legal 500 United States
    Litigation, 2007
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
American Bar Association
Colorado Bar Association
    Ethics Committee
Defense Research Institute
    Professional Liability Committee

Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Animal Assistance Foundation, Board of Directors
President, Foothills Animal Foundation, 2009-2012

Teaching Positions

National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Personal Interests

Her dogs


The managing partner of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, Carolyn Fairless represents sophisticated clients in complex commercial litigation and professional liability defense. Carolyn is ranked in Chambers USA, and Benchmark Litigation lists her among the Top 250 Women in Litigation in the U.S.

Representative Cases
Representative Clients
  • Lawyers and Law Firms
Bar and Court Admissions
  • Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Other Experience

IBM Corporation
    Computer Analyst

Teaching Positions

National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Chambers USA
 
   Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2013-2018
The Best Lawyers in America
    Professional Malpractice Defense Lawyer of the Year - Denver, 2017
    Commercial Litigation, 2013-2019
    Legal Malpractice Defense Law, 2012-2019
    Professional Malpractice Defense Law, 2012-2019
    Intellectual Property Litigation, 2017-2019
Benchmark Litigation
    Top 250 Women in Litigation 2014-2018
    Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2014-2018
    Future Star - Colorado, 2013
Colorado Super Lawyers
    
Professional Liability: Defense, 2009-2018
    Top 100, 2012-2018
    Top 50 Women, 2012-2018
    Top 50, 2011
    Top 25 Women, 2011 
Colorado Women's Bar Association Foundation
    2015 Raising the Bar Dinner Honoree,
    "Women to Watch: Five Female Attorneys Who Will Make an Impact
    Over the Next 10 Years"
Minority Corporate Counsel Association
    Rainmakers Who Always Shine, 2017
Law Week Colorado
   
 "People's Choice" Best Civil Litigator, 2017
    "Barrister's Best" Civil Litigator, 2015
    Lawyer of the Year, 2014
    Top Women Lawyers, 2010
Denver Business Journal
    Power Book Award Winner - 2016
5280 Magazine 
    Top Lawyer 
          Civil Litigation, 2016-2018
Colorado Corporate Counsel Black Book
    Business Litigation, 2007
The Legal 500 United States
    Litigation, 2007
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
American Bar Association
Colorado Bar Association
    Ethics Committee
Defense Research Institute
    Professional Liability Committee

Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Animal Assistance Foundation, Board of Directors
President, Foothills Animal Foundation, 2009-2012

Personal Interests

Her dogs

Articles/Presentations
  • Newsletters
  • You're the Boss: Supervising Attorneys' Responsibilities Under the Rules of Professional Conduct
Press

Chambers USA 2017 Leading Individual

Education
  • University of Colorado Law School, J.D., 1998
    Research Assistant to Professor Dale A. Oesterle
  • Tulane University, B.S., 1992, Computer Science, cum laude
Bar and Court Admissions
  • Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court