Michael O'Donnell
Practice Areas
Industries
Representative Clients
  • Advanced Bionics - National Trial Counsel
  • Boston Scientific - National Trial Counsel
  • City & County of Denver
  • CoorsTek
  • Crown Equipment - Regional Trial Counsel
  • Denver International Airport
  • Dish Network
  • Fresenius - National Counsel
  • General Electric - National Resolution and Trial Counsel
  • Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance
  • Guidant - National Trial Counsel
  • High net-worth individuals
  • Lawyers and Law Firms
  • Level 3 Communications
  • Michelin North America, Inc. - National Trial & Resolution Counsel
  • Pfizer - National Counsel

Michael O'Donnell
 

Michael O'Donnell is a founder and the chairman of Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell. His national litigation practice focuses on complex civil litigation involving product liability, professional liability, torts, class actions and mass actions, commercial litigation, and bet-the-company matters. Mike has appeared as lead counsel in state and federal courts in 40 states, and he has served as national trial and resolution counsel for numerous highly visible companies, including General Electric, Michelin North America, Advanced Bionics, McKesson, Boston Scientific, Guidant, and Pfizer. 

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Mike served as the chairman of its Colorado chapter for two consecutive years and currently serves as the Regent for the 10th Circuit. He was also elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and to the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mike is a former chairman of The Network of Trial Law Firms, a 7,000-member lawyer organization that offers continuing legal education programs on litigation topics.

Chambers USA ranks Mike nationwide for product liability and mass torts defense. Colorado Super Lawyers has ranked Mike the number one lawyer in Colorado for four years in a row (2013-2016) based on a survey of his peers, and he has been named to its top 10 list every year since 2009. Best Lawyers lists Mike in seven litigation practice areas and named him "Denver Legal Malpractice Lawyer of the Year" for 2017 and 2011, and "Denver Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year" for 2013 and 2012. In 2011, Law Week Colorado selected Mike as one of 10 "Lawyers of the Decade" in Colorado. In a survey conducted by Law Week Colorado in 2010, Mike was selected by his peers as the "Best Trial Lawyer" in Colorado.   

In 2012, Mike was honored with the DU Law Outstanding Alumni Award which is presented each year to one DU Law graduate who has demonstrated professional achievement and humanitarian service to the community. In 2008, he became only the seventh defense lawyer to receive an award from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for the highest standards of competency, ethics, and professionalism. 

Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
    Regent, 2012-2016
    Regent Liaison for ACTL Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice,
    2013-2015
    Sandra Day O'Connor Award Committee, 2013-2015
    Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Committee, 2013-2015
    Regent's Nominating Committee, 2014
    Special Problems in the Administration of Justice Committee, Vice
        Chairman, 2011-2012
    Adjunct State Committee, 2011-2012
    Colorado State Committee, Chairman, 2008-2010
    Chairman-Elect, 2007-2008, Vice Chairman, 2006-2007
    Code of Conduct Committee, 2007-2008
    Complex Litigation Committee 2004-2005
Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
American Board of Trial Advocates
    Member
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
    Member, Diversity Law Institute
    Member, Trial Law Institute
International Association of Defense Counsel
    Member
Chambers USA
   Product Liability - Nationwide, 2015-2016
   Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2009-2016
Law Week Colorado
    "People's Choice" Civil Litigator, 2016
    "Barrister's Best" Best Overall Litigator, 2015
    "People's Choice" Class Action Defense Lawyer, 2014
    "Barrister's Best" Best Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Lawyer, 2012
    Lawyers of the Decade, 2011  
    "Barrister's Best" Best Trial Lawyer, 2010
Best Lawyers
    Denver Legal Malpractice Lawyer of the Year, 2011, 2014, 2017
    Denver Personal Injury Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2015
    Denver Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2012-2013
    Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2005-2017
    Commercial Litigation, 2005-2017
    Legal Malpractice Law, 2005-2017
    Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, 2017
    Personal Injury Litigation, 2005-2017
    Product Liability Litigation, 2005-2017
    Professional Malpractice Law, 2017
The Legal 500 United States
    Litigation: Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense, 2007, 2009-2011,
    2013
Benchmark Litigation
    Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2011-2017
    Product Liability - Colorado, 2013-2017
    Professional Liability - Colorado, 2013-2017
Colorado Super Lawyers
    Ranked #1 in Colorado, 2013-2016
    Top 10, 2007, 2009-2016
    Personal Injury Defense: Products, 2009-2016
    Class Action/Mass Torts, 2006-2008
5280 Magazine
    2015 Top Lawyer
          Personal Injury Defense
          Civil Litigation
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
    Outstanding Alumni Award, 2012
Euromoney's Expert Guides - Litigation and Product Liability
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
The International Who's Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers, 2011, 2014-2016
The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers, 2014, 2016
Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS)
    ACTL Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice, member
    2015 Rebuilding Justice Award
Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
    Award for Competency, Ethics, and Professionalism, 2008
The American Lawyer
    Top Commercial Litigation Lawyers, 2006
Corporate LiveWire
    2014 Lawyer of the Year - Litigation & Dispute Resolution (Denver)
Best of the Bar, Denver Business Journal
Colorado Bar Foundation
    Fellow
The Network of Trial Law Firms
    Chairman, 2005-2006
Denver Bar Association
    Vice President, Board of Trustees
Colorado Bar Association
    Member, Board of Governors
American Bar Association
    Chairman, Issues Affecting the Legal Profession
    Young Lawyers Section Liaison to Standing Committee on
        Professional Discipline
American Bar Foundation
    Fellow
Judge William E. Doyle American Inn of Court, Master
Denver Law Club
Faculty of Federal Advocates
    Board of Directors, 2004-2005
Defense Research Institute
    Member, Professional Liability Committee
Colorado Defense Lawyers Association
USDC Colorado Committee on Conduct, 2012
Who's Who in Law, Denver Business Journal
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
    Co-Chair of Reunion Committee, 2004
Colorado Judicial Institute
    Board of Directors, 2004-present
    Judicial Awards Committee, 2006-present
IAALS Law Firm Council
    Founding member
National Center for State Courts
    Lawyers Committee Member

Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell Foundation
    Founder and President, 2005-present
Archdiocese of Denver
    Finance Council, 2008-2013
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Denver
    Board Member, 2010-present
Denver Police Foundation
    Board of Directors, 2004-present
Walking for Kids
    Founding Member, Board of Directors, 2009-present
Trial.com Foundation, Inc.
    President, 2005-2006
The Catholic Foundation
    Board of Directors, Advancement Committee, 2004-2005
American Heart Association of Colorado and Wyoming
    Chairman of the Board
American Heart Association of Colorado
    Denver Metro Division, Chairman of the Board
Denver Tennis Club
    Board of Directors
The Village Club
    President
Hundred Club of Denver
    Member

Teaching Positions

BAR-BRI Course on Professional Responsibility
National Institute for Trial Advocacy
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
    Guest Lecturer
University of Colorado at Denver, MBA Program
    Guest Lecturer
Numerous CLE Presentations

Personal Interests

Family, golf, reading, travel
 


Michael O'Donnell has appeared as lead defense counsel in 40 states for product liability, professional liability, class and mass actions, and complex commercial matters for many of the nation's leading companies. Mike is a Fellow and Regent of the American College of Trial Lawyers. His colleagues and peers have voted him the #1 lawyer in Colorado Super Lawyers for four consecutive years.

Representative Cases
Representative Clients
  • Advanced Bionics - National Trial Counsel
  • Boston Scientific - National Trial Counsel
  • City & County of Denver
  • CoorsTek
  • Crown Equipment - Regional Trial Counsel
  • Denver International Airport
  • Dish Network
  • Fresenius - National Counsel
  • General Electric - National Resolution and Trial Counsel
  • Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance
  • Guidant - National Trial Counsel
  • High net-worth individuals
  • Lawyers and Law Firms
  • Level 3 Communications
  • Michelin North America, Inc. - National Trial & Resolution Counsel
  • Pfizer - National Counsel
Bar and Court Admissions
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Teaching Positions

BAR-BRI Course on Professional Responsibility
National Institute for Trial Advocacy
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
    Guest Lecturer
University of Colorado at Denver, MBA Program
    Guest Lecturer
Numerous CLE Presentations

Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
    Regent, 2012-2016
    Regent Liaison for ACTL Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice,
    2013-2015
    Sandra Day O'Connor Award Committee, 2013-2015
    Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Committee, 2013-2015
    Regent's Nominating Committee, 2014
    Special Problems in the Administration of Justice Committee, Vice
        Chairman, 2011-2012
    Adjunct State Committee, 2011-2012
    Colorado State Committee, Chairman, 2008-2010
    Chairman-Elect, 2007-2008, Vice Chairman, 2006-2007
    Code of Conduct Committee, 2007-2008
    Complex Litigation Committee 2004-2005
Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
American Board of Trial Advocates
    Member
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
    Member, Diversity Law Institute
    Member, Trial Law Institute
International Association of Defense Counsel
    Member
Chambers USA
   Product Liability - Nationwide, 2015-2016
   Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2009-2016
Law Week Colorado
    "People's Choice" Civil Litigator, 2016
    "Barrister's Best" Best Overall Litigator, 2015
    "People's Choice" Class Action Defense Lawyer, 2014
    "Barrister's Best" Best Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Lawyer, 2012
    Lawyers of the Decade, 2011  
    "Barrister's Best" Best Trial Lawyer, 2010
Best Lawyers
    Denver Legal Malpractice Lawyer of the Year, 2011, 2014, 2017
    Denver Personal Injury Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2015
    Denver Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2012-2013
    Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2005-2017
    Commercial Litigation, 2005-2017
    Legal Malpractice Law, 2005-2017
    Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, 2017
    Personal Injury Litigation, 2005-2017
    Product Liability Litigation, 2005-2017
    Professional Malpractice Law, 2017
The Legal 500 United States
    Litigation: Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense, 2007, 2009-2011,
    2013
Benchmark Litigation
    Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2011-2017
    Product Liability - Colorado, 2013-2017
    Professional Liability - Colorado, 2013-2017
Colorado Super Lawyers
    Ranked #1 in Colorado, 2013-2016
    Top 10, 2007, 2009-2016
    Personal Injury Defense: Products, 2009-2016
    Class Action/Mass Torts, 2006-2008
5280 Magazine
    2015 Top Lawyer
          Personal Injury Defense
          Civil Litigation
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
    Outstanding Alumni Award, 2012
Euromoney's Expert Guides - Litigation and Product Liability
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
The International Who's Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers, 2011, 2014-2016
The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers, 2014, 2016
Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS)
    ACTL Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice, member
    2015 Rebuilding Justice Award
Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
    Award for Competency, Ethics, and Professionalism, 2008
The American Lawyer
    Top Commercial Litigation Lawyers, 2006
Corporate LiveWire
    2014 Lawyer of the Year - Litigation & Dispute Resolution (Denver)
Best of the Bar, Denver Business Journal
Colorado Bar Foundation
    Fellow
The Network of Trial Law Firms
    Chairman, 2005-2006
Denver Bar Association
    Vice President, Board of Trustees
Colorado Bar Association
    Member, Board of Governors
American Bar Association
    Chairman, Issues Affecting the Legal Profession
    Young Lawyers Section Liaison to Standing Committee on
        Professional Discipline
American Bar Foundation
    Fellow
Judge William E. Doyle American Inn of Court, Master
Denver Law Club
Faculty of Federal Advocates
    Board of Directors, 2004-2005
Defense Research Institute
    Member, Professional Liability Committee
Colorado Defense Lawyers Association
USDC Colorado Committee on Conduct, 2012
Who's Who in Law, Denver Business Journal
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
    Co-Chair of Reunion Committee, 2004
Colorado Judicial Institute
    Board of Directors, 2004-present
    Judicial Awards Committee, 2006-present
IAALS Law Firm Council
    Founding member
National Center for State Courts
    Lawyers Committee Member

Government Service

Member, Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee for U. S. Senator Cory Gardner, 2015

Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell Foundation
    Founder and President, 2005-present
Archdiocese of Denver
    Finance Council, 2008-2013
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Denver
    Board Member, 2010-present
Denver Police Foundation
    Board of Directors, 2004-present
Walking for Kids
    Founding Member, Board of Directors, 2009-present
Trial.com Foundation, Inc.
    President, 2005-2006
The Catholic Foundation
    Board of Directors, Advancement Committee, 2004-2005
American Heart Association of Colorado and Wyoming
    Chairman of the Board
American Heart Association of Colorado
    Denver Metro Division, Chairman of the Board
Denver Tennis Club
    Board of Directors
The Village Club
    President
Hundred Club of Denver
    Member

Personal Interests

Family, golf, reading, travel
 

Articles/Presentations
Press
Education
  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law, J.D., 1979
    Intern to the Honorable Sherman Finesilver, United States District Court for the District of Colorado
  • University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1976, English
Government Service

Member, Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee for U. S. Senator Cory Gardner, 2015

Bar and Court Admissions
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court