On February 1, 1998 a dream privately discussed around a breakfast table became reality. Five founding partners and a core group of experienced litigators launched the national civil litigation boutique, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell (WTO).
From those early seeds, WTO has grown its practice and brand to achieve national recognition for complex trials, class actions, high-stakes commercial litigation, and much more.
- In 2019, The American Lawyer named WTO one of seven finalists for National Litigation Boutique of the Year—for the second year in a row.
- Also in 2019, BTI Consulting named WTO to the Top 14 “Most-Feared” Firms, based exclusively on input from in-house counsel who report wanting WTO on their side of any dispute—and not on the other side.
The founding partners and other attorneys and support staff left the trial department of a then-preeminent full-service Denver law firm. "We needed sophisticated, trial-specific tools to support the teams that were working as national trial counsel to our original core clients," said Mike O'Donnell, WTO Chairman. "The way to make sure we had these tools was to strike out on our own."
Originally Wheeler Trigg Kennedy*, the firm was established by trial attorneys and litigators who wanted to practice within an environment that focused all of its resources and talent on civil trials. In addition to O'Donnell, the founders included Mal Wheeler, Jack Trigg, Paul Hultin, and Mark Kennedy. Habib Nasrullah and Gwen Young were other early partners. The platform soon attracted talented laterals—drawn from prominent national and Colorado-based law firms—the majority of whom still practice with WTO today.
That original team was successful from day one, thanks in large part to a steady flow of work for two major automotive manufacturers. The firm is proud to serve both of those companies as ongoing clients today, along with 450+ additional clients comprised of household-name brands, Fortune 500 corporations, renowned private companies and individuals, and industry leaders from around the globe.
Today, the firm numbers 110 lawyers and 120 support staff, and has enjoyed steady, stable growth for 20+ years.
*The firm changed its name to Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell in 2009, following the tragic and untimely death of founding partner Mark Kennedy.