If you are ready to develop a dynamic national litigation practice serving sophisticated clients from a thriving city, then Denver-based Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell is where you want to be.
WTO offers lawyers with a passion for trial advocacy the opportunity to work one-on-one with some of the nation's most experienced trial and appellate lawyers. WTO associates develop their skills through hard work, a keen sense of purpose, and extensive on-the-job training. If you seek this level of trial and litigation practice, you won't find a better law firm to join than WTO.
On average, WTO attorneys take more than 30 trials, arbitrations, and appeals per year to verdict, award, or opinion nationwide. The firm has won recent victories for clients such as Whirlpool, Aimco, General Electric, IBM, CenturyLink, Michelin, and Volvo.
To top it off, the national workplace rankings directory Vault named WTO the #11 Best Midsize Law Firm to Work For in the U.S. in its 2022 list, based exclusively on associate surveys. This follows WTO's recent Top 10 rankings (#8 in 2018, #5 in 2016) on the same list. In 2022, Vault also ranked WTO #3 for Informal Training, Mentoring & Sponsorship; #6 for Career Outlook; #7 for Formal Training; #9 for Transparency; and #10 for Hours—all compared against midsize law firms nationwide.
You also won't find a better city to live in than Denver, which routinely places among the most desirable cities in the nation in best places to live and work rankings from media such as Forbes and U.S. News & World Report.
Because we believe each associate we hire has the potential to become a partner, we are highly selective at the outset.
Ideal candidates possess:
- A passion for litigation and a drive to become an exceptional trial lawyer;
- A history of achievement, leadership, and involvement in law school; and
- Well-rounded credentials and a demonstrated record of excellence.
Prior experience in litigation, especially as a judicial clerk or a litigation associate, is preferred but not required.
Joining The Team
WTO prides itself on the opportunities we create for our associates. The firm also invests significantly in professional development throughout an associate's tenure. We expect new lawyers to seize the many opportunities offered to develop their skills, practices, and careers.
There are no specific billable-hours requirements. Hours worked are dictated by the firm's volume of work, our ethical obligations to our clients, and our personal and collective determination to produce the finest legal work in the country.
That said, the average annual associate billable hours since the firm's founding in 1998 have been and remain around 2,000—although it is possible to be in good standing with fewer hours, and the firm is responsive to reduced-hours arrangements on a case-by-case basis.
Associates can be considered for admission to the partnership at any time. However, this is most likely to occur between the seventh and ninth year of full-time practice.
In making partnership decisions, we seek those attorneys who have demonstrated a strong commitment to:
- Zealously represent WTO’s roster of national clients;
- Pursue excellence in professional practice;
- Support their colleagues; and
- Strengthen and build WTO as an organization in which collegiality, respect, and client service are of paramount importance.
Associates' salaries are set commensurate with experience. As of October 1, 2021, associate pay starts at $180,000 per year. Following their first full year at the firm, associates are eligible for a salary increase effective January 1 of each year.
Benefits for lawyer-employees include the following:
- One-time bonus for new hires immediately following completion of a judicial clerkship in the amount of $60,000 for a federal appellate court clerkship, $40,000 for a federal district court clerkship, $25,000 for a state supreme court clerkship, and $10,000 for a state appellate court clerkship;
- Annual bonus eligibility based on contributions to the success of the firm and its clients;
- Pack-and-ship move expenses for out-of-state candidates;
- Fees paid for the Colorado bar review course and bar exam for attorneys not admitted in Colorado;
- Substantial continuing legal education allowance;
- Professional development through in-house presentations, training, and on-site trial/presentation consultants;
- Cell phone reimbursement;
- Employer contribution to individual's 401(k) plan equal to 3% of base salary starting upon employment;
- Available insurance coverage for health, dental, vision, life, travel, accident, disability, and malpractice;
- Employer contribution to health savings account of $300-$600 per year;
- Wellness program and benefit of $350 per year;
- Employee assistance program; and
- Generous fully paid new-parent leave.
Applying for an Attorney Position at WTO:
WTO’s Denver office is always open to applications from exceptional lateral trial attorneys and current judicial clerks. See below for specific openings.
Litigation Associate - Denver
WTO is one of the top trial firms in the U.S. In a typical year, the firm averages more than 20 trials and arbitrations, mostly in high-stakes or complex matters. Like much larger national firms, WTO handles interesting and challenging cases for sophisticated clients. Unlike those firms, WTO has built its business model on promoting associate talent to our clients through stand-up experience. In the last year—even with the disruption caused by COVID-19—85% of WTO associates argued in court, 81% took or defended depositions, 96% served as the primary lawyer on at least one matter, and 100% had direct and substantive interaction with clients. We don’t know of any large firm in the country that can approach those numbers for associate engagement. Simply put, our associates get more opportunities and more immediate hands-on experience than their peers at BigLaw firms. If this sounds appealing, and if you are committed to excellence, rigor, and creativity in trial practice and litigation, we want to hear from you. Click here to learn more.
Staff Counsel – Research and Writing - Denver
The Research and Writing Staff Counsel supports WTO trial and appellate lawyers in a variety of areas including, but not limited to, drafting briefs and conducting legal research. Candidates must have exemplary research and writing skills and a strong academic background. The ideal candidate will have a passion for litigation research and writing, prior experience as a litigation associate, well-rounded credentials, and a demonstrated record of excellence. Experience with drafting briefs of significance is necessary, including for example summary judgment, expert challenges under Daubert or other state standards, and appeals. This is a non-exempt attorney position that is eligible for overtime pay. This is a non-partnership track position. Click here to learn more.
Staff Counsel – Discovery - Denver
The Discovery Staff Counsel supports WTO trial and appellate lawyers in a variety of areas including, but not limited to, working with the litigation team to utilize eDiscovery best practices to assist lawyers on client matters, and enhance efficiencies and fulfill client needs. The ideal candidate will have a passion for litigation, prior experience as a litigation associate, well-rounded credentials, and a demonstrated record of excellence. Experience with eDiscovery platforms and Excel is preferred, and competitive applicants will be detail oriented with excellent time management and organizational skills. This is a non-exempt attorney position that is eligible for overtime pay. This is a non-partnership track position. Click here to learn more.
Recruiting Chair: Drew Unthank