Skip to Main Content

Press Releases

Michael O'Donnell Inducted as President of The American College of Trial Lawyers

Date: 10.02.21

Denver: Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell (WTO) Founding Partner and Chair Michael O’Donnell has been inducted as the 72nd President of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). He is the first president to hail from Colorado in the organization’s history. Past ACTL presidents include former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell and former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell. 

“The College has always worked to maintain and improve the standards of trial practice, ethics, and the administration of justiceall values I hold dear,” said O’Donnell. “It is one of the honors of my career to help guide the College through coming opportunities and challenges.”

The ACTL is widely regarded as the preeminent organization of trial lawyers in North America. O’Donnell has been a Fellow since 1999. He has served on numerous committees and task forces over the years, including serving as Chairman of the Colorado State Committee; Tenth Circuit Regent to the Board of Regents; and most recently as Secretary, Treasurer, and President Elect, respectively, in the successive years leading up to his election as President. 

Outgoing ACTL President Rodney Acker, a partner with Norton Rose Fulbright, summed O’Donnell’s years of service and leadership: “Mike is not merely cut from the cloth of College leadership. He is the very material from which that cloth is woven. The College is in excellent hands with Mike at the helm. His judgment and calm demeanor present just the leadership needed to move our organization forward.” 

Fellowship in the College is by invitation only. Fellowship is only considered for lawyers who have been actively engaged in trial practice as their principal activity for a minimum of 15 years. Once nominated for Fellowship—and seconded by two additional Fellows—a lawyer’s entire professional history is subjected to careful examination. 

Candidates are elected to the Fellowship only upon a determination that they have mastered the art of advocacy and that their professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility, and collegiality. At any given time, the Fellowship may not include more than one percent of the lawyers in any U.S. state or Canadian province. 

“Mike’s election as president reflects the high regard in which the most outstanding trial lawyers in the U.S. and Canada hold him, both for his performance as a trial lawyer and for his leadership in the ACTL,” said WTO Founding Partner and ACTL Fellow Malcolm Wheeler. “I, too, hold Mike in high regard for those reasons and for his leadership in our firm and community. It has always been a privilege to call Mike my partner and friend, and it is even more so today.” 

In addition to this honor, O’Donnell is nationally ranked in Chambers USA for Product Liability and Mass Torts Defense, and the guide named him the sole “Eminent Practitioner” for Commercial Litigation in Colorado in 2021. His colleagues and peers have voted him the #1 lawyer in Colorado Super Lawyers for nine consecutive years, and Law Week Colorado named him a “Lawyer of the Decade.”

Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell lawyers have taken more than 1,100 trials and arbitrations to verdict or award and hundreds of appeals to opinion all across the nation, with exceptional results for our clients. 

Established in 1998, WTO today numbers approximately 100 trial lawyers and litigators. The firm represents sophisticated clients in high-stakes civil trials, appeals, and related litigation ranging from complex commercial to class actions to catastrophic torts.


Stay Up To Date

Subscribe to receive news and insights from WTO.

Sign Up