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Michele On-ja Choe

Partner, Diversity & Inclusion Chair

P. 303.244.1926 | F. 303.244.1879


Michele On-ja Choe defends healthcare entities and other sophisticated clients in lawsuits involving complex claims. She has particular experience handling employment, product liability, and professional liability claims in the healthcare space. Colorado Super Lawyers lists Michele for Employment Litigation Defense. 

Michele's clients include healthcare entities and their affiliates, commercial entities, product manufacturers including pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and employers across a range of industries. Michele’s employment litigation includes a broad range of litigation matters such as the defense of wrongful termination claims, discrimination claims including those brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, noncompete and trade secret matters, and class actions involving employment claims and joint employment allegations.

Michele has tried cases in federal and state courts throughout the country and has handled multidistrict, pattern, and class action litigation. She has particular expertise in defending Rule 30(b)(6) corporate representative depositions and designing global defense strategies involving experts from multiple disciplines. Michele regularly handles Daubert and Frye briefing strategies and dispositive motions. Michele has also delivered winning appellate oral arguments in various settings, including a successful appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (3-0 decision) and the Illinois Court of Appeals (3-0 decision). Finally, Michele possesses e-discovery expertise, having managed multimillion-document productions and privilege reviews including productions to the U.S. Department of Justice and various attorneys general.

In addition to her usual practice, Michele conducts pre- and post-market investigations for pharmaceutical clients and general pre-suit investigations to minimize the possibility of liability exposure and adverse outcomes.

Prior to joining WTO, Michele clerked for the Honorable Donald P. Lay, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 2004-2005.



  • Defeated certification of a putative class of 20,000 California claimants alleging that WTO's client was a "joint employer" and was liable for unpaid overtime and other wage-and-hour violations.
  • Obtained dismissal of all claims against University of Colorado Hospital Authority in a whistleblower case filed in district court in Colorado Springs.
  • Won an extraordinary pretrial motion in a whistleblower case to preclude the plaintiff from seeking recovery for any future damages.
  • Successfully defended a healthcare system and its affiliate against joint employment claims, and secured a favorable settlement.
  • Represented an investment company in litigation against a former executive officer who alleged, inter alia, breach of contract and violations of the Colorado Wage Claim Act.
  • Prevailed against allegations of racial discrimination against a tech industry employer in Nevada. Following a two-and-a-half-year investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that no discriminatory conduct had occurred.
  • Represented a leading telecommunications company as a third-party respondent in discovery relating to a lawsuit involving claims that an executive violated the terms of a noncompete agreement and misappropriated proprietary information from his prior employer. The case eventually settled, absolving WTO's client of its role in the litigation.
  • Represented a security company against claims that two of its employees violated a former employer's noncompete agreement and misappropriated proprietary information from that prior employer.
  • Represented a large resort chain against claims of disability discrimination. Following an extensive investigation by the Colorado Civil Rights Division ("CCRD") including briefs and evidence provided by WTO, the CCRD concluded that no unlawful discrimination had occurred.

Commercial Litigation

Medical Malpractice

Medical Devices & Pharmaceuticals

  • Represented a device manufacturer in multiple cases in pelvic mesh MDL, including two that settled favorably.
  • Represented a product manufacturer in claims relating to its healthcare product Omniscan, an imaging agent alleged to cause nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, a chronic debilitating disease, in some patients.
  • Represented pharmaceutical manufacturers in multidistrict litigations involving Baycol, Seroquel, and various diet drugs.
  • Represented a medical device manufacturer in litigation involving cold therapy devices.
  • Represent one of the nation's largest providers of home respiratory therapy and devices in prelitigation evaluation involving ventilators and litigation involving home oxygen equipment.

Publications & Speaking Engagements


  • Co-presenter, "Nuts and Bolts of Litigation: Effective Cross-Examinations." 2023 Employment Law Conference (April 28, 2023).
  • Presenter, "TRO or Preliminary Injunction in Employment Cases: Strategize, Prepare and Execute in Court," The Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, (November 10, 2020).
  • Presenter, "Professionalism and Expert Witnesses — Best Practices for Keeping You and Your Expert on the Right Side of the Ethical Line, While Still Advancing Your Client's Very Best Case," Colorado Litigators Summit, (September 25, 2020)..
  • Presenter, "Power Plays in the Legal Profession," The CDLA Annual Conference General Session, (July 28, 2018).
  • Presenter, "Short Circuits: Brief Updates on Noteworthy Issues from the 12 Federal Circuits and their States," The 10th Circuit Panelist in Trial Attorneys of America annual meeting, (May 11, 2018).
  • Presenter, "Conducting an Early Case Assessment: How to Evaluate Liability Risk Exposure Before Litigation Begins," Defense Research Institute Young Lawyer's Breakout Session, (May 2009).
  • "Preserving Attorney-Client Communications Involving PR Professionals," American Bar Association Section of Litigation: Second Chair, (July 2008).


  • Co-Author, "An Introduction to Predictive Coding," TortSource, (Spring 2017).

Other Experience

Sidley Austin LLP

Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Colorado Super Lawyers
    Super Lawyer, Employment Litigation Defense, 2019-2024
    Rising Star, Personal Injury Defense: Products, 2013-2015
    Top 50 Women, 2023-2024
    Top 100, 2024
The Best Lawyers in America
    Employment Law - Management, 2024
    Labor & Employment Litigation, 2022-2024
5280 Magazine
    Top Lawyer
        Labor/Employment: Defense, 2023-2024
Colorado Defense Lawyers Association
   Board Member, 2018-2023
        President, 2021-2022
        Vice President, 2020-2021 
        Treasurer, 2019-2020
        Secretary, 2018-2019
   Chair, Professional Liability Committee, 2017-2018
   Vice-Chair, Professional Liability Committee, 2016-2017
Top Women Lawyers, Law Week Colorado 2020
Colorado Women's Bar Association, 2022-Current
General Counsel Mentorship Program, 2020
American Bar Association
    Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Leadership Academy,
        "The Brief" Editorial Board, 2015-2018
        "Tort Source" Editorial Board, 2013-2018
        Leadership Academy, 2012-2013

Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors

Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program

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