Bar and Court Admissions
Before starting his trial practice, Scott Barker served in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years—including four as a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy—with tours of duty in Southeast Asia and the Pentagon. In his 40-year legal career, he has tried nearly 80 cases and handled scores of evidentiary hearings, ranging from complex class action jury trials to pro bono proceedings for domestic violence survivors.
Scott has earned the respect of clients, judges, and lawyers wherever he has appeared in the United States, as reflected in his numerous professional accolades. Most prominently, he was selected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2001. In addition, he is a skilled leader of sophisticated practitioners. Scott served as the Chair of the Management Committee of the largest Denver-based law firm for six years before joining WTO in 2010 as a partner and member of the firm’s Executive Committee.
Now, as Senior Counsel, Scott’s passion is serving clients by helping the firm’s lawyers to hone their trial presentations and appellate arguments. Given the depth and breadth of his trial experience, Scott is also an effective mediator and arbitrator. Finally, he is an avid student of the Constitution. Since 2018, Scott has authored three published books and several articles and op-eds about our founding document and its impact on current events.
- Served as panel chair in a complex, multimillion-dollar dispute involving gas properties in Wyoming.
- Successfully opposed plaintiffs' certiorari petition to the Colorado Supreme Court, leaving in place a Court of Appeals ruling in favor of BP and eliminating a $750,000,000 exposure threat in alleged moratory interest.
- Served as lead class action defense counsel for BP America Production Company in six class actions, including two jury trials to verdict against certified classes of royalty claimants.
- From 2005 to 2011, headed a team of hundreds of lawyers providing pro bono representation to five Algerian nationals detained in Guantanamo Bay in their habeas corpus proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
- Defeated class certification for Nash Finch (now SpartanNash), a Fortune 500 food distribution company, in claims involving common law fraud, civil theft, and violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act stemming from complaints about a specific pricing program in various grocery stores. WTO then obtained summary judgment against the 55 named plaintiffs.
- Served as lead counsel to Amoco Production Co. in a major groundwater contamination case in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. Plaintiffs alleged Amoco's gas production operations had contaminated domestic water supplies across an area the size of Rhode Island. The putative class action, if certified, would have produced exposure in the billions of dollars. Scott's team defeated class certification and successfully tried the named plaintiffs' cases to a jury.
- Obtained a defense verdict for ARCO/Thunder Basin Coal Company in an antitrust case involving real estate development incident to a client's coal mining operations in Campbell County, Wyoming.
- Served as lead trial counsel to Asarco, Inc., in a six-week class action jury trial in Denver District Court involving allegations of heavy metals contamination in the area surrounding Asarco's cadmium refinery.
- Represented Aspen Skiing Company as lead trial counsel for over a decade, handling more than 30 cases, including 10 defense verdicts.
- Represented AT&T as lead counsel in a complex telecommunications dispute in federal court in Colorado.
- Served as lead counsel to Computer Associates in a complex business tort jury trial in federal court in Utah.
- Headed up Exxon's Underground Storage Tank litigation team, trying one case successfully to verdict and supervising the litigation of approximately 12 other cases.
- Served as lead counsel to International Paper in a family of insurance coverage cases, including bench and jury trials in state court in San Francisco.
- Represented Kerr-McGee/Anadarko as lead trial counsel in a federal False Claims Act jury trial involving oil royalties on offshore federal leases and in a federal jury trial involving allegations of misappropriation of seismic data.
- Obtained summary judgment for Lockheed Martin with regard to the majority of potentially $2 billion in exposure in a major federal False Claims Act case in Idaho. Allegations included false claims associated with a contract for management of the U.S. Department of Energy facility in Idaho Falls, ID. Following summary judgment, the remainder of the case settled favorably.
- Served as lead counsel to Valero in a series of four arbitrations involving cost-sharing disputes over environmental cleanup at a gasoline refinery in Denver, CO.
Publications & Speaking Engagements
"War Powers and the Constitution," Academy of Life Long Learning, (August 31, 2020).
"Presidential Impeachment," Academy of Life Long Learning, (February 3, 2020).
- "Practical Tips for Preparing and Trying an Oil and Gas Case," presented at The Institute for Energy Law's 63rd Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference, (February 16, 2012).
"America Must Accept the Limitations of Its Military Power," The Hill, (September 13, 2021).
"Reforming The War Powers Relationship Between Congress and the President in the Post-Trump Era," presented at, Denver University Law Forum, (March, 2021).
"History Cautions Against Rash Decisions in Iranian Conflict," Detroit Free Press, (January 6, 2020).
- "Trump is Getting His Constitutional Rights in House Impeachment Inquiry," The Hill, (October 31, 2019).
- "Opinion: Politics Aside, Legal Precedents don't Favor Trump in an Impeachment Inquiry," Los Angeles Times, (September 26, 2019).
"Political Arithmetic and Impeachment," Law Week Colorado, (August 5, 2019).
- "An Overview of Presidential Impeachment," The Colorado Lawyer, (August/September 2018).
"The Kings of War – How Our Modern Presidents Hijacked Congress's War-Making Powers and What To Do About It" (Outskirts Press, 2021).
- "The Impeachment Quagmire," History Publishing Co., (2019).
- "Impeachment," A Political Sword, History Publishing Co., (2018).
"The Constitution and Conflict with Iran," Boulder Daily Camera, (September 21, 2019).
- Chambers USA 2020: WTO Leads Nationwide, Colorado
- 27 WTO Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America 2019
- WTO Leads Top 100 in Colorado Super Lawyers
- 26 WTO Lawyers ranked in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America
- Chambers USA 2017 recognizes Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell among the top litigation firms nationwide and in Colorado
- 42 WTO Lawyers Named to the 2017 Colorado Super Lawyers List
- 20 WTO Lawyers ranked in the 23rd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®
- Chambers USA 2016 Ranks WTO Among Top Firms Nationwide and in Colorado
- Denver Post, "Judge sympathizes with pot businesses but has misgivings about banking," December 28, 2015.
- Bloomberg, "Judge Urges Negotiation on Marijuana, K.C. Fed Account," December 28, 2015.
- Law360, "Kansas City Fed Rejects Colorado Pot Credit Union," October 23, 2015.
- 20 WTO Lawyers ranked in the 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®
- Best Lawyers® 2015 Ranks 20 WTO Attorneys
- Benchmark Litigation 2013 Ranks Seven WTO Partners Among 33 Colorado Litigation Stars
- Benchmark Litigation Ranks Six WTO Partners Among 30 Colorado Litigation Stars
Holland & Hart LLP
Management Committee Chair, 1997-2003
United States Air Force
Active duty, including assignments in Southeast Asia and
The Pentagon, 1970-1978
Honorably discharged as Captain, 1978
Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors
Arbitrator, Denver ADR Panel, CPR Panels of Distinguished Neutrals
American College of Trial Lawyers
American Board of Trial Advocates
The Best Lawyers in America
Denver Environmental Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2020
Denver Mass Tort/Class Action Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2018
Denver Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2013
Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2006-2023
Commercial Litigation, 2006-2023
Environmental Litigation, 2016-2023
Mass Tort/Class Action Litigation, 2006-2023
Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2005-2019
Colorado Super Lawyers
Business Litigation, 2006-2022
Top 100, 2012-2018
Top 10, 2008, 2010
Top 50, 2006-2011
Denver Business Journal
Who's Who in Energy Law, 2012-2014
Best Business Litigator in Denver, 2003
Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2011-2018
Litigation Counsel of America
American Bar Association
Colorado Bar Association
Denver Bar Association
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated*
Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors
Panel Coach, Constitutional Scholars Program, Denver East High School
Past President, Board of Trustees, Denver Christian Schools
Lay Assessor, Ecclesiastical Proceeding for the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado