Litigation is a team sport, so be a team player. Help your colleagues out when they need it, even when it isn’t your case.

A Conversation With Attorney John McHugh On Leadership and His Life In The Legal Profession

Attorney John McHugh is a skilled litigator who plays an integral role in our firm’s stellar business litigation team, working from our Denver office. His experience includes cases in the financial services, insurance, energy and sports industries, as well as LGBTQ rights.

We recently had the pleasure of talking with John about lessons learned, and his life in the law.

Congratulations on being named our Denver office managing partner! What does this new role mean for you, especially with your already hectic schedule?

Thanks, it’s a huge honor! I’m excited for the future of the Denver office and to play some role in growing the office by building upon our existing strength.

You’re an integral part of our stellar Denver litigation team, with a recent HUGE win for the Denver Broncos. What’s next, and do you have any predictions on litigation trends for 2022 as COVID-19 variations continue to impact trials?

I think we’ll see more and more voluntary ADR (any method of resolving disputes without litigation) as the Courts continue to backlog, and (with or without variations) I’m hoping we continue to utilize remote depositions and hearings.

What would you tell your younger self – or a 1L at the NYU School of Law now contemplating a career in the legal profession?

No amount of money can make you not hate a sucky job, but working with great people makes stressful times infinitely more manageable. So focus on the type of people you’ll be working with and not the types of cases.

Who is your hero – or the person who has had the greatest impact on your life and career?

It may be corny, but definitely my Dad. He worked very hard to provide for our (very large) family and still always made time for us.

Talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn? And how did you pick up the pieces and move forward?

I’ll stick to work because nobody wants to read a novel.  It would have to be losing my cool and snapping at an opposing counsel during a contentious examination. The judge had to get to his feet to properly yell at me.

Since then, I’ve worked on tuning out opposing counsel and objections (in depositions and trials) and just focusing on the questions and answers.

What’s the best – and worst – piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

Best – Litigation is a team sport, so be a team player. Help your colleagues out when they need it, even when it isn’t your case.

Worst – Why would you want to go to law school? Being a lawyer is terrible.

During our ongoing pandemic – the NEXT normal, what are you listening to (podcast or music); reading; and watching/streaming?

I have a seven-year-old daughter, so my music is dominated by KIDZ BOP.

I recently got myself a Kindle, and have rediscovered my love for fantasy/sci-fi.

Okay, you and your partner are hosting a lavish dinner party. Name the three people – from any time in human history – who you would invite.

Chaucer, Frederick Douglass, and Oscar Wilde.

Many thanks to John for his powerful insights – and so happy he did not take the “worst” piece of career advice – and is now happily working as one of our firm’s most successful litigators!

Who has the back of your business? Our business litigation team offers extensive trial experience and a commitment to excellent advocacy.

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