Who We Are
Ogborn Mihm is a trial law firm that represents clients in high-stakes litigation. Led by Murray Ogborn, Michael Mihm, and Mike Ogborn, each a past President of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, our firm takes on the toughest business and legal malpractice cases. We also represent individuals and families in serious personal injury, medical malpractice, and trusts and estates litigation. And we advocate for and counsel individual employees, including executives and in-house counsel, concerning the complicated maze of employment and whistleblower claims, including qui tam lawsuits. While we settle when we can, we try cases, and we are aggressive, innovative and effective trial lawyers.
Our clients range from individuals from every walk of life to family-owned businesses to Fortune 100™ companies. Diverse as they are, they all share a common need — someone to aggressively pursue their interests, and pursue real justice, in court. That’s what we do. More than anything, we are advocates. Our only metric is whether, and how, our work benefits our clients.
How We Are Paid
While we routinely represent clients on a traditional hourly fee basis, we prefer alternative fee arrangements, such as contingent, hybrid or flat fees. Each has different benefits, depending on the situation. These arrangements tie our compensation to our success, which we believe allocates risk and reward fairly. Fees are determined together with the client – we jointly arrive at a structure that works for everyone and that is transparent, equitable and workable.
About half of our clients hire us on an hourly basis, in which our attorneys and professionals charge by the hour for legal services. We require a retainer, and the monthly fees invoiced to the client are either charged against retainer funds deposited in our trust account or paid directly by the client.Read More
In some cases, both we and our clients benefit from contingent fee agreements. Details can vary, but essentially, in this arrangement the client pays the law firm an attorney fee only if the firm recovers a settlement or judgment for the client. The fee is usually a percentage of the recovery. If we lose the case, the client does not pay us a fee and is usually responsible only for litigation costs, such as copying costs or expert fees. Under this type of arrangement, we and our clients share both the risk and the reward.Read More
While there are various types of hybrid fee agreements, the most common is one in which we agree to accept a lower hourly rate than normal charge, but also take a percentage of any recovery if we are successful. In other words, part of our payment is contingent on success and part isn’t.Read More
A fixed fee agreement is one in which the client pays a fixed fee for the legal representation, regardless of the time required. Fixed fees are often used in criminal defense representations, as well as many different types of litigation, such as a simple breach of contract case or foreclosure proceeding. The client often is required to pay litigation costs in addition to the fixed fee.Read More
A flat fee agreement is one in which the client pays a monthly flat fee for legal representation regardless of the time the law firm puts into the case during the month. Flat fee arrangements allow the client to manage costs and budget for a consistent fee. They can work well in a major case in which a team of attorneys and paralegals will spend substantial time on the case each month, or where there are a series of similar major cases. Again, the client usually is required to pay litigation costs along the way.Read More
Where We Try Cases
From coast to coast, Ogborn Mihm lawyers are equipped to handle the most complex litigation. Our lawyers are licensed in Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia, but we have tried cases across the country and frequently co-counsel in other states.
Ogborn Mihm, LLP is proud to be a member of the International Society of Primerus Law Firms, a highly selective alliance of nearly 200 law firms in 40 countries. Our membership in Primerus allows us to refer our clients to highly qualified attorneys for specialized legal services throughout the world, as well as call on or co-counsel with respected and experienced lawyers wherever our clients may need them.
MURRAY OGBORN: Trying a case to a jury or to a court is like being in a prize fight. It’s exhausting! It’s draining mentally and physically. I think that any lawyer that says he or she has won every case they’ve handled has probably never handled a case or never been to trial.
MIKE OGBORN: At Ogborn Mihm, we have a reputation as trial lawyers. What that means is that when many lawyers will shy away from the courtroom, we not only build that case to go to trial, we actually go to trial.
MICHAEL MIHM: The philosophy of assuming that every case is going to trial, preparing every case as if it were going to trial, is that I have been told by mediators that we do better in settlement because our opponents, insurance companies, the law firms we go up against, know that we’ll go to the mat, that we will take the case to trial.
MURRAY OGBORN: Every lawyer who tries cases knows what kind of an effort goes into preparing and trying those cases. They know that you give a little bit of your soul to every client you represent.
MIKE OGBORN: I have over 200 jury trials completed to verdict. It’s a lot more than most lawyers. I love what I do. I love being in the courtroom.
MIKE OGBORN: The process of learning your client’s story begins the first day they walk in the door.
MURRAY OGBORN: You have to take time with your clients, you have to pay attention to them and most of all you have to get to know them individually. Whether they’re a corporate officer, a mom and pop business operation or an individual. Unless you know them personally and unless you’re walking in their moccasins during one of the most important times of their lives, we can’t adequately represent them, we can’t tell their story.
MIKE OGBORN: As a trial lawyer, one of the things I do is I have to tell my client’s story to the jury. It’s important on how you tell that story because you want to do it in a way that that jury is going to learn and be persuaded by what they’re hearing.
MICHAEL MIHM: Putting together a trial and preparing a case for trial is a little bit like making a movie. When a film studio makes a movie, they shoot hundreds of hours, take dozens of takes, and they distill all that material down to 120 minutes or so to make a compelling story. Anything that doesn’t move that story forward ends up on the cutting room floor.
We do the same thing when we’re preparing for trial. We have sometimes thousands of documents, dozens of witnesses, many, many depositions. What we try to do is distill that mass of evidence and paper down to its essence so that we can put on a clear, simple and convincing story at trial that moves the jury, motivates the jury to do something.
MIKE OGBORN: That whole story is important and it is important for us to know as legal representatives because by knowing that story, we’re better able to represent the person.
MIKE OBGORN: At Ogborn Mihm, we have the benefit of having our own internal facility to conduct jury research. What it really allows us to do is pre-try a case. We take the issues, put it in front of people who would be like-minded to the jury, and we get to see how they react to what we are saying, how they react to the arguments and to the issues.
MICHAEL MIHM: We’re big believers in jury research. My partner, Murray Ogborn, was one of the pioneers in developing jury research for civil cases.
MURRAY OGBORN: I have been doing this personally since the early 80’s,I have done thousands and thousands of focus groups for many of my clients. Today, anytime we have a case that has substance to it, we do focus groups and jury research.
MIKE OGBORN: When we are able to do the jury research and put the issues and facts in front of a group of people almost inevitably, we find an issue that we did not see previously.
MICHAEL MIHM: We are trained as trial lawyers, and we come to the case with a particular point of view. We tend to be outraged by what happened to our clients. We are Type-A personalities. We want to go get the defendant and win the case. But we miss stuff, because we’re human.
MURRAY OGBORN: A man on the street or a woman on the street often hears what we hear and interprets it entirely differently. So we learn how those folks are really going to think about this case, and we can change our minds and adapt to their interpretations. That’s how a focus group helps immensely.
MURRAY OGBORN: Jury research now takes a lot of forms. In addition to the focus group aspect, we’ll do voir dire design. Voir dire is that portion of the trial where the lawyers question jurors. We do actual jury research where you look at the backgrounds of potential jurors once we get the jury list. We do opening statement design. We’ll do theme creation for the case. And we’ll do story design for the entire case; what is our story for that case.
MURRAY OGBORN: We will run a focus group, maybe even before we take a case, and that will help us decide whether the case has merit. We’ll run a focus group early in the case. That helps us decide what direction we take in the case. We’ll run another focus group often right before trial to find out if we have done things right.
MURRAY OGBORN: Ogborn Mihm has a unique attitude about our clients.
MIKE OGBORN: We understand and appreciate that when a client walks in that door to retain us as counsel, it’s because they are in one of the hardest or worst positions in their life.
MICHAEL MIHM: At Ogborn Mihm, we make the client the center of our focus. We always keep in mind that it’s the client’s case, not our case.
MURRAY OGBORN: We believe that you cannot run a law firm and be successful with your clients, and do a supermarket-type operation. You have to take time with your clients. You have to pay attention to them. And most of all, you have to get to know them individually, whether they are a corporate officer or a mom and pop business operation, or an individual.
MICHAEL MIHM: And so everything we do is built around achieving the client’s goals; what is the client’s end game. We involve the client in the strategy sessions. We do the legal research. We do the jury research. We go to great efforts to find the client’s story.
MIKE OGBORN: They are looking at losing livelihood. They are looking at losing a business, They are looking at not being able to continue the life they have enjoyed up until that point.
MURRAY OGBORN: It is important to understand them, what makes them tick, because we have to present their story. Unless you are walking in their moccasins, we can’t adequately represent them. We can’t adequately tell their story. And that’s what we talk about as our personal attention to our clients.
MICHAEL MIHM: At Ogborn Mihm, we understand that litigation is expensive. I encourage my clients to always keep in mind the return on their investment dollar. Always keep in mind: “What is the realistic potential for recovery in the case?” and “How much money am I willing to spend to get there?” Now having said that, when we take on a case, we assume that we’re going to take the case all the way to trial. So we ask them to be very pragmatic. We ask them to always be thinking about return on their investment for their litigation dollar.
THOMAS NEVILLE: An insurance policy is a contract. But it’s a contract unlike an ordinary commercial contract. It’s not a contract that is negotiated between two parties with equal bargaining power. Instead, it’s a contract that one party, the insured, enters into to obtain protection against future damage.
The insurance company is making a promise that it will be there for its insured when its insured is at his or her weakest point, most vulnerable. That it will be there to defend the insured that it will be there to absorb the liability, the financial hit, from whatever the lawsuit is. And because this contract is so different than an ordinary contract, insurance companies have additional responsibilities, additional duties.
There are two types of relationships that an insurer can have with its insured. In what we call a first party context which most people are familiar with from their health insurance or their homeowner’s insurance, the insurance company agrees to pay the insured money for damages the insured suffers either from an act of nature or the conduct of another person.
In the third party context, which most people also know about through their auto insurance, what happens is the insurance company agrees to defend and indemnify or pay any judgment for damages that are caused by the insured’s negligent conduct.
Your insurance company makes a promise to you that they will be there to protect you, that when everything has gone sideways, they will step up and they will help make you whole.
The problem is all too often they break that promise. And for me, holding the insurance company accountable for leaving the insured high and dry in the worst time of their life is really important.
MURRAY OGBORN: Of course the best outcome for any client under any circumstance is usually settlement. Often times we can’t achieve a settlement that is fair for our client or acceptable to our client, and those are the times we have to go to trial.
MICHAEL MIHM: I get asked whether the case is going to settle a lot. What we tell clients is that you can’t count on settlement. We have to assume that the case will go forward to trial.
MIKE OGBORN: With every case that we work on, we work on that case as if it is going to go to trial. We do that so that we can be the best prepared and actually be ready to go to trial at any time. 98% of the cases never make it into a courtroom. But we know that by being the best prepared, we give our clients and advantage and an edge that other attorneys cannot give their clients.
MURRAY OGBORN: We are always looking for that opportunity to reach a settlement or convince the other side that settlement is the best course of action. And sometimes that takes a little while. You don’t want to urge settlement, request settlement, or suggest settlement until the appropriate moment. And that appropriate moment is almost unpredictable. And it never comes until you have backed the other side into a position where they recognize their weaknesses.
MIKE OGBORN: We believe that by being known as trial lawyers we receive better offers and we obtain better settlements for our clients. Because people know that we are not going to give up in the short run, we are going to take this all the way.
MURRAY OGBORN: Acting as personal counsel arises in many different settings. Personal counsel, speaking of an individual, would arise when you are dealing with a professional – a doctor, lawyer, insurance agent, situations like that – where that person has liability errors and admissions insurance that covers them for the wrongful act, but the insurance is not sufficient to meet the needs of this particular wrongful act so they have exposure over and above that insurance, or the insurance company is saying sorry, we will defend you but if there is any liability found we are not going to pay the loss because the coverage just doesn’t apply in this circumstance. Or, there just isn’t enough insurance. A trucking company might become involved in a crash, and they just don’t have enough insurance for the injuries that are involved. Those are two types of situations that we see frequently. We have acted for defendants in those cases on a personal basis.
Let me use a trucking situation as an example. I have personally acted for trucking companies where they have been sued for an amount that exceeds their insurance coverage or they have been sued for punitive damages in situations like that they don’t have coverage; insurance doesn’t cover punitive damages. And that mostly occurs when their driver has been drunk, has been accused of doing something intentionally, and insurance doesn’t cover that. So they have to have a private attorney to represent them.
In those situations, it is a little touchy because the lawyer that’s representing the trucking company personally doesn’t want to and doesn’t need to interfere with the lawyers hired by the insurance company, so there is a collaboration that is required. And yet, that lawyer has to act to protect the individual company’s rights as well. You kind of walk a tight rope. If the insurance company hired lawyers aren’t representing the trucking company vigorously, zealously as the rules require, then I as the personal representative have to step in and start shouting at them and say, ”Hey do your job. Your client is really the trucking company, not that insurance company. Although the insurance company is paying the bill your loyalty is to the trucking company. So you have to kind of watch what you’re doing, cooperate on one hand, and be kind of a nasty character on the other.
MURRAY OGBORN: Colorado is a very good state for people who are victimized by insurance companies. Bad Faith is governed statutorily in Colorado and by case law. Insureds, people who are covered by insurance policies, are protected quite well.
The insurance companies are required to act reasonably and in a timely manner in making decisions about whether policies cover certain incidents, about whether coverage should be paid. They are required to pay promptly and adequately and fairly. And if they don’t, then there are remedies. Some of those remedies depending on whether it is your own insurance company or a third party’s insurance company, some of those remedies result in multiple damages, treble damages and an award of attorney’s fees to the insured.
The insurance companies by those laws are held in line. I think that as a result of the laws that the Colorado Legislature has put in place, and that the courts have put in place through the decision of law, we act more responsibly in this state than in many others.
MURRAY OGBORN: Every single client we have deals with a lawyer, not a substitute lawyer. That lawyer gets to know the client, understands their problems, meets with them, spends time with them and sometimes, as is said, learns to walk in their moccasins.
You cannot properly represent a person unless you understand what they are all about. We drill that into our younger lawyers every single day because you have to suffer with them and for them to communicate what they have gone through. Every aspect of what their injury has done to them, you have to be able to communicate to the jury. You can’t do that unless you know them and know what’s happened to them.
MURRAY OGBORN: A lot of people think that a personal injury lawyer has one job and one job only, and that’s to get money for his or her client. And that is far, far from the truth. As a personal injury attorney, we do a lot of things. We deal with insurance companies of all sorts, including medical insurance, health insurance companies. We make sure the client’s getting the health insurance company, the health insurance coverage they paid for. We make sure, believe it or not, that they get the health care that they need and the right specialists are being called in to attend. The most immediate thing that is important is that. Is your wife getting the care she should be getting and is that care getting paid for?
Secondarily, is the proper investigation being conducted by the authorities, and independently, to determine the facts of what happened and to preserve evidence? That’s of immediate importance. Is there a risk that evidence is going to be destroyed? Is there a risk that the witness observations are going to disappear? Does an investigation need to be conducted immediately? Those are the first things that need to happen. There’s a whole array of things that a personal injury attorney needs to pay attention to. And a lot of it involves the comfort of the entire family and the long range considerations that will affect all of their lives.
MURRAY OGBORN: The difference between a litigator and a trial lawyer is that litigators are very good at preliminary matters: making motions, drafting briefs, arguing motions, and persuading judges on what the law is and what it isn’t. Trial lawyers focus more on the facts, and what will persuade people about those facts. Trial lawyers understand and are taught to understand what messages will connect with juries, regular people, how those jurors are going to receive the message that’s conveyed, what the proper message is, and how the jurors will interpret those messages based on their life experiences, mores, morals and the way they understand everyday life.