Denver’s legal community has no shortage of litigators, or ones with impressive track records. Best Lawyers recognized stalwart trial lawyers for its “Lawyer of the Year” distinctions within litigation specialties.
David Mayhan, a Butler Snow partner who was recognized by the attorney ranking as “Lawyer of the Year” for personal injury litigation — defendants, joked that he thought he received the recognition because he “had been around for a while.”
Mayhan’s practice spans a range of litigation specialties, including products liability, commercial litigation, contracts, business tort and copyright infringement cases. Within personal injury, his cases range from premises liability matters to serious truck and automobile accidents. The variety is what keeps him interested, he said. And having that range of experience might be part of what makes him stand out.
It’s not exactly news that litigation is expensive, or that the rising costs — as well as the time and emotional investment of litigation as well — keeps cases out of trial. Because of that, Mayhan stressed the importance of litigators developing skills to help them in arbitration and settlement, perhaps more than trial. After all, 95% of cases won’t make it to trial.
“There is a lot of satisfaction in avoiding a trial,” Mayhan said. “Trials are inherently unpredictable, and if you do it enough, you’re going to wind up on the [losing] side. … We can guesstimate certain outcomes, but we have no crystal ball, and these are difficult matters to predict. That’s the art form, to me,” he said.
As for reaching favorable settlements, Mayhan said it’s important to work with the other side, to have face-to-face interactions and to remain professional. “You’ve got to have the opportunity to get face to face with the people you’re negotiating with,” he said. Litigators might pick battles on either side of a case, but it’s important to still respect one another, he said.