Up and Coming Lawyers 2020: Julian Ellis
Brownstein attorney approaches litigation and appellate law with a game plan

by Jessica Folker

As a boy, Julian Ellis would study footage from the high school football games his father coached. From age five or six, Ellis took notes, thought through the strategy for next week’s game and analyzed where players were on the field at different times.

“I think it was that base that created the interest in litigation for me, because I think of a case as a football game,” said Ellis, an associate at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

“You run a play, something happens, and you have to come back to the huddle and re-strategize to figure out what you’re going to do next. And then you go and execute it, and you come back,” he said. “It’s about working with a team and constantly changing circumstances.”

Ellis went on to play for his dad’s team during high school. Around the same time, he started thinking about possible career paths. “I always knew, going through the latter years of high school and college, that I wanted to do something that I could use my mind and my thinking to earn a living,” said Ellis, who grew up in a “blue-collar farming family” in rural Georgia.

After college, he started working in financial services in Denver — he’d wanted to move to Colorado since visiting an aunt and uncle in the state as a child. Ellis later enrolled at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and he was admitted to practice in November 2014.

At Brownstein, he practices a mix of election law, appellate law and traditional litigation. For election law, which makes up about half of his work during election years, he represents political parties, candidates and others with a stake in in election outcomes. His other clients include trade groups, corporate clients and groups and individuals with “an interest in suing the government,” and his litigation practice is split about evenly between plaintiff and defense work.

This election season has already brought some big legal victories. Ellis represented business coalition Colorado Concern and University of Denver chancellor emeritus Dan Ritchie in their successful challenge to Governor Jared Polis’s executive order allowing remote signature gathering for ballot measures.

This complete article appeared in the Oct. 12 issue of Law Week Colorado. To read other articles from that issue, order a copy online. Subscribers can request a digital PDF of the issue.