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John A. Purvis


Boulder, CO





John Purvis' practice is limited to civil litigation and trials.

John Purvis has been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America since 1989. He is currently included in the following areas: personal injury; product liability; professional liability; legal malpractice; mass torts.

He was named a Best Lawyers in America, Denver "Lawyer of the Year" in: mass torts (2011); personal injury (2013); and product liability (2014).

He is one of three Colorado lawyers elected to all four of these elite organizations: International Society of Barristers; International Academy of Trial Lawyers; American College of Trial Lawyers; American Board of Trial Advocates.

He has been Colorado State Chair of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has also chaired the Committee on Conduct of the United States District Court for Colorado, the Litigation Council of the Colorado Bar Association, and the Colorado Public Defender Commission.

He is a graduate of Denver's North High School, Harvard University, and the University of Colorado School of Law. He has received an "Award for Distinguished Achievement" from the University of Colorado Law Alumni Association. Long ago, he was named "Outstanding Young Lawyer" by the Colorado Bar Association.

He has taught Evidence, Advanced Trial Advocacy, and Trial Advocacy at the University of Colorado Law School. He also has taught at numerous sessions of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and many CLE programs.

As shown in the list of publications which follows, John has long had a special interest in brain injury victims and cases. He loves practicing law in the way Purvis Gray Thomson, LLP does it, and his interests outside the law include his family, travel, sports, fiction, and great food and wine.


Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury Law
  • Products Liability Law
  • Business Torts
  • Civil Trials
  • Legal Malpractice

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, 1968
  • U.S. District Court District of Colorado, 1968


  • University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, Colorado
    • J.D. - 1968
  • Harvard University
    • B.A. - 1965
    • Honors: cum laude

Published Works

  • Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Psychological Factors and the Effects of the Medico-Legal System on Recovery, The Journal of Cognitive Rehabilitation, co-author with J. Lemmon, M. Acimovic, M. Keatley, E. Josephs and J. Carnes, Vol. 13, Issue 5, 4-11
  • Evidence in Trial Practice in Colorado, "Discovery Techniques", National Business Institute, Inc.
  • Head Injury Seminar, "Preparation for Settlement or Trial of Brain Injury Cases", Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and Colorado Head Injury Foundation
  • Case Management with Mild Brain Injury--Mile head Injury Conference, "Some Thoughts on Case Management of Mild Brain Injury From a Lawyer's Point of View", Colorado Department of Health & Colorado Head Injury Foundation, Inc.
  • Hot Topics in Personal Injury, "Proving Non-Economic Damages in a Wrongful Death Action", Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
  • A Trial Lawyer's Summit: The Nuts and Bolts of Litigation, "Closing Arguments - For the Plaintiff", Colorado Trial Lawyers Association & Colorado Defense Lawyers Association
  • The Head Injury Case: What the Attorney Needs to Know, "Evidentiary Considerations in Brain Injury Cases: Objections, Solutions and Demonstrative Evidence", Utah Head Injury Association & Utah State Bar
  • National Litigation Conference, "Preparation of the Head Injury Case: Special Considerations", Law Education Institute, Inc. & The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
  • Product Liability, "Evidentiary Issues in Product Liability Cases", Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
  • Understand and Preparing the head Injury Case, "Preparing Traumatic Brain Injury Cases for Settlement and Trial: Special Considerations", Utah Head Injury Association & Utah State Bar Association
  • For the Plaintiff: Determining and Proving Damages, "Assessing and Evaluating Types of Damages Available", "Calculating the Amount of Compensatory Damages", Punitive Damages"," Evidentiary Issues", National Business Institute, Inc.
  • Depositions: Strategies, Tactics & Mechanics, "Deposition Problems and Procedures", "The Usual Stipulations", Work Product, Privileges and Confidentiality", Instructions Not to Answer & Motions to Compel", "Improper Termination of the Deposition", "Use of Deposition Transcript", Professional Education Systems, Inc.
  • Trial Advocacy in Colorado, "Initial Considerations", "Closing Argument", National Business Institute, Inc.
  • Head Injury: Fact, Myths and Realities, "Trial Preparation and Presentation in Cases Involving Brain Injury", Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and Colorado head Injury Foundation
  • Personal Injury Litigation Practice in Colorado, "Screening the Plaintiff's Case", "Assessing Damages", National Business Institute, Inc.

Representative Cases

  • St. Vrain Valley School District RE-1J v. A.R.L. by and through Loveland, 325 P.3d 1014, 2014, Colo.
  • S.W. v. Towers Boat Club, Inc., 315 P3d 1257 (Colo. 2013), 2013, Colorado
  • Huntoon v. T.C.I. Cablevision, 969 P.2d 681, 1998, Colorado
  • Teneyck v. Roller Hockey Colorado, Ltd, 10 P.3d 707, 2000, Colorado Court of Appeals
  • State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Peiffer, 955 P.2d 1008, 1998, Colorado, 1998079273
  • Grulke v. Erickson, 920 P.2d 845, 1995, Colorado Court of Appeals, 1995240435
  • Schneider v. Midtown Motor Co., 854 P.2d 1322, 1992, Colorado Court of Appeals, 1992175101
  • Easton v. 1738 Partnership, 854 P.2d 1362, 1993, Colorado Court of Appeals, 1993038509
  • Denver Air Center v. District Court for Twentieth Judicial Dist. of State of Colo., 839 P.2d 1182, 1992, Colorado, 1992192218
  • Total Petroleum, Inc. v. Farrar, 787 P.2d 164, 1990, Colorado, 1990038905
  • Hooper v. Yoder, 737 P.2d 852, 1987, Colorado, 1987065927
  • Greenemeier by Redington v. Spencer, 719 P.2d 710, 1986, Colorado, 1986128162
  • Kline v. American States Ins. Co., 924 P.2d 1150, 1996, Colorado Court of Appeals, 1996065601


  • Visiting Lecturer, Evidence, Trial Advocacy and Advanced Trial Advocacy, University of Colorado School of Law, 1981 and 1984 - 1988
  • Multiple Regional and National Sessions of NITA
  • Numerous CLE Presentations

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Achievement Award, University of Colorado Law Alumni Association
  • Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, Colorado Bar Association
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1989
  • Listed in Colorado Super Lawyers
  • Listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who in the World
  • Named one of the "Top Denver Lawyers" by 5280 Magazine, 2015, 2016
  • Named a Best Lawyers in America "Denver Lawyer of the Year" in Mass Torts (2011), Personal Injury (2013), and Product Liability (2014)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 1991-Present; State Chair, 1998-2000
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 1997-Present; State Chair, 2000-2013
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow, 1984-Present
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member, 1997-Present
  • Colorado Bar Association Litigation Executive Council, Member, 1991-2009; Chair, 1994-1995
  • U.S. District Court Committee on Conduct, Member, 1991-1997; Chair, 1996-1997
  • Colorado Public Defendant Commission, Member, Chairman, 1980-1989
  • Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission, Member, 1984-1990
  • Faculty of Federal Advocates, Member, Board of Directors, 1999-2002
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Member
  • American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America), Member
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Member, Board of Directors, 1978-1979
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Member, Board of Directors, 1989-1992
  • Boulder County Bar Association, Member
  • Colorado Bar Foundation, Member
  • American Bar Foundation, Member
  • Supreme Court Historical Society, State Chairman, 1998-2003

Past Employment Positions

  • Hutchinson, Black, Hill, Buchanan & Cook, Boulder, CO, Associate and Partner, 1972 to 1985
  • State of Colorado Office of the Public Defender, Denver, CO, Acting Colorado State Public Defender, 1978 to 1978
  • Boulder County Office of the Public Defender, Boulder, CO, Deputy Public Defender, 1970 to 1972
  • Williams, Taussig & Trine, Boulder, CO, Associate, 1969 to 1969
  • Legal Aid & Public Defender Program, University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, CO, Director/Asst. Director, 1969 to 1969
  • Boulder County District Attorneys Office, Boulder, CO, Deputy District Attorney, 1968 to 1968


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