John A. Purvis

John A. Purvis
(303) 442-3366

John Purvis’ practice is limited to civil litigation and trials. He 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 Thomson, LLP does it, and his interests outside the law include his family, travel, sports, fiction, and great food and wine.

Awards & Accolades

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 J.D. - 1968
  • Harvard University B.A. - 1965
    Magna Cum Laude


  • 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 & 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)

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

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.

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