303.893.6100 (Main)
855.206.1549 (Toll Free)
303.893.6110 (Fax)

Assistant: Brandie Burchett
303.223.2075 (Direct Dial)


John focuses his practice on civil and complex commercial litigation. He has experience initiating and defending lawsuits across the country involving a variety of legal issues. From the outset of each case, John works with his clients and the trial team to develop a theme and strategy. This technique is useful in all phases of litigation including pretrial discovery, depositions, dispositive motions, mediation and trial. His persuasive motion practice and writing skills provide results-oriented service to his clients regardless of the size or complexity of their case. John’s experience as a trial lawyer allows to him effectively advocate for his clients to pursue the best remedy possible on their behalf.

Since becoming an attorney, John has worked on high-stakes and notable matters. At Reilly, he has enjoyed representing prominent clients including professional sports teams, SEC investment advisors, and national title companies. Prior to joining Reilly, he was an associate with the international law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in New York City.

John is active in his community. John currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Colorado LGBT Bar Foundation and ARISE Adoption Academy. He also serves as the co-chair for the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s Hate Crimes Education Task Force and Anti-Bullying Subcommittee of the Education Task Force. From 2014-2019, he served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association, including as President in 2017.

John earned his law degree from New York University School of Law. In law school he was a teaching assistant, on the Moot Court Board and a training director with the NYU Mediation Organization. He also participated in the Federal Defenders Clinic, representing indigent clients in federal misdemeanor and felony cases

John holds an undergraduate degree, with honors, in English and classical studies from the University of Idaho. He spent a year studying Irish literature at Trinity College in Dublin.

Prior to law school, John worked for Houghton Mifflin Co. in Boston, where he was an editor in the division that publishes college textbooks. He also spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, assisting the indigent in Billings, Montana.

John’s representative matters include:

  • In 2014 as part of his succession plan, Pat Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos turned over the reins of the team to a three-person trust. The trustees are tasked with carrying out Mr. Bowlen’s wishes to pick one of his children to become controlling owner or selling the team if it is in the best interest of the family. In 2018 a lawsuit commenced over who controls and will eventually own the Denver franchise. Mr. McHugh is part of the team that represents the Denver Broncos’ trustees in this matter.
  • Member of a trial team that secured a $99 million judgment against PNC Bank for breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of 35 state life and health insurance guaranty associations, NOLHGA, and the Texas Special Deputy Receiver. The litigation arose out of a multi- state fraud scheme involving National Prearranged Services, Inc. (a Missouri-based preneed funeral contracts seller) and its two related insurance companies domiciled in Texas.
  • Argued and secured a victory before the Colorado Supreme Court on the application of Colorado’s usury law to forbearance fees. The decision not only entitled John’s client to a refund of the excess interest charged, but clarified the protections available to all commercial borrowers in Colorado.
  • Member of a trial team representing a Colorado refinery owner seeking contractual indemnification from the refinery’s former owner for clean-up costs resulting from leakage from an underground pipe. Following a 3-week confidential arbitration that took place in April and May 2017, the parties reached an amicable settlement.
  • Lead attorney in the representation of nine same-sex couples who challenged the constitutionality of Colorado’s laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying and refusing to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples entered into in other states. McDaniel-Miccio, et al. v. State of Colorado, Denver County District Court, Case No. 2014-cv-30731.
  • Served as co-counsel on an employment discrimination case against the Boy Scouts of America that led to the Boy Scouts ending their decades-long discrimination against gay and lesbian scout leaders.
  • Prevailed on a motion to dismiss for the New Orleans Saints against claims by Travelers in federal district court seeking reimbursement of California workers compensation payments made by Travelers to a former Saints player and for a declaration of non- coverage for 11 former Saints players. The Travelers Indemnity Company v. New Orleans Louisiana Saints LLC, 2014 WL 1716056, No. 8:13-cv-1998-JLS-JPR (C.D. Cal 2014)., 2014.
  • Reached a successful resolution on behalf of the Denver Broncos Football Club in a dispute with former players to determine whether the current owner of the Denver Broncos football franchise is responsible for cumulative trauma claims brought by players employed by a prior owner. PDB Sports Ltd v. George Goeddeke, et al., No. 11- CV-8097 (Denver County, Colo. 2013).
  • Reached a successful resolution for the current owner of the Denver Broncos football franchise in an insurance coverage dispute relating to cumulative trauma claims of former players. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, The Travelers Indemnity Company v. PDB Sports, Ltd d/b/a Denver Broncos, No. 11-cv-1476 (D. Colo. 2012).
  • Defending a nationwide group of companies regarding the issuance of title commitments and insurance against a qui tam claimant. US Ex Re. Dale Todd v. Fidelity National Financial, Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-666 (D. Colo.).
  • Secured dismissal of breach of fiduciary duty claims against the former chairman of the board of directors for a large, multi-state energy organization. Chimney Rock Public Power District, et al. v. Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Inc., et al., 2010 CV 02349 (D. Colo.).
  • Successfully resolved an injunctive relief on behalf of Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. against ConocoPhillips and Phillip 66 under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act to permit Suncor to continue selling Phillips 66 branded motor fuel in Colorado. Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. v. ConocoPhillips et al., 2013 CV 34926 (D. Colo. 2013).

“I enjoyed attending law school and working at a big law firm in New York City, but it is really great to be back in the West. I was raised on a small family ranch in rural Idaho. When you work on a ranch, there is no time clock. If something needs to be done, you work until it is done. I was raised this way, and I bring the same work ethic to the legal work that I do for my clients.”

Practice Areas

  • Complex Civil and Commercial Litigation


  • J.D., New York University School of Law
  • B.A., University of Idaho
    cum laude

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State of New York
  • State of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit


  • Board Member, Colorado LGBT Bar Foundation
  • Board Member, ARISE Adoption Academy
  • Co-Chair Hate Crimes Task Force, Colorado Lawyers Committee
  • Co-Chair Anti-Bullying Subcommittee of the Education Task Force, Colorado Lawyers Committee
  • Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training (COBALT), Class of 2017
  • Board Member (2014-2019) and President (2017), Colorado LGBT Bar Association


  • Colorado General Counsel Group Advisor Program, 2015-2017
  • Finalist, Denver Business Journal’s Power Book (2015)
  • Volunteer Lawyer of the Year, Denver Bar Association (2015)
  • Barrister of the Year, LGBT Community Center of Colorado (2015)
  • Award of Special Recognition, Colorado Lawyers Committee (2015)
  • Visionaries in Action Award, GLBT Community Center of Colorado (2015)
  • Rising Star, Colorado Super Lawyers (2014-2019)
  • Honoree, Out Front Colorado Power Party (2015)
  • Lawyer of the Year, Law Week Colorado (2014)
  • Up-and-Coming Lawyer, Law Week Colorado (2014)

Presentations & Publications

  • J. Ryann Peyton, Arash Jaharnian, John M. McHugh & Ariel B. DeFazio, CADA: The Intersection of LGBT Civil Rights and Religious Freedom, 40 Colo. Lawyer 31 (2017)
  • Trial Tactics: Openings/Closings, University of Colorado Law School (2015)
  • Resume Writing and Interviewing for LGBT Attorneys and Law Students Panel, Colorado LGBT Bar Association (2014)
  • Marriage Equality Update, CLE Presentation, Colorado Bar Association (2014)
  • Litigating Marriage Equality, Presentation to DU OUTLaws, University of Denver Sturm College of Law (2014)
  • Marriage Equality Panel (Moderator), Ira C. Rothgerber Conference, University of Colorado Law School (2014)

Professional Memberships

  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Colorado GLBT Bar Association
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
  • Denver Bar Association
  • Colorado Lawyers Committee
  • Faculty of Federal Advocates


  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Honored by Out Front Colorado
  • John McHugh Named Denver Bar Association’s “Volunteer Lawyer of the Year”
  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Quoted in The New York Times Article Titled “Rising Dissent and Lawsuits Pushed Scouts to Change”
  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Named GLBT Community Center of Colorado’s “Barrister of the Year”
  • Reilly LLP Given the 2015 Visionaries in Action Award by the GLBT Community Center of Colorado
  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Interviewed in Colorado Independent Article Titled “Colorado Eyes High Court for News on Gay Marriage”
  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Interviewed in Colorado Independent Article Titled “Colorado Eyes High Court for News on Gay Marriage”
  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Named a “2014 Lawyer of the Year” by Law Week Colorado
  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Named “Up-and-Coming Lawyer” by Law Week Colorado
  • Win in Reilly Case Challenging Colorado’s Marriage Equality Ban
  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Comments in Denver Post Article Titled “Colorado Gay Couples Excited by Marriage Ruling”
  • Reilly Associate John McHugh Quoted in Denver Post Article Titled “Colorado Defends Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Court”
  • Reilly Lawsuit Covered in TIME Article Titled “Colorado’s Gay Marriage Ban Challenged”
Reilly LLP
1700 Lincoln Street,
Suite 2400
Denver, CO 80203

Phone: 303.893.6100
Toll-Free: 855.206.1549
Fax: 303.893.6110