John F. Walsh

After six years of service as Colorado's United States Attorney, and national responsibility as chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Council of US Attorneys from 2015 to 2016, John Walsh brings his decades of federal government and private practice experience to lead WilmerHale's investigations, criminal litigation and complex civil litigation practice in the Denver office. Mr. Walsh's multi-faceted legal practice focuses on complex litigation and dispute resolution services, internal investigations, securities litigation, and complex commercial litigation and arbitration matters, both domestic and international, and is built upon on extensive legal experience in Colorado, California and nationally.

Mr. Walsh is a highly respected and skilled litigator who also brings his litigation skills to bear advising clients on government investigation response, strategic response and crisis management more broadly. His long experience dealing with the media in both government and private practice, including as an on-air legal commentator for CBS national news, as well as through extensive high-profile community involvement, gives Mr. Walsh strong insights into managing public crisis matters on behalf of clients.

Prior to joining WilmerHale, Mr. Walsh served as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, one of the longest terms in Colorado history. As the presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed, top federal law enforcement official and spokesperson in Colorado, he was responsible for coordinating priorities, resources, community outreach and public statements of federal law enforcement in the state. He also managed approximately 80 assistant US attorneys; supervised the federal criminal, civil and appellate caseload of the office; and represented the Department of Justice in ongoing complex political and legal situations arising from Colorado's legalization of marijuana under state law.

As US attorney, Mr. Walsh also served in national-level leadership positions for the Department of Justice. Attorney General Eric Holder selected Mr. Walsh to serve first as a member, and then as chair, of the national Attorney General's Advisory Committee of US Attorneys (AGAC). In that role, Mr. Walsh led 93 US attorneys through constant communication and consultation on the full range of criminal and civil issues facing the Department of Justice and the annual US attorneys' conferences, and frequently served as a public spokesperson for the community. At the request of Attorney General Holder, Mr. Walsh also served as co-chair of the AGAC's White Collar Crime Subcommittee, and as national co-chair of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Fraud Working Group.

Prior to his service as US Attorney, Mr. Walsh practiced at two highly respected law firms in Denver for more than 15 years. He began his practice as an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles, where he ultimately served as Chief of the Major Frauds Section of that office's Criminal Division.

View Mr. Walsh's Spanish language bio.


Before being confirmed as United States Attorney in 2010, Mr. Walsh was a partner for 11 years at Hill & Robbins where he handled plaintiff-side business litigation and class action matters, a broad range of securities and commercial litigation, as well as internal investigations, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) matters. Previously, he was counsel and then partner for five years at Holland & Hart where he focused on civil litigation and internal investigations, including FCPA matters; and before that, Mr. Walsh served as an Assistant United States Attorney for eight years in Los Angeles where he was Chief and Deputy Chief of the Major Frauds Section (1987-1995).

In his earlier years of private practice, Mr. Walsh conducted many internal investigations in a wide variety of contexts. Most notably, he led FCPA internal investigations for both large company and small enterprise clients that involved interviews and document review in the United States and abroad. In addition, he conducted domestic internal investigations focused on potential tax and employment misconduct and the False Claims Act. In connection with these investigations, and on a standalone basis, he participated in the formulation of corporate compliance plans at various levels.

Community Involvement

Mr. Walsh has held positions on many community boards and organizations, including:

  • ABA Section of International Law, Mexico Committee – Co-Chair (2018 – 2019);
  • Colorado Chief Justice's Commission on the Legal Profession (2012 – present);
  • Invest in Kids, Inc. – Board Member (2017-present); Board Chair and Member (1996 – 2010);
  • Escuela de Guadalupe, Denver – Board Member (2018-present)
  • Colorado Lawyers Committee – Executive Committee Member and Board Member (1999 – 2010);
  • Spanish-Speaking Lawyers Committee, Colorado Bar Association – Co-Founding Member (2008 – 2010);
  • Faculty of Federal Advocates, US District Court – Board Member (2007 – 2010);
  • Platform Committee, Colorado Democratic Party – Chair (2007 – 2008);
  • Governor Ritter's Transition Team – Chair, Cabinet Candidate Vetting Team (2006 – 2007);
  • Denver Post, Candidate for Denver District Attorney – Editorial Endorsement (2004);
  • Leadership Denver Alumni Association – Board Chair and Member (2001 – 2005);
  • United States-Mexico Law Institute, University of New Mexico School of Law – Board Member (1998 – 1999); and
  • CBS News – Legal Commentator, Oklahoma City Bombing Trials in Denver (1996 – 1999).

Professional Activities

Mr. Walsh is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, and the United States Supreme Court.


  • Named the 2017 Best Civil Litigator by Law Week Colorado in its Barrister's Best list. Law Week said: "John Walsh is an easy pick for best litigator—with his experience as a private litigator as well as a nationally renowned US Attorney, Walsh clearly knows how to handle a trial. And as a partner in WilmerHale's growing local office and leader of the firm's government investigations practice, criminal litigation and civil litigation practice, we're expecting to see Walsh's civil success continue now that he's back in private practice."
  • Named the 2018 Best Criminal Defense Lawyer - White Collar by Law Week Colorado in its Barrister's Best list
  • Consistently recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for his exceptional practice
  • Named one of the Best Lawyers in America for many years
  • Selected by peers as a leading lawyer in Colorado in several editions of Super Lawyers and was named among the “Top 50” Colorado Lawyers in 2010
  • Recipient of the 2010 Colorado Lawyers Committee Sustained Contribution Award

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Stanford Law School, 1986

      with honors Order of the Coif, Senior Notes Editor, Stanford Law Review
    • BA, Political Science, Williams College, 1983

      magna cum laude Phi Beta Kappa
  • Admissions

    • Colorado

    • California

  • Clerkships

    • The Hon. J. Skelly Wright, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1986 - 1987