Connelly Bio

Sean Connelly, Denver Appeals Lawyer

Sean Connelly is one of the Rocky Mountain region’s top appellate lawyers. Before joining private practice, he was a member of the U.S. Department of Justice trial team and the lead appellate prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing cases, for which he earned the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award, the U.S. Justice Department’s highest honor. He served as a Judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals from 2008 to 2011.

Top Appellate Law Firm

Sean has a successful track record as one of the best appellate lawyers in Colorado and has argued over 150 appeals in eleven federal courts of appeals, in the Colorado Supreme Court, Colorado Court of Appeals, and in state appellate courts across the U.S. He has supervised, briefed, and consulted on hundreds of appeals in additional cases. From 1990-2002 he served as a criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and Denver. During this time, he was Special Attorney to two Attorney’s General, John Ashcroft and Janet Reno. From 2002 until his judicial appointment in 2008, he was a partner in the Denver firm Reilly, Pozner & Connelly where he successfully represented Pat Bowlen’s appeal to maintain ownership rights of the Denver Broncos professional football team. In 2018 he opened Connelly Law, one of the best appellate law firms in Denver and the surrounding areas.

Best Appellate Law Firm

Colorado and lawyers around the country regard Sean as one of the finest appellate lawyers in the industry, and he has received numerous awards for his work. He is the former Chair of the five-person Criminal Law drafting committee for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which administers the multi-state bar examination. Through his law firm, Sean protects his client’s interests in the appellate court. He works with trial counsel to affirm judgments, shape and change law, and overturn verdicts on their behalf.

  • Fairfield University (A.B., English, 1980)
  • Catholic University (J.D., 1983) (Recipient of Faculty Award as highest-ranking graduate)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit (2011)
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (2005)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit (2004)
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (2002)
  • State of Colorado (2002)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit (1995)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit (1990)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit (1990)
  • United States Supreme Court (1988)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit (1988)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit (1987)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (1986)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit (1984)
  • District of Columbia (1983)
  • Denver Appellate Practice “Lawyer of the Year”, Best Lawyers in America (2013, 2019)
  • Top Lawyers in Appellate Law Practice, 5280 Magazine (2015-2019)
  • Colorado Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine (2006-2019)
    • Top 10 Colorado Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers Magazine (2017-2018)
    • Top 100 Colorado Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers Magazine (2014-2015)
  • Bet-the-Company Litigation, Best Lawyers in America (2018)
  • White-Collar Criminal Defense, Best Lawyers in America (2013-2018)
  • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 4), Chambers USA (2013-2018)
  • Top Litigator (One of Six), Colorado Law Week (2017)
  • Individual/Task Force of the Year, Colorado Lawyers Committee (2015)
    • Honored for work on the Amendment 23 litigation (Dwyer v. State)
  • State Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation (2015)
  • Tenth Circuit Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation (2013)
  • Special Recognition Award, Colorado Lawyers Committee (2013)
    • Presented for work with the Jail Wait Litigation Team in appreciation of its exceptional work on Center for Legal Advocacy v. Bicha
  • Legal Leader in Appellate Law, The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel Magazine (2013)
  • Individual of the Year Award, Colorado Lawyers Committee (2007)
  • Community Contribution Award, Colorado Lawyers Committee (2007)
  • Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, S. Department of Justice (1998)
    • Honored for work as the lead appellate prosecutor of the Oklahoma City Bombing cases (United States v. McVeigh, United States v. Hernandez)
    • Highest award given by USDOJ
  • American Jurisprudence Awards, Catholic University Law School (1983)
  • Faculty Award: Highest Ranking Law Student, Catholic University Law School (1983)
  • Colorado Bar Association, Member
  • University of Colorado School of Law, Adjunct Faculty Member
  • Criminal Law Drafting Committee for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, Chair
  • Faculty of Federal Advocates, Member
  • University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, Adjunct Faculty Member
  • Colorado Lawyers Committee, Mental Health Task Force (2013), Homeless ID Task Force (2005)
Lecturers & Media Engagements