Theodore A. Olsen


Denver, Colorado

Phone: 303.299.8212

Fax: 303.298.0940


  • Juris Doctor, University of Colorado School of Law, 1978
    • Order of the Coif
    • Assistant Articles Editor, University of Colorado Law Review
  • Bachelor of Science, Boston University, 1975
    • summa cum laude

With his blend of legal expertise and practical common sense, Theodore “Ted” Olsen has long been recognized as the “lawyer’s lawyer” in labor and employment law.

Ted graduated first in his law school class at the University of Colorado, where he later taught employment discrimination law as an adjunct professor. In 2006, he was inducted as a Fellow into The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a national organization of labor and employment attorneys that recognizes the elite practitioners in the field from across the country. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for over 20 years, as well as in Chambers USA, and Colorado Super Lawyers. He was Chair of the Colorado Bar Association’s Labor Law Committee, and served as Chair of Sherman & Howard’s Labor and Employment Law Department for more than twelve years.

As Senior Counsel to the Labor and Employment Law Department, Ted now counsels with attorneys and clients on complex legal matters that call for his more than 35 years of real world experience; for example, providing clients with an immediate action plan in response to a workplace violence incident, performing statistical analyses of anticipated workforce reductions, counseling clients on steps to minimize legal risk in major downsizings, developing litigation strategies to defeat class and collective actions, strategizing defense theories and plans in trials and appeals, performing due diligence on labor and employment law matters in mergers and acquisitions, and counseling on disability access questions. If a Sherman & Howard client has a complex problem that involves an employer and employees, Ted’s legal and practical expertise is available.


If a legal dispute involves employers and employees, Ted has dealt with it.  Since 1978, he has devoted his law practice to the counseling and defense of employers in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Arguing the first employee handbook cases decided by the Colorado and Wyoming Supreme Courts.
  • Successfully trying some of the first sexual harassment cases in Colorado and neighboring states.
  • Litigating scores of negligent hiring and supervision cases arising from notorious workplace murders and other crimes.
  • Arguing landmark disability accommodation cases before the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
  • Crafting and enforcing non-compete and trade secret protection contracts.
  • Defeating the certification of proposed class actions in discrimination cases and collective actions in wage and hour cases.
  • Litigating wage and hour overtime pay exemptions.
  • Litigating public sector employment due process hearings.
  • Defending public entities and public accommodations in landmark cases defining their responsibilities to provide access to the disabled.

Publications & Presentations

Professional Activities

  • Institute of Applied Management and Law (IAML)
  • Colorado Bar Association
    • Former Chair, Labor Law Committee
  • Annual Multi-State Labor and Employment Law Seminar
    • Former Member, Planning Committee
  • Former Adjunct Professor of employment discrimination law at the University of Colorado School of Law


  • Best Lawyers In America, Employment Law – Management (2011-2021); Labor Law – Management (2011-2021), Denver
  • Chambers USA, Senior Statesmen, Labor & Employment, Colorado (2016-2020)
  • Super Lawyers, Labor & Employment, Colorado (2007-2020)
  • Chambers USA, Band 1, Labor & Employment, Colorado (2007-2015)
  • The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow (2006)
  • University of Colorado School of Law, “1st in Class” (1978)