Alum of the Month Oct '13
Even in high school, Mark Fogg knew that he wanted to be a trial lawyer someday. Fogg grew up in Detroit and attended the James Madison College at Michigan State University. He worked the night shift lapping gears at the local Chrysler factory to get through college, and graduated in 1976 with a degree in political philosophy. Fogg knew he did not want to stay in Detroit after college, and so he began looking at law schools outside of Michigan. He had visited Colorado several times with friends, and in the end his love of skiing and fly-fishing helped tip the scales and drew him to Colorado Law. While in law school, Fogg was a member of the mock trial team and worked at the Denver district attorney’s office. At his interview with the district attorney’s office, Fogg met an experienced lawyer named Brooke Wunnicke, who had become a legend in her own right and played an important role in Fogg’s career. He earned his JD from Colorado Law in 1979 and began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Denver.
The opportunity could not have been better for an aspiring trial lawyer. During his time as a Deputy District Attorney, Fogg tried more than 200 cases in front of a jury, and had the chance to be mentored by a group of “everyday legends,” as he puts it, that included Dale Tooley, Brooke Wunnicke, Norm Early, and several others. Fogg remained at the district attorney’s office until 1984, when he decided to shift from criminal litigation to civil litigation. Initially, Fogg worked in commercial litigation, but soon realized that he did not enjoy the commercial work and began thinking about getting back into criminal trial work. He had all but decided to go to the U.S. Attorney’s office when he got a call from several of the lawyers that he had worked with at the Denver District Attorney’s office. They had started a practice that specialized in representing licensed professionals of all kinds, and asked Fogg to consider joining them. Fogg accepted their offer and went to work at the firm that would eventually become Kennedy, Childs, & Fogg. Fogg started off representing a wide variety of licensed professionals – including physicians, attorneys, accountants, and engineers – in matters ranging from malpractice to licensing and disciplinary actions. After roughly five years, Fogg’s practice had evolved to the point that he was exclusively representing physicians in matters involving malpractice, risk analysis, regulatory issues, and anti-kickback/whistleblower litigation. Fogg remained at the firm until 2011, when he began a new chapter in his career.
At roughly the same time that he started with Kennedy Childs & Fogg, Fogg had started becoming involved with the Colorado Bar Association, serving first on the Ethics Committee and later on the Professionalism Committee. He served as the president of the Denver Bar Association from 2008-09, and was elected to serve as the president of the Colorado Bar Association in 2011. That same year, Fogg’s largest client approached him and offered him an in-house position as General Counsel. Fogg realized that the position would afford him more time to serve the CBA and the community, and in 2011 he became General Counsel for COPIC, a professional liability carrier and patient safety advocacy organization, where he currently works. In addition to his legal pursuits, Fogg remains involved with a number of community service organizations, including Project Healing Waters, an organization that uses fly-fishing to facilitate rehabilitation for disabled veterans and military personnel, and the Catholic Lawyers Guild, which helps raise money for humanitarian and community projects. Fogg and his wife Pat are dedicated travellers, and he loves spending time with his three children.
What is your fondest memory of being a student at Colorado Law?
I really enjoyed being on the mock trial team. Our case was patterned on a case where a woman shot her skier boyfriend, and Wiley Daniel, who was still in private practice at the time, was our judge. It was great.
What do you know now that you wish you had known in law school?
I wish I had made more of an effort to get exposure in the broader legal community. The transition from law school to the DA’s office was great, because I already knew everyone there. The transition from the criminal side to the civil side was much more difficult, because I didn’t really have many contacts or mentors in civil practice.
What advice would you give to current students as they’re preparing to graduate?
Get stand-up skills. Regardless of whether you want to be a trial lawyer, a transactional lawyer, or work at a government agency, you need to be able to stand up in front of people and express yourself. At some point you will have to run a meeting, talk to a board of directors, etc.
Who was the biggest influence on your career?
It was absolutely Brooke Wunnicke. She taught me about the sense of honor of being a lawyer. That’s a tough thing to pass on, and she did it.
Of what accomplishment are you most proud?
It’s really a joint accomplishment with my wife: our kids. I’m incredibly proud of how they have all turned out.