Otis, Coan & Peters does all it can to raise the bar

Despite all of the good they do, lawyers often get very little respect, which helps explain Jennifer Peters’ comments:

“Lawyers are good people, too,” says Peters, a partner with Otis, Coan & Peters LLC, one of this year’s Better Business Bureau Torch award recipients.

Considering the culture at her firm, it’s easy to see her point, starting with how the firm decides who it will represent.

It is the company’s belief that its clients represent the firm as much as the firm represents its clients.

Because of this, Fred Otis estimated that its turns down as many as 50 percent of the requests they receive for representation. Each prospective client undergoes a detailed screening to ensure the clients are just as ethical as the people of OCP.

The firm’s goal is ambitious: to be the finest law firm in Northern Colorado. But rather than try to achieve that by putting in the typical grueling workweek that many lawyers face, the attorneys at OCP are allowed to work no more than 40 hours a week.

In addition, they are required to put in 1,080 billable hours per year, about half as many hours as, say, a Denver attorney at a big firm might be expected to generate.

OCP’s 14 attorneys also often work in smaller teams of two or three, though clients typically are charged for the price of one.

“It’s a great team environment. There’s a lot of collaborating, and it’s a relaxed but professional atmosphere,” Peters said. “We work together on the same goals.”

Fred Otis, G. Brent Coan and Michael D. Stewart founded the firm in 1998, with a focus on the legal needs of Greeley. Peters joined the firm in 2008, at which point OCP expanded to Fort Collins. It has grown to become the largest firm in Northern Colorado.

The firm’s Northern Colorado focus goes beyond business. Employees are involved in at least one or more volunteer commitments throughout Weld and Larimer counties, ranging from Relay for Life to the Poudre River Trail Corridor Board.

“Community service is one of our pillars,” Peters said. “We’re all actively involved in the area, and we all give back in some way. We believe in going beyond what is required. ”

In addition to the Torch award, the firm has been honored at the WCBA Annual Dinner for its pro bono work, along with numerous other individual awards. Most recently, Peters was named one of the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state for the second year running by Colorado Super Lawyers and Rising Stars — an honor awarded to no more 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Colorado.

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