Geoff is a litigator who also serves as outside General Counsel for start-up and medium-size companies, performing general corporate work and litigation, and advising on business and legal strategy. He has been a lawyer for over 21 years focusing on dispute resolution, including working with highly-regulated companies before the disputes turn into litigation.
From 2008-2011, he served as Colorado Deputy Attorney General under John Suthers. He lobbied the Colorado General Assembly and state agencies, including the Governor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer. He addressed cases and issues of public import, including challenging Obamacare, defending school funding (Lobato v. Ritter) and TABOR, fixing Colorado’s conservation easement system, and implementing medical marijuana regulations.
Geoffrey received his B.A. from Princeton University, J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and M.A. in Health Care Ethics and Law from the Victorian University of Manchester (England).
Geoff Blue is a litigator who likes to play hard – in the courtroom and in his spare time. In Colorado he’s worked in public office for the state Attorney General and later entered private practice as a litigator.
In England as a graduate student he studied at Manchester University and played rugby for a top local premier league team (but maybe not in the first team). He has a life- long passion for the game.
Furthermore, as an honorary ‘Manc’ Geoff picked up the legendary Mancunian gallows humour, which is evident throughout our conversation. “I lived in one of the bad areas there, working in a bar in the evenings,” he laughs. “It was a lot of fun.”
These days the only bar Geoff has any time for is the Colorado state bar association. He describes himself as a tough business litigation guy and enjoys his day in court in front of the judge. His bread and butter work is contract disputes, non compete agreements and issues involving intellectual property.
“Any disputes between businesses I will generally handle – I love public speaking,” Geoff says. “I love being in court. I love talking to the judge. Funny, I also love the stress, and get a buzz off it, although I’m not sure how much longer I can continue to do that at 53 years old. Yeah, but I like all that.”
Part of this attraction is what he calls problem solving. Doing the necessary research that will help him to understand how to deal with the legal issues at hand:
“I like problem solving and the research of getting an issue and trying to write a brief to explain to the court why we’re right. I really like that aspect of it. It’s a nice mix between computer work and in-person work.”
Geoff and his partner, Scott Gessler, started their firm, Gessler Blue Law, in January 2021 as a small legal boutique with the goal of working up to eight to 10 lawyers during the next few years.
“I don’t like the idea of big firm life,” Geoff admits. “Life is a lot easier when you’re in a small firm. It’s a much better lifestyle when you’re on your own and you’re smaller. And my lifestyle at my age is what’s really important to me.
“My life right now is built around my job, my daughter, rugby and some exercise – I love what I do”
“When you have a firm that’s structured like ours, the overheads are really low. You don’t have to bill as many hours to make a good living. You end up spending a lot of that time that you save on billing, on marketing and networking.”
Picking up the smaller cases
And networking is something that Geoff is good at. To pick up the smaller to mid-sized cases, he networks tirelessly with the bigger law firms that often give him their conflicted cases. For example, Geoff mentions a huge international law firm in downtown Denver that seldom take cases for legal fees of less than $250,000. He laughs: “Needless to say, I’m OK with a much smaller amount. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a $200,000 legal fee case, and I’ve had quite a few of those, but I’m very happy to take the $30,000 case without a problem.”
That flexibility around pricing also allows the partners to take on a range of different cases in different industries, from construction to cannabis: “I mean it’s very personal thing, isn’t it? Every case is different and there’s a lot of hand-holding and I love all that. And you’re in all sorts of different industries, and I’m learning about new industries all the time.”
Cannabis: an over saturated market
One of Geoff’s areas of practice is litigation in the cannabis industry. It’s potentially a huge business sector in Colorado, which recently legalized cannabis.
He explained: “It’s a fascinating industry because in Colorado we’ve legalized marijuana, but it’s still illegal federally. This means that technically the federal government could come in and prosecute any of the big companies that are selling marijuana products.
“What’s happened now is the federal government has essentially taken the position that as long as you’re following the rules and laws of your state, they will not prosecute. They have enough drug problems, drug cases they need to prosecute, and they certainly don’t need to be going after the folks who are legal in the States they’re in.”
Geoff says he’s currently working on several cases related to the cannabis industry, normally involving loans or contractual disputes: “The CBD market is especially interesting because it is incredibly over- saturated at the moment. And so the bottom has dropped out of the prices. Consequently, there are contracts that have lost value for people. And so people weren’t paying on the contracts because they weren’t making enough money on the backside.”
Another side to the firm is the political work Geoff and his partner carry out for the Republican Party. He jokes that they are
both dedicated Republicans and do a lot of Republican work for the Republican Party single guy in Denver again,” he smiles. or for individual candidates, “but we’re not really overtly political – but, maybe I when I think about it, I guess we are”. They tend to pick up work from inside and outside the state from Republican Lawyers Association members.
“It’s mainly Scott who picks up the political work,” Geoff says. “I have a portion of that myself. For instance, I have a case right now that has to do with open meetings for a local governmental entity, and they’re being challenged.”
“It’s a fascinating industry because in Colorado we’ve legalized marijuana, but it’s still illegal federally. This means that technically the federal government could come in and prosecute any of the big companies that are selling marijuana products.”
“The political work is very satisfying, and I feel like I’m doing something that really helps society, helps the country or the state or the locality. But the business work is important as well, so I like them both. I’m looking at ways of building up the business side, while my partner is looking at ways of building up the political side.”
A New Jersey boy
Although firmly ensconced in Colorado business and political culture, Geoff is originally from New Jersey and after studying at Georgetown University the first full-service law firm he worked for was in Philadelphia. It was there that he found his calling in litigation work. After his brother relocated to Denver, Geoff decided he’d do the same and moved to Colorado with a law degree and a few years litigation under his belt: “I’ve been here ever since. Met my wife; married her; divorced her. Now I’m a single guy in Denver again,” he smiles.
Working for the Attorney General
One of his early jobs in Colorado was working for the state Attorney General’s office, reporting directly to the Attorney General: “I was technically fourth in charge behind the Attorney General, Chief Deputy, Solicitor General, and then me. I was his lobbyist to the general assembly, the legislature. I was his outside liaison to the other elected officials. And I basically advised him on legal policy issues.”
Geoff eventually left to work back in private practice and eventually set up his own firm – and he has no regrets: “I got involved in the big ticket items in the office, the big litigation that happened. I did it for four years, and it was great. I loved it. I was the person who would go to the Republican Attorney General’s Association meetings with the Attorney General.
“But eventually it was time to move on. We’d recently had a baby girl and I needed a different life-style. Also, financially we needed more income and that means working for private clients.”
Since then, Geoff has been a solo practitioner or partner in small firms and has no regrets. He spends time with his daughter watching her play volleyball and soccer while keeping an eye on state and international rugby tournaments.
“My life right now is built around my job, my daughter, rugby and some exercise,” he says. “I love what I do. There are obviously days when I hate my job. All of us have that feeling. But I love that I am basically in control of my own life and don’t have to answer to anybody. It’s what life is all about isn’t it?”