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Diane MacArthur Brown



Jack Olsen

Jack Olsen has been a trial attorney all of his legal career. He graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1978 while working as senior staff assistant to Governor Richard D. Lamm of Colorado. Selected for combined high academics and legal writing, he served as general editor of the Denver Law Journal. After working in the litigation section of one of Denver’s largest law firms, Mr. Olsen continued his career as a deputy district attorney in Denver, often working on murder and insanity cases, and also handling civil litigation for the late District Attorney Dale Tooley, after whom his middle son is named. He has also served as a special prosecutor in Boulder County.

Mr. Olsen attended college on a full basketball scholarship out of Baltimore County, Maryland, coaching basketball at many different levels ever since, including at Fairview High School (Boulder, Colorado); Boulder High School; Niwot High School (Niwot, Colorado); Erie High School (Erie, Colorado) and Peak-to-Peak High School (Lafayette, Colorado).. His undergraduate degree was in journalism from the University of Colorado, where he graduated on a full academic scholarship, with honors, in 1972. He was Governor Lamm’s press secretary during his first term. A seven-year career in journalism at United Press International, the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News won him awards for investigative reporting in Denver. His reporting resulted in indictments, exposures of criminal activity and changes beneficial to the public. He was encouraged to become a journalist by his late father, Jack Olsen, who was a senior editor of Sports Illustrated for 26 years. The senior Olsen wrote the landmark Sports Illustrated series and then book, “The Black Athlete,” about the exploitation of black athletes at the nation’s universities. During his career in journalism, the younger Olsen was encouraged to attend law school by Dale Tooley, whose unparalleled public service inspired others.

Having been born October 28, 1946, Mr. Olsen is presently 70 years old and has been practicing law for nearly four decades. During the Vietnam War, he volunteered for military service in 1967 and scored a perfect 99 on the military entrance exam, and then became one of the few recruits ever to score a perfect 500 on the physical training course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He volunteered for the advance team of the 5th Battalion 46th Infantry going to Chu Lai, Vietnam (south of Danang) in 1968. President Lyndon Johnson personally reviewed the battalion (in Texas prior to departure) and declared it to be the best-trained infantry unit ever to enter the Vietnam War. Ninety days later, it had lost one-half of its men and all of its officers killed or wounded. In one firefight outside of My Lai (a year after the so-called My Lai Massacre), Olsen commanded an infantry company pinned down and then extracted because of being under strength by 50 per cent due to casualties and lack of replacements. On May 23, 1968, Olsen was hit in the neck by shrapnel and wounded during a firefight near An Loc, Vietnam. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Olsen returned to combat duty in Quang Ngai Province, later graduated from the Special Forces Recondo School in Vietnam, finishing second in his class, and joined the all-volunteer Americal Division airborne rangers in Chu Lai, later renamed Company G (Ranger) 75th Infantry. It was a long-range patrol unit, the so-called “eyes and ears of the Americal.” After the war, Mr. Olsen spent months at the National Records Center and years elsewhere declassifying documents and researching the causes of the military blunders and lack of support that destroyed his line infantry unit and wounded or killed so many of his friends and subordinates. He assisted the CBS television network and Mike Wallace (and testified in pre-trial deposition) in the United States District Court case of Westmoreland v. CBS in New York. Olsen found and declassified secret diplomatic communications relating to the method by which the Viet Cong were counted, Congress and the American people were informed (or not), and resources were limited in America’s losing effort in Vietnam. He also testified as to first-hand experiences on the ground in Quang Ngai Province.

The above paragraph is included in this web site for the benefit of hundreds of veterans or their next of kin who are seeking information about old units, AOs (areas of operation), incidents, or seeking colleagues relating to their Vietnam service in order to deal with the personal impact of, and wounds from, that war. Olsen is a member of the LRRP Ranger Association. He is considered an expert on free fire zones, friendly fire incidents, command and control errors, and the investigation thereof. This nonlegal work is on a pro bono (free) basis. His MOS in the military was infantry operations and intelligence specialist. He served on a long range reconnaissance patrol team (LRRP) in “I” Corps and from Nha Trang northward, as far west as the borders with Cambodia and Laos. Inquiries from veterans on any topic are welcome, and Mr. Olsen will personally respond to every one. His office telephone number is (303) 828-5220.

As a lawyer, Mr. Olsen has faith in the American justice system and juries, which is the keystone of his practice. His wife is a trial lawyer, and his elder son, James, the former captain of his college basketball team, is a partner in a Denver law firm, trial lawyer and graduate of Emory University and the University of Denver College of Law. He is admitted to practice in both Colorado and New York. Mr. Olsen’s middle son, Michael, is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound, former pro baseball player, and presently works as an auditor for the federal government (but not the IRS). Mr. Olsen’s daughter, Jane, is a veterinarian technician and former rodeo cowgirl.

Mr. Olsen was licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1979 and in New York in 1988. He is admitted to practice before numerous state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Olsen has defended multi-million dollar cases and also won million-dollar jury verdicts, including multi-million dollar verdicts in Colorado and New York (one more than $2.5 million, another more than $10 million). He has also informed many clients when bringing a case was a bad idea. His advice to individuals and businesses is tailored to the facts and law, straightforward and measured. He believes and teaches that respect for the court system, the judges, their staffs and their work, is part of the essential fabric of a just society under law. Legal advice is tempered with realism. The aim is sound counsel, effective advocacy and successful outcomes. Courtesy is a hallmark of the practice.


Attorneys in General Practice, with Emphasis Upon Litigation