Fern O’Brien

Founding Partner

Fern O’Brien is founding partner of O’Brien Law, P.C. She advises clients on domestic and international transactions, including debt and equity financing, securities issues, mergers and acquisitions, contract negotiations, licensing agreements, franchise and product distribution issues.

Fern counsels corporations, LLCs and partnerships on a variety of governance matters including complex entity structuring, partner/shareholder buyouts, executive compensation and long-term corporate planning. Fern has a number of clients in the natural products industry and she also represents emerging companies; financial institutions; healthcare practices, technology companies; breweries, wineries, real estate developers; and service, retail and manufacturing companies.

She advises HOA’s, government entities, arts and trade organizations and other non profits with respect to formation, IRS filings for tax exempt status, board duties and liabilities; governance documents such as Bylaws and Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions and members and membership issues.

Fern helps individuals, business owners and families in all aspects of estate, trust and wealth transfer and preservation planning. Whether the planning ultimately involves a basic will, complex trust arrangement or the succession of a closely-held business, she helps her clients achieve their goals through practical, comprehensive, solution-driven planning.

Fern started her legal career as an associate with Kaye Scholer, a major New York City law firm. Later, she was a partner in the Boulder office of Faegre & Benson LP (now Faegre Baker Daniels) an international corporate law firm.

Current Professional Activities:

  • Vice President, Boulder County Estate Planning Council
  • Member, Boulder County Bar Association
  • Member, Colorado Liquor Industry Working Group

Current Community Activities:

  • President, Board of Directors, Attention Homes
  • Vice President, Board of Directors, Downtown Boulder Foundation
  • Member, Daily Camera Editorial Advisory Board
  • Member, Board of Directors, Downtown Boulder Inc.
  • Member, Downtown Boulder Public Policy Committee
  • Co-Chair, Holes of Hope Charity Golf Tournament for BCH Tebo Cancer Center

Past community activities/honors:

  • Democratic Party Candidate, Colorado Attorney General, 2006
  • Recipient, DBI’s Ron Porter Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016
  • Woman of the Year, Boulder County YWCA, 2008
  • Member, Advisory Board, First Western Trust, 2009-2013
  • President, Board of Directors, Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, 1998-2004
  • President, Board of Directors, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art 2003-2012
  • Member, Board of Directors, Boulder County Bar Association 2000-2003
  • President, Board of Directors of Project Safeguard, an organization that provides legal advocacy for victims of domestic violence, 1997-2002
  • President, Project Safeguard Foundation, 2003
  • Member, Board of Directors, Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District 2007-2015

Past Professional Activities:

  • Chair, Private Companies Subsection of the CBA Business Law Section.
  • Member, Moot Business Law Transaction Competition Committee
  • Member, Moot Business Law Transaction Competition Committee
  • Faculty, Colorado Bar Association Business Law Institute
  • Member, ABA Mergers & Acquisition Committee

Selected Articles and Presentations:

  • Panelist, CU Leeds School Negotiation Workshop 2016
  • Presenter,Politically Corrected: Women’s Impact on Politics” CU Women’s Council WILD (Women Inspiring Leadership Development) Summit 2016
  • Moderator,How to Craft a Compelling Business Pitch,” Naturally Boulder 2015
  • Presenter,Successor Liability in Business Acquisitions,” Boulder County Bar Association 2015
  • Presenter, Legal Issues for Emerging Companies,” Boulder County Bar Association 2014
  • Presenter,Public Benefit Corporations,” Colorado Society of CPAs 2014
  • Presenter, Clarity or Chaos: 9 Estate Planning Tips that May Surprise You,” Morgan Stanley 2014
  • Presenter, “Counseling Entrepreneurs about the New JOBS Act,” CBA Business Law Institute 2012
  • Presenter, “Business & Legal Issues for Emerging and Later Stage Natural Product Companies,” Natural Products Expo West, Anaheim, CA 2012
  • Presenter, “International Branding: What you need to Know Before Going Global,” Natural Products Expo East, Baltimore, MD 2011
  • Presenter, “Fiduciary duties in the Zone of Insolvency,” CBA Distressed Companies Seminar (Organizer of Day-long CBA Seminar) 2009
  • Presenter, “M & A Trends with Private Targets,” CBA Business Law Institute 2008
  • Presenter, “Selling the Closely Held Business,” National Business Institute 2008
  • Presenter, “Negotiating the Deal,” National Business Institute 2008
  • Presenter, “Broker/Dealers v. Finders: Regulatory Issues and the Effects of Failing To be Properly Registered,” CBA Business Law Institute 2007
  • Co-Author, Corporate Aircraft: The Flight Department Trap,” BCBA Newsletter 2006
  • Author, Depreciation of Corporate Aircraft,” J. Mesinger Corporate Jet Sales 2003
  • Author, By the Shores of Gitche Gumee: Co-ownership of Vacation Property,” Denver Business Journal 2004
  • Presenter, Shareholders’ Dissenters’ Rights Under the Colorado Business Corporation Act,” CBA Business Law Institute 2003
  • Presenter, Current Issues in Colorado Liquor Law,” Colorado Restaurant Association Annual Expo 2004
  • Editor, West Bar Review Course 1997
  • Author, Book chapter, “The Americans with Disabilities Act,” CareerTrack, 1998
  • Author,When You’re the One Left Behind; A Widow’s Guide to Estate Administration,” Boulder Woman Magazine 1998


  • University of Minnesota, B.A. Humanities
  • Rutgers Law School, J.D.
    • Editor, Rutgers Law Review
    • Teaching Associate, Legal Writing & Research
    • Student Bar Association Representative

Bar Admissions:

  • Colorado, New York and Connecticut

For more information, please contact Fern O’Brien: 303.579.3559 or fobrien@fobrienlaw.com.

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