After growing up in Manitou Springs and attending law school in Portland, Jeff Mohrmann thought Boulder was the place for him. But after being back in Colorado Springs for five years now, he has attached himself to the city’s sports and legal communities. Mohrmann studied history and political science at CU Boulder before going to Lewis & Clark Law School and becoming an attorney. He started Rogue Mountain Law last summer and was named the El Paso County Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer of 2013. He is also director of operations for local sports nutrition company Enduro Bites, which he came across through his love of marathon running. Mohrmann, 32, talked about his firm, his fiancée and how he views Colorado Springs and its business community.
Can you tell me a little bit about your professional background?
I grew up in Manitou and graduated high school from there in 2000. Then I went to school in Boulder and graduated there in 2004. I took a year and worked for an electronics startup that is now one of the fastest-growing small businesses in Boulder. … I then went to Lewis and Clark because I wanted to be in the Northwest (I wanted a place that was super bike-friendly). I applied both in Portland and Seattle, and I got into both, but Portland won because of the small-town vibe. It was a great transition from Boulder. I met my fiancée there. I graduated in 2008 and came back here, started applying for jobs at the bottom of the recession. I finally found a job after about a year at Hancock & Lambert and worked for that firm for about a year before going out on my own last June.
Can you tell me about your firm and what you specialize in?
My firm is called Rogue Mountain Law: I wanted a connection to Portland, and the Rogue River is an Oregon river, and I also wanted to incorporate this urban mountain interface that we have in Colorado Springs. … I do a lot of business work, and I also have a strong bankruptcy practice. … I have a few different small business clients downtown. I also work for a sports nutrition company in town called Enduro Bites. I’m the director of operations, and we’re trying to do an investing round with that company.
How did you become interested in law?
I’ve always been interested in law — lots of lawyers in the family and I was always sort of drawn to the profession. … As an attorney, you’re able to make a tangible contribution to people’s lives, and it gets you out in the community more. That’s what I enjoy about it.
How did you end up coming back to Colorado Springs?
When I graduated in 2008, I was kind of burned out from law school and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to practice. So [my fiancée and I] decided to move to Boulder to study for the bar [exam]. … We moved to Boulder because there was cycling and there was running — I got out and rode for two hours every morning before studying — so it was a very conscious decision to be in a healthy spot. We both passed the bar but then couldn’t find jobs, so she moved back to Wisconsin to stay with her family and I moved back here to stay with mine. Then I found the job at the firm, she moved out, and then we sort of stabilized financially. … So I started that job in 2009, made a lot of great connections, and our plan was to get out of here quick — but the longer we stay, the more we love it and the more progressive it becomes. That has been cool to see.
What do you think this city needs to become a better place?
We need progressive government here that is not made up of real estate developers and the old-hat people who have always run this town. We need more progressive young people here. … I think progressive leadership is a huge thing.
Do you think that this is a good environment for young people to do things like start small businesses?
I did. It was scary, but I was also lucky and had great connections. … I was very fortunate to have those tools, and I feel like a lot of people don’t. But I also think that it’s worth the risk to try to start good small businesses here. Ivywild School, I think, is a great example of what can happen when things go right, and when you tap into a segment of the population that doesn’t really have those things that they offer.
What do you do in your spare time?
In an average week, when I am training for a marathon, it’s 80 miles of running a week. I also sit on the Incline Friends Board, the Downtown YMCA Advisory Board and the TOPS Oversight Committee.