With the help of his wife, Heather, Mike Hilgers founded Hilgers Graben in 2011 in his basement in Lincoln, Nebraska. Prior to the founding of the firm Mike practiced for an AmLaw100 firm where he gained significant trial experience and supported a national litigation practice. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor on the law review, and clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Mike’s goal in founding Hilgers Graben was to build a sophisticated, national, complex litigation practice for clients around the country. There were not many historical examples of successful firms trying to do what the firm was attempting at the time—to build a modern, forward-thinking national litigation practice outside of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. Nor were there many examples of firms who attempted to disrupt the traditional value model of BigLaw litigation services or discovery delivery models.
After 11 years of intentional effort, the firm has proven its model and is disrupting the legal industry. As of 2022 the firm has over 100 lawyers working on its cases and matters across the country, working for some of the largest and most recognizable brand names in the world.
The firm’s differentiated service lines—a value-based but robust national complex litigation group and a world class, dynamic discovery counsel group—provide real alternative options for clients in the marketplace.
And the firm provides its services in a team-first, “no jerks,” positive way—combining competitive nature, winning instincts, and grit with a positive culture and supportive environment built on a culture of personal growth and gratitude.
To accommodate its growth, the firm hired its first Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2021. Sterling, a former three-time general counsel, has guided the firm through a period of significant growth and positive change. Working with the heads of the firm’s two most significant divisions, Andrew Graben (litigation) and Carrie Dolton (discovery), the firm has transformed from a small firm to a robust and national practice handling matters around the country. Starting in January 2021, when Mike Hilgers was elected to be Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, the responsibility of leading the team has fallen primarily on the firm’s executive leadership, including Sterling, founding partner Heather Hilgers, and others.
On November 8, 2022, Mike was elected by the voters of Nebraska to be the state’s 34th Attorney General.
In December 2022, Mike formally divested ownership of Hilgers Graben. Mike was sworn in as Nebraska Attorney General on January 5, 2023, and he no longer engages in the private practice of law.
In December 2022, Heather, a former felony prosecutor and trial attorney, formally took control of Hilgers Graben and, along with the executive team and the talented Hilgers Graben teammates around the country, will lead the firm into the new era of growth and success.
Mike no longer practices at Hilgers Graben.