John was born in South Bend, Indiana, and grew up in the Smelter City of Anaconda, Montana. When choosing a career path, his interest in science led him to Montana Tech in Butte, Montana, where he graduated with honors in Engineering Science in 1994. While going to school at Tech he also worked as a railway track crewman, an intern at an engineering firm testing magnetohydrodynamics power generation and plasma arc furnaces, and also as a powerline construction inspector.
He passed the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam and started graduate work in Petroleum Engineering. However, after taking an environmental law course, he changed his mind and decided to go to law school instead. Prior to heading to law school he obtained a commercial driver’s license and drove specialized commercial vehicles in oil fields and drove belly and end-dump trucks for the construction of the Old Works golf course in Anaconda.
John earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Montana School of Law. After graduation, he worked as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Montana Department of Transportation for three years. There he handled construction, environmental and eminent domain litigation. He also represented the agency in administrative hearings.
John went into private practice with the civil defense/insurance firm of Phillips & Bohyer, and then the Phillips Law Firm, later becoming Phillips Haffey. In these firms he litigated insurance, injury, contract, products liability, trucking and intellectual property matters.
In November of 2015, he co-founded Haffey Vap PLLC, with Mitch Vap. Their desire for smaller firm with a broader scope led them to form Haffey Vap. John is admitted to practice in State and Federal Courts in Montana, the 9th Circuit and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and as a patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He is AV® rated by Martindale Hubbell and has been listed as a SuperLawyer® in civil litigation since 2010. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, the State Bar of Montana, and the Defense Research Institute.
Outside of work, like many in Montana, he enjoys the outdoors – hiking, skiing, biking, snowmobiling, boating and floating. Being born in South Bend, for better or worse, has made him a lifelong Fighting Irish fan. Coming from immigrant Irish stock, he loves Irish history and stays in contact with his Irish cousins all over the globe. He also plays the Great Highland bagpipes and enjoys playing whenever he can with the Celtic Dragon Pipe Band, but especially enjoys volunteering to play in parades and at memorial and veteran ceremonies. Finally, John’s greatest passion is spending time with family and friends, especially his wife Jen, and their boys Liam and Finn.
Mitch was born and raised in Manchester, Iowa where he graduated from West Delaware High School. Mitch attended undergraduate school at Wartburg College where he played football and majored in Biology. Even though a bit undersized for the job, Mitch played center his entire football career. Mitch was honored by both his high school and college teammates by being elected a captain for his respective senior seasons.
Mitch’s interest in science, and particularly anatomy and physiology led him to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska to study physical therapy. Mitch’s love of hiking, fishing, and skiing drew him to Anaconda, Montana, where Mitch completed his final clinical internship for physical therapy school. Mitch was honored by being inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu during his final year at Creighton. After earning his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree, Mitch was fortunate enough to practice physical therapy all over the northwest, including Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. Mitch’s practice included treating patients in rural Montana, to treating patients in a large HMO in the San Francisco Bay area, and everything in between. Mitch’s experience in the health care field sparked his interest in law, policy, and intellectual property.
Mitch attended law school at the University of Montana School of Law. While in law school, Mitch interned with the respected Missoula-based, Phillips Bohyer & Hedger Firm, and Phillips Law Firm during his second and third years. Mitch also interned for the University of Montana Office of Technology Transfer, where Mitch gained valuable experience in intellectual property protection and licensing. In his third year of law school, Mitch was the winner of the Nathan Burkan memorial competition for meritorious scholarly writing in the field of copyright law. Upon graduating from law school, Mitch continued working for the Phillips Law Firm. Mitch became a shareholder in 2013 with the then Phillips Haffey firm. Mitch became a registered patent attorney in 2013.
Mitch has been lead or co-lead chair in multiple civil jury trials. All trials achieved favorable outcomes for the clients represented. Mitch has prosecuted multiple patent and trademark applications before the USPTO. Mitch has achieved an AV® rating from Martindale Hubbell for his legal abilities and ethics. In November of 2015, Mitch and John Haffey formed Haffey Vap PLLC to realize their desire to provide efficient, excellent service to their clients in a modern law practice. Mitch currently represents a wide variety of clients ranging from large corporations involved in complex litigation, to single inventors seeking to protect intellectual property.
Mitch enjoys spending time with his wife, Angela, and two young boys Logan and Levi, in the Montana outdoors. The Vaps can be found hiking, skiing, fishing, floating, and just generally enjoying Missoula in their spare time.