Dave’s career began while he was enrolled in law school. He was employed at Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind, P.C. (DML) as a legal intern in 1981. Upon graduation, he was offered and accepted an Associate position at DML, staying with that firm until 1988 when he accepted employment with Boone, Karlberg and Haddon, P.C., where he advanced to shareholder status. In 2002, Dave transitioned his practice back to DML as a shareholder, staying with DML until May of 2017 when he made the decision to form his own firm, Cotner Law, PLLC.
Dave is admitted to practice in federal courts, including to the United States District Court for the District of Montana, United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the United States Tax Court, and the United States Supreme Court. Since receiving his license in 1983, he has been lead counsel in multiple appeals to the Montana Supreme Court. Dave has appeared in District Courts throughout Montana, as well as several Montana agencies.
Dave’s practice is diversified. He has maintained a broad practice throughout his career. Dave has created a specialty in complex business, estate, and insurance litigation, while also being recognized for his work on large business, and lending transactions. He has represented financial institutions, creditors, and trustees in bankruptcy proceedings, and has represented numerous Montana businesses and families with respect to all of their legal needs.
From the litigation perspective, Dave’s legal diversity is shown by the fact that he has represented clients in obtaining multiple seven-figure settlements and judgments. These seven figure claims involved personal injury, product liability, fraudulent transfers, breach of contract, director and office liability, breach of insurance company breach of duties, real estate development, governmental negligence, shareholder disputes and redemptions, and banking liability. Dave has also successfully defended numerous clients against major claims that have been filed, including being retained as a successor attorney to obtain reversal of prior decisions rendered by judges and juries.