Kara L. Ellsbury


(T) 307.632.0541
(F) 307.632.4999


Shelley G. Volz
Shannon M. Ward


Kara L. Ellsbury’s love of the law began early, when she was nine years old and began “practicing” as an attorney by trying and convicting her sister for minor crimes.   Since the early days, Ms. Ellsbury’s parctice has shifted focus to  civil and commercial litigation and employment law and litigation.  Kara is an enthusiastic learner and talented researcher and writer.  Combined with her strong analytical capabilities, these skills enable her to identify issues and problems and resolve them for her clients.  Kara builds strong relationships with her clients by listening and getting to know them and their businesses.  She assists them in not only resolving problems, but also provides them with advice to avoid future issues.  As a litigator, Ms. Ellsbury is confident and persuasive.  She is recognized by Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers. 


January 2018 to present – Partner, Hirst Applegate, LLP

  • Practice areas include: Civil Litigation, Employment Litigation, Professional Licensing, Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation, Wrongful Death Defense, Trucking Litigation and Public Utilities Law.
  • Also provides Employment Law counselling and training

June 2015 to December 2017 – Associate, Hirst Applegate, LLP

November 2013 to May 2015 – Associate, Hughes Law Office

2010 to June 2013 – Associate, Hirst Applegate, LLP

Spring of 2010 – Student Intern, UW Domestic Violence Legal Assistance Project

Summer of 2009 – Law Clerk, Hirst Applegate, LLP

Summer of 2008 – Law Clerk, Hirst Applegate, LLP

Summer of 2006 – Legislative Intern for United States Senator Michael B. Enzi


  • University of Wyoming, J.D., (Order of the Coif, with honors), 2010
  • University of Wyoming, B.S. (Accounting, cum laude), 2007


  •  Won summary judgment for company in wrongful death case brought by family of independent contractor killed in wheel explosion.  Affirmed by Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Obtained reversal on appeal of award of benefits to employee terminated for misconduct.
  • Tried and won breach of contract claim relating to sale of million-dollar commercial property and obtained remedy of specific performance, requiring the purchaser to proceed with buying the property.  Affirmed by the Wyoming Supreme Court.
  • Obtained dismissal of complaints pending before the Wyoming State Board of Nursing against Director of Nursing and nurse related to patient care.
  • Obtained dismissal of claims brought under Wyoming’s “Right to Work Laws” against guiding association by guide.
  • Obtained dismissal of defendant in case involving alleged catastrophic personal injuries.
  • Obtained favorable result for electric public utility seeking changes to tariffs requiring customer deposits and enabling utility to obtain multi-million-dollar deposit from customer.
  • Obtained a favorable result for electric public utility following administrative hearing in highly contested cost of power adjustment proceeding.
  • Negotiated favorable settlement for owner of property in construction defect suit brought against design-builder, engineer, and architect.
  • Tried and obtained defense verdict in jury trial of wrongful termination and due process claims brought by former school district superintendent.  Affirmed by Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.


  • Davis v. Harmony Development, LLC., 2020 WY 39, 460 P.3d 230 (Wyo. 2020) 
  • Williams v. State of Wyoming ex.rel., University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, 2019 WY 90, 448 P.3d 222 (Wyo. 2019)
  • In re Application of Powder River Energy Corp, Docket No. 10014-175-CT-16, Record No. 14561, Memo Opinion, Finding & Order (Wyo. Pub. Serv. Comm’n July 23, 2017)
  • In re Application of Powder River Energy Corp., Docket No. 10014-172-CP-16, Record No. 14441, Memo. Opinion, Findings & Order (Wyo. Pub, Serv. Comm’n Feb. 28, 2017)
  • In re Application of Powder River Energy Corp., Docket No. 10014-168-CR-16, Record No. 14314, Memo. Opinion, Findings & Order Approving Rate Increase (Wyo. Pub, Serv. Comm’n Nov. 23, 2016)
  • Campbell County Memorial Hospital v. Pfeifle, 2014 WY 3, 317 P.3d 573 (Wyo. 2014)


  • How to Get in Trouble with Hiring, Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, July 2021
  • Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress in an Era of Inescapable Instantly Accessible, Live Media, 2019 Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group
  • Risky Business or Business Risk?  Risk Management for the Law Office, presented with Mark Gifford, Wyoming State Bar Counsel, September 19, 2018 at the 2018 Wyoming State Bar Annual Meeting & Judicial Conference
  • Workplace Investigations: Lessons Learned from Litigation.  August, 2018
  • Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress in an Era of Inescapable, Instantly Accessible, Live Media (co-authored),  published in the Wyoming Lawyer
  • Re-writing Wyoming’s Co-employee Liability Statute, 9 Wyo. L. Rev. 645 (2009)


  • 2021 to present: President, Defense Lawyers Association of Wyoming
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in American (2022-28th Edition)
  • 2019 to 2021 President-Elect, Defense Lawyers Association of Wyoming
  • 2020: Mountain States Rising Star, Civil Litigation Defense – Super Lawyers
  • 2019 to present:  Chairperson, Wyoming State Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee
  • 2017 to 2019: Secretary, Defense Lawyers Association of Wyoming
  • 2015 to August 2017: Vice President of Programs, Defense Lawyers Association of Wyoming
  • 2014 to 2018: Board of Directors, Kid Prints, Inc.
  • 2010: Excellence in Advocacy Award, University of Wyoming College of Law
  • 2009 to 2010: Rothgerber Mock Trial Competition Championship Team
  • 2009 to 2010: Wyoming Law Review, Comment Editor
  • 2008 to 2009: Wyoming Law Review, Staff


  • Wyoming Bar Association
  • Defense Lawyers Association of Wyoming, DLAW
  • Electric Cooperative Bar Association, ECBA


Kara Ellsbury, her husband, Levi Ellsbury, and their have two daughters live near Sundance, Wyoming, where her husband grew up cattle ranching.  After practicing with the firm in Cheyenne for several years, Kara and Levi decided to move to the Sundance area, near the ranch and Levi’s family.  Kara and her family enjoy the outdoors and spend their time hiking, boating, camping, and skiing.  They also enjoy travelling and new adventures.  Most recently, Kara’s and Levi’s children are keeping them busy with school activities and sports, including helping coach elementary basketball.

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