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.
|Award name||Grantor||Date Granted|
|AV Preeminent Rated||Martindale-Hubbell||2022|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers||2017|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers||2016|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers||2015|
|AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated||Martindale-Hubbell||2015|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2014|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers||2013|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers||2012|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers||2011|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers||2010|
|Attorney||Haffey Vap PLLC||2015 - Present|
|Shareholder||Phillips Haffey PC||2008 - 2015|
|Associate and Shareholder||Phillips and Bohyer PC||2001 - 2007|
|Attorney||Montana Department of Transportation||1998 - 2001|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Defense Research Institute||Member||2008 - Present|
|Western Montana Bar Association||Attorney||2001 - Present|
|Montana State Bar||Attorney Member||1998 - Present|
|Western Montana Bar Association||President||2009 - 2010|
|University of Montana School of Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1998|
|Montana Tech (University of Montana)||BS - Bachelor of Science||1994|