Ashley Ratliff, JD/MSW


Criminal and Juvenile Defense Attorney

Mitigation Specialist


Ashley is currently a juvenile defense attorney in private practice and also has a court appointment contract with Colorado Alternate Defense Counsel to be appointed on complex juvenile defense cases and for youth at risk of adult criminal prosecution.  She is also an expert consultant on juvenile cases in juvenile and adult courts, both in Colorado and across the country.  Her passion for juvenile justice and developmentally sound practices began when she was in high school and truly flourished during college and beyond.  Ultimately, she applied for a dual degree program to ensure her education could help me best advocate for youth at risk of juvenile court proceedings. 

 She is most passionate about telling her client’s stories in a way that conveys their human potential no matter how serious or how violent the alleged crime may have been reported. She believes that each of us are all more than our worst acts and she strongly believes that with thorough investigation and complete in depth mitigation investigation, there are themes of her clients’ lives that have been untapped and needs that were unmet which can be resolved through a restorative justice approach to criminal defense and juvenile defense.


California Western School of Law | Juris Doctor | 2006

San Diego State University | Master of Social Work | 2006

University of Colorado - Boulder | Bachelor of Arts - Sociology & Criminology | 2000


  • Ratliff, A. & Maren Willins, Eds. Criminal Defense Based Forensic Social Work (2019). Book.

  • Chinn, J & A. Ratliff, “I was put out the Door with Nothing” – Addressing the Needs of the Exonerated Under a Refugee Model, 45 CAL. W. L. REV. (2009). Law Review Article.



  • Colorado Women’s Bar Association

    Member | 2016-Present

    Programs Committee | 2017 - Present

  • Colorado Criminal Defense Bar

Member | 2011-Present

  • National Legal Aid and Defender Association

Member | 2013-Present

  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

    Member | 2014- Present

  • Colorado Criminal and Juvenile Justice Task Force

Member | 2011-2012

  • Colorado Juvenile Defender Center

Member-Supporter | 2008-Present

Chair - Youth in Adult Court Litigation Committee |2011-2018

MSW Internship Field Instructor | 2013-2017

  • Colorado Bar Association

Member | 2011-2018

Chair Elect – Juvenile Law Section | 2012-2013

Chair – Juvenile Law Section | 2013-2014

CLE Programming Coordinator | 2015-2018

Committees & Affiliations


Ratliff Law Firm, LLC | 2011-Present

University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work | Adjunct Professor | 2017-Present

Colorado State Public Defender | 2006-2011

San Diego Office of the Public Defender | 2005-2006

California Innocence Project | 2002-2006

Office of the Child’s Representative | 2005

Professional Experience


2013  Volunteer of the Year Colorado Juvenile Defender Center

2017 Top Lawyer, Juvenile Defense – 5280 Magazine 

2018 Top Lawyer, Juvenile Defense – 5280 Magazine 

2018 Case of the Year Award - Colorado Trial Lawyers Association

2019 Top Lawyer, Juvenile Defense – 5280 Magazine 

Awards & recognition