Joel Pratt

Top rated Appellate attorney in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Law Office of Dailey & Pratt
Joel Pratt
Law Office of Dailey & Pratt

Practice Areas: Appellate, Family Law, State, Local & Municipal; view more

Licensed in Colorado since: 2015

Education: The University of Michigan Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2024 Selected to Rising Stars: 2020 - 2023

Law Office of Dailey & Pratt

526 South Nevada Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Visit website


As a partner at the Law Office of Dailey & Pratt, Joel Pratt primarily serves clients in Colorado Springs and the Denver Metro areas. Joel's practice focuses on appeals in all substantive practice areas (including family, child welfare, probate, immigration, criminal defense, and complex civil). Joel also litigates cases in the trial courts in family law, child welfare (dependency and neglect) and probate matters. 

Joel also has substantial experience in the Colorado appellate courts, having briefed dozens of cases and appeared in the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court for oral arguments. He serves both as lead appellate counsel and appellate consultant to help trial lawyers preserve their arguments and make the best possible records on appeal. Joel has also appeared before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and is licensed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. 

With so many accomplishments under his belt, it's hard to believe that this Colorado native has only been serving his community as a lawyer for seven years. Joel completed his degree at the University of Michigan Law School. He was then admitted to the Colorado Bar Association in 2015. He completed a clerkship with the University of Michigan General Counsel’s Office and a internship with the Colorado Court of Appeals under Hon. Alan Loeb. Before joining the Law Office of Dailey & Pratt, he worked at several other large Denver firms.

From a career standpoint, Joel feels most proud of the results he accomplished on behalf of his clients. Because of the field he works in, this has a direct impact on his community. He has handled everything from sensitive child custody cases to complex property division cases. These cases have played out in both trial and appellate courts. Joel is also particularly proud of the many dozens of favorable settlements he has helped clients reach and maintain control over their own outcomes. His success stems from four core values: confident advocacy, a unique approach to solving each case, strong professional ethics, and knowledge  of process.

Joel actively serves his community, as well, serving as a volunteer attorney for Colorado Springs Teen Court, a past Trustee on the board of the El Paso County Bar Association, a regular columnist for the Pikes Peak Lawyer, the former chair of the New Lawyers' Division of the El Paso County Bar Association and a board member and secretary of the Colorado Lawyer. Joel maintains a robust pro bono practice and represents indigent clients in divorce, custody, appellate, immigration, and guardianship matters. And in 2023, Joel was appointed as a part-time judge on the Colorado Springs Municipal Court, where he serves the city as a judge in municipal criminal and code enforcement matters. 

Practice areas

Appellate, Family Law, State, Local & Municipal

Focus areas

Alimony & Spousal Support, Appeals, Child Support, Custody & Visitation, Dissolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Law, Marital Property, Paternity, Same Sex Family Law

  • 50% Appellate
  • 40% Family Law
  • 10% State, Local & Municipal

First Admitted: 2015, Colorado

Professional Webpage:

  • Author of "From the Courts" section of the Pikes Peak Lawyer, the Bar Association newsletter for El Paso County, The Pikes Peak Lawyer - Monthly Contributor, Legal, All
Educational Background:
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Deposition Skills, 2016
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, B.A., English Literature (with Distinction), Honors: Alumni Association Scholarship, 2009
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • The Colorado Lawyer - Chair Elect, 2022
  • Admitted to practice in Colorado State Courts and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • The Colorado Lawyer - Board Member, 2020 - Present
  • El Paso County Bar Association Family Law Section Executive Council - Member, 2017 - Present
  • El Paso County Bar Association - Member, 2021
  • Colorado Bar Association - Member, 2015 - Present
  • El Paso County Bar Association New Lawyer Division - Chair, 2019 - 2020
  • El Paso County Bar Association - Trustee, 2018 - 2020
  • Colorado Bar Association - Appellate Subcommittee Member, 2020
  • Colorado Bar Association Family Law Section - Member, 2018 - Present
  • Awarded for outstanding service to the bar association and the legal profession as a new attorney. , Brian S. Garner Award - New Lawyer of the Year, El Paso County Bar Association, 2022
  • Selected as a "Top Attorney" in Colorado Springs in the areas of appeals and juvenile law. Selected based on vetting from the publication and peer votes from fellow attorneys, 2020 - 2021, Top Attorney - Appellate and Juvenile, Colorado Springs Style Magazine, 2022
  • Selected for the first time as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers in 2020 - 2021, Rising Star in Appellate Law, Super Lawyers
  • Awarded for high academic performance at top law school, Order of the Coif, University of Michigan Law School, 2014
  • Executive Notes Editor, Michigan Law Review, University of Michigan Law School
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Represented clients in board of immigration appeals and state court special immigrant juvenile status cases. , 2022
  • Represented client in 10th Circuit appeal of immigration court decision. , 2022
  • Volunteer Attorney - Teen Court. Assisted teens with preparation and presentation of cases in diversion program to improve outcomes for juvenile delinquency matters and avoid adult criminal justice system as punishment, 2020
  • Columnist, Pikes Peak Lawyer, 2018 – present
  • Family Law Day Planning Committee, 2019 – present
  • Volunteer Attorney, the Justice Center, El Paso County
  • Member, Civil Pro Bono Panel, El Paso County District Court
  • Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center and RMIAN volunteer for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, 2020
  • El Paso County District Court Civil Pro Bono Program - Panel Member and Volunteer Attorney, 2020
  • Colorado Appellate Pro Bono Program, Colorado Bar Association - Volunteer Attorney, 2018
  • Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center Caregiver Advocacy Program - Volunteer Attorney, 2015
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Member of the Bar, Supreme Court of the United States, 2022
  • Member of the Bar, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. , 2021
  • Licensed to Practice, Board of Immigration Appeals, 2021
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) Deposition Skills Training and Certification, 2016
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Presented class at Family Law Day for pro se litigants learning about court matters to provide community resources and education to the public. , Presenter, Enforcement of Court Orders, 2023
  • Provided summaries and analysis of cases in Colorado and nationwide to educate lawyers and the public. , Writer, From the Courts, 2023
  • Co-Presented to ORPC/child welfare conference state wide regarding appellate issues, including process, structure, and preservation. , Co-Presenter, Do I Need an Appellate Lawyer or Time Machine?, Child Welfare, 2022
  • Provided annual family and juvenile case law update to local bar association. , Co-Presenter, Case Law Update, El Paso County Bar Association Family Law Conference, 2022
  • Presented to local trial family law attorneys about how to preserve issues for appeal, avoid malpractice, and support and advise clients in trial and appellate process, Presenter, Do I Need an Appellate Lawyer or a Time Machine?, El Paso County Bar Association Family Law Section, Family Law, Appeals, Legal, 2022
  • Provided family and juvenile case law update to El Paso County Bar Association, Presenter, Case Law Update, 2020
  • Regular author of "From the Courts," a monthly column published in the Pikes Peak Lawyer that reviews notable decisions from state and federal courts for the benefit of the Bar Association, Primary Author, From the Courts, Pikes Peak Lawyer, General Legal, Appellate, Juvenile, Family Law, Probate, Federal, State, 2020
  • Video presenter for "Enforcement of Family Law Court Orders" for upcoming virtual family law day, Presenter, Enforcement of Family Law Court Orders, Family Law Day, Family Law, Litigation, Pro Se Parties, Community, 2020
  • Co-presented on appellate issues to the family law bar, specifically, the use of magistrate review petitions to ask a District Court Judge to review the decision of a magistrate, Co-Presenter, Petitions for Magistrate Review, El Paso County Bar Association Family Law Section Conference, Family Law, Appellate, 2019
  • Wrote and presented on enforcement of family law court orders for the benefit of the community, Presenter, Enforcement of Court Orders, El Paso County Court Family Law Day, Family Law, Pro Bono, Modest Means, Public Service, 2019
  • Explores the legal framework for determining whether a common-law marriage can arise in Colorado before same-sex marriage was recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court. The article was cited by the Colorado Court of Appeals in a subsequent opinion on that issue, Co-Author, Pre-2014 Same-Sex Common-Law Marriages, The Colorado Lawyer, Family Law, 2018
  • The practice of hydraulic fracturing-or fracking-has become a major focus of policymakers in recent years. Federal, state, and local regulations on fracking create a confusing web for industry to navigate, and governmental entities often battle with each other for authority to regulate the practice. The fast and widespread growth of fracking in the United States has therefore exacerbated confusion over who will regulate this booming industry, and courts have so far failed to use sensible principles to resolve inconsistencies among federal, state, and local regulations. When fracking laws conflict, courts traditionally use preemption doctrine-general rules that help judges choose whether state or local laws (or both) should apply in particular situations-to resolve these conflicts. Yet this doctrine has produced confusion and regulatory uncertainty. This Essay advocates a different approach. Because regulators and industry need both legal clarity and the ability to react to new information, courts should apply principles of administrative deference to resolve conflicts between state and local fracking regulations. Administrative deference refers to a set of principles that privileges administrative decision making over judicial discretion in areas of statutory ambiguity. Under these principles, courts weigh expert agency decision making more heavily when the agency has acted reasonably. When faced with a conflict between state and local fracking laws, courts should adopt administrative principles and privilege expert agency regulations rather than engage in an independent judicial inquiry. Part I provides background on fracking and argues that states are in the best position to regulate the practice. Part II then explores the difference between preemption doctrine and administrative deference, ultimately concluding that state courts should defer to state agency decisions on fracking regulation, Author, Applying Administrative Law Principles to Hydraulic Fracturing, University of Michigan Law School First Impressions, Oil & Gas, Regulatory, 2014
  • Explores the business implications of a Colorado Supreme Court decision regarding the cannabis industry, Co-Author, The Marijuana Industry after Crouse: Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?, The Colorado Lawyer, Cannabis, 2018
  • Explores the employment rules protected by the Colorado Supreme Court in a cannabis-related case. Co-Authored with now-judge Lino Lipinsky, Co-Author, Guest Commentary: Colorado statute does not protect employees' medical pot use, The Denver Post, Cannabis, 2015
  • Divorce cases present an extremely complex set of emotional, legal, and ethical questions. Recognizing that traditional litigation models can be harmful to client interests, many lawyers have critically reexamined and reformed the basic process of settling a divorce. The collaborative law movement is one such attempt; its strictures work to reorient lawyers toward productive and cooperative negotiation strategies and away from litigiousness. Collaborative law has not been without its critics, nor is it a perfect process. Instead, it represents one of a host of options clients and lawyers may have in addressing the dissolution of a marriage. A collaborative divorce can be costly, particularly if one party is more conciliatory than the other. Certain parts of the process also raise very serious ethical concerns. Collaborative divorce may ask a lawyer to manage a task not at all suited to the legal profession. Despite concerns, collaborative practitioners have pushed the practice of family law into the 21st Century, and the lessons of those practitioners, as well as the profession’s long-standing rules of ethics, should guide future practice. Therefore, a process should exist that helps mitigate certain serious concerns about collaborative law, while retaining its benefits. This Note proposes such a solution, Author, Three Tiers for Collaborative Law: A Moderate Solution, Resolved: Journal of Alternative Dispute Resolution, Family Law, 2015
  • New Jersey and Delaware have often fought over their territorial boundaries in the Delaware River. Three times, they have litigated cases in the Supreme Court under the Court’s original jurisdiction to hear cases or controversies between states. In 1905, a Compact negotiated by the states and confirmed by Congress settled the first case between the two states. The second case between the two states led the Supreme Court to issue a Decree confirming the boundaries of the two states. The third case, which began in 2005, asked the Court to decide the scope of each state’s power to regulate development in the Delaware River. The Court came up with a compromise, argued for by neither state, which gave lasting effect to the 1905 Compact between the states while recognizing how water regulation has developed over the last century. The Court’s resolution, though seemingly counterintuitive, can be best understood with reference to federal and state common law principles. More important, however, is how the case was argued. Though it presented a traditional “environment v. the economy” debate, the party supporting the pro-environment argument (Delaware) did not argue it as such. This case, therefore, presents a roadmap to victory for environmentalists in front of the Roberts Court: to win an environmental case, it may be best to avoid mentioning the environment at all, Author, The Compromise Verdict: How the Court's Resolution of New Jersey v. Delaware III Implicitly Advanced Environmental Litigation, Seattle Journal of Environmental Law, 2015
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • Appointed to Colorado Springs Municipal Court as a part-time judge. Joel maintains his law practice along side his part-time public service. , 2023
  • Successfully represented client in appeal of adverse adoption termination order. , 2023
  • Successfully settled several cases on favorable terms for clients to promote their interests. , 2023
  • Successfully represented clients in temporary and permanent orders hearing to receive favorable orders to clients. , 2023
  • Successfully defended client's interests on appeal from challenge to spousal maintenance award. , 2022
  • Argued second case in Colorado Supreme Court regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act's notice requirements. , 2022
  • Represented client in appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to improve opportunity for client to remain in the United States. , 2022
  • Briefed and argued case in Colorado Supreme Court regarding the "active efforts" standard in the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) as it applies to Colorado Indian families. , 2021
  • Won published Colorado Court of Appeals case regarding enforcement of parenting time orders and attorney's fees. , 2021
  • Won published opinion in Colorado Court of Appeals expanding definition of the Indian Child Welfare Act and reversing terminating of client's parental rights, 2021
  • Tried military retirement and financial issues to the Court in a dissolution of marriage case and received 100% of request from trial court, including denial of division of military retirement for non-military spouse, 2021
  • Tried case that included complex financial issues through dissolution and permanent orders hearing and received favorable ruling from trial court on majority of property and parenting issues, 2020
  • Briefed financially and procedurally complex matters for the Colorado Court of Appeals, 2020
  • Settled several high-conflict custody and complex financial cases during global pandemic to avoid difficult litigation in front of overburdened, mostly closed court systems, 2020
  • Filed and litigated several Petitions for Certiorari in the Colorado Supreme Court, 2020
  • Completed several appeals in juvenile and dependency and neglect matters, including successful oral arguments. Met all timelines, including compressed timelines for juvenile cases and complex legal issues, 2020
  • Achieved all of client's goals at contested permanent orders hearing regarding custody of a young child, 2019
  • Won motion to dismiss contentious post-decree modification of maintenance and property case on the strength of the briefs without having to go to hearing, 2019
  • Settled difficult relocation case in favor of relocating minority time parent who successfully sought to increase parenting time with his teenager, 2018
  • Won contested guardianship on behalf of grandmother seeking guardianship of her grandchild over mother's objection, when mother could not appropriately care for the child, 2018
  • Won appeal reversing decision to eliminate client's parental decision-making authority, 2018
  • Won several motion to restrict parenting time hearings, both on behalf of falsely accused abusers and concerned parents appropriately preventing additional harm, 2018
  • Won appeal reversing termination of client's parental rights, 2019
  • Co-counseled and won prenuptial agreement interpretation claim worth more than $1,000,000 for client, 2018

Office location for Joel Pratt

526 South Nevada Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Phone: 719-473-0884


1 Year Super Lawyers
4 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2024
  • Rising Stars: 2020 - 2023

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