J. Richard Ratcliffe

Top rated general litigation attorney in Providence, Rhode Island

Ratcliffe Harten Galamaga LLP
J. Richard Ratcliffe
Ratcliffe Harten Galamaga LLP

Practice Areas: General litigation, Schools & education, Criminal defense; view more

Licensed in Rhode Island since: 1981

Education: Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2013, 2015 - 2022

Ratcliffe Harten Galamaga LLP

40 Westminster Street
Suite 700
Providence, RI 02903 Visit website


An accomplished trial lawyer with over four decades of experience, J. Richard Ratcliffe is a partner at the firm Ratcliffe Harten Galamaga LLP in Rhode Island. He is committed to serving the residents of all the major cities and towns in Rhode Island. Focusing his practice on criminal defense, he resolves legal issues involving white collar offenses, misdemeanors and felonies. He also provides his aid to professors, students and coaches in Title IX defense, NCAA violations and student conduct.

Mr. Ratcliffe first received his admittance to practice law in Rhode Island, and later the same year in Massachusetts. He is authorized to appear before federal and state courts in both the states and also the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. In matters involving Title IX, he represents his clients throughout the country.

After graduating cum laude and receiving his bachelor’s degree from Providence College in 1978, Mr. Ratcliffe enrolled in the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He obtained his doctorate in jurisprudence in 1981.

Mr. Ratcliffe started his legal career as a clerk at the Rhode Island Supreme Court and later joined as an associate at a Massachusetts-based firm. He then returned to Rhode Island, where he served as an assistant attorney general at the Rhode Island Attorney’s General Office for more than eight years. During his time as an assistant attorney general, he prosecuted several white collar crimes, public corruption and narcotics cases.

Honoring his work and ethics, Mr. Ratcliffe’s peers have rated him AV Preeminent* through Martindale-Hubbell, and he also holds a rating of “Superb” on Avvo. He has co-authored a book, which has been published by MCLE New England.

A former president of the Federal Bar Association’s Rhode Island Chapter, Mr. Ratcliffe currently holds memberships in the Rhode Island Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer-review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

General litigation, Schools & education, Criminal defense, Criminal defense: white collar, Criminal defense: DUI/DWI

Focus areas

Litigation, Schools, Arrest & arraignment, Assault & battery, Criminal law, Drug & alcohol violations, Expungement, Felony, Misdemeanor, Motor vehicle offenses, Sex offenses, Theft, Traffic violations, Criminal domestic violence, White collar crime, DUI/DWI

  • 20% General litigation
  • 30% Schools & education
  • 20% Criminal defense
  • 20% Criminal defense: white collar
  • 10% Criminal defense: DUI/DWI

First Admitted: 1981, Rhode Island

Professional Webpage: http://rhgllp.com/j-richard-ratcliffe/

  • Fellow, Federal Bar Association in Washington DC, 2017
  • Recipient, AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell
  • Recipient, Rhode Island Super Lawyer
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Rhode Island Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2012 – Present
  • McAuley House (Providence, RI), Treasurer, July 2015 – July 2017
  • McAuley House (Providence, RI), 2009 – 2017
  • Justice Assistance (Cranston, RI), Board Member, 2006 – Present, Board Chair, 2018
  • First Works (Providence, RI), Vice President, October 2022 – present
  • First Works (Providence, RI), Board Member, 2019 – present
  • Pro Bono Collaborative, Executive Committee, Justice Assistance, Secretary, McAuley Misistries, Treasurer
  • This case arose out of a disciplinary proceeding in which Brown University found John Doe responsible for sexual misconduct against fellow student.  The court determined that the University had breached its contract with Doe, which were contained in the Code of Student Conduct. It granted injunctive relief, allowing Doe to return to school
  • Universal Truck & Equip. Co. v. Southworth-Milton, Inc., 765 F.3d 103(1st Cir. 2014)
  • Stephen R. Archambault v. James Archer (2017)
  • Sealed case (2014)
  • Jane Doe v. Brown University, 2017 WL 1365991 (D.R.I. 2017)
  • John Doe v. Brown University, 210 F.Supp.3d 310 (D.R.I. 2016)
  • State v. R.C. (2018)
  • Paradise v. Brown University, 2021 WL 6973858 (D.R.I. 2021)
  • John Stiles v. Brown University, Case No. 1:21-cv-00497 (D.R.I. 2022)
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • “Representing Witnesses Before a Grand Jury: A Prosecutor’s Perspective”, Rhode Island Bar Journal, April, 1995
  • This chapter of Rhode Island Superior Court Practice, published by MCLE, provides an overview of procedural considerations relative to criminal practice in the Rhode Island Superior Court. It begins with information on initial considerations, and follows the trial matters through client and jury issues, arrest, bail, arraignment issues, plea agreements, and trial, Author, A Practical Guide to Superior Court Practice in Rhode Island, Chapter 15 Criminal Practice: An Overview, 2015
Educational Background:
  • Providence College, B.A. cum laude – 1978
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Rhode Island, 1981
  • American Bar Association, 1998 – Present
  • Federal Bar Association, Rhode Island Chapter, President, 2015 – 2017
  • Federal Bar Association, Rhode Island Chapter, Executive Committee, 2005 – Present
  • Federal Bar Association, Rhode Island Chapter, 2005 – Present
  • Federal Bar Association in Washington DC, Nominating Committee, 2017
  • Federal Bar Association in Washington DC, Government Relations Committee, 2018
  • Rhode Island Bar Association, House of Delegates, 1995 – Present
  • United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, 1983
  • United States District Court, 1st Circuit, 1983
  • United States District Court, District of Rhode Island, 1982
  • Massachusetts, 1981
  • Executive Committee of the Rhode Island Bar Association, 2010 – 2021, President of the RI Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Executive Committee of the Pro Bono Collaborative
Industry Groups:
  • University Title IX

Office location for J. Richard Ratcliffe

40 Westminster Street
Suite 700
Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-331-3400


14 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2013, 2015 - 2022

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