J. Richard Ratcliffe

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Phone: 401-331-3400

Fax: 401-331-3440

Email: rratcliffe@rhgllp.com

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Richard Ratcliffe earned his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and clerked for the Rhode Island Supreme Court before joining a firm in Boston where he specialized in civil rights litigation. He then returned to Rhode Island, where he prosecuted narcotics and white collar/public corruption cases as a Rhode Island Assistant Attorney General and crossdesignated Special Assistant United States Attorney. Richard represents individuals and corporations in civil and criminal proceedings in both state and federal courts. He also represents students, professors, coaches and athletes, at colleges and universities throughout New England and beyond, in connection with Title IX, academic integrity, student conduct and NCAA violations.

For the past 15 years Richard has been selected as a Rhode Island Super Lawyer and received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell, the highest possible rating on both legal ability and ethics. Richard is admitted to practice in both state and federal courts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.


Areas of Practice

  • Civil and Criminal Trials and Appeals
  • Title IX Defense
  • Probate

Bar Admissions

  • Rhode Island, 1981
  • Massachusetts, 1981
  • United States District Court,
    District of Rhode Island, 1982
  • United States District Court,
    st Circuit, 1983
  • United States District Court,
    District of Massachusetts, 1983


  • Washington University School of Law,
    St. Louis, Missouri
    J.D. – 1981
  • Providence College
    B.A. cum laude – 1978

Published Works

  • Chapter 15, R.I. “Criminal Practice: An Overview” (Co-Author), A Practical Guide to Superior Court Practice in Rhode Island, 1st Edition, 2015
  • “Representing Witnesses Before a Grand Jury: A Prosecutor’s Perspective”, Rhode Island Bar Journal, April, 1995

Representative Cases

  • John Stiles v. Brown University, Case No. 1:21-cv-00497 (D.R.I. 2022). Represented a student accused of violating university sexual misconduct policies.  The court granted our motion for injunctive relief, finding that the university failed to afford the student the presumption of innocence and therefore allowed the student to return to campus.
  • Paradise v. Brown University, 2021 WL 6973858 (D.R.I. 2021).  Represented a student alleged to have violated COVID-19 protocols. The court granted our motion for injunctive relief, and the matter was subsequently resolved.
  • State v. R.C. (2018). Represented an employee of a college who was alleged to have committed assault against a female student. Our client was found not guilty after trial.
  • John Doe v. Brown University, 210 F.Supp.3d 310 (D.R.I. 2016).  Represented a student at a trial in the United States District Court where the court ordered the university to vacate its Title IX finding and sanction against our client and to expunge his academic and disciplinary records.
  • Jane Doe v. Brown University, 2017 WL 1365991 (D.R.I. 2017). Represented a student alleged to have committed an assault and battery at a fraternity party. The court granted our motion to dismiss the assault claim and the remaining claims were voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff with no payment by or on behalf of our client.
  • Sealed case (2014).  The Rhode Island Superior Court entered an injunction prohibiting a university from conducting a student conduct hearing until our client could obtain an expert witness. The conduct charges were later dropped by the university.
  • Stephen R. Archambault v. James Archer (2017). The Superior Court granted summary judgment for our client and awarded him attorney’s fees with respect to a defamation complaint.
  • Universal Truck & Equip. Co. v. Southworth-Milton, Inc., 765 F.3d 103(1st Cir. 2014). The Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of summary judgment and award of attorney’s fees and held that untimely removal from state court was not a jurisdictional defectClasses/Seminars
  • Top of the Funnel (Federal Litigation Academy in Providence, RI), 2018
  • Taking a Deposition (Federal Litigation Academy in Providence, RI), 2018
  • Motion Practice (Rhode Island Bar Association), 2017
  • Deposition Practice (Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Committee Meeting), 2016
  • Ethical Issues in Witness Preparation (Panel Participant, Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Committee Meeting), 2016
  • Witness Preparation (Seminar Presentation, Rhode Island Bar Association), 2009

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Rhode Island Bar Association
    • Executive Committee, 2010 – 2021
    • House of Delegates, 1995 – Present
  • Rhode Island Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2012 – Present
  • Federal Bar Association in Washington DC,
    • Government Relations Committee, 2018
    • Nominating Committee, 2017
    • Fellow, 2017
  • Federal Bar Association, Rhode Island Chapter, 2005 – Present
    • Executive Committee, 2005 – Present
    • President, 2015 – 2017
  • American Bar Association, 1998 – Present

Community Involvement

  • First Works (Providence, RI), Board Member, 2019 – present
    • Vice President, October 2022 – present
  • Justice Assistance (Cranston, RI), Board Member, 2006 – Present, Board Chair, 2018
  • McAuley House (Providence, RI), 2009 – 2017
    • Treasurer, July 2015 – July 2017

How Can We Help You?

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Ratcliffe Harten Galamaga LLP
40 Westminster Street, 7th Floor
Suite 700
Providence, RI 02903
Local: 401-331-3400
Fax: 401-331-3440
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