Jeffrey S. Pagliuca


Jeffrey S. Pagliuca

Jeff Pagliuca is a trial lawyer with 39 years of experience in state and federal courts. He is well-regarded by his peers for his ability to quickly get to the heart of a complex legal matter and for his keen strategic instincts.

Jeff began his career in the Denver Trial Office of the Public Defender where he helped thousands of people accused of crimes preserve their dignity and freedom. This commitment continues in his private practice, representing clients in complex commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, and attorney disciplinary matters.

Jeff has been listed by Best Lawyers in America every year since 2005 in the areas of white collar and non-white collar criminal defense and he was named Best Lawyers in America Denver Lawyer of the Year in Denver for criminal defense, non-white collar, in 2011 and 2018, and Lawyer of the Year criminal defense, white collar, in 2020.

Jeff is an active member of the Denver legal community, having served as President of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Chairman of the Criminal Justice Act Standing Committee for the District of Colorado, President of the Faculty of Federal Advocates, a member of the Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee and a Trustee for the Colorado Legal Aid Foundation. Jeff is equally proud to have received an award from The Arc of Colorado for Outstanding Contribution to Persons with Developmental Disabilities in 2011.

Jeff is an accomplished author and lecturer in the areas of criminal defense, trial advocacy and ethics, and has taught courses in criminal law at the University of Denver College of Law.


“Administrative Law,” 59 Denver L. Jou. 173, 1982; Anderson and Pagliuca

“The Colorado Supreme Court’s Developing Defamation Guidelines; Colorado Enters the Quagmire,” 59 Den. Law Jou. 627

“Choice of Evils in Colorado,” 18 Colorado Lawyer 117, 1989;

“Professional Defense of the Accused” chapter in Colorado Attorney’s Professional Liability Handbook, (Colo. Bar Assn., 2006-Present) (Co-author)


Faculty, Colorado Trial Practice Institute, 1987-1995

Part-time faculty, University of Denver College of Law, 1991-1995

Coach, Saint Mary’s Academy High School Mock Trial Team, 2005-2010

Frequent lecturer on a variety of topics related to criminal law, trial tactics, evidence and ethics


People v. Jones, 262 P.3d 982 (Colo. App. 2011)

Allen v. Martin, 203 P.3d 546 (Colo. App. 2008)

U.S. v. Qayyum, 451 F.3d 1214 (10th Cir. 2006)

Schwankl v. Davis, 85 P.3d 512 (Colo. 2004)

In re Special Grand Jury 89-2, 143 F.3d 565 (10th Cir. 1998)

Bear Valley Church of Christ v. DeBose, 928 P.2d 1315 (Colo. 1996)

People v. Franks, 866 P.2d 1375 (Colo. 1994)

People v. District Court, 834 P.2d 242 (Colo. 1992)

In re Search Warrants Concerning Nat. Ins. Consultants Inc., 139 F.R.D. 684 (D.Colo. 1991)

People v. Brandyberry, 812 P.2d 674 (Colo. App. 1990)


  • University of Denver College of Law, J.D., 1982, Denver Law Journal Member, 1980-1981 and Editor, 1981-1982
  • Duke University, A.B., Magna Cum Laude, 1979


  • Criminal Defense
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Professional Ethics and Discipline


  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers in America: White Collar and Non-White Collar Criminal Defense 2005 to present
  • Best Lawyers in America: Denver Lawyer of the Year for Criminal Defense, Non-White Collar, 2011 and 2018
  • Best Lawyers in America Denver Lawyer of the Year for Criminal Defense, White Collar, 2020
  • Chambers USA, notable practitioner, white collar crime and government investigations; ranked lawyer, general commercial litigation
  • Colorado Super Lawyers 2006-present
  • 5280 magazine Top Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating
  • Award for Outstanding Contribution to Persons with Disabilities from The Arc of Colorado, 2011
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, Board of Directors, 2011-2017


  • Colorado, 1982
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 1982
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 1988
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1990
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 1993
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, 2004
  • United States Supreme Court, 2004
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 2005


  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado Committee on Conduct, 2014-2019
  • Colorado Bar Association, member, Ethics Committee, 2000-2015
  • Colorado Criminal Defense Bar 1983-Present, (Director, 1988-1991, President Elect, 1991-1992, President, 1992-1993)
  • Colorado Criminal Justice Act Standing Committee, Member, 1995-2000 and Chair, 2000-2002
  • Faculty of Federal Advocates, member, 1998-Present; Board of Directors, 2005-2008; President, 2007-2008
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 1983-Present