Patrick Mulligan

Patrick J Mulligan

Experience Matters

Patrick Mulligan is recognized by his colleagues and peers as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the country. Patrick has been recognized as a Colorado Super Lawyer, an award bestowed to the top 5% in each field of practice, since 2006. Every year since 2007, Patrick has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as among the top 1% of trial lawyers in Colorado. Since 2015, Patrick has been recognized by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, again as a top 1% lawyer in Colorado. In 2018, Patrick accepted the invitation to join the prestigious Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, a distinction awarded by the research and scholarship arm of the American Bar Association to the top 1% of lawyers in each state.

Throughout his career, Patrick has brought knowledge, creativity, and passion to his defense of those accused or convicted of crimes. He has extensive experience in all 3 phases of criminal litigation: trials, appeals, and post-conviction (Rule 35c) litigation. In addition, Patrick has been recognized as an expert in criminal trial, appellate, and post-conviction law in state courts throughout Colorado.

In Patrick’s view, every phase of criminal litigation presents an opportunity to fight for his clients. He has extensive experience at every stage of homicide litigation. Patrick is one of the rare criminal defense attorneys to win homicide cases at the pre-trial, trial, appeal, and post-conviction stages. This unusual depth and scope of experience has enabled Patrick to find creative approaches to help countless clients find the best possible outcome in their cases.

Defending Clients Since 1987

Patrick Mulligan was born and raised in Denver and has remained a Coloradan throughout his life. He has maintained an energetic and dynamic approach that has consistently contributed to his success as a lawyer.

While attending college and law school in Colorado, he maintained high standards of academic excellence and was very active in sports. Patrick graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Colorado and was the president of Phi Delta Phi at the University of Colorado Law School.

Patrick began his career in law in 1987 when he joined the Denver Law Firm of Clanahan, Tanner, Downing and Knowlton; he stayed there through 1988. He shifted his focus toward defense of the indigent in 1988 and joined the Office of the Public Defender. He served in the trial and appellate divisions of the Public Defender’s Office, working in the Pueblo and then the Arapahoe office. In 1990, Patrick joined the Appellate Division where he focused on appeals of serious felony cases through the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court. Returning to trial cases in 1992, he worked in Jefferson County until he opened his own private practice in 1994 as a criminal defense lawyer.

Mr. Mulligan teaches at the University of Colorado School of Law as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy. He has lectured throughout the state of Colorado on such diverse topics as post-conviction (Rule 35c) litigation, the insanity defense, cross-examination of expert witnesses, mental health issues in criminal law, and habitual criminal litigation.

Throughout his life, Mr. Mulligan has remained a competitive athlete, successful in competitive running, swimming, and triathlons, as well as being a champion tennis player. For years he has played competitive basketball and also enjoys bicycling, skiing and hiking. He has been happily married for 28 years. He and his wife have three sons.

Community Involvement

Mr. Mulligan and his family are actively involved in the community. Mr. Mulligan has been active in volunteering and raising funds for various local charities, including The Second Wind Fund, a charity that provides counseling for teens to prevent teen suicide; CeDAR, a world class inpatient drug and alcohol counseling program affiliated with the University of Colorado; and New Genesis, a non-profit program designed to help homeless individuals and families transition into residential apartment living and gainful employment.

In conjunction with the University of Colorado School of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Mulligan started the Patrick J. Mulligan Scholarship for students who demonstrated academic excellence, financial need, and an interest in public service work. So far, the scholarship has provided much needed financial aid to a number of deserving students.


  • 2013-present: Mulligan Breit
  • 2005-present: Colorado Superlawyer
  • 1994-present: Patrick J Mulligan Attorney at Law
  • 1998-1994: Public Defender


  • Post Conviction (Rule 35c) Litigation
  • Appeals
  • Criminal Defense and Mental Health
  • Homicide
  • Sexual Assault

Reported Cases

  • Robles v. People, 811 P.2d 804 (Colo. 1991)
  • People v. Portley, 857 P.2d 459 (Colo. App. 1992)
  • People v. Fox, 862 P.2d 1000 (Colo. App. 1993)
  • People in the Interest of A.W. 982 P.2d 842 (Colo. 1999)
  • Ardolino v. People, 69 P.3d 73 (Colo.2003)
  • View More Representative Cases


  • Denver and Colorado Bar Associations
  • Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers


  • 1984-1987 University of Colorado School of Law, J.D.
  • — Law Review
  • 1982-1984 University of Colorado, B.A.
  • — Magna Cum Laude
  • 1980-1982 Colorado College
  • — Dean’s List
  • — Varsity Track

Miscellaneuos Information

  • President, Phi Delta Phi, 1985-1986
  • Recognized in Colorado Super Lawyers, 2006-present
  • Recognized as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association, 2007-present
  • Author: “Unlimited PACcess to the Political Process,” 57 U. Colo. L. Review 759, Summer, 1986
  • Associate, Clanahan, Tanner, Downing, and Knowlton, 1987-1988
  • Deputy State Public Defender, Trial and Appellate Divisions, 1988-1994
  • Adjunct Professor, Trial Advocacy, University of Colorado, 2003


  • 1987, Colorado
  • 1988, U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • 1994, U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

Patricks’s Awards and Accolades

We are here to fight for you