Kenneth A. Padilla

Kenneth A. Padilla


Kenneth A. Padilla is a Denver native and highly respected Colorado trial attorney with deep roots in Colorado for the last four generations.

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Kenneth A. Padilla

Kenneth A. Padilla is a Denver native and highly respected Colorado trial attorney with deep roots in Colorado for the last four generations. The Padilla name has immense recognition for competency and success amongst the legal and Chicano communities in Denver and the State of Colorado. 

Ken’s fifty-four (54) year legal career began as a recipient of the Reginald Heber-Smith Community Leadership Fellow as a staff attorney with Denver Legal Aid Society. He then became the first legal director of the Denver office of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) for two years. Since that time, Ken has been in private practice for more than fifty (50) years. 

Ken has an extensive civil and criminal law trial practice and is well recognized for his expertise in police misconduct litigation in addition to other constitutional civil rights including, First Amendment free speech and voting rights cases. Ken has extensive experience in Governmental Immunity Act (GIA) cases and has litigated many cases against municipalities, counties and state government. Ken is well-respected by fellow attorneys and clients as a highly effective trial attorney who aggressively and passionately represents his clients. Ken has over fifty (50) reported cases in Colorado State and Federal courts. Furthermore, Ken has a high level of expertise in federal civil rights 42USC§1983 litigation. Ken also has an active criminal law practice in cases ranging from murder, assaults, sexual assault, burglary, robbery, drug offenses and other felonies and all types of misdemeanor cases, ranging from assaults, domestic violence, assaults to police officers, interference, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace and other similar offenses. He has handled hundreds of DUIs and other traffic cases in his active criminal practice.

Ken’s contemporaries and clients would describe his approach to representation as thorough and thoughtful in his analysis of his cases, a strong advocate for his clients, and a vigorous believer in holding state, federal and cities accountable for their wrongs, including deaths and serious injuries, caused by police, and sheriff’s departments, and other law enforcement or government employees and agents. 

“One of my steadfast principles is that I always listen to my clients and remember that when I litigate their case and appear in court with them, I am prepared to represent them wholeheartedly, without reservation, and to be committed that I will convince the jury and the judge of the righteousness of their cause and case.”


Over the span of 50 years, Ken has been lead counsel for multiple landmark class action cases including litigation in employment discrimination that desegregated the Denver Fire Department in Bedan v. Bach, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado Case No. C-4662. Ken was also legal counsel for the coalition against the English Only initiative, Montero v. Meyer, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, Civil Action No 88-cv-889. More recently, Ken litigated a class action employment discrimination case against the City and County of Denver on behalf of Black and Hispanic applicants for initial employment and for promotion resulting in a $1.7 million judgement with additional attorney fees of $928,825 and costs of $97,434 for hundreds of Plaintiffs; Kerner et. al. v The City and County of Denver, U.S. District Court of the District of Colorado, Civil Action No 11-cv-00256-MSK

Ken solidified his reputation as the premier Civil Rights attorney in Colorado through litigating scores of complex police misconduct cases involving deaths, serious injuries and civil rights violations, primarily in the federal courts raising issues of unlawful use of deadly force and excessive force involving a pattern and practice of constitutional violations against various municipalities, state and federal entities, and individual law enforcement officers, including the City and County of Denver, the City of Aurora and other cities throughout the State of Colorado. Ken’s expertise in forty-two (42) USC§1983 actions have garnered media attention throughout his career. 

Ken has been the recipient of numerous national and local public service awards as civil rights trial attorney over the course of his fifty-four (54) years of legal practice, including being recognized as a Super Lawer by 5280 Magazine and other civil rights awards by National IMAGE, NEWSED, and the National Lawyers Guild.  

Education & Admissions

  • University of Denver, Bachelor of Science, Mathematics, Minor in Economics, 1966
  • University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, Juris Doctor 1970
  • All Colorado state courts
  • United States District Court for the District of Colorado
  • United States Court of Appeals for the 10th District

Recognition & Accomplishments

  • 2013 Labor Council for Latin American Advancement Cesar E. Chavez Award for social, economic, and civil rights
  • 2008 Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, Award for Pioneer in the Hispanic Bar Association in Colorado
  • 2007 5280 Magazine “Top Colorado Attorneys” Super Lawyer Civil Rights
  • 1998 Newsed Cinco de Mayo Civil Rights Award
  • 1997 Image of Denver, Nation Civil Rights Award
  • 1989 National Lawyers Guild co-recipient of Third Annual Recognition Award for Civil Rights for promoting language freedom for all citizens
  • 1988 National Lawyers Guild Second Annual Recognition Award for Civil Rights Litigation
  • 1981 Miller Chicano of the Year Award, Legal Division
  • 1974 First Annual Abraham Lincoln- Benito Juarez award for Civil Rights

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Kenneth A. Padilla

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