Meet Jessie

Photo of Jessie-Lauren Ratcliffe, Senior Associate at McAllister Olivarius.

Jessie Ratcliffe

Senior Associate

Jessie-Lauren Ratcliffe is a Senior Associate at McAllister Olivarius, with over ten years of experience advocating for the advancement of civil rights and social equities. At our firm, Jessie works on a broad range of cases, including anti-discrimination and equality litigation and matters involving sexual abuse within religious institutions.

Jessie was born in the Netherlands, lived in the UK as a child, and was raised and educated in the US. She returned to the UK to join McAllister Olivarius’ litigation practice. Jessie joined the firm from a federal clerkship, where she served as a term law clerk to the Honourable Susan D. Wigenton in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey. 

Prior to her federal clerkship, Jessie gained significant experience in civil, criminal, constitutional, and complex commercial litigation at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s New York office. While an associate at Quinn Emanuel, Jessie also dedicated her time to high-profile pro bono work and assisted in the development of a #MeToo practice group. Jessie’s legal advocacy and casework has included topics such as immigrants’ rights, medical malpractice, securities litigation, common law tort claims, computer and cybersecurity fraud, employment, criminal justice reform legislation, gender-based violence, and discrimination based on country of origin, disability, religion, political identity, and feminist beliefs. This work has included federal multidistrict litigation, class actions, and AAA and JAMS arbitrations. 

Jessie received her law degree from Harvard Law School. At Harvard, she was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Ames Moot Court competition and served on the International Law Journal. Jessie was also a student attorney in the Harvard Defenders program, where she represented indigent criminal clients, and a child advocacy extern with Boston’s public defence office. For her final two years of law school, Jessie also worked closely with Harvard’s “Making Rights Real: The Ghana Project” clinic, where students partner with West African NGOs to address economic and social inequities faced by Ghanaian communities through constitutional, statutory, and international human rights law.

Prior to attending law school, Jessie graduated with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Public Health and International Development from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She went on to earn her M.P.H. in Global and Community Health Sciences from Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Her public health experience encompasses advocacy related to harm reduction, HIV/AIDS, transgender rights, and reproductive freedom. Jessie was also chosen as a 2013-2015 corps member in the selective Teach For America programme, where she taught secondary school in a low-income community. 

In her free time, Jessie is an avid hiker, registered yoga teacher, and continues to mentor young adults, mostly recently with New York’s Legal Outreach and Boston’s Minds Matters mentoring programmes. 

Case experience

  • Defending the constitutionality of a ground-breaking ethical review board intended to root out discrimination and other misconduct committed by New York state prosecutors.
  • Representing an individual held in immigration detention in a major civil rights and medical malpractice suit against municipal actors and the private immigration detention center that denied him necessary medical care.
  • Representing a government contractor in employment litigation related to overtime pay for military contractors in the Middle East.
  • Representing a Central American migrant to the United States in her asylum appeal, on the basis that she endured violence and persecution because of her feminist and political beliefs.
  • Achieved Special Immigrant Juvenile status for three Central American children, which allowed them to remain in the United States and avoid deportation, on the basis that they faced a credible fear of domestic abuse if returned to their country of origin.
  • Achieved cancellation of immigration removal for a family of Hungarian immigrants after raising a novel argument that, based on new Supreme Court precedent related to the stop-time rule, the family has accrued sufficient time to remain in the United States.
  • Representing former owners of a technology company sold to WeWork in M&A-related litigation against WeWork and its corporate directors, bringing claims for fraud and negligent misrepresentation.
  • Representing a major United States energy and environmental technology company in a breach of contract and fraud dispute.
  • Representing one of the world’s largest institutional investors in a security action alleging violations of state and federal securities laws against multiple actors, including major banking institutions, related to the renewable energy company investment fraud.

I will always be grateful for your unwavering support of me. Equally, I will always be grateful for showing me how to find my voice and strength.

Title IX case against UCLA, client confidential

It was such a weight off our shoulders; suddenly somebody else with a lot more experience was managing the case.

Sandeep Mander, Mander v. Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

We really thought that there was nothing that anybody could do for us. We were wrong.

Dr Celeste Kidd, Aslin et al v. University of Rochester et al

To get the result you got you must be as tough with your legal opposites as you are kind and understanding to your clients.

AOA client, confidential

Compared with other law firms I’ve worked with, no one matches the combination that McO has of experience, brilliance, ferocious fighting and deep empathy for their clients.

Dr Holly Atkinson, Atkinson et al v. Mount Sinai Health System, Inc. et al

Because my case could not bear public scrutiny, a very powerful institution used massive financial resources to try to crush me for asking for my disability rights. This was a huge mistake, as they didn’t know that I would obtain McO representation. I couldn’t ask for better representation.

Disability Rights client, confidential

I would like to say from bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you to all the team. Now I can go and forget my former employer. God bless you all.

Unfair Dismissal client, confidential