Founder & Board Chairman
Marvin Ventrell founded the Juvenile Law Society in 2009, following 15 years as the chief executive officer of the National Association of Counsel for Children. Mr. Ventrell was educated at St. Johns University (MN), the University of London, and the University of Montana, where he received his law degree. He lives in Denver, CO.
From 1985 – 1989 Mr. Ventrell was an Associate with the Billings, MT law firm, Olsen, Christensen & Gannett (OCG), a general practice and litigation firm. While at OCG, in addition to trial practice, he began representing children and youth in delinquency and dependency cases. From 1989 – 1993, he was a partner in the Billings firm Gannett & Ventrell. During that time, he continued to represent children in dependency cases and became the Yellowstone County Juvenile Public Defender. He was hired by the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) at the Kempe Center / University of Colorado in 1993.
While chief executive of the NACC, Mr. Ventrell grew to national prominence as a writer, scholar, teacher, and consultant in the child welfare arena. During that time the NACC grew from 1000 to 2500 members and its budget grew by ten times its size. The NACC became a national leader in training, education, and technical assistance for child advocates, and rose to prominence as an influence in the development of law and policy for children and families. NACC received the Meritorious Service to the Children of America Award from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Outstanding Association Award from the American Society of Association Executives. Mr. Ventrell was awarded the ABA Child Advocacy Award and the Kempe Award, and was named a Fellow of the Colorado Bar Foundation.
Mr. Ventrell, together with his colleague Donald Duquette from the University of Michigan, with funding from the U.S. Dept. of HHS Children’s Bureau, established Child Welfare Law as a formal legal specialty in the U.S. They then created the NACC Child Welfare Attorney Certification Program through which attorneys may obtain the Child Welfare Law Specialist (CWLS) credential. Mr. Ventrell and Professor Duquette wrote and edited the national treatise, Child Welfare Law and Practice
used as a law school text, practice tool, and certification exam preparation guide. Professor Duquette and Mr. Ventrell also wrote and compiled the national examination for child welfare law proficiency.
Mr. Ventrell is the author of numerous articles and book chapters including, The Evolution of the Dependency Component of the Juvenile Court. His trial skills book, Trial Advocacy for the Child Welfare Lawyer: Telling the Story of the Family, publishers Lexis / NITA was published in 2011. Mr. Ventrell is responsible for the National Children’s Law Office Project (CLOP) which supports the creation and maintenance of model children’s law offices through the project publication, Children’s Law Office Guidebook (The Blue Book).
Mr. Ventrell brought his trial practice expertise from his litigation practice to the juvenile law arena and, together with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), established the Rocky Mountain Child Advocacy Training Institute. He serves as a faculty trial skills trainer for NITA's National, Regional, and Specialty Programs and serves as lead faculty for the University of Colorado Trial Skills Intercession Course.