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Outside the Law: Justie Nicol is Horsin' Around

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

Justie Nicol has been practicing law for almost 12 years, and recently launched a new criminal defense firm, Nicol Gersch Law. She is married; has a toddler son, three dogs, a cat, and a horse; and also owns a property management company in Fort Collins. Underlying it all is her love of animals, and her particular passion for horses.

“Owning two companies and parenting all the two- and four-legged parts of the family is like having three full time jobs, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.” J. Nicol, Esq.

Justie rode a horse before she could walk. (So did her son.) She started riding horses competitively when she was about 10, and was involved in competitive rodeo – barrel racing and pole bending – when she was in high school. She had one of the fastest pole bending horses in the nation (or the fastest, if you ask Justie). She even qualified for international rodeo during high school, but instead chose to spend the entry fees on a laptop as she headed off to Colorado State University.

At CSU, Justie wrote her honors thesis on animal cruelty in rodeo. And she defended her thesis at the equestrian center from horseback. She has worked with rescue horses in Idaho, and was the animal cruelty prosecutor for the 18th Judicial District in Colorado, when she was employed there as a district attorney.

Passion for horses runs in the family. Justie’s mom and sister have “horse fever” too, and the family has owned 12 different horses over the years. They still have 7. Justie recently brought her 14-year-old pony Sophie to live near her in Lakewood, and she currently rides at least once a week. She rescued Sophie during law school, when the pony was only a yearling. Justie and her mom taught Sophie everything she knows.

Justie rides with friends as well. “I’m generally the one that gets on what I affectionately call the ‘crazies’ to work out any of the kinks. I’ve hit the ground more than once, but I generally tend to roll rather than bounce.”

Horses are a great way to relax, says Justie. Thanks to her lifelong experience riding and training horses, she can trust the horse to watch where she’s going on a trail ride, while Justie gets some fresh air and exercise. You might run into Justie on Table Mountain, with a phone in hand to record notes to herself, or with ear buds in to answer calls. “Don’t worry, Sophie signed a confidentiality agreement!”

“I can do some of my best thinking on horseback.”

With everything she has going on, Justie needs that relaxation.

Nicol Gersch Law is a virtual law firm. Justie and her law partner travel to their clients nearly anywhere in Colorado. She also continues to teach on the topic of animal cruelty prosecution and animal laws in Colorado. Her course is part of animal control officers’ state-wide continuing education, and she also guest lectures at the University of Denver, Regis University, and various conferences on the subject. She offers pro bono consultation on cases with any animal law enforcement agency.

And the only kind of criminal defense case she won’t take? Animal cruelty.


Marie Williams is an appellate lawyer. For nearly two decades, she has handled appeals in courts throughout the country. She also co-counsels with trial lawyers to brief complex legal issues and to preserve matters for appeal. Before opening her solo practice, Marie was an equity partner in an AmLaw 100 firm. You can learn more on her website,

Marie is active on both the Publications Committee and the Judicial Committee of the CWBA. With the Publications Committee, she serves as Editor of the Outside the Law column for The 1891.

Outside the Law, Marie is a passionate supporter of and dedicated volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado. She loves to travel any place she has never visited before. At home, you'll find her spending time with her husband, two children, mother, dog, and three cats.

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