Madison Attorney Vanessa D. Wishart

Vanessa D. Wishart,

Vanessa is an associate in the firm’s Madison office where her practice focuses on environmental law issues. Prior to joining Stafford, Vanessa served as a law clerk at the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. In 2018, Vanessa was honored as an Up and Coming Lawyer by the Wisconsin Law Journal. This recognition comes from vast and impressive experience despite practicing for eight years or fewer.

While in law school, Vanessa was a member of law review, and she interned at Clean Wisconsin. She was a summer associate at Earthjustice in Denver and the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago.

Vanessa possesses a keen understanding of environmental law. Her experience includes:

  • Reviewing WPDES permits and filing petitions for contested case hearings challenging permit terms.
  • Reviewing and revising sewer use ordinances for municipalities.
  • Writing and presenting public comments on proposed administrative rules and testimony on proposed legislation.
  • Drafting and answering discovery requests and preparing for and conducting depositions for litigation on a broad range of environmental issues.  
  • Conducting research and writing legal memoranda on a wide range of environmental issues including CAFO development, dam regulation, lake levels, public water usage, stormwater management, and water quality regulation. 

Vanessa is admitted to the Wisconsin Bar.


  • University of Wisconsin Law School Madison (J.D., cum laude)
  • University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies (Master’s Degree in Environment and Resources)
  • Bowdoin College Brunswick (B.A., Environmental Studies and French)

Publications and Honors

  • Before Beginning, Plan Carefully: A Call for Public Comment on the New Forest Planning Rule, 2010 WIS. L. REV. 1537 (2010)
  • Gwynette E. Smalley Award for Service to the Wisconsin Law Review Best Brief Candidate (Spring 2009)

Professional Memberships

  • State Bar of Wisconsin, Environmental Law Section, Board Member and New Lawyer Director (term start date July 1, 2016)
  • Dane County Bar Association, Member

Community Involvement

  • Gathering Waters Board of Directors

Vanessa is a native of Lincoln, Nebraska. She enjoys hiking and running with her dogs, gardening, traveling, exploring Wisconsin, and wandering around the Dane County Farmers Market.