Being accused of any crime is a stressful and potentially life changing event. For over three decades, I’ve worked in the criminal justice system with the goal of achieving the best outcome possible for each of my clients.
My practice is limited to criminal defense in state and federal court at both the trial and appellate level. I evaluate each case for possible defenses and, where necessary, work closely with investigators and other experts. I have tried more than 50 jury trials, including major felonies, in federal and state courts throughout Montana and have handled numerous appellate matters in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Montana Supreme Court.
Wendy received her J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 1984 and was a Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University where she received her L.L.M. in Criminal Law in 1988. After completing a clerkship with the Honorable Gordon R. Bennett, she hung out her shingle in 1989. Her practice is limited to criminal defense in state and federal court at both the trial and appellate level. She has tried more than 50 jury trials, including major felonies, in federal and state courts throughout Montana and has litigated numerous appeals in the Montana Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where she has argued more than 30 times.
Wendy currently serves on the CJA Panel Selection Committee for Montana. She served as President of the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 2010‑2011 and, by appointment of the Montana Supreme Court, on the Montana Criminal Jury Instructions Commission (1988‑2012), and the Montana Evidence Commission (2001‑2012). She served on the Montana Public Defender Commission from 2005‑2008, and the Public Defender Task Force (2015-2016). She was a member of the Conference Executive Committee of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference from 2006‑2009, the Ninth Circuit Advisory Rules Committee from 2004‑2007, a lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference from 2003‑2006, and President of the Montana Chapter of the Federal Bar Association in 2004‑2005. She is a frequent presenter at continuing legal education programs.
Wendy is AV rated, and has been selected for inclusion in the Mountain States Super Lawyers since 2013. She was honored for service to CJA panel with the 2016 John Adams Award, by the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers with the Lawyer of the Year award in 2015, by the Montana Innocence Project with its 2013 Defender of Justice Award, and by the Montana Justice Foundation as a Champion of Justice in 2014.
Georgetown University Law Center, E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow – LLM, (Advocacy), 1988
University of Montana – JD, with Honors, 1984
Montana State University – BS (Accounting), with Highest Honors, 1979
Helena High School – Graduate 1975, 3.93 GPA
Private Law Practice – 1989 to present.
Law Clerk – Hon. Gordon R. Bennett, First Judicial District, Lewis and Clark County, Helena, Montana, November 1986 – December 1988.
Advocacy Fellow – Prettyman Legal Internship Program, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., August 1984 – July 1986.
Legal Intern – Missoula County Attorney's Office, Missoula, Montana, February 1983- May 1984.
Research Assistant – Montana Criminal Law Information Research Center, University of Montana Law School, Missoula, Montana, October 1982 – May 1984.
Instructor of Accounting – Eastern Montana College, Billings, Montana, September 1981 – July 1982.
State Bar of Montana (1984)
United States District Court for the District of Montana (1987)
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (1990)
United States Supreme Court (1990)
Certified Public Accountant – Montana (inactive status)
State Bar of Montana
Federal Bar Association – President Montana Chapter, 2004 – 2005
Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – President, 2010 – 2011
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National College for DUI Defense
Public Defender Task Force to study the operations of the Office of the State Public Defender, 2015 – 2016, appointed by Governor Steve Bullock
Ninth Circuit Attorney Admission Fund Advisory Committee, 2015 – present, appointed by Chief Ninth Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas
CJA Panel Selection Committee for the District of Montana, 2014 – present, appointed by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen
Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference – Conference Executive Committee, 2006 – 2009 Montana Public Defender Commission, 2005 – 2008, appointed by Governor Brian Schweitzer
Advisory Committee on Rules of Practice and Internal Operating Procedures for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2004 – 2007
Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 2003 – 2006, appointed by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy
Montana Criminal Jury Instruction Commission, 1988 – 2012, appointed by the Montana Supreme Court
Montana Commission on Evidence, 2001 – 2012, appointed by the Montana Supreme Court
Substitute Justice of the Peace, Jefferson County, Montana, 2002 – present
John Adams Award (Service to the CJA panel) (2016)
Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – Lawyer of the Year (2015)
Montana Justice Foundation – Champion of Justice (2014)
Montana Innocence Project – Defender of Justice Award (2013)
Martindale-Hubbell – AV Rating
Mountain States Super Lawyers (2013 – present)
National Trial Lawyers Top 100, Montana Lawyers
Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Federal Defenders of Montana, Annual Conference, March 2015 – DUIFSFSTHGN: Alphabet Soup – Defending the Drinking Driver
State Bar of Montana, June 2014 – New Lawyer Workshop
Montana State Public Defenders, October 2014 – Cross-Examination of the Expert in a DUI Case; Cross-Examination of the Cop in a DUI Case
U.S. Attorney’s Office/Montana Attorney General’s Office, 2014 Tribal Court Trial Advocacy Program, May 2014 – Evidence and Evidentiary Foundations
Montana State Public Defenders, October 2013 – Jury Instructions
Montana State Public Defenders, August 2012, Defending DUI Cases in Montana – Voir Dire
Montana Bar Association, May 2012, DUI Cases: From Stop to Appeal – The Defense Perspective
Montana Bar Association, October 2009 – Rookie Camp
Montana Judicial Institute, February 2008 – Anatomy of a Criminal Case
Montana State Public Defenders, July 2007 – The Art and Science of DUI Defense in Montana
Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, March 2007 – How to Keep Your State Court Client Out of Federal Court
Montana State Public Defenders, February 2007 – What State Defenders Need to Know About Federal Criminal Law
Montana Bar Association, September 2005 – Rookie Camp
Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice Twentieth Annual Seminar, February 2005 – Ethics
Montana Bar Association Annual Meeting, September 2004 – Moderator, Federal Sentencing Guidelines Panel
Montana County Attorney’s Association Summer Training Conference, July 2004 – Panel Discussion – Admissibility of the Preliminary Breath Test
Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice Nineteenth Annual Seminar, February 2004 – Ethics 101 for the DUI Practitioner
United States District Court, Montana Chapter Federal Bar Association, and the Federal Practice Section of the Montana State Bar, Federal Practice Program, September 2003 – Criminal Panel, Preparing and Conducting Criminal Litigation in Federal Court
State Bar of Montana CLE Institute, June 2002 – Capital Crimes Defense CLE, Appellate Practice, The Montana Perspective
State Bar of Montana CLE Institute, March 1997 – Criminal Defense CLE, Finding the Truth Through the Use of Pretrial Motions and Jury Instructions
Montana Law Enforcement Academy – Presentations on courtroom demeanor and moot court exercises for law enforcement officer trainees.
Law Day – Presentations at area high schools in recognition of Law Day