Buck Sweeney is a partner at Axley and practices in the areas of environmental and construction law. He is also a former Managing Partner of the firm, former co-chair of Axley’s Construction Practice and previously served as the Chief Marketing Officer.
Mr. Sweeney was a neutral mediator/arbitrator on the Dispute Resolution Board for the I-94 project.
Mr. Sweeney is former chair and current board member emeritus of the State Bar of Wisconsin Construction and Public Contract Law Section. Mr. Sweeney is experienced in handling matters dealing with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Superfund, air and water issues. His trial experience includes mediation, arbitration, and administrative law hearings in environmental and construction law issues. Mr. Sweeney assists in the resolution of construction disputes. He has also testified as an expert witness on behalf of the Aggregate Industry on issues relating to mineral extraction locations. Construction contracting, insurance coverage issues, bid disputes, wetland, OSHA matters, land use matters, siting of gravel pits and frac sand mines, and other construction law issues make up the balance of his practice. Mr. Sweeney also has extensive experience against the Wisconsin Department of Justice. He is also General Counsel for the Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin and represents the aggregate industry in siting, local regulation issues, and litigation. Mr. Sweeney has worked on numerous cases with DOT representatives on settlements and litigation on the I-39 Corridor. Mr. Sweeney is also a licensed patent attorney.
Mr. Sweeney was formerly an engineer at Martin Marietta Aggregate Corporation and previously owned Edgerton Sand & Gravel, Edgerton Ready-Mix Concrete Company and Administrative Services (president of companies involved in sand and gravel mining, ready-mix concrete industry and operation of a landfill). He once served as director of real estate for ABC Supply, overseeing acquisition of properties throughout the United States, including Brownfield properties. He also represented Daniel Ruettiger regarding the movie “Rudy” and was acting in-house counsel for Lunar Corporation and Bone Care International, Inc.
Mr. Sweeney is an avid hunter and has numerous outside interests including Wetland Conservation Club, LLC, Thiebeau Hunt Club, Exclusive Hunt Club, Milford Hills Hunt Club, Ducks Unlimited, Lake Koshkonong Wetland Association and golf.
Admitted to practice in the State Courts of Wisconsin, Federal Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, for the Southern and Northern Districts of Wisconsin, for the Western District of Michigan, and for the District of Minnesota, United State Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and United States Supreme Court.
EducationJ.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.S., University of Notre Dame
Involvement & Recognition
- Member and legal advisor, former associate board member, Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin
- Member, former associate board member, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association
- Member, Madison Area Builders Association
- Member, United States Patent Bar
- Member, United States Supreme Court Bar
- Member, Dane County State Bar Association
- Member, Wisconsin Bar Association
- Member, Wisconsin Builders Association
- Member, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Environment and Safety Legislative Committees
- Former board member, Rudy Foundation
- Former chair, State Bar Construction and Public Contract Law Section, current board member emeritus
- Former co-chair, Environmental Auditing Roundtable
- Former commissioner, Rock-Koshkonong Lake District
- Indiana Professional Engineer
- Wisconsin Professional Engineer
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2005-2022 Edition) – Construction Law
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2010-2022 Edition) – Environmental Law
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2011-2022 Edition) – Litigation – Construction
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2011-2022 Edition) – Litigation – Environmental
- Named Lawyer of the Year in The Best Lawyers in America© (2018 Edition) – Litigation – Construction
- Named Lawyer of the Year in The Best Lawyers in America© (2020 Edition) – Litigation – Construction
- Named to the 2005 – 2013 and 2016-2022 Wisconsin Super Lawyers Lists (Primary Areas of Practice: Construction/Surety Law and Land Use and Zoning)
- Named to the Wisconsin Super Lawyers list by Super Lawyers – Business Edition (Primary Area of Practice: Construction/Surety Law)
- Named as one of Madison’s top Environmental Law attorneys by Madison Magazine
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
- Named by Best Lawyers® as the 2018 Litigation-Construction Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Madison
- Named Friend of the Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin award
Representation of individual clients in hunting and fishing violations brought by WDNR wardens.
Represent lake districts in water level disputes
Representation of dam owners concerning operating order, litigation and dam removal.
Representation regarding bankruptcy issues and extensive contract claims, including work-outs with bankruptcy.
Act as general counsel for construction companies, engineering firms, aggregate and construction associations, and companies providing supplies to the construction industry.
Representation of aggregate companies in dispute over expansion of operations.
Helped clients through dispute resolution among shareholders.
Also handled clients numerous litigation claims on construction matters.
Representation of frac sand companies in permitting and litigation with neighboring property owners.
Representation of quarries in front of the Department of Justice over alleged storm water violations.
Represent property owners and dam owner in litigation over water levels.
Assisted with commercial contract issues and insurance coverage disputes over damage to buildings.
Represent businesses and individuals involved in litigation over the condemnation value of land against WisDOT along highways.
Dispute over unfunded mandates with Union resulting in settlement with the Union.
Dispute was regarding equipment for a water distribution plant. Three separate mediation events resulted in a creative settlement of the litigation.
Dispute over claims payments and settled following a Dispute Resolution Board Hearing and a Settlement with WisDOT.
Represented contractor in front of the Department of Justice. All the matters were resolved after significant negotiations, including one with a several-day mediation.
Worked with a large manufacturing company regarding taking land on a major State highway. The company received better access onto their property and was extremely happy with the results.
Worked with a private family to more than double the amount of money the DOT had initially offered them on a condemnation along I-39.
Defended Lake Koshkonong Wetland Association against Lake District attempts to raise water level and flood out Thiebeau Hunting Club marsh
Numerous cases with Department of Justice involving environmental and construction issues
Represented a Wetland Association through Oral Argument at Supreme Court over water levels
Represented several trade associations with amicus briefs
Represented frac sand companies in acquisition, permitting, WDNR issues, and dispute resolutions
Represented subcontractor on DOT claims and facilitated settlement with DOT, General Contractor, and other subcontractors
Sale of closely held business to multinational corporation
Represented several frac sand operations on siting issue
Represented large hotel with expansion through a condominium development, purchase of golf courses and annexation into city. The annexation included large acreage of Wisconsin DNR lands.
Represented several aggregate producers on siting new locations
Represented a small limestone quarry in an expansion onto adjoining property. This expansion resulted in numerous meetings at the town and county level, as well as meetings with opposition groups. To complicate the matter further, the site was located next to a superfund site with contaminated groundwater issues to address. The town board and county voted unanimously to approve the expansion.
Represented a large developer and worked with numerous engineers regarding the development and feasibility of a man-made lake as part of the focal point of a development. Mr. Sweeney’s combination of engineering and business experience helped to spearhead the project.
Involved with a large developer in taking a potential lawsuit by a disgruntled neighbor and working closely with the neighbor. The result was that the lawsuit was never filed and the developer was able to purchase the farm from the neighbor, who is now excited about the homes constructed on “his farm.”
Numerous cases with Department of Justice involving water and wetland issues. Most settled at mediation.
Other Presentations & Publications
Over the years, Buck Sweeney has been an advisor, reference source, legal expert, a trusted confidant and a friend. His availability and input has been invaluable. His exuberance for life is contagious to everyone he comes in contact with, myself included. Buck’s ability to relate to people and their issues is not fake, it’s sincere. His willingness to bring in another of the experts at Axley when it’s appropriate, gives me a strong confidence that I’m dealing with the right person.
I always feel better when [Buck and his colleagues] are around. [They] are a great resource and I don’t know where I’d be without having [them] looking out for us. Thanks for everything you do.