Sweeney, Buck

Buck V. Sweeney

Managing Partner
Heather Dobson


Buck Sweeney is the Managing Partner of Axley and practices in the areas of environmental and construction law. He is also former co-chair of Axley’s Construction Practice and previously served as the Chief Marketing Officer.

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 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 assists in Wisconsin’s growing frac sand industry and 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 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 law in the state courts of Wisconsin (1986) and Indiana (inactive) (1986), the United States Supreme Court, the United States District Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the United States Patent and Trademark Office and federal courts in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. 


J.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


  • Named a top Litigation – Construction and Litigation – Environmental attorney in The Best Lawyers in America©
  • Named to the 2005 – 2013 and 2016-2017 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


Client Successes

Representation of individual clients in hunting and fishing violations brought by WDNR wardens.

Buck Sweeney

Represent lake districts in water level disputes

Representation of dam owners concerning operating order, litigation and dam removal.

Buck Sweeney

Representation regarding bankruptcy issues and extensive contract claims, including work-outs with bankruptcy.

Buck Sweeney

Act as general counsel for construction companies, engineering firms, aggregate and construction associations, and companies providing supplies to the construction industry.

Buck Sweeney

Representation of aggregate companies in dispute over expansion of operations.

Buck Sweeney
Aggregate Permits, Construction

Helped clients through dispute resolution among shareholders.

Buck Sweeney

Also handled clients numerous litigation claims on construction matters.

Buck Sweeney

Representation of frac sand companies in permitting and litigation with neighboring property owners.

Buck Sweeney
Construction, Frac Sand Mining

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.

Buck Sweeney

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.

Buck Sweeney
Construction, Wisconsin DOT

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.

Buck Sweeney
Condemnation & Eminent Domain

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.

Buck Sweeney
Condemnation & Eminent Domain

Defended Lake Koshkonong Wetland Association against Lake District attempts to raise water level and flood out Thiebeau Hunting Club marsh

Buck Sweeney

Numerous cases with Department of Justice involving environmental and construction issues

Buck Sweeney
Construction, Environmental

Represented a Wetland Association through Oral Argument at Supreme Court over water levels

Buck Sweeney
Construction, Environmental, Water Law

Represented several trade associations with amicus briefs

Buck Sweeney

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

Buck Sweeney
Construction, Wisconsin DOT

Sale of closely held business to multinational corporation

Represented several frac sand operations on siting issue

Buck Sweeney
Construction, Frac Sand Mining

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

Buck Sweeney
Aggregate Permits, Construction

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.

Buck Sweeney

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.

Buck Sweeney

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.”

Buck Sweeney

Numerous cases with Department of Justice involving water and wetland issues. Most settled at mediation.

Buck Sweeney
Water Law


Other Presentations & Publications
Presentation: "Industry Legal Update." Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association Contractor–Engineer Conference
Master of Ceremonies for 2014 Frac Sand Seminar


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.

- Jamie S

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.

- Andy R.