Christopher Van Wagner

Christopher Van Wagner is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Wisconsin with over 30 years of legal experience. With regard to sex crimes as well as vehicular homicide cases, Mr. Van Wagner has an impressive record of achieving positive results for his clients. Mr. Van Wagner has devoted the past 20 years of his practice to defending people charged with serious crimes such as sexual assault. Sexual assault cases are particularly difficult, given the nature of these types of crimes and the automatically negative public reaction to them. However, even if it means taking a sexual assault case to a jury trial, Mr. Van Wagner will ensure that justice is served for his clients.

Mr. Van Wagner brings a wealth of life experiences to his criminal law practice. As one of 11 children, Mr. Van Wagner was raised in a middle-class Irish Catholic family in New Jersey. He remains an avid New York Yankees fan. He attended St. Lawrence University where he earned honors in English Literature. Following his graduation from college, Mr. Van Wagner pursued an Ivy League law degree at Cornell Law School, where he was editor of the presigious Cornell Law Review. Following Cornell Law School (1981), Mr. Van Wagner obtained a coveted slot as clerk for a federal trial judge (Hon. Dick Debevoise, in Trenton, NJ). Following this clerkship, Mr. Van Wagner worked as a state prosecutor for the mean streets of Trenton, NJ, then was a Brooks Bros business litigator for the Fortune 500 clients of a world-renowned Chicago firm, Mayer Brown (on LaSalle Street). Chris later served as a federal prosecutor in Madison, Wisconsin.

In 1994, Mr. Van Wagner went into private practice where to this day he focuses on defending people accused of or convicted of serious crimes like sexual assault, vehicular homicide and the like. By demanding that a jury hear the case, Mr. Van Wagner has achieved many dismissals at the courthouse steps for clients in sex cases. He has gotten many “eve of trial” dismissals precisely because he has tried and won many so jury acquittals in his criminal defense career for clients who were falsely and wrongly accused of sex crimes, and other serious offenses. Not only does he command respect from prosecutors, Mr. Van Wagner also holds an “AV” rating with Martindale Hubbell, the highest peer rating available. He has been recognized numerous times as a Super Lawyer, an honor that applies only to the top 5% of attorneys in the State of Wisconsin. Additionally, Mr. Van Wagner has been a legal analyst and commentator on national shows such as Court TV, the Dan Abrams Report on MSNBC, the Today show, Good Morning America, ABC News as well as local shows such as ABC Madison’s Channel 27 and Madison Channel 3000.

Fees: Fixed (always), Retainer (always), Free consultation (30 minutes)

Payment types: Cash, Check, Credit card

Contact info
Christopher Van Wagner3
Christopher T. Van Wagner110 East Main Street
Suite 705
Madison, WI, 53703


Office (855) 534-4604






State Status Acquired Updated
WI Good Standing 1994 03/20/2015
IL Administrative – Not Authorized to Practice 1989 05/17/2016

Award name Grantor Date granted
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated Martindale-Hubbell 2016
Preeminent 4.5 out of 5.0 Client Rating Martindale-Hubbell 2010
Wisconsin Super Lawyer Wisconsin Super Lawyers 2009
Madison’s Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Madison Magazine 2009
Wisconsin Best DUI Defense Attorneys 2009
Wisconsin Super Lawyers Super Lawyers 2008
Madison’s Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Madison Magazine 2007
Wisconsin Super Lawyers Super Lawyers 2007
Madison’s Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Madison Magazine 2005
Madison’s Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Madison Magazine 2003
Madison’s Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Madison Magazine 2001

Work experience
Title Company name Duration
Managing Partner Van Wagner Law Offices 2014 – Present
Shareholder Van Wagner & Wood, S.C. 1999 – 2014
Sole Practitioner Van Wagner Law Offices 1994 – 1999
AUSA U.S. Attorney’s Office, Madison WI 1991 – 1994
Associate Attorney Mayer Brown & Platt 1987 – 1991
Assistant Prosecutor, Felony Crimes Mercer County (Trenton) NJ Prosecutor’s Office 1983 – 1987

School name Major Degree Graduated
Cornell Law School Law JD – Juris Doctor 1981
St Lawrence University English and Literature BA – Bachelor of Arts 1978

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