Linda E. Benfield



Linda E. Benfield is the managing partner of the Milwaukee office of Foley & Lardner LLP, and is an environmental lawyer with the firm. Linda has over 30 years of experience in litigation and counseling in all aspects of environmental law, including air and water permitting and compliance issues, and solid and hazardous waste handling and disposal. She has extensive experience on the cutting edge of Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Superfund, and RCRA enforcement, as well as citizen suit litigation, settlement strategies, and related cost recovery, insurance coverage, and indemnity disputes. She is a member and former chair of the Environmental Regulation Practice. She is also a member of the firm’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice and the Manufacturing Industry Team.

Linda's recent cases and administrative proceedings include the defense of numerous complaints by U.S. EPA or state environmental agencies alleging air emissions or "new source review" violations, representation of clients in U.S. EPA multi-media audits, and prosecution and defense of citizen suit actions and cost recovery actions in federal and state courts. Linda also advises clients regarding the variety of issues involved in the redevelopment, sale, or other transfer of contaminated properties.

Thought Leadership

Linda is a regular speaker on issues relating to environmental enforcement, litigation, compliance, Brownfield development, and transactions.


Linda graduated from Colorado College (1981 B.A., summa cum laude) and earned her J.D. from the University of Chicago (1985).


Linda was named to BTI Consulting Group’s coveted Client Service All Star Team in 2016. This honor is bestowed upon individual attorneys who deliver outstanding client service according to corporate counsel interviewed at large organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue. In 2014, Linda was named to the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “Women of Influence” list, a list recognizing women who are leaders in their fields and communities in the Milwaukee area. She has also been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© (since 1995). Linda was named 2014 Wisconsin Natural Resources Lawyer of the Year and has been named the 2010, 2013 and 2015 Milwaukee Environmental Lawyer of the Year and 2012 Milwaukee Natural Resources Lawyer of the Year, by Best Lawyers in America. Based on exhaustive peer-review surveys, attorneys honored as "Lawyers of the Year" have received particularly high ratings for their abilities, professionalism and integrity. In addition, Linda was included in The International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers 2011 list. She was also selected for inclusion in the Wisconsin Super Lawyers® lists (2005 – 2016) and in 2008, was recognized as one of the Top 25 Women for Wisconsin Super Lawyers. Linda was honored by the Wisconsin Law Journal as one of the Women in the Law 2009. She was also included in the 2010 – 2017 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

Professional Memberships

In 2012, Linda was elected to Fellowship in the American College of Environmental Lawyers. She is also a Fellow of the Wisconsin Law Foundation, an honorary program which recognizes members of the profession in Wisconsin who are known by their peers for high achievements in their profession and outstanding contributions for the advancement and improvement of the administration of justice in the State of Wisconsin.


Linda is admitted to practice in Wisconsin, Colorado and the District of Columbia. She is also admitted to practice before numerous federal courts, including the district court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Western District of Wisconsin.

Community Involvement

Linda's community activities include:

  • Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, board member (2019 – present)  
  • United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, board member (2013 – present); Campaign co-chair (2013)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, trustee (2016 – present)
  • Building Brave, board member (2016 – present)
  • Milwaukee Ballet, chair of the board (2003-2006); board member (1996 – 2016)
  • Milwaukee Jewish Day School, board member (2007 – 2009)
  • Wild Space Dance Company, board president (2001 – 2003), board member (1995 – 2003)

Representative Matters

Showing of
Represented the University of Illinois at Chicago in its relationship with the private party developer of University Village and in connection with its retail leasing. University Village is a new neighborhood consisting of 900 new residential units and blocks of new retail properties. In 2007, the project received the Phoenix Award for Community Impact. Foley also has counseled the University for its tax increment financing issues and in connection with the development agreements and restrictive covenants in play between the University and the adjacent private housing. The representation includes all aspects of environmental remediation, including the allocation of costs between the parties and negotiations with the state regarding remediation standards and schedules. Foley continues to represent the University for these development matters as well as landlord tenant litigation, lease tax matters and general real estate counseling.
Represented two parties in contribution actions filed under CERCLA. This cleanup matter is estimated to cost over $1 billion.