International Society of Primerus Law Firms
Joseph A. Farnham
Practice Areas:

Burlington Attorney
Joseph A. Farnham

Phone: 802.863.4531


Languages: English

Joseph A. Farnham joined the firm in 1995, after six years as a prosecutor, and is a principal of the firm. Joe focuses on assisting clients with regard to litigation, municipal law and labor and employment matters. He regularly represents municipalities and municipal officials and employees in the state and federal courts in cases involving civil rights, personal injury/death, permit/regulatory compliance and/or enforcement, and access to government proceedings and records. Joe has significant jury trial and appeals experience, and has argued numerous times before the Vermont Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Joe grew up in the Burlington area, and when time allows, he enjoys fishing and hunting in Vermont and beyond.

Notable Representations:

  • Successfully defended at jury trial one of Vermont’s largest police departments against constitutional claims premised on allegations of failure to train and supervise.
  • In separate federal jury trials, successfully defended two different Vermont police officers against constitutional claims premised on allegations of excessive force.
  • Successfully defended a Vermont municipality against claims of improper road maintenance, brought following a fatal motor vehicle accident.
  • Successfully defended a municipality and one of its public works employees against personal injury claims based on allegations of improper snow plowing of a town road.
  • Successfully defended at jury trial one of Vermont’s largest municipalities against claims of wrongful termination brought by two different retirees.
  • In a federal bench trial, successfully defended a Vermont municipality against a former employee’s constitutional claims premised on allegations of retaliatory discharge.
  • Successfully defended by federal motion practice, a Vermont police officer accused of excessive force, false arrest, assault and battery, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • Co-counsel for a school board in successful defense (through the Vermont Supreme Court) of an arbitration award involving a school administrator’s contractual and statutory rights.
  • Successfully defended by motion practice a Vermont municipality accused of causing a wrongful death as a result of delayed EMS response.


  • J.D., Vermont Law School, 1989; cum laude; Articles Editor, Vermont Law Review
  • B.S., University of Vermont, 1983

Prior Experience:

  • Deputy State’s Attorney for Chittenden County, Vermont 1989-1995
  • Patrol Agent, United States Border Patrol, Nogales, Arizona, 1984-1986

Professional and Community Activities:

  • Parish Council Contact, Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Champlain Islands
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Vermont Bar Association
  • Member, Chittenden County Bar Association
  • Member, Franklin/Grand Isle Counties Bar Association
  • Volunteer, Vermont Law School Appellate Advocacy Program
  • Volunteer, Vermont Bar Foundation, Access to Justice Campaign
  • Recreation Therapy Volunteer, Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center
  • “Job Shadow” Volunteer for Folsom Education and Community Center, South Hero, Vermont
  • Commissioner (South Hero), Northwest Regional Planning Commission


  • Vermont
  • United States District Court (VT)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Contact This Firm

McNeil Leddy & Sheahan, P.C.

271 South Union Street
Burlington, VT 05401
United States

Law Firm Contact: William F. Ellis / Michael J. Leddy

Tel: 802.863.4531

Fax: 802.863.1743



Member Since: 2017

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