Vanessa B. CantleyPartner
Vanessa earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, graduating with honors. While in law school, she was elected by the law school student body to serve as their President. She was a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association mock trial team and the National Moot Court Team and earned the highest grade in her class for Trial Practice. Vanessa also founded the nation's first Student Bar Foundation to raise money for various charities and now serves as a model to other law schools nationwide.
Vanessa has valuable legal experience from both the plaintiff and defense perspective. She clerked for Frost Brown Todd, LLC, the largest defense firm in the region, while in law school, and was offered a position upon graduation. However, Vanessa has always identified with the underdog, and she decided early in her career that she wanted to represent people who have been wronged instead of wrongdoers, insurance companies or big corporations. That decision led her to decline that offer and others to join the most prestigious defense firms in the region as a practicing attorney. Today, she only represents individuals and families.
Vanessa holds two Bachelor (B.A.) degrees, one in Psychology and another in Sociology, from Bellarmine College where she graduated with honors. While at Bellarmine, Vanessa was a four-year member of the American Mock Trial Association program. She earned top attorney in the nation honors for two years from thousands of students, and was a member of the National Championship Team during her senior year. On the road to a national championship, her team bested many elite programs such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and over 300 other schools.Vanessa is also known as Professor Cantley to her students. She is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Louisville School of Law, where she teaches a course called Civil Litigation Skills to senior law students.
In 2012, Vanessa founded Storytime Heroes, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing reading materials and enthusiastic volunteers to read to children who are hospitalized, in long-term care facilities, group homes and shelters. Storytime Heroes provides over 100 volunteer readers to partner facilities across Louisville and Southern Indiana.
Vanessa grew up in a small town in Indiana. She currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband and their two sons. Vanessa's greatest pride, aside from her family, is the relationship she enjoys with her clients, both current and former--many of whom have become good friends.
Some of Vanessa's favorite notes from her clients (and a judge):
- "I just wanted to say how much we appreciated the skill and knowledge you showed on Monday and all the work you've put in before Monday. It was obvious a lot of time and work went into our case. You can't understand how it feels to have someone fight for justice on our child's behalf. Thank you is not enough but we do thank you! We want you to know how grateful we are to you for what you are doing for Stephen’s memory, for us, and for the children in this county.” – Sheila P.
- “I can't thank you enough for your thoughtfulness and your concern. It is people like you that make me believe that there is still hope for this world.” – Steve G.
- “Thank you for caring when . . . at the end of the day, I know you didn’t even have to. You were my voice when I could not speak. You were my words when I had way too much to say, and you were my beautifully spoken, educated mind when I felt so dumb. And you put all my broken pieces back together. And yes, for that, for you, and all that I’m forever so grateful.” – Jessica C.
- “We would like to thank you for everything you have done for us. We were actually able to give our children a wonderful Christmas. You will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers for all you have done for us.” - Teresa and Donnie W.
- “You’ll never know how much you have had such an impact on my life. In such a great way, too. You are a very special person and I feel honored to have you as my attorney and friend. Thank you more than you know.” - Angie S.
- "You almost brought me to tears during our last conversation. I love you and your family in a special way. You took a bold step to even take on my case. You were the only person who had the courage to face [the Defendant]. For that, I am grateful. I can not thank you enough. I appreciate all your hard work." - Phyllis P.
- "You are such a wonderful and skilled advocate. [Your client] is fortunate to have you as his lawyer, and I trust he was pleased with the outcome . . . I like to think I share your enthusiasm and hope it shows in what I do as much as it shows in what you do. It was a pleasure to preside at one of your trials. I hope to have the opportunity again." - State Court Trial Judge