Carolyn Schwerman
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Carolyn A. (Sullivan) Schwerman’s Environmental and OSHA practice includes compliance, enforcement defense, litigation, permitting, and due diligence. She works with and appears before state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. As a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, Carolyn annually updates the “Environmental Considerations” chapter in the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Real Estate Transactions System, which addresses the impact of environmental laws on real estate transactions.


J.D., cum laude, University of Wisconsin Law School
A.B., Duke University

Bar Admissions


General Experience

  • Strategize regarding client interactions with federal, state, and local agencies and legislative bodies, with particular emphasis on OSHA, the U.S. EPA, and the Wisconsin DNR.
  • Research and analyze legal requirements and developments, including, but not limited to, matters involving: local, state and federal environmental laws; international chemicals requirements; federal health and safety standards; the Great Lakes Compact; and, contract, foreclosure, property tax, and title insurance issues.
  • Brief matters heard in federal and state courts and administrative agencies.
  • Counsel clients regarding compliance with regulatory requirements and permit applications, proactively aiming to avoid problems and control costs.
  • Prepare responses to requests for information from federal and state agencies, and help companies prepare for agency inspections and minimize the adverse effects of such visits.
  • Defend and contest waterway and wetland permits and approvals.
  • Reduce the severity of citations and/or penalties in enforcement matters.
  • Educate clients on self-disclosures of potential violations and use of audit privilege laws.
  • Represent companies in Superfund matters.
  • Prepare for sale, purchase, and financing of businesses and properties, including assessing and allocating risks and permit obligations.
  • Advocate for owners and operators of contaminated property with regard to environmental remediations and cost recovery claims, including preparing agreements, maximizing insurance recovery, and obtaining liability exemptions and grants.
  • Advise clients on ISO 14000 environmental management systems and other sustainability issues, including the Great Lakes Compact.
  • Author and present on numerous OSHA and environmental topics, including, but not limited to: co-authoring the Environmental Chapter of the Wisconsin State Bar’s Real Estate Transaction System; teaching water law seminars at UW-Milwaukee’s School of Continuing Education, Marquette University’s College of Engineering, the Wisconsin Groundwater Association, and the Federation of Environmental Technologists; and, introducing the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act to UW-Whitewater undergraduates.

Specific Matters

  • Performed environmental due diligence to facilitate purchase/sale and refinancing transactions involving multiple properties and current and historical compliance and site contamination issues.
  • Represented companies in CERCLA cost recovery and contribution claims, resolving actions in the most effective manner including via participation in PRP groups and settlements.
  • Obtained favorable resolutions of several citizen suits prosecuted or threatened pursuant to federal environmental laws.
  • Resolved OSHA citations against employers by securing reduced penalties and recategorized, consolidated, or withdrawn citation items via both the informal settlement and contested case processes; resolved environmental enforcement actions against companies; and, evaluated the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects in environmental settlements.
  • Recovered landfill remedial costs via the Wisconsin Statutes section 292.35 umpire process, enabling site redevelopment benefitting the community.
  • Managed and successfully resolved over hundreds of PECFA appeals.
  • Launched and co-chaired the Water Council’s Water Stewardship Committee from 2011-2014, including presenting committee progress reports at quarterly Water Council member events and organizing and leading committee meetings.
  • Milwaukee Bar Association
  • Waukesha County Bar Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin (Environmental Section)
  • TEMPO Waukesha
  • Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful (Board of Directors, 2011-present)
  • The Water Council (Water Stewardship Committee Co-Chair, 2011-2014)
  • Waukesha County Business Alliance (Economic Development Committee)
  • Completed OSHA 30 Hour Compliance General Industry Course


  •  State Bar Real Estate Transactions Systems, Chapter 9 (Environmental Considerations) – Contributor (approx. 1992-2013), Co-Author (2014-2015)


  • July 30, 2014 – “Be Aware of What’s on OSHA’s Radar,” Wisconsin Law Journal (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q3 2014 – “OSHA Focuses on the Safety and Health of the Nation’s Temporary Workers” (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q3 2014 – “Safety Data Sheets and Pictograms Under the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals” (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q2 2014 – “OSHA’s National Emphasis Program – Occupational Exposure to Isocyanates Prepare for an Inspection Before OSHA Arrives on Your Doorstep” (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q3 2014 – “Safety Data Sheets and Pictograms Under the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals” (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q3 2014 – “OSHA Focuses on the Safety and Health of the Nation’s Temporary Workers” (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q3 2009 – “Vapor Intrusion: The Potential for Adverse Effects on Human Health and Property Value” (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q3 2006 – “Chemical Security Standards Bill Signed by President Bush” (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q4 2006 – “Department of Homeland Security to Establish New Chemical Plant Security Regulations” (Co-Author)
  • Polytopics Q4 2005 – “PMA’s Self-Certification Program & Other Environmental Compliance Tools” (Co-Author)
  • December 1999 – Wisconsin Hospice Times Vol. 1, No. 11 – “An Introduction to OSHA for Hospices” (Co-Author)
  • Winter 1998 – State Bar Environmental Law News Vol. 9, No. 2 – “1997 – 1998 Biennial Budget Act Promotes Brownfield Development” (Author)


  • Reinhart Seminar: 2016 OSHA Trends Present Peril for Unprepared Employers, “New Developments”
  • Great Lakes Water Conservation Conference, Panel on Regulatory Trends, Brewing and Water
  • Reinhart Real Estate/Entitlements Seminar, The Latest Legislative and Regulatory Proposals, “Waukesha Water”
  • Reinhart Labor and Employment Seminar: Labor and Employment Law Issues for Today’s Workplace, “Recent OSHA Developments”
  • Co-Instructor, Safety 453: Environmental Law Class, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater – The Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
  • “Overview and Update: OSHA’s Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements,” Wisconsin Underground Contractors Association (WUCA)
  • Wisconsin Hospital Association/Reinhart Three Part Webinar Series: Labor & Employment Issues for Wisconsin-Based Health Care Providers – “OSHA and Health Care”
  • Reinhart Real Estate/Entitlements (Get in the Zone) – “Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust In-lieu Fee Mitigation Program ” (Co-Presenter)
  • Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute – “OSHA Procedures”
  • FET Environment 2014 (Wisconsin’s Rapidly Evolving Groundwater Law: the History, Current Status and the Future) — “Groundwater Law History”
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Basics of Wisconsin Water Law) – “Overview of Wisconsin Water Law: The Public Trust Doctrine” a/k/a “Introduction to Water Law”
  • Lorman – “Overview of Wisconsin Water Law Issues”
  • Waukesha County Bar Association Real Estate Section – “Update: Milwaukee Water Council Water Stewardship Committee”
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Wisconsin Water Law) – “Introduction to Water Law”
  • Wisconsin Groundwater Association (Wisconsin’s Public Trust Doctrine Overview and Potential Water Law Revisions) – “The Public Trust Doctrine”
  • Marquette University College of Engineering – “The Public Trust Doctrine”
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Wisconsin Water Law and Regulation) – “Basics of Wisconsin Water Law”
  • Half Moon – “Environmental Regulations Impacting Land Development and Construction
  • Lorman – “Wetland Regulation in Wisconsin – State DNR Process”
  • NBI (Land Use – Current Issues in Subdivision, Annexation & Zoning) – “Staying on Top of Environmental Considerations”
  • 17th Annual Environmental Law Update, Sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin, “A New Beginning Overview of the Green Tier and Compliance Auditing Legislation”
  • Federation of Environmental Technologists – “Minimizing Personal Environmental Liability”
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee – “SEC Requirements for Environmental Disclosure”
  • “Regulatory Update”
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee – “Environmental Audits: Legal Issues Presented In Developing and Maintaining an Effective Compliance Program”
  • MRA – ” Legal Aspects of the Employee Commute Option (“ECO”) Program”
  • Reinhart Client Forum – “PECFA Update”
  • “SARA Title III – The Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act”
  • Annual Environmental Law Update – “Drafting Considerations in Real Estate Transactions”
  • “Recent Developments in Superfund and RCRA”