1. Home
  2. Our People
  3. Christine Rew Barden

As a shareholder in Reinhart’s Trusts and Estates Practice and founder and chair of the firm’s Family Office Services Group, Christine Barden works closely with individuals to plan for the ultimate disposition of wealth according to the goals and ambitions they have for their families.

Christine understands the complex legal and deep emotional aspects of estate planning and provides her clients with strategies that preserve family wealth and relationships across generations. Her practice also includes tax planning, advising tax-exempt organizations, succession planning and exit strategies, charitable contributions, Florida/Illinois law consultations, trust services, prenuptial/marital agreements and fiduciary litigation.

She is licensed to practice in both Wisconsin and Illinois and works with many clients who have interests in both states. Early in her career, Christine helped establish and served as legal counsel for Wrigley Management Inc. – the private family office of a prominent Chicago family. She continues to assist high-net-worth families and those on a high-net-worth trajectory with estate planning.

She has earned her Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) professional designation, a best-in-class achievement for professional advisors that testifies to Christine’s dedication best serving her clients. The designation equips her with the latest tools and most up-to-date expertise to best support clients in reaching their philanthropic and estate planning goals.

Christine’s warm, empathetic manner with clients enables her to get to the heart of their concerns and suggest creative solutions with practical applications. She listens closely and takes time to explain legal complexities in plain English. Valuing the importance of future generations and succession planning, she often invites older children to final planning meetings and conferences for the opportunity of seeing their parents work with another professional while gaining an understanding of their family’s plan. Christine also collaborates closely with her clients’ other advisers to ensure plans are complete and properly executed.

Genuinely invested in the community, Christine serves on the Board of Governors for the Madison Community Foundation. She loves seeing what can be achieved by working together to leverage gifts and resources.

Christine is very active with her church community and helping to launch her two children into college and adult life. She reads, swims and appreciates spending time with friends again post-pandemic.


  • J.D., Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington
  • B.S., Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®), American College of Financial Services

Bar Admissions

Wisconsin | Illinois


  • Adjunct Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Law, Estate & Gift Tax course and the Marital Property Law course, 2015 – 2018
  • Practiced law in Chicago, during which time she served as legal counsel and Corporate Secretary of Wrigley Management Inc., the private trust office of a prominent Chicago family
  • Assisted business office in saving businesses by utilizing leveraging strategy, thereby allowing time to secure financing at favorable rates while avoiding sale of business
  • Worked with many surviving spouses and families to resolve post-death conflicts to preserve family wealth and harmony
  • Estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax issues
  • Charitable planning
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Fiduciary counsel
  • Arizona, Florida and Illinois law consultant group

Honors & Affiliations


  • Best Lawyers in America Madison "Lawyer of the Year" (Trusts and Estates, 2023)
  • Best Lawyers in America (Trusts and Estates)
  • Super Lawyers - Super Lawyer (Closely Held Business, 2023)
  • Governor, Madison Community Foundation (Board of Governors, Vice Chair 2020-2022, Chairperson 2022-Present)
  • Forum for Women Estate Counselors, Madison, Wisconsin (2001 – present)
  • Member, State Bar of Wisconsin (admitted 2001, Digital Property Law Committee)
  • Kids Forward Foundation (Board Member) (2011 – present)
  • Member, State Bar of Illinois (admitted 1995)
  • Member, State of Wisconsin Judicial Council (2011 – 2013)
  • Governor, State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors, District 9 (2010 – 2013)
  • Madison Estate Council
  • Dane County Bar Association
  • Chicago Trust Law Committee
  • Chicago Estate Planning Council
  • Member, Covenant Presbyterian Church
  • Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (Board Member; Chair, Fund Development Committee)

News & Insights


  • “Who Painted Your Picasso: Provenance and Estate Planning for Art Collectors,” Milwaukee, WI, May 19, 2015
  • “Succession Planning for your Lake Home” Co-Speaker and Workshop Leader, 2015 Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention, April 23-25, 2015
  • Co-Presenter – Smith & Gesteland, “Services for Family Business Owners: Risk-Management,” March 26, 2015
  • Meeting Host, Wisconsin Planned Giving Council (featured Keith Johnson, who spoke on Socially Responsible Investing for Non-Profit Organizations), March 3, 2015
  • “Keeping Your Cabin in the Family: Succession Planning for your Lake Home” – 2015 Lake Home & Cabin Show, January 23-25, 2015


  • Contributor, Keith A. Christiansen et al., "Marital Property Law in Wisconsin" (4th ed. 2010)
  • "Keeping Up With Philip Seymour Hoffman," WealthManagement.com, co-author (March 2014)
  • "Wisconsin Trust Code: Acting as a Directing Party"
  • "The Wisconsin Trust Code: New Rules and Guidance"