Wendy Lewis graduated from the University of Utah College of Law in 1991, where she was a William H. Leary Scholar and a member and editor of the Utah Law Review. Upon graduation she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she clerked for the Honorable Robert H. MacWilliams of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. While clerking for Judge MacWilliams she worked on both Federal civil and criminal cases of all varieties. It was during this clerkship that she developed her love of criminal law.
In 1992, Wendy returned to Utah and worked as an associate for a private law firm where she handled complex criminal cases, and a variety of civil matters including personal injury, domestic and contract law. Wendy took numerous state and federal cases to trial while in private practice, including homicide, rape and fraud cases, and achieved a number of acquittals for her clients. Of particular note were the cases of State of Utah v. Valentino Colorow, in which Mr. Colorow was found not guilty of first degree murder, and State of Utah v. John Blanchard, in which Mr. Blanchard was spared the death penalty and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Wendy also argued matters before the Utah Court of Appeals, the Utah Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 1997 Wendy returned to clerking and spent the following three and a half years as a law clerk to the Honorable Dale A. Kimball, Federal District Judge for the District of Utah. She again worked on cases in all areas of the law and became familiar with the inner workings of the federal bench in Utah.
In January of 2001 Wendy became an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Utah, where she spent the next 21 years representing indigent defendants in Federal Court. During this time, she developed a focus on federal sex offenses and she is well-known for obtaining extremely favorable outcomes for her clients. Wendy also developed a reputation for outstanding representation of offenders under age 25 and has successfully argued for probation for serious felonies based on the brain development of young offenders. She also worked on many high profile and complex cases including United States v. Brian David Mitchell. Wendy served as the representative of the Utah Federal Public Defender’s Office in the District of Utah’s Tribal Reentry Court, where she traveled to tribal lands and worked with members of the tribal nations on successfully reentering society following federal convictions. For the past nine years, Wendy served as a senior-level supervisor in the FPD office and was assigned responsibility for case assignment, hiring and diversity recruitment efforts.
Wendy is active in the Federal Bar Association, the Utah Women Lawyers Association, and the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She also serves as a mentor to law students and has worked as a volunteer in educational institutions.
In 2022 Wendy joined her good friend and former colleague Kathy Nester to start Nester Lewis PLLC.
Wendy is licensed to practice in Utah federal and state courts and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.