Champions for
the Underdogs.

Paisley S. Hoffman

Paisley Hoffman is the Senior Associate Attorney with Nicholson Goetz & Otis, S.C.  She is a certified Collaborative Divorce Lawyer and represents clients in a variety of practice areas, including: 

  • Criminal defense
  • Divorce
  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Paternity
  • Post-judgment custody and placement disputes
  • Child in need of protection or services (CHIPS)
  • Delinquency
  • Injunctions

In addition, she is regularly asked by multiple judges to serve as Guardian ad Litem, where she represents the best interest of children in Dane and surrounding counties. Judges trust her judgment in family cases and know she will always be a strong advocate for the best interest of children. 

She is a compassionate advisor and strong legal advocate in court who understand that the court process can be confusing. She takes time to understand her client’s concerns and fully explain the legal process to them. She appreciates this opportunity to help her clients through some of the most difficult times of their lives. 

Prior to earning her J.D., she simultaneously worked for the Wisconsin Innocence Project—reviewing serious criminal convictions for errors—while obtaining a Master of Social Work with a concentration in mental health. This background serves her well in all areas of her practice. In criminal matters, it helps her make sense of the interpersonal relationships as well as the potential rehabilitative needs of her clients. It also helps her find creative resolutions to the legal issues facing her clients.

In family law, she makes good use of her understanding of children’s developmental needs and family dynamics. She has had particular success pursuing the rights of fathers in family court. Generally, family court matters settle short of trial, but when she has gone to trial, her clients have received significantly more placement than they had before trial.

Her ability to use her social work background and family law experience to help her clients reach their goals extends to her work in delinquency cases, where she works to keep her clients in their community.

She has had tremendous success representing individuals in child abuse cases, particularly advocating for infants to remain with their parents after suffering significant injuries. She advocates for her clients with the social worker, GAL, and judge, using her understanding of the science and the laws in child abuse pediatrics to convince prosecutors that they will not be able to successfully prosecute such cases. When she is involved during the pre-charge phase, the majority of her clients have not been criminally charged.

In one of the fastest turnaround times from law school to recognition, she was named as one of Super Lawyers’ Wisconsin Rising Stars in 2020-2023. Since January of 2022, she has served as a part-time teacher for the paralegal program at Madison College. 

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Defense
  • Guardian ad Litem (family court, criminal defense, injunctions)
  • Family Law (advocacy counsel)
  • Juvenile delinquency


  • University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin
  • J.D. – 12/2017
  • University of Wisconsin School of Social Work, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Master’s of Social Work – 05/2014
  • Major: Mental Health
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Bachelor’s of Arts – 05/2012
  • Major: Legal Studies and Social Welfare

Honors and Awards

  • WACDL Martin Hanson Memorial Prize Award Winner 2024
  • Rising Star 2020-2023 
  • Super Lawyers 2020-2021

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts
  • Secretary, Dane County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin Family Law Section
  • Legal Association for Women

Past Employment Positions

  • UW Law School Family Law Project, Intern
  • State Public Defender’s Office, Intern
  • ARC Community Services, Intern
  • Briarpatch Youth Services, Intern
  • Wisconsin Innocence Project

Year Joined Firm

  • 2018