Ian P. Carleton

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30 Main Street, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 66
Burlington, VT 05402-0066

Tel: 802-865-6321
Fax: 802-864-6815

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Practice Areas:


  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1999
    • Board Member, The Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale
    • Director, Legislative Advocacy Clinic
    • Staff Editor, Yale Journal of Law and Humanities
  • B.A., Columbia College, (comparative literature), cum laude, 1989-1993


  • Honorable William K. Sessions III, U.S. District Court, District of Vermont, 1999-2000

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Vermont Bar Association, 2001 to present
  • American Bar Association, 2001 to present
  • Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney, District of Vermont, 2002 to present, Northern District of New York, 2011 to present

Awards and Recognition:

  • 2019 Vermont Bar Association Pro Bono Award, for 10-year effort to exonerate John Grega as well as work as guardian ad litem
  • SuperLawyers® “top rated business litigation attorney in Burlington, VT,” 2017-2020


  • State of Vermont (May, 2000)
  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont (July, 2000)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (October, 2004)
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (November, 2009 – pro hac)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York (April, 2010)
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts (September, 2011)
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts (November, 2012)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (December, 2015 – pro hac)


  • Moderator, What Does And Does Not Work In Criminal Hearings, panel included U.S. District Court Judges Crawford and Reiss, U.S. Magistrate Judge Conroy, and top criminal practitioners (November 2020).
  • Instructor/Lecturer, Field Training Officer Annual Seminar, Vermont Police Academy, topics included civil liability for law enforcement officers, § 1983 claims and employment law (2017-2020).
  • Presenter, Northern New England Law Day, on recent developments in medical malpractice litigation in Vermont, Nashua, NH (May 2017).
  • Presenter, Advanced Trial Tactics, topics included cross-examination, experts, evidence, summations and jury instructions (June 2016).
  • Presenter, Trial Evidence: What Every Lawyer Needs To Know, topics included experts, closing statements, jury instructions and ethics (May 2016).
  • Guest Speaker, Constitutional Law Seminar taught by U.S. District Judge Sessions, Middlebury College (January 2016).
  • Panelist, along with U.S. District Court Judge Crawford, Magistrate Judge Conroy and Attorney Joe Farnham, Issues Arising in Federal Civil Practice, VBA Mid-Winter Meeting (March 2015).
  • Presenter, Applying the Rules of Evidence, topics included treatment of witnesses, expert reports, scientific evidence (June 2014).


Ian Carleton joined the firm in February 2003 after spending two years at another Burlington firm. He became a partner and shareholder in 2004. From 2017 to 2022 he served as Director of Sheehey’s Litigation Group, and served as the firm’s interim Managing Partner in 2023. Ian regularly represents corporate and individual clients in complex civil and criminal matters in state and federal court, primarily in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York, with particular focus on false claims and anti-kickback investigations; medical and legal malpractice litigation; intellectual property disputes; breach of contract; tort; consumer protection and consumer fraud; and serious felonies in criminal court. Ian has tried numerous cases, both civil and criminal, to jury verdict in state and federal court. He has taken and defended hundreds of depositions across 19 states as well as in Canada and Europe. He also regularly serves as co-counsel and/or local counsel to top national firms including Ropes & Gray, Williams & Connolly, Latham & Watkins, Alston & Bird, Goodwin Procter, Wilson Sonsini and Shook Hardy Bacon among others.

Ian is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for his work in both White Collar and General Practice Criminal Defense.


  • Lead trial counsel in defense verdict for hospital and obstetrics group accused of improper care of paraplegic patient resulting in infant death.
  • Lead trial counsel in defense verdict for gynecologic oncology practice accused of improper cancer diagnosis.
  • Lead trial counsel in defense verdict for surgeon accused of damaging urologic structures during colorectal surgery.
  • Lead trial counsel in not guilty verdict in federal criminal jury trial of defendant accused of interstate drug trafficking.
  • Lead counsel in successful resolution of False Claims Act investigation by the Vermont U.S. Attorney into medical practice accused of administering non-FDA approved medications.
  • Lead counsel in successful resolution of False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute investigation by the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney into Boston area medical group relating to on call hospital contracts.
  • Lead counsel for Yelp, in both Vermont and California, in successful defense against federal trademark infringement action initiated in the District of Vermont and then transferred to the Northern District of California.
  • Lead counsel for Living Essentials, LLC, the makers of 5-Hour ENERGY®, in successful defense against $50 million false advertising and consumer fraud claims brought by the Vermont Attorney General.
  • Lead counsel for Cybex International, Inc. in successful patent and trademark infringement action against TuffStuff Fitness Equipment, Inc. for copying Cybex’s flagship home fitness machines.
  • Co-lead counsel for Synventive Molding Solutions, Inc. in successful patent infringement and trade secret theft action against Husky Injection Molding, Inc. involving inventions in the injection molding industry.
  • Lead counsel in exoneration and release from prison of John Grega, followed by successful civil action against the State of Vermont for wrongful imprisonment. Mr. Grega had been wrongly convicted of murdering his wife in 1995 when represented by other counsel. Based upon exculpatory DNA evidence discovered by Ian in 2012, and after an 8 year pro bono effort by Ian to fight for his release, Mr. Grega was released 17 years, 8 months, and 1 day after his original conviction.
  • Regularly represents physicians, nurses and other medical professionals in malpractice actions, criminal investigations and before professional conduct and licensing boards.
  • Represented Vermont’s largest electric utility in breach of power contract action against owner of a nuclear generation station.
  • Represents political candidates and elected officials including former governor of Vermont and current Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in connection with election recounts.

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Civil And Criminal Acting Judge. Appointed by Chief Judge of Vermont Superior Court to sit in Chittenden and Orleans Superior Court, Small Claims Division, from 2015 until civil program was discontinued in 2020 due to pandemic.
  • Vermont Commission On The Well-Being In The Legal Profession. Appointed in January 2018 by the Vermont Supreme Court and charged with preparing action plan to promote healthy and sustainable work habits and work-life balance in Vermont’s legal community. Serves as co-chair of legal employers sub-committee.
  • Vermont Judicial Ethics Committee. Appointed in 2017 by the Vermont Supreme Court to five-member committee chaired by the Chief Superior Court Judge charged with rendering advisory opinions on ethical or conflict of interest issues raised by members of the Vermont judiciary.
  • Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) Panel. Since 2016 conducted occasional mediations, both privately and as a member of the District of Vermont ENE panel (appointment by Judge Reiss). Representative cases include successful resolution of Ovitt v. United States, Doc. No. 2:16-cv-325-wks (federal tort claim) and Broadcast Music Inc. v. The Whiskey Den LLC et al., Doc. No. 5:19-cv-14-gwc (trademark infringement action).
  • Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). From 2016 to 2020 advocated for the interests of children in CHINS and juvenile delinquency proceedings.
  • Vermont Judicial Conduct Board (JCB), Special Counsel. Periodically served from 2014 to 2020 as Special Counsel to JCB. In 2014 successfully prosecuted Assistant Judge for shoplifting. In 2015 negotiated Deferred Discipline Agreement against Superior Court Judge. In 2017 successfully prosecuted, through three-day merits hearing, an Assistant Judge for misappropriation of third-party estate assets.
  • Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Board Member, 2011 to 2014.
  • Burlington City Council, Elected Member, 2002-2007, Council President 2005-2007.


Ian P. Carleton
Rated by Super Lawyers

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