Vanessa attended the University of South Dakota for college, graduate school, and law school, and earned her J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 2005. She is a member of the Thomas Sterling Honor Society, the highest honor bestowed upon the top 10% of students in each USD Law graduating class. Prior to moving to Lincoln in 2008, Vanessa practiced law in rural northeastern Nebraska. Throughout her career, Vanessa has concentrated on representing individuals in family law, juvenile law, and guardianship/adoption matters in probate court. Vanessa was honored to be part of the 2008-2009 Nebraska State Bar Association Leadership Academy. She has also served as Chair of the Volunteer Lawyers' Project committee for the Nebraska State Bar. Recently Vanessa was honored to receive the "10 Best Client Satisfaction Award" from the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys in 2016 and the "Top 10 Attorneys Under 40" award from the National Academy Of Family Law Attorneys in 2015. Vanessa is also a graduate of the 2019 NITA/ABA Family Law Trial Academy.