Who is Jeffrey Dahmer’s lawyer Wendy Patrickus and where is she now?

In the new Netflix documentary about the case, she shares her perspective

Netflix has just released another show about Jeffrey Dahmer, this time being a true crime documentary about the case. Featured in it is Wendy Patrickus, a lawyer, whose first job was representing serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

In the three-part documentary series, Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes, Wendy shares her story about what it was like to represent such a person, as a young woman at the time. Here’s everything you need to know about her.

Wendy Patrickus is a lawyer, and her first ever job was representing Jeffrey Dahmer

Wendy Patrickus

via Netflix

Wendy Patrickus was 25 at the time of the Jeffrey Dahmer case, and had just moved to Milwaukee, alone, and didn’t know a lot of people there. It was her first job as a lawyer, and she was only one year out of law school. Wendy got a call from Gerry Boyle, her boss at the time, who said he had a “big” case for her. She was told Dahmer was a nice man, who “wouldn’t bite your head off” and headed down to meet him.

Wendy then went on to be one of two people representing Dahmer in his court case. He was found guilty of killing 17 young men and boys between the late 1970s and 1991. Before getting the job representing Dahmer, Wendy Patrickus had studied for a Bachelor’s degree at St Norbet College in Wisconsin, before achieving a Juris Doctorate Degree in Law at a law school in Michigan.

Describing her career on LinkedIn, Wendy said: “I have been practicing law since 1988 when I passed the Wisconsin Bar Exam. Since then I initiated my practice as an associate in the Law Offices of Attorney Gerald P. Boyle and second chaired the jury trial of Jeffrey Dahmer. I was given the benefit of excellent training while employed in the Boyle Law Offices for those five years. That training and experience I received set the stage for me to open up my own practice.”

Wendy has previously described the hours and hours of interview tapes with Dahmer she had to listen to, and the days she spent with him, which created an “uncomfortable bond” between the two of them. “In order to be a good defence attorney, you have to be non-judgmental and develop a trust,” she said. “He called me Wendy and I called him Jeff.”

In the Netflix documentary she also described visiting the apartment Dahmer lived in, where he committed a number of crimes. She said the smell was so bad it made her sick.

Lawyer Wendy Patrickus with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in court

via Netflix

Where is Wendy Patrickus now?

Right now, Wendy is working as a lawyer still, at her own company. According to LinkedIn, she’s been working at her own attorney offices for over 17 years – as the owner of the company and as a practicing attorney. She lives in the Milwaukee area still, and the Netflix documentary series is only the third major time she has spoken about her experiences. Most of her work now isn’t centred around criminal law, she instead focuses on family law and business law.

Explaining this, her LinkedIn states she now enjoys “the benefits of some diversification with a well rounded practice in many areas. Besides increased growth in family law cases, I now mostly enjoy the business issues. I’ve had an opportunity to work on cases in the areas of contract law, business development and marketing.” She also says she has “developed a curious desire to learn more about social media marketing”.

Wendy has written a book about being a lawyer for Jeffrey Dahmer, titled Defending the Devil: Inside the Trial of My Client Jeffrey Dahmer. This was published in 2022 and is available to buy from Waterstones for £26.99. “Defending the Devil offers the most vivid, frightening, and revelatory account yet of how Dahmer chose his victims, his methods of attack, the why and how of his cannibalism, the shrines built of human remains in his apartment, and more,” the Amazon description reads.

Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Here are even more TV shows, films, podcasts and books all about the Jeffrey Dahmer case

• Fact vs fiction: All the tiny details in Netflix’s Dahmer series that actually happened

• The creepy reason Jeffrey Dahmer used to wear yellow contact lenses on days of his murders