Skip to Main Content
Overview

An award-winning legal writer, Joe gives clients the upper hand on appeal, when compelling written advocacy matters most.

Joe has represented clients’ interests in state and federal appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. He also routinely handles administrative appeals and other disputes in trial courts across the country. No matter the forum, Joe draws on a unique background in freelance journalism and music composition, bringing unmatched creativity to analyzing and writing about complex legal issues.

Joe’s practice spans a broad range of legal subject matters. He specializes in challenges to government action, including attacks on the validity and enforcement of statutes, regulations and ordinances, as well as review of decisions issued by federal agencies, state agencies and local governments. His experience also extends to other areas of constitutional law; land use, zoning and property rights; and class action defense. He serves clients of varying disciplines, such as real estate developers, construction companies, traditional and renewable energy providers, and agribusiness operations of all kinds – from small and large farms to food manufacturers to business brokers.

In addition to writing as an advocate for his clients, Joe is a published scholar on topics of constitutional law and judicial authority. His latest article, Article III, Judicial Restraint, and this Supreme Court, was published in the SMU Law Review. His written work has also appeared at Wisconsin Lawyer, where he serves on the editorial board, as well as The Foundation for Economic Education, Law360 and elsewhere.


Services

Recognition

  • Hon. Charles Dunn Author Award, 2019
  • Terence T. Evans Prize for Humor and Creativity in the Law, 2017
  • Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission Pro Bono Honor Society, 2017-2018
  • Western District of Wisconsin Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2018
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2019

Education

  • J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
    • summa cum laude
    • Order of the Coif
    • Wisconsin Law Review, articles editor
    • Ray and Ethel Brown Award in Legal Writing
    • Best Brief Award
  • B.M., University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Music Composition
    • with distinction

Admissions

  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • State Bar of Wisconsin 
    • Appellate Practice Section, Board of Directors 
    • Litigation Section
    • Communications Committee
  • American Bar Association
    • Council of Appellate Lawyers
  • Dane County Bar Association
  • Wisconsin Lawyer, Editorial Board
Experience
  • Achieved victory in the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a real estate developer in CityDeck Landing v. Circuit Court, 2019 WI 15, a case announcing important limits on a trial court's authority to interfere with private arbitration proceedings.
  • Won appeal in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Stockbridge Munsee Community v. Ho-Chunk Nation, 922 F.3d 818, a case brought by one American Indian tribe against another over the latter's right to conduct gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Affirming the district court's ruling in favor of the Ho-Chunk Nation, the Court held that the plaintiff-tribe's claim was both outside the statutory zone of interests and barred by the statute of limitations.
  • Authored multiple amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court – most recently in Bostock v. Clayton County and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, related cases asking whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status.
  • Obtained 4-1 win in the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Enbridge Energy Co. v. Dane County, 2019 WI 78, which ruled that a local government exceeded the scope of its land-use authority when it imposed unlawful conditions on an energy pipeline company's zoning permit. The Court also held that it has discretion to modify portions of a challenged zoning permit, without remanding the permit to the local government for further consideration.
  • Authored multiple successful petitions for review to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
  • Authored an amicus brief in Michels v. Lyons, 2019 WI 57, a Wisconsin Supreme Court case involving questions of constitutional interpretation and the protection of individual liberty interests under the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Convinced the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to dismiss an appeal for lack of jurisdiction before proceeding to briefing on the merits, thereby saving substantial time and resources for the client.
  • Won summary judgment for a real estate developer pursuing a claim for fraudulent transfer, enabling the developer to collect a substantial prior judgment.
  • Won summary judgment and attorneys' fees for a professional organization in a copyright infringement suit that hinged on whether the organization's volunteers were agents under the "work made for hire" doctrine.
  • Represented a national outdoor advertising company before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in an appeal about regulatory takings and nonconforming uses.
  • Defended an international IT consulting firm against federal claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and state claims for trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition.
Case Studies
CityDeck Landing LLC

What began as a private arbitration regarding a dispute over the construction of an apartment building in Green Bay turned into a case with much larger implications when a subcontractor’s insurer filed a separate action in Wisconsin state circuit court seeking a declaration regarding its coverage obligations, as well as a stay of the arbitration until the coverage issues were resolved.

CSC Sugar LLC

When the U.S. Commerce Department amended a prior suspension agreement regarding the importation of Mexican sugar in 2017, it changed the purity definition of refined sugar, effectively altering the product definition for trade purposes and significantly imperiling the business of CSC Sugar, whose cutting-edge refining processes were developed to use a higher purity input. CSC came to Husch Blackwell’s international trade team to help craft a strategy to deal with this unexpected hazard.

Thought Leadership
Insights
Amicus Brief: Michels v. Lyons
September 25, 2018
View all
Outside the Office

Joe enjoys golfing and is especially fond of Quit Qui Oc Golf Club in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the course where he grew up learning the game.

He’s also a classical music fan, with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” as a favorite symphonic work. Joe is also a classically trained composer and has had several pieces performed, including “Night at the Lake” for four percussionists.

At home, Joe likes to cook for friends. Go-to recipes include mushroom risotto, chocolate cake, and macaroni and cheese. He also spends time reading history, economics and other nonfiction works. A favorite recent book was Bill Bryson’s “At Home,” a room-by-room history of domestic life in Europe and America.

Community Leadership

Joe serves his community through pro bono work, the arts and civic development.

Joe maintains an active pro bono practice. He has, for example, represented a transgender inmate in a civil rights lawsuit involving constitutional questions under the Eighth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause.

Joe celebrates and supports classical music by serving on the board of directors, the executive committee and the finance committee of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, an organization dedicated to building diverse, inclusive communities through music and musicianship.

That same commitment to community drives Joe’s involvement with Downtown Madison Inc., where he is an active member of both the Economic Development Committee and the Inclusiveness Committee.