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 several federal and state appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit, the Federal Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the Illinois Appellate Court. 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 specializes in challenges to government action. This includes judicial review of decisions issued by federal agencies, state agencies and local governments, as well as direct attacks on the validity and enforcement of statutes, regulations and ordinances. Joe also has significant experience defending class actions and litigating cases involving issues of constitutional law; land use, zoning and property rights; and international trade law. He serves clients of varying disciplines, including consumer products manufacturers, food and agribusiness operations, real estate developers, healthcare organizations and traditional and renewable energy providers.

In addition to writing as an advocate for his clients, Joe regularly publishes scholarly and popular articles on issues of constitutional law, statutory interpretation and appellate practice. His latest article, Separation, Supremacy, and the Unconstitutional Rational Basis Test, was published in the Villanova Law Review. His written work has also appeared at the SMU Law Review, the University of Cincinnati Law ReviewWisconsin Lawyer (where he serves on the editorial board), the Foundation for Economic Education, InBusiness Madison, Law360, Our Lives, and elsewhere.

Dedicated to
pro bono service.
Dedicated to
pro bono service.

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, 2017-2020
  • Western District of Wisconsin Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2018
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers, Rising Star, Appellate, 2019-2020

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

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of International Trade
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • State Bar of Wisconsin 
    • Appellate Practice Section, Board of Directors, Secretary
  • Dane County Bar Association
    • Board of Directors
  • Wisconsin Lawyer, Editorial Board
Experience

Federal Appellate Experience

  • Won appeal in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Stockbridge Munsee Community v. Ho-Chunk Nation, 922 F.3d 818 (2019), 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 a successful amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Guam v. United States (U.S. 2020), a case providing important guidance on the interpretation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund). Filed on behalf of a politically and geographically diverse coalition of 26 states and territories in support of the prevailing party (Guam), the brief was discussed in detail at oral argument.
  • Authored a successful amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), which held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status. The brief was filed in support of the prevailing employees and stressed many of the textual, logical, and institutional arguments the Court ultimately found persuasive.
  • Authored several merits and petition-stage amicus curiae briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Orally argued appeals in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

State Appellate 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.
  • 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.
  • Achieved victory in Red Rock Granite, Inc. v. Kafka Properties, LLC, 2019AP1633, in which the Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment, holding that our client's mineral fabrication facility is a permissible use of property under an applicable restrictive covenant.
  • Won appeal in the Illinois Appellate Court in Prairie Surgicare v. Encompass Specialty Network, 2021 IL App (3d) 200176-U, which affirmed the trial court's discretionary denial of sanctions.
  • 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. The brief was discussed at oral argument and cited in an opinion.
  • Authored multiple successful petitions for review to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
  • 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.
  • Represented a national outdoor advertising company before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in an appeal about regulatory takings and nonconforming uses.

Administrative Appeal & Trial Experience

  • Won trial in Campbell v. Kallas (W.D. Wis. 2020), a civil rights lawsuit involving constitutional questions under the Eighth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. Our client, a transgender inmate with diagnosed gender dysphoria, was awarded an injunction against state officials, requiring them to provide medically necessary gender confirmation surgery.
  • Obtained a favorable judgment before the U.S. Court of International Trade in CSC Sugar LLC v. United States, 317 F. Supp. 3d 1334 (2019), a case challenging the Department of Commerce's actions in approving countervailing and antidumping duty trade agreements detrimental to our client's interests. In a first-of-its kind ruling, the court vacated the agreements.
  • Won summary judgment for a telecommunications developer in a land-use dispute with a municipal government, persuading the court that the municipality unlawfully denied the developer's property rights under state law. This ruling allowed the developer to move forward with two telecommunications tower construction projects, each valued at over one million dollars.
  • 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.
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.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) watched with great concern as another U.S. territory (Guam) fought the U.S. Government in court over financial responsibility for a hazardous waste site initially developed and operated by the U.S. Navy. After losing on appeal in the D.C. Circuit, Guam convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case. Fearing how negative precedent could affect other U.S. states and territories, CNMI’s Attorney General approached Husch Blackwell to prepare an amicus curiae brief.

Articles | November 2018
Wisconsin Lawyer: The State of Stare Decisis in Wisconsin

During the 2017-18 term, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled its own precedent on three separate occasions, more than in any other recent term. Joseph Diedrich explores Wisconsin's approach to stare decisis in principle and in practice.

Media Mentions | May 28, 2021
The Regulatory Review: Week in Review
Media Mentions | April 26, 2021
C-SPAN: Guam v. United States Oral Argument
News Releases | November 11, 2019
26 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named to 2019 Wisconsin Super Lawyers/Rising Stars

The firm has 16 attorneys named to the Super Lawyers list and 10 attorneys named to the Rising Stars list.

News Releases | July 15, 2019
Husch Blackwell Prevails for Enbridge Energy in Land-Use Permitting Dispute

The Court agreed that the relevant insurance statutes prohibited Dane County from imposing the insurance conditions in Enbridge’s permit.

News Releases | May 07, 2019
Husch Blackwell Prevails in Seventh Circuit for Ho-Chunk Nation

The Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court ruling on the untimeliness of the lawsuit, but also noted limits to the scope of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which is of great importance to tribes.

News Releases | April 23, 2019
Husch Blackwell's Diedrich Receives Author Award from State Bar of Wisconsin

Diedrich’s article “Transgender Rights in Wisconsin” was originally published in the March 2018 issue of the Wisconsin Lawyer, the official publication of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

News Releases | February 22, 2019
Husch Blackwell Prevails in Case Defending Rights of Parties in Private Arbitration

Relying on decades of precedent, the Court reaffirmed that a trial court possesses only limited, statutory powers with respect to private arbitration.

Media Mentions | January 31, 2019
Isthmus: The next frontier
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 enjoys cooking for friends, writing and reading non-fiction. A favorite recent book was Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works, a historic and economic account of the forces that drive invention and change over time.

Community Leadership

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

Joe maintains an active pro bono practice and has been an advocate for LGBT+ rights in and out of court. For example, he authored an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 10 Wisconsin-based advocacy organizations; successfully represented a transgender inmate in a civil rights lawsuit involving constitutional questions under the Eighth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause; and is a frequent speaker and author on LGBT+ legal issues.

Joe is a Vice Chair of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s board of directors and also serves on the orchestra's Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Governance Committee.

Joe also serves on the community advisory team of The Beacon, a day resource center for homeless individuals in Madison.

Stay updated.

Subscribe to receive Husch Blackwell’s news and insights.

Select your preferences