411 East Wisconsin Avenue
John Daniels became chairman emeritus in October 2013, having completed an extraordinarily successful six-year term as chairman of the firm. As chairman, he led the firm through a fundamental transformation, shifting from the traditional operational model upon which most major law firms are built to a client-centric, business-minded organization. Mr. Daniels drove that cultural shift in the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression, leading the firm to significant growth while much of the legal industry declined.
Mr. Daniels is well recognized in the legal community as well as the business community. He was named by the National Law Journal
as one of the nation’s fifty (50) most influential diverse attorneys in America. He is listed in The Business Journal of Milwaukee
“Power Book” (2009 & 2010), was named 2009 “Lawyer of the Year” by the Milwaukee Bar Association, received the 2008 “Leadership Award” from the National Bar Association, and was identified as one of the “100 Managing Partners You Need to Know” by Lawdragon
in 2008. In 2013, Mr. Daniels was named 2013 "Partner of the Year" by a group of managing partners affiliated with the National Bar Association. Finally, Mr. Daniels is fully credentialed in legal literature, having been listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
(1993-present: Real Estate Law), Chambers USA®
(2003-present: Real Estate) and the 2005-2013 Wisconsin Super Lawyers®
lists (Real Estate). He is also Martindale-Hubbell AV®
Peer Review Rated.
Mr. Daniels, formerly the national president of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, has established an impressive career in the practice of real estate law, representing national, regional, local and governmental owners, and investors. He has played a significant role in some of the most complex real estate redevelopment projects in the United States, including representing the largest property owner in connection with the redevelopment of the Midwest Airlines Center and representing the largest property owner in connection with the redevelopment of the Bradley Sports Center. He has also served as lead counsel for major institutions both in the financing and the disposition of commercial office space. He serves as national real estate counsel for Philip Morris Capital Corporation and has represented a number of major corporations on their real estate developments throughout the U.S., including General Electric Capital Corporation, Xerox Corporation and Kraft Foods.
Mr. Daniels has further led Quarles to a position of industry prominence as a firm that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The Firm ranks impressively in surveys conducted by women’s and minority groups, and both clients and independent organizations have recognized and honored Quarles for its achievements in this area. As the only African-American chairman in the AmLaw 200, Mr. Daniels was named one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal
in 2008, and he has received the 2008 James Howard Baker Award for his efforts to improve the quality of life for African-Americans in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He also received the “Human Relations Award” from The National Conference for Community and Justice, the “Outstanding Community Leader Award” by the Thurgood J. Marshall College Fund, and he was named to the national Hall of Fame by the National Black Law Students Association in 2009. Most recently, Mr. Daniels received the 2012 Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession.
Education and Honors
- Harvard Law School (J.D., 1974)
- University of Wisconsin (M.S., 1972)
- North Central College (B.A., 1969)
- Awarded the 2014 Doctor of Business Degree by the University of Wisconsin System.
- Received the 2014 Central City Business Award in Lifetime Achievement from The Milwaukee Business Journal.
- 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year.
- 2013 National Managing Partner of the Year.
- Received the 2013 Midwest Urban Empowerment Leadership Award.
- Received the 2013 Presidential Legacy Award from the National Bar Association.
- Named to Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame 2012 by Midwest Real Estate News magazine.
- Received the 2012 Excellence in Education Award from the Milwaukee Public School Board of School Directors.
- Received the 2012 “Friend of the University Award” from the Marquette University Alumni Association.
- Received the 2012 Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession.
- 2011 Legend of the Year, Milwaukee Community Journal.
- Received the 2011 Pathfinder Award by the African-American Managing Partners Network.
- Received the 2011 Friend of Hispanic Community Award by United Community Center.
- Named the 2011 Trailblazer in Law by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
- Received the 2008 Humanitarian Award from the St. Francis Children’s Center (Milwaukee, WI).
- Received the 1994 "Outstanding Alumnus" award from North Central College.
- Appointed Fellow at the Ford Foundation in 1970 and 1971.
- Appointed Fellow at the National Science Foundation in 1969.
Professional and Civic Activities
Public Service/Community Affairs:
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (Board of Directors).
- Chicago Sinfonietta’s “Yo-Yo Ma Salutes Maestro Paul Freeman” (Co-chair, 2011).
- American College of Real Estate Lawyers (National President).
- American Bar Association (National Secretary Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section).
- State Bar of Wisconsin (Member).
- Milwaukee Bar Association (Past Director).
- American Bar Association (National Vice President, Law Students Division, 1973-1974).
- Greater Milwaukee Foundation (Chair of the Board of Directors).
- Greater Milwaukee Committee (Vice Chairman).
- Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (Director).
- Ralph Evinrude Foundation (Director).
- Medical College of Wisconsin (Director Emeritus).
- Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (Past Director).
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee (Past Director).
- Aurora Health Care (Board Chairman).
- Harris Financial Corporation (Board of Directors).
- V&J Foods, Inc. (Director).
- North Milwaukee State Bank (Former Chair).
- Zilber Neighborhood Initiative (Board Member).
- Featured Speaker, “2013 Small Business Development Exposition,” Community Business Development Partners, November 14, 2013.
- Co-author, “From Professional Sports to Franchising - Making the Transition,” Sports Litigation Alert, August 9, 2013.
- Interview, Scale Up Milwaukee, 2013.
- Interview, LeRoy Butler TV, Fellowship Open 2013.
- Featured, “John Daniels Jr.: Embracing change, for the betterment of his law firm,” REJournals.com, April 2, 2013.
- Co-panelist, “Paths to Professional Empowerment and Leadership,” Chicago United’s 9th Annual Color of Leadership Conference and Bridge Awards, November 15, 2012.
- Featured Executive, “Creating a Level Playing Field for Talent,” HR and Marketing Power Partners, 2012.
- Author, “Creating Value in the Legal Marketplace: The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same,” U.S. News/Best Law Firms, 2011.
- Featured, “Getting Past the Past,” Diversity Executive, July 10, 2011.
- Featured, “The Last Word: Delivering value,” BizTimes.com, July 10, 2011.
- Featured, “Powering Up,” Diversity & the Bar, May/June 2011.
- Featured, “The Book of Daniels,” Wisconsin Super Lawyers, December 2010.
- Co-panelist (with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor & Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson), “Politicization of Judicial Election Campaigns: Whose Party is it Anyway?,” Wisconsin State Bar Annual Convention, May 6, 2010.
- Featured (with other global real estate professionals), “Real Estate Focus,” Corporate INTL, 2010.
- Featured, “John W. Daniels Jr.: Developing a firm culture that puts people first,” Wisconsin Lawyer, May 2009.
- Panelist, MCCA's 10th Annual Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference, “The Diversity Director and Managing Partner: Best Practices to Forge an Essential Partnership,” September 2009.
- Featured, “A Leader's Perspective on Leadership,” Clark Atlanta Magazine, Fall 2008/Winter 2009.
- Featured, “100 Law Firm Managing Partners You Need to Know,” Lawdragon, June 2008.
- Featured, “An Interview with John Daniels, Jr.,” Cook County Bar Association newsletter, August 2008.
- Interview, Black Nouveau television program.
- Modern Real Estate Transactions–ALI-ABA.
- Real Estate Editor, ABA Barrister Law Notes.