Don Schott is a seasoned litigator, with more than 30 years of experience and success trying cases. He is also a deeply trusted advisor to some of Wisconsin’s largest companies. In negotiations or in court, he wins over judges, juries, and mediators by taking the complexity out of issues and making the decision-making process obvious. Don’s manner is diplomatic and approachable, making dispute resolution less about confrontation and more about confidence in his analyses.
As a result of his intelligent and thoughtful leadership, Don was elected by his partners to serve for 17 years (1999-2016) as a member of the firm’s governing executive committee. He also served as the firm’s general counsel. In January, 2016 Don was nominated for a position on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Don’s nomination won bi-partisan support in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but expired when the full Senate did not vote on it prior to the 2016 election.
Don has tried cases in state and federal courts around the country, and argued before the 7th and 9th Circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals and before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, reflecting a long history of high-level casework. He is also admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. His particular strengths lie in securities, business fraud, commercial disputes, health care, and energy-related disputes, but he has also tried environmental and lender liability matters and has engaged in class action defense, among numerous other areas of law.
As a litigator, Don recognizes that his work is about much more than “winning” or “losing.” His clients are often immersed in what can be a strange and stressful situation, over which they have little control. Don has the tools to litigate, mediate, and otherwise deftly resolve disputes, but he considers it a priority to guide his clients through the adversarial process, making sure they understand the entire situation and the possible outcomes so that they can make better decisions and sleep well, knowing he’s taking good care of them.
- Securities Litigation
- Class Action Defense
- Litigation & Dispute Resolution
- Financial Institutions Litigation
- Energy, Infrastructure & Environment
Education and Honors
- Harvard Law School (J.D., 1980)
- Phi Beta Kappa
- University of Wisconsin (B.S., 1977)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, 2019
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 2003
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1995
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1991
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 1980
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1980
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1980
Professional and Civic Activities
- Wisconsin Historical Society (Board of Curators, present)
- American College of Trial Lawyers (Fellow)
- Quarles & Brady Executive Committee (Member, 1999–present)
- Legislative Assistant to the Governor of Wisconsin (1983–1985)
- American Bar Associations (Member)
- State Bar of Wisconsin (Board of Directors, Young Lawyers Division, 1982–1983)
- Dane County Bar Associations (Member)
- Western District Bar Association
- Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 Madison Litigation – Bet-the-Company "Lawyer of the Year"
- Named a Wisconsin Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation (2015–present)
- Listed in Chambers USA® (2015–present: Litigation: General Commercial)
- Named a 2014 Leader in the Law by the Wisconsin Law Journal
- Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2013, 2021 Madison Litigation – Environmental Law "Lawyer of the Year"
- Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2012 Madison Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy) Law "Lawyer of the Year"
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
- Selected for inclusion in the Wisconsin Super Lawyers® list each year since 2005 (General Litigation)
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® each year since 2001 (Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Environmental; Litigation – Mergers & Acquisitions; Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy); Litigation – Securities)