About John

Unmatched legal, business, civic and diversity leadership

John Daniels Jr. is not only a nationally respected real estate attorney with an enviable client list of national corporate household names, but also a strategic business advisor to many of the firm’s largest clients, a much sought-after thought leader on a wide range of topics and a frequently honored champion of diversity, equity and inclusion. He is a widely recognized pillar of the community who is an active agent for organizational and civic change and a crusader for access to high-quality education, especially among underserved communities. In short, people know they can depend on him to get things done.

A former national president of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, John has represented national, regional, local and governmental owners and investors, playing a significant role in some of the most complex real estate development projects in the United States throughout his remarkable career. For his legal accomplishments, John has been recognized by the National Bar Association as one of the 50 most influential diverse attorneys in America and by Lawdragon as one of “100 Managing Partners You Need to Know.”

In addition to myriad honors for his legal leadership, he has been recognized for his entrepreneurialism, his commitment to the pursuit of racial justice and his devotion to education. John is driven by a powerful sense of fairness and a belief that most problems can be solved through objective, reasoned persistence, pursued in good faith.

John grew the firm impressively during his tenure as chair, a period that included the worst economy since the Great Depression. He expanded its attorney numbers and added new locations and national practice specialties, fundamentally transforming Quarles from its traditional legal industry structure to a model of a 21st century professional services business. His personal motto, “Everybody counts every day,” has become one of the firm’s core values.

Professional Recognitions

  • Milwaukee Business Journal "Milwaukee-Area’s Top 25 Power Brokers" (2023)
  • One of the Most Influential Business Leaders, BizTimes Milwaukee “Wisconsin 275” (2022)
  • Entrepreneur of the Year (2013)
  • Milwaukee Business Journal "Milwaukee-Area’s Top 15 power brokers" (2021)
  • Recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Legacy Award, Advocate Aurora Health (2020)
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers® (2019, 2021: Real Estate)
  • Driven to Achieve Award, Donald Driver Foundation (2018)
  • William C. Frye Award, Greater Milwaukee Foundation (2017)
  • Savoy Magazine’s "Most Influential Black Corporate Directors," (2016)
  • Recipient of the Badger of the Year Award, Wisconsin Alumni Association (2016)
  • Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, Wisconsin Alumni Association (2016)
  • Named a Leader in the Law by the Wisconsin Law Journal (2016)
  • Awarded Doctor of Humane Letters, International Theological Center, Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary (2015)
  • Selected as the Milwaukee Rotary Club's Person of the Year (2015)
  • Named to Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Black Lawyers List (2015, 2018)
  • Recipient of the Distinguished Executive Award from the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame (2015)
  • Awarded the 2014 Doctor of Business Degree by the University of Wisconsin System
  • Awarded the 2014 Trustee of the Year Award by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Inc.
  • Received the 2014 Central City Business Award in Lifetime Achievement from The Milwaukee Business Journal
  • 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year
  • National Managing Partner of the Year (2013)
  • Presidential Legacy Award (2013 - National Bar Association)
  • National Entrepreneur of the Year (2013 - MBA Association)
  • Central City Business Award (2014 - The Business Journal of Milwaukee)
  • Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame (2012 - Midwest Real Estate News Magazine)
  • Excellence in Education Award (2012 - Milwaukee Public School Board of School Directors)
  • "Friend of the University Award" (2012 - Marquette University Alumni Association)
  • Spirit of Excellence Award (2012 - American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession)
  • Legend of the Year (2012 - Milwaukee Community Journal)
  • Pathfinder Award (2011 - African-American Managing Partners Network)
  • Friend of Hispanic Community Award (2011 - United Community Center)
  • Trailblazer in Law (2011 - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated)
  • Humanitarian Award (2008 - St. Francis Children's Center, Milwaukee, WI)
  • "Outstanding Alumnus" (1994 - North Central College)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® (1993–present: Real Estate Law)
  • Appointed Fellow, Ford Foundation (1970, 1971)
  • Appointed Fellow, National Science Foundation (1969)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, board of directors
  • Advocate Aurora Health, board chairman
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers, past national president
  • Chicago United, board of directors, corporate secretary
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, former board of directors
  • Chicago Sinfonietta's "Yo-Yo Ma Salutes Maestro Paul Freeman," co-chair (2011)
  • American Bar Association, past national vice president, Law Students Division
  • Greater Milwaukee Committee, past chairman of board
  • Greater Milwaukee Foundation, past chair of the board of directors
  • Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, past director
  • Ralph Evinrude Foundation, director
  • Medical College of Wisconsin, director emeritus
  • Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, past director
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, past director
  • Harris Financial Corporation, board of directors
  • V&J Foods, Inc., director

News & Insights


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