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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 (DEI). 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)
  • BizTimes Milwaukee "One of the Most Influential Business Leaders" BizTimes Milwaukee (2022)
  • Milwaukee Business Journal "Top 40 Newsmakers of the Past 40 Years" (2023)
  • Entrepreneur of the Year (2013)
  • Milwaukee Business Journal "Milwaukee-Area’s Top 15 Power Brokers" (2021)
  • Thurgood Marshall Legacy Award, Advocate Aurora Health recipient (2020)
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers® (2019, 2021: Real Estate)
  • Donald Driver Foundation "Driven to Achieve Award" (2018)
  • Greater Milwaukee Foundation "William C. Frye Award" (2017)
  • Savoy Magazine "Most Influential Black Corporate Directors" (2016)
  • Wisconsin Alumni Association "Badger of the Year Award" (2016)
  • Wisconsin Alumni Association "Distinguished Alumni Award" (2016)
  • Wisconsin Law Journal "Leader in the Law" (2016)
  • International Theological Center, Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary, doctor of humane letters (2015)
  • Milwaukee Rotary Club "Person of the Year" (2015)
  • Savoy Magazine "Most Influential Black Lawyers" (2015, 2018)
  • Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame "Distinguished Executive Award" (2015)
  • Wisconsin Hospital Association "Trustee of the Year" (2014)
  • Milwaukee Business Journal "Central City Business Award in Lifetime Achievement" (2014)
  • National Bar Association "Presidential Legacy Award" (2013)
  • MBA Association "National Entrepreneur of the Year" (2013)
  • Milwaukee Business Journal "Central City Business Award" (2014)
  • Midwest Real Estate News Magazine "Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame" (2012)
  • Milwaukee Public School Board of School Directors "Excellence in Education Award" (2012)
  • Marquette University Alumni Association "Friend of the University Award" (2012)
  • American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession "Spirit of Excellence Award" (2012)
  • Milwaukee Community Journal "Legend of the Year" (2012)
  • African-American Managing Partners Network "Pathfinder Award" (2011)
  • United Community Center "Friend of Hispanic Community Award" (2011)
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority "Trailblazer in Law" (2011)
  • St. Francis Children's Center "Humanitarian Award" (2008)
  • North Central College "Outstanding Alumnus" (1994)
  • Best Lawyers in America® (1993–present: Real Estate Law)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, former board of directors
  • Advocate Aurora Health, board chair
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers, past national president
  • Chicago United, board of directors, corporate secretary
  • Chicago Sinfonietta's "Yo-Yo Ma Salutes Maestro Paul Freeman," co-chair (2011)
  • American Bar Association, Law Students Division, past national vice president
  • Greater Milwaukee Committee, past board chair
  • Greater Milwaukee Foundation, past board chair
  • 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
  • Ford Foundation, fellow (1970, 1971)
  • National Science Foundation, fellow (1969)

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