John R. Dawson

Retired Partner


John Dawson is a retired partner in Foley & Lardner LLP's Milwaukee office. He was the national chair of the firm's Litigation Department from 1986 to 1994 and the managing partner of the Milwaukee office from 1994 to 1999.

At the time of his retirement in 2005, Mr. Dawson was listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in three areas: alternate dispute resolution, business litigation and First Amendment law. His trial court and appellate practice experience in state and federal courts throughout the country encompassed a broad range of commercial litigation and regulatory issues, including technology licensing; products liability; telecommunications; dealer and distribution; media law; antitrust; intellectual property and trade secrets; insurance and reinsurance coverage; futures and commodities trading; and product warranty and contract liability issues.

Reflective of his training and experience in mediation, he was named in the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution's Regional Panel of Distinguished Neutrals for the State of Wisconsin. He is the author of two published articles on mediation: "Why Mediation Works When Negotiations Don’t," Wisconsin Law Journal (Dec. 2003); and "Deciding When to Mediate Business Disputes," Wisconsin Lawyer (March 2005).

Mr. Dawson chaired the Eastern District of Wisconsin Advisory Group on the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990 upon appointment by the chief judge of the district.

He served as president of the Milwaukee Bar Association in 1994-1995.

From its formation in 2000 through September, 2006, following appointment by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Mr. Dawson was a member of the Preliminary Review Committee of Wisconsin's Office of Lawyer Regulation. In November, 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court appointed him to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission on which he served through August, 2012.

Since 2003, Mr. Dawson has been an adjunct professor at the Marquette University Law School where he teaches a course on the First Amendment and media law.

Mr. Dawson received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Northwestern University in 1963. Following active duty as a junior officer in the United States Naval Reserve in 1964-1967, he received his J.D. degree, with distinction, in 1970 from Duke University School of Law, where he was managing editor of the Duke Law Journal.