Trent M. Johnson


Trent Johnson has concentrated on product distribution law since the beginning of his career at Foley and now devotes the vast majority of his practice to counseling manufacturers on many of the key facets of their resale relationships. Trent routinely advises his clients — from Fortune 100 companies to smaller private organizations — on issues involving channel structure (including multi-channel networks), drafting key contractual provisions, state and federal antitrust law compliance, contract administration and enforcement, e-commerce issues, distributor and dealer performance, negotiating relationship modifications (both individual and system-wide), transfers of control, product or territory withdrawals, product pricing, discount and rebate programs, product repurchase disputes, and other issues.

To the extent clients need to disengage entirely from a distributor, Trent has substantial experience litigating and trying distributor terminations (including “bet-the-network” terminations) in state and federal court and in arbitration. He focuses primarily on distribution and franchise litigation and counseling, which includes counseling on related antitrust issues. Trent also has substantial experience in general commercial and complex litigation.

Key to Trent’s practice is staying ahead of statutory changes and their impact on manufacturers. Trent was the creator of the interactive version of Foley’s “Smiley Face Map,” a tool designed to assist in-house counsel in assessing their risk of liability under the panoply of state distributor and dealer protection statutes.

Trent is co-chair of the firm’s Distribution & Franchise Practice.


Community Involvement

Trent is a member of several professional and charitable organizations and is a member of the board of directors of both the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and the Manufacturing Diversity Institute. Trent is a former board member of The Milwaukee Urban League and of Bublr Bikes.

Thought Leadership

Trent speaks and writes frequently in the area of distribution and franchise as well as complex commercial litigation. He is a co-editor for Foley’s Product Distribution Law Guide and the Wisconsin chapter of Business Torts – A Fifty State Guide, a litigation reference guide for corporate in-house counsel (Aspen Publishers, Inc.).


10 November 2023 Deals and Wins

Foley Advises Source Logistics in Acquisition by Palladium Equity

Foley & Lardner LLP served as legal advisor to Source Logistics, a provider of value-added warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment third-party logistics services to the consumer goods sector with a focus on Hispanic food and beverage brands, as private equity firm Palladium Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in the company.
18 October 2023 Events

Product Distribution & Franchise Seminar

Foley & Lardner is excited to host the annual Product Distribution & Franchise Seminar on October 18, 2023 in Chicago.
11 July 2023 Manufacturing Industry Advisor

Top Legal Issues Facing the Manufacturing Sector in 2023

As we embark on the second half of 2023, this second annual Manufacturing White Paper examines the business and legal considerations that continue to impact the industry and offers the perspectives and insights of attorneys with deep experience serving as trusted advisors to manufacturing companies.
20 April 2023 Manufacturing Industry Advisor

Colorado’s Consumer Right to Repair Agriculture Equipment Act

On April 12, 2023, the Colorado legislature passed the Consumer Right to Repair Agriculture Equipment Act (the “Act”). Under the Act, manufacturers of “agricultural equipment” will be required to provide independent repair shops and individual equipment owners with parts, software, firmware, tools (including diagnostic tools), and documentation to aid in the repair of that equipment.
5-16 December 2022 Events

CLE Weeks

Please join Foley & Lardner at our Milwaukee office for this year's Annual CLE Weeks. This conference will feature six days of engaging speakers providing sessions focused on the areas of manufacturing, innovative technology, healthcare, energy, ethics, and beyond.
27 September, 6 October, 13 October 2022 Events

31st Annual Law of Product Distribution & Franchise Seminar

The live Law of Product Distribution & Franchise Seminar is back in 2022, hosting its 31st-annual event in three Foley office locations, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time (Central): Milwaukee, on September 27; Dallas, on October 6; Chicago, on October 13.