John B. Palmer



John B. Palmer, III is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP where his experience in the sports industry includes providing tax advice with regard to franchise acquisitions; and tax planning in order to deal with the tax implications raised by media and other deals including sponsorship agreements. John has worked on a number of deals that involved complex tax structure relating to league revenue sharing rules. He is chair of the firm’s Tax Practice and a member of the Sports Industry Team.

Representative Experience

  • Advising the Ricketts family on tax issues involved in the leveraged partnership acquisition of the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball Club.
  • Advising the Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan team in connection with the successful purchase of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball Club.
  • Advising Guggenheim Baseball Management in connection with its successful purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Represented Sports Medicine North Orthopedic Surgery, Inc., and its affiliated ambulatory surgery center in their acquisition by Connecticut-based orthopedic and spine care management services organization Spire Orthopedic Partners, a portfolio company of Kohlberg & Co.


John taught tax accounting for over 35 years as an adjunct professor at IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law for the Masters of Tax program. He is a frequent speaker and author on a wide variety of tax issues and is a member of the partnership committee of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation.


John has been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system, and has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2007 in the area of Tax Law.* In 2011, 2013 and 2014, he was recognized by the Legal 500 for his work in domestic tax: central and was also selected for inclusion in the 2006-2016 Illinois Super Lawyers® lists.*


A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, Michigan Law Review, 1977), John received his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University (B.A., high honors, 1974). 


He is admitted to practice in Illinois and before the U.S. Tax Court, the Court of Federal Claims, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

*The Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois.