James P. Peterson



James P. Peterson has extensive experience in acquisitions, divestitures, structuring of corporate venture capital entities and related investments, and general corporate law. James regularly represents Scandinavian and other European-based companies in U.S. acquisitions, joint ventures, and general corporate counselling matters. James is vice chair of the firm’s Business Law Department and a member of the firm's Private Equity & Venture Capital, Transactional & Securities, and International Practices. 

Prior to practicing law, James represented the State of Wisconsin's interests at the State of Wisconsin Office of Federal-State Relations in Washington, D.C. and worked as a staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means. 


  • Peer review rated as AV Preeminent®, the highest performance rating in the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ system
  • Selected by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading corporate and mergers and acquisitions attorney (2007-2023)
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of:
    • Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law (2011-2024)
    • Mergers and Acquisitions Law (2013-2024)
  • Named the Best Lawyers® 2016 Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Milwaukee
  • Recipient of Foley & Lardner’s Carl Hitchner Mentor of the Year Award, which is an annual award recognizing outstanding mentoring to young attorneys by partners and senior counsel (2016)
  • Awarded the M&A Advisor “Deal of the Year” in the Industrial Manufacturing/Distribution Category for his work on the acquisition of the automotive industrial plastics business of Wicor Holdings AG. He led the multi-national team that advised the acquirer in this transaction (2014)

Community Engagement

James is a member of the board of directors of Wellpoint Care Network, a nonprofit organization which provides therapy, prevention, education, and case management for children and families, including kids in foster care, foster care families, and youth aging out of the foster care system. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee. 


  • Co-author, “The Impact of an Asset Purchase Transaction Structure on FCPA Risk,” Global Banking & Finance Review (August 2020)


  • Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1995)
  • Georgetown University (B.S., 1989)

Admissions and Professional Memberships

  • Member, State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Member, Milwaukee Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association