Terry E. Johnson

Milwaukee Office

Areas of Practice/Concentration

  • Professional Liability and Licensing Law
  • Business and Commercial Litigation
  • State and Federal Tort Claims


  • University of Wisconsin J.D., cum laude, 1975
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee B.A., cum laude, 1972

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, OLR Procedure Review Committee, 2016-17
  • Wisconsin Defense Counsel
  • Advocate, American Board of Trial Advocates


  • All Wisconsin State Courts
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Mr. Johnson has tried hundreds of cases to a verdict in matters ranging from complex legal malpractice cases to major construction defect disputes to major personal injury actions. His abilities as a trial attorney have been recognized by many polls, surverys, rating systems and organizations. However, the best way to judge the ability of a trial attorney is the judgement of another experienced litigator. The following are the comments of an experienced trial attorney after having attended a recent trial where Mr. Johnson represented that attorney's firm:

There are certain things that I think set a great trial attorney apart from a good one. One of those things is the ability to command the courtroom. It's hard to define what I mean but I've tried enough cases to spot when a lawyer has that special ability. Terry Johnson has it; the judge turned for Terry's insight before making any ruling, all the other lawyers displayed deep respect for him, and the jury paid careful attention to everything he said. He made the points on cross that he needed to make with the deftness of a surgeon. He made a convincing argument about [our opponent] in a way that even [our opponent] respected.
He is worth whatever he charges and more.
Mr. Johnson is a frequent lecturer to groups of attorneys on topics including trial practice and process, cross-examination, attorney ethics and professional liability. He represents lawyers and law firms on issues relating to corporate/business structure, law firm dissolution and attorney departure, legal malpractice, and ethical issues associated there within. Mr. Johnson is frequently retained as an expert witness in these areas.

Representative Decisions

Wisconsin Supreme Court

In Re Loew 2010 WI 23, 323 Wis.2d 670, 780 N.W.2d 523(Affirmation of limited discipline imposed by referee based upon medical disability issues.)

Krier, et al v. Vilione, et al. 2009 WI 45, 317 Wis.2d 288, 766 N.W.2d 517 (Affirmation of summary judgment in favor of defendants dismissing claims based upon inadequacy of expert testimony in an accounting malpractice case.)

In Re Jacobson 2005 WI 76, 281 Wis.2d 619, 697 N.W.2d 831(Affirmation of limited discipline imposed in light of medical disability issues raised by PJM after taking over case following hearing and initial adverse result.)

Rainbow Country Rentals and Retail, Inc. v. Ameritech Publishing, Inc. 2005 WI 153, 286 Wis.2d 170, 706 N.W.2d 95 (Reversal of prior Wisconsin Supreme Court authority holding that Ameritech Publishing's damage limitation was unenforceable on public policy grounds.)

Schaefer v. Riegelman 2002 WI 18, 250 Wis.2d 494, 639 N.W.2d 715 (Plaintiff's legal malpractice complaint found invalidly executed due to failure to have signed by Wisconsin licensed attorney.)

Lane v. Sharp Packaging Systems, Inc., et al 2002 WI 28, 251 Wis.2d 68, 640 N.W.2d 788(Court of Appeals and Supreme Court) (Interpretation of privilege issues concerning suit by former officer and director of corporate client.)

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Ford Motor Company, et al. 225 Wis.2d 305, 592 N.W.2d 201 (1999) (Extension of economic loss doctrine to consumer transactions.)

Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Markwardt, et al. V. Zurich American Insurance Company, et al. 2006 WI App 200, 296 Wis.2d 512, 724 N.W.2d (Appropriateness and validity of agreement between attorney and departing associate for division of fees on contingent fee cases taken by departing associate.)

Heikkinen, et al. V. United Services Automobile Association, et al. 2006 WI App 207, 296 Wis.2d 438, 724 N.W.2d 243 (Interpretation of insurance policy issued by Archdiocese found by trial court to provide coverage for PJM client, church volunteer acting within scope of volunteer duties.)

Johnson v. Cintas Corporation No. 2, et al. 2011 WI App 5, 331 Wis.2d 51, 794 N.W.2d 475 (On appeal undertaken by PJM after prior firm allowed default to be entered, determination that failure to properly name and serve defendant denied trial court jurisdiction over defendant and invalidated default.)

United States Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit

DeWitt, Porter, Huggett, Schumacher & Morgan, S.C. v. Kovalic, et al. (Appropriateness of refusal of trial court to bifurcate trial involving fee claim, fee collection issues, malpractice action, and reasonableness of award of attorney’s fees in favor of firm)

Talmage v. Harris, et al. (Appropriateness of district court’s restrictions on recovery of damages in malpractice claim and necessity of expert testimony on underlying bad faith issues.)

Professional Achievements

  • AV Preeminent rated by Martindale Hubbell - Highest possible rating in both legal ability & ethical standards
  • M Magazine Milwaukee’s 2014, 2015, 2016 “Leading Lawyers”
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers In America - Bet-The-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation & Personal Injury Litigation, 2018
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers In America - 2015 Milwaukee Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Lawyer of the Year
  • Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers - Wisconsin based on a poll of 12,600 Wisconsin Attorneys; tied for top vote getter in 2005, listed annually, 2017
  • Recognized by Milwaukee Magazine as among the "Best Personal Injury Defense Attorneys in Milwaukee" in 1990, 1995, 1999(top choice), and 2003(top choice)
  • Article in Super Lawyers - The Quick and the Reserved
  • Article in WDC Journal - Summer 2014 - Gunn v. Minton: Implications for Legal Malpractice Cases Involving Patent Law and Beyond