James J. Wawrzyn

Partner

Education

Marquette University Law School, J.D., 2006

University of Wisconsin – Madison, B.A., 2000

Admissions

Wisconsin

It is common that when a deal closes many people consider the work done. For James, the work isn’t finished until every loose end is tied up and every issue is resolved. He stays engaged with stakeholders to address any obstacles that may impact their desired outcome and maintains focus on bringing all matters to a resolution.  

As a member of the Corporate Practice Group, James represents clients in corporate-commercial contract negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, supply-chain alternatives, financing, risk management, governance matters, technology licensing and economic development. He collaborates with his clients to identify their priorities and simplifies decision points for their consideration. Many of his clients work in manufacturing, distribution and economic development.

James’s versatility in negotiations and his ability to strategize helps him reach the best possible outcomes. This was particularly true during a case when the buyer’s counsel filed a claim that exceeded the escrow funds three times over on the eve of the scheduled release of those funds. With limited resources available post-closing, James developed a strategy to hold firm and identified leverage points in negotiations. In the end, he averted protracted litigation and got a resolution that included a release of the funds from escrow.

Prior to private practice, James worked in each branch of Wisconsin government. He served as a policy advisor to the governor, committee clerk in the state Senate and clerked for a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

Memberships & Involvement

Member: Wisconsin State Bar Association; Milwaukee Bar Association; American Bar Association

Experience

  • Advised shareholder representative on $85 million sale of contract manufacturer to private equity buyer for future bolt-on transactions
  • Counsel for $32 million sale of emergency equipment supplier to strategic international buyer
  • Advised longtime client on $20 million acquisition of strategic European propulsion manufacturer
  • Advised sole shareholder in $8 million sale of environmental protection contractor to strategic public buyer
  • Company counsel for multiple venture capital investments in technology companies, from Series A Preferred to exit
  • Provided counsel to management in acquisition of a commercial roofing company from a founder
  • Structured and implemented a plan to transition from 50/50 ownership to majority-minority ownership structure
  • Represented equipment finance company in the buy-out of a terminated employee
  • Counseled a community development authority on grants, loans and real estate transactions
  • Executed the formation and start-up of a US subsidiary for an Indian financial technology company
  • Negotiated an Italian manufacturer's technology development and licensing agreements with a US customer
  • Advised a German manufacturer on post-closing integration of an acquired US distributor

Presentations & Events

  • Reflections on the Road from Idea to Innovation and the Management of the Detours Along the Way
    Biz Times Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, December 10, 2021
  • Transitioning the Business through Mergers and Acquisitions 
    Family Business Legacy Institute, Seminar, February 20, 2020
  • Advanced Language Writing – Simplifying Contract Templates to Increase Customer Acceptance Rates and Reduce Disputes
    Association of Corporate Counsel, Wisconsin Annual Conference, May 19, 2019
  • Experiences with the Eviction Defense Project
    Rotary Club of Mequon-Thiensville Sunrise, Seminar, February 15, 2019
  • Avoiding a Dumpster Fire: Practical Considerations in Negotiating Sophisticated Commercial Contracts with Strategic Partners
    Association of Corporate Counsel, Wisconsin Annual Conference, May 18, 2017