John W. Halpin

Direct: 414-312-7261


John Halpin is a trial lawyer and partner at Laffey, Leitner & Goode LLC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Before joining LLG, John worked one of the largest civil trial firms in Wisconsin and at an AmLaw 100 firm defending dealers and manufacturers across the country against allegations of design and manufacturing defects, installation and service errors, and inadequate instructions and warnings, as well as defending a number of national shipping & logistics companies faced with catastrophic injury claims due to trucking accidents. His experience early in his career, which included representation of some of the world’s best-known brands and major manufacturers, has provided him with a depth and variety of experience that truly sets him apart from his peers.

While John continues to defend a number of transportation companies and product manufacturers and advises them on best practices for risk management and avoidance, he has expanded his commercial practice since joining LLG to include litigation of shareholder and fiduciary disputes, breaches of non-compete and other contractual clauses, and violations of franchise and dealership laws, particularly in the context of wrongful terminations. He also has a particular interest in and growing list of clients who call on him to handle construction disputes and probate litigation.

John is graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Marquette University Law School, and he has been named a Rising Star in Product Liability Defense and Business Litigation by Super Lawyers® from 2011 through 2019, as well as a Super Lawyer in Construction Litigation in 2023. John has also been named to The Best Lawyers in America™ every year since 2020 in a variety of practice areas, including Construction Law, Construction and Real Estate Litigation, Insurance Litigation, Product Liability Litigation, and Trusts and Estates. He is licensed to practice law in both Illinois and Wisconsin, and he is a member of the Transportation Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association’s Forums on Construction and Franchising, and the Defense Research Institute’s Fire Science, Product Liability, and Transportation committees.  John is also an active member of and contributor to the USLAW Network.

Practice Areas

Representative Experience

Won summary judgment on vendor’s contract claim asserting more than $6 million in damages in relation to digital marketing platform used in client’s retail operations throughout the United States.

Obtained dismissal of federal lawsuits in California and Wisconsin alleging more than $300 million in damages for infringement of patents relating to skylight system.

Brought in during jury trial in Cook County, Illinois with the future of clients’ engineering firm at stake to negotiate high-low agreement that allowed the firm to stay in business after an adverse verdict was returned.

Secured emergency injunctive relief and negotiated favorable settlement in shareholder oppression lawsuit filed on behalf of high-level executive who was forcibly removed from company by co-owner’s armed guard, which resulted in co-owner agreeing to exit company, place all shares in voting trust, and pay all of client’s legal fees while client resumed control of the company and day-to-day operations.

Negotiated creative settlements of complex commercial disputes for supplier to the vaping industry who was facing several million dollars in claims from multiple parties in 3 states, in which client contributed $0 toward settlement and actually convinced opponent to assume $250,000 of client’s financial obligations.

Won defense verdict in an international arbitration between retail client and contract salesman seeking $6 million in commission despite being brought into the two-year old case to defend damages just two months before the hearing.

Represented members of prominent Wisconsin families in litigation against trustees and fiduciaries with the goal of enforcing the terms of charitable trusts and endowments established for the benefit of various non-profits and the people of Wisconsin.

Member of LLG’s Emergency Response Team, which is available for 24/7/365 response to the scene of catastrophic injuries and coordinating defense investigation of truck, fire and explosion, and construction site accidents across the State of Wisconsin.

Represented the NAACP in fighting for fair and open access to the polls in 2020 elections.

Represented prisoner pro bono in his civil rights lawsuit for denial of medical care and deliberate indifference and secured favorable decision from the Eastern District of Wisconsin after ten-hour evidentiary hearing on summary judgment motions brought by the Attorney General and counsel for other private healthcare defendants.

Authored successful summary judgment motion in New York lawsuit alleging defective manufacture of material handling equipment that led to traumatic brain injury, which was affirmed on appeal.

Negotiated favorable settlement for construction company client involved in bet-the-company litigation filed by builder and property owner alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of gas valve manufacturer in lawsuit involving extensive water damage to residential property in Wisconsin.

Won summary judgment for banking client in breach of contract case where a developer wrongfully terminated an offer to purchase a large tract of land.

Won dismissal and secured sanctions on behalf of transportation client after convincing Wisconsin court that the plaintiff’s claims of serious personal injury caused by a low-speed collision were unsupported by the evidence.

Obtained dismissal of all claims against client in Wisconsin legal malpractice claim brought by client’s ex-wife and former business partners.

Part of defense team that favorably settled catastrophic personal injury claim brought in Massachusetts against manufacturer of construction equipment by a plaintiff who demanded $25 million prior to suit.

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a number of lenders that owned foreclosed properties across Minnesota and Wisconsin in action filed by subcontractor who maintained those properties and filed a lawsuit seeking a large sum of money for lien foreclosure, breach of contract, and theft by contractor.

Managed day-to-day asbestos docket for two companies frequently named as defendants in Cook County and Madison County, including defense strategy, client reporting, depositions, motion practice, and handling all settlement negotiations, which saved clients an average of a million dollars per year.

Served as lead associate on national trial team representing leading manufacturers of construction equipment, industrial lift trucks, and rental trailers in product liability claims filed across the country.

Successfully briefed issues on appeal before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and state appellate courts in Illinois, New York, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Represented general contractors, architects, and engineers in various lawsuits across the Midwest alleging various construction and design defects.

Attended and actively participated in dozens of site and artifact inspections across the country related to fatalities, fire, and explosions on behalf of various product manufacturers and transportation clients.

Defended Wisconsin property owners against multiple suits asserting Safe Place and premises liability claims.

Advised on product warnings and recalls for several nationwide product manufacturers.

Defended numerous truck drivers and transportation companies accused of against Wisconsin municipal citations for weight violations, speeding, and other infractions.

Published Works & Presentations

To Be or Not To Be: A Business Tort, co-presenter, USLAW Network 2023 Fall Client Conference (October 2023)

Putting Your Best Wingtip Forward:  Tips for Preparing for a Corporate Designee Deposition, co-presenter, Annual Meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel – Wisconsin Chapter (May 2023)

Seeing Red Flags for TBI Cases and Creative Defense Strategies, co-presenter, USLAW Network Transportation Exchange (February 2023)

The Sword and Shield of Motor Carrier(ish) Rules and Regulations: Even When You’re Not a Motor Carrier You Might Turn Into One, and Other Amazing Tricks, co-presenter, Annual Meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel – Wisconsin Chapter (May 2022)

Avoiding Sanctions for Spoliation, co-presenter, The Claims and Litigation Management Alliance Annual Meeting (March 2022)

Five Strategies for Handling Low Impact Cases, co-presenter, USLAW Network Transportation Exchange (February 2022)

If You Want Peace, Prepare for War:  Strategies for Risk Mitigation and Litigation Avoidance, co-presenter, Associated Equipment Distributors Annual Summit (January 2022)

This Will Only Hurt for a Second: Implementing a Company-Wide COVID Vaccination Plan, co-presenter, Membership Webinar for Associated Equipment Distributors (September 2021)

Negotiation Strategies for Formal and Informal Dispute Resolution a/k/a Let’s Make a Deal, co-presenter, Associated Equipment Distributors Annual Summit (May 2021)

Reality Is What I See, Not What You See: Consumer Protection in the Era of Alternative Facts, presenter, USLAW Network Worldwide Virtual Retreat (October 2020)

Trust, But Verify: The Importance Of Ethical Contract Practices In Challenging Times, co-presenter, Annual Meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel – Wisconsin Chapter (August 2020)

Best Practices in Standard and Non-Standard Contracts and Agreements, co-author, USLAW Magazine+ (July 2020)

Class Actions in the Age of COVID-19, co-presenter, Membership Webinar for the Association of Corporate Counsel – Wisconsin Chapter  (June 2020)

Thinking Outside the State: The Dormant Commerce Clause and Its Impact on State Relationship Laws, co-author, 39 Franchise L. J. 515 (2020)

To PPP or Not to PPP, That is the Question, co-presenter, Membership Webinar for Associated Equipment Distributors (May 2020)

EVERYTHING is Negotiable: Legal & Ethical Considerations in Construction Bids and Contracts, presenter, Membership Meeting for the Construction Management Association of America – Wisconsin Chapter (February 2020)

Taking Advantage of a Catastrophe: Why Every Company Needs An Emergency Response Plan, co-presenter, Annual Meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel – Wisconsin Chapter (May 2018)

New Year’s Resolution: Update Your Emergency Response Plan, author, LLG Blog post (January 2018)

Major Issues for Commercial Motor Carriers, co-presenter, Annual Meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel – Wisconsin Chapter (May 2016)

Managing Client Expectations Throughout Litigation, co-presenter, WHD University (January 2016)

Now What? Accident Investigation and Response, co-presenter, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek Transportation Seminar (September 2015)

Can’t This All Just Go Away? Avoiding Suit in the First Place, co-presenter, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek Product Liability Seminar (March 2015)

North of the Border: Wisconsin Legal Update, co-presenter, Crivello Carlson Seminar for Illinois-based adjusters,  risk managers, and in-house counsel (2010-2012)

New Mandatory Insurance Provisions & Tort Reform in the 2009 Wisconsin Budget, co-presenter, Crivello Carlson Seminar for Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa claims personnel (2009)

Updates in Insurance Law, co-presenter, Crivello Carlson Seminar for Wisconsin insurers and claims personnel (2007-2008)

Professional Admissions, Associations & Honors

All Wisconsin state and federal courts

All Illinois state and federal courts

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
State Bar of Wisconsin

Milwaukee Bar Association

Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association
Illinois State Bar
USLAW Network
Defense Research Institute (DRI)
Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA)
ABA Forum on Franchising
Wisconsin Super Lawyers (2011-2019; 2023)

Best Lawyers in America (2020-2023)


Marquette University Law School / J.D., 2007
University of Notre Dame / B.A., Pre-Medicine and Psychology, 2001

Dean’s List, 2004-2006
MULS Pro Bono Society, 2007
Thomas More Scholar, 2004-2007


When he is not at work, John enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, and his chocolate Lab. He serves on the Board of Directors for the St. Francis Children’s Center and volunteers with the Special Olympics in his spare time. He is also a member of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Notre Dame Club of Milwaukee.

News, Awards & Honors

John W. Halpin Named Partner at LLG
We're happy to announce that John W. Halpin has been elevated to partner at Laffey, Leitner & Goode LLC.
Read More
7 LLG Attorneys Selected to WI Super Lawyers
Seven of our firm’s attorneys have been selected to the 2016 Wisconsin Super Lawyers list
Read More
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Joe was very easy to work with, extremely responsive and helped us look at the situation pragmatically instead of emotionally. He and his team have a vast knowledge of franchise law and years of experience with many different franchises. With their help and guidance, we successfully negotiated very advantageous terms for the renewal of our franchise license. Their expertise resulted in a faster resolution which greatly reduced our stress and saved us time and money.

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