James J. Wawrzyn

James Wawrzyn, SmithAmundsen LLC Photo


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 team, 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.


Membership & Involvement

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

Resources & Insights

Speaking Engagements

  • Independent Pharmacy Cooperative Conference 2022, Seminar; San Diego, CA,
  • Reflections on the Road from Idea to Innovation and the Management of the Detours Along the Way
    Biz Times Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum,
  • Transitioning the Business through Mergers and Acquisitions 
    Family Business Legacy Institute, Seminar,
  • Advanced Language Writing – Simplifying Contract Templates to Increase Customer Acceptance Rates and Reduce Disputes
    Association of Corporate Counsel, Wisconsin Annual Conference,
  • Experiences with the Eviction Defense Project
    Rotary Club of Mequon-Thiensville Sunrise, Seminar,
  • Avoiding a Dumpster Fire: Practical Considerations in Negotiating Sophisticated Commercial Contracts with Strategic Partners
    Association of Corporate Counsel, Wisconsin Annual Conference,


Marquette University Law School, J.D., 2006

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


  • Wisconsin
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