James A. Olson - Lawton & Cates, S.C.

James A. Olson

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007
Phone: 608-282-6200

Senior Shareholder and Past President: Toxic Torts, Products Liability Law, Class Actions, Insurance Coverage, Consumer Law, Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, and Personal Injury Litigation

Jim Olson's experience is extensive as a litigator. He became a Certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Attorneys in 1987. He has achieved great success handling products liability and personal injury cases. His accomplishments include obtaining the first personal injury jury verdict in excess of $1 million in Dane County, the first personal injury verdict in excess of $1 million in Juneau County and the largest verdict, about $5.5 million, in the history of Dodge County. In addition, he was lead counsel on a case that recovered $6.7 million for Tri-State homeowners - a case that involved six appeals and two reported opinions.

In addition to obtaining numerous substantial jury verdicts and settlements for plaintiffs, Jim Olson has been a tireless advocate on behalf of consumers who have been injured or whose rights have been otherwise violated. He recognized a need and, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin Madison, helped found the Consumer Law Clinic/Center for Public Representation. The Clinic handles cases that would not otherwise be brought to court because either the plaintiffs have limited financial resources or the potential financial recovery for the attorneys and plaintiffs is small. He served on the Advisory Board from 1996 to 1999.

Jim Olson served two terms on the Board for the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers and served on the Public Intervenor Board of Directors for approximately ten years.

Jim Olson was a finalist in 2000 for the Wisconsin Trial Lawyer of the Year and was rated by Madison Magazine as one of Madison's Top Lawyers in Products Liability and Environmental Law in January 1994.

Areas of Practice
Toxic Torts, Products Liability Law, Class Actions, Insurance Coverage, Consumer Law, Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Personal Injury Litigation

Representative Cases

  • Yao v. Chapman, 705 N.W.2d 272 (Wis.App. 2005)
  • State v. Chvala, 693 N.W.2d 747 (Wis.App. 2005)
  • State v. Jensen, 681 N.W.2d 230 (Wis.App. 2004)
  • State v. Chvala, 678 N.W.2d 880 (Wis.App. 2004)
  • State v. Chvala, 673 N.W.2d 401

Bar Admissions
Wisconsin, 1966; U.S. Federal Court, 1966

Professional Associations and Memberships
Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1978 - Present (Member)
Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1976 - Present (Member)
National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1982 - Present
Wisconsin Citizens Advisory Board to the Public Intervenor, 1976 - 1982
Capital Community Citizens, 1980 - 1981 (Chairman)
State Bar of Wisconsin (Chairman, Environmental Law Committee)
State Bar of Wisconsin (Member)
Dane County Bar Association (Member)

Honors and Awards

  • AV Rating - Martindale-Hubbell
  • Certified Civil Trial Advocate, 1987 - Present
  • Finalist, Wisconsin Trial Lawyer of the Year, 2000 - Present
  • Rated by Madison Magazine as a Top Lawyer in Products Liability and Environmental Law, 1994 - Present
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum Member
  • Super Lawyer 2005, 2006, 2007; Law & Politics and Milwaukee Magazine

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1966, J.D.
Law Review: Wisconsin Law Review, Member, Board of Editors, 1964 - 1966
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1961, B.S.

Civil Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy

Published Works
Progress and Problems in Wisconsin's Scenic & Conservation Easement Program Wisconsin Law Review, No. 2, 1965, Wilcox v. Wilcox: The Beginning of a New Approach to Conflict of Laws in Tort Cases Wisconsin Law Review, No. 3, 1966

Classes/Seminars Taught

  • Lecturer, Environmental Litigation, University of Wisconsin
  • Lecturer, State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Lecturer, Trial Tactics, Discovery, Products Liability, Environmental Litigation, Consumer Law and Insurance Coverage, NBTI and University of Wisconsin School of Engineering

Office Location

345 West Washington Avenue, Suite 201
P.O. Box 2965
Madison, WI 53703
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2013 Lawyer of the Year in Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs of the Madison Metro Area
James A. Olson has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2013!

Practice Areas

Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs