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James Barton is the founding shareholder of Barton Legal S.C. Mr. Barton was formerly a partner at Hansen Reynolds LLC—a premier litigation boutique with offices in three states. Prior to his time at Hansen Reynolds, Mr. Barton was an associate in the litigation practice group at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, one of Wisconsin’s oldest and largest law firms.

Mr. Barton concentrates his practice on aggressively litigating complex commercial disputes venued in state and federal courts across the country. Although litigation remains his primary focus, the skills Mr. Barton has developed by litigating high-stakes cases throughout the country allow him to service his clients in a broader role—as a problem-solver who is just as comfortable resolving a matter in the boardroom as he is in the courtroom.

Regardless of how or where a dispute arises, Mr. Barton’s approach to each matter remains the same: what constitutes a “win,” what is needed to achieve that win, and what will it cost to make that vision a reality? This type of common-sense lawyering has earned Mr. Barton the trust and respect of his clients; not only as a litigator, but as a trusted advisor who his clients rely on to offer prudent advice and pragmatic solutions to the myriad issues affecting their businesses.

Contact & Links


  • 313 North Plankinton Avenue, Suite 207
    Milwaukee, WI 53203


  • Marquette University , J.D.
  • University of Colorado - Boulder, B.S.

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin, 2008
  • Colorado, 2013


  • Barton Legal S.C. - Founder
  • Hansen Reynolds LLC - Partner
  • Michael Best & Friedrich LLP - Associate - Commercial Litigation

Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • District of Colorado
  • Northern District of Illinois
  • Southern District of Illinois
  • Northern District of Ohio
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Western District of Wisconsin

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 for work in:

  • Commercial Litigation

Special Focus

  • COVID-19


  • Recognized as a "Super Lawyer" in Business Litigation by Wisconsin Super Lawyers® (2020 - present)
  • Recognized as a “Rising Star” in Business Litigation by Wisconsin Super Lawyers® (2013 – 2019)
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of commercial litigation (2019 - present)

Abrica v. Grob, Inc., Case No. 2:10-cv-03424 (C.D. Cal.)

Lead associate representing the principal defendant in product-liability suit venued in the Central District of California with over $2MM in dispute; Mr. Barton handled all pleadings, depositions, motion practice, and the mediation, which resolved the matter under terms extremely favorable to his client.

Alsum et al. v. Didion Inc., Case No. 2012-CV-197 (Columbia County Circuit Court)

Member of trial team that secured a complete defense verdict in a U.C.C. case involving commodities futures; Mr. Barton cross-examined the principal plaintiff.

Amrate, LLC v. AIM Brokerage Services, LLC et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-00676-SO (N.D. Ohio)

Lead counsel for a national transportation company in a contract dispute venued in the Northern District of Ohio; after obtaining dismissal of many of the plaintiff’s claims on a motion to dismiss, the matter was settled out of court under extremely favorable terms to the client.

Boehm et al. v. Legends of the Field, LLC et al., Case No. 3:15-cv-00683-jdp (W.D. Wis.)

Lead counsel representing a sports memorabilia company in a copyright infringement action in which the plaintiffs sought statutory damages between $1MM and $3.75MM; obtained summary judgment in favor of client, which prompted the matter to settle immediately given the fee-shifting provisions under the Copyright Act.

Centec, LLC v. Plutshack, Case No. 15-C-1401 (E.D. Wis.)

Obtained dismissal on the pleadings of a lawsuit brought by a corporate plaintiff against its former employee alleging violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq. See 2016 WL 3645184 (E.D. Wis. June 30, 2016)

Dynamic Intl of Wisconsin, Inc. v. SMEC CO., LTD., Case No.2:18-cv-00582 (E.D. Wis.)

Lead counsel for a Northern American machine tool importer/distributor in connection with a multi-million-dollar dispute against a Korean manufacturer, its subsidiary, and their agents for breaches of the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law and related business torts, which is currently pending in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Experian Info. Sols., Inc. v. Carfax, Inc., No. 11 CV 08927 (N.D. Ill.)

Lead associate representing the plaintiff in a defamation and business tort case against Carfax, Inc.; following the court’s denial of Carfax’s motion to dismiss, see 2012 WL 2597915, the parties engaged in extensive discovery and the case settled under favorable terms to the client.

McClone v. Brenn et al., Case No. 2018-CV-000203 (Winnebago County Circuit Court)

Lead counsel for the plaintiff in a multi-million-dollar shareholder dispute concerning his interest in one of Wisconsin’s largest independent insurance agencies.

MSC Waterworks Company, Inc., f/k/a Mainline Supply of Florida, LLC v. Masci Corporation, et al., Case No. 2012-31274-CICI (Volusia County Circuit Court)

Member of trial team that secured a complete defense verdict in a complex product-liability dispute venued in Volusia County, Florida with nearly $1MM in dispute; Mr. Barton handled all motion practice and examined numerous witnesses at trial.

Private Arbitration

Lead counsel for the Plaintiff in a shareholder dispute concerning the value of a leading luxury brand; Mr. Barton first-chaired the private, four-day arbitration where he was responsible for handling all motion practice, cross-examining the lead defendant, and examining numerous experts; following the hearing, the panel issued a $5MM arbitration award in favor of Mr. Barton’s client, which was dramatically in excess of the amount proffered by Defendants and their experts.

Sasson v. Braun, 2015 WI App 58, review denied, 2016 WI 2

Represented Milwaukee Brewer, Ryan Braun, in a lawsuit against his former friend who asserted claims against Mr. Braun for breach of contract, fraud, and defamation; Mr. Barton briefed and argued numerous motions before the court, including the motion that resulted in the dismissal of all claims against his client; Mr. Barton also successfully defended the appeal, which affirmed the trial court’s dismissal order.

Saybrook Tax Exempt Investors LLC et al. vs. Lac Du Flambeau Band Of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians et al., Case No. 2012-CV-000187 (Waukesha County Circuit Court)

Integral member of the litigation and trial team that represented a Native American Tribe and its casino in a multi-fora $90MM dispute stemming from a failed bond transaction, which was pending for eight years in the Western District of Wisconsin (twice), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (twice), the Lac Du Flambeau Tribal Court, and the Waukesha County Circuit Court; after multiple bond documents were declared void under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. § 2701, et seq., the remaining aspects of the case were slated for a seven-week jury trial before the Waukesha County Circuit Court; Mr. Barton successfully briefed and argued numerous pre-trial motions, including two Daubert motions that preserved the testimony of his clients’ liability and damages experts; the case settled during voir dire following these rulings under terms extremely favorable to his clients.

Societe D’Amenagement et de Gestion de L’Abri Nautique v. Marine Travelift, Inc., Case No. 16-CV-785 (E.D. Wis.)

Lead counsel for a French client seeking recognition of a French judgment that the client obtained after a protracted, six-year lawsuit in France; obtained summary judgment to recognize the French Judgment to allow Mr. Barton's client to initiate collection activities in the United States; the district court's decision granting summary judgment in favor of Mr. Barton's client was nominated as one of the "Top Nine" federal court decisions interpreting Wisconsin law in the December 2018 edition of the "Wisconsin Lawyer."

Sonic Foundry, Inc. v. Astute Tech., LLC, Case No. 13-CV-00087 (W.D. Wis.)

Obtained dismissal on the pleadings of a patent infringement lawsuit against a technology client on personal jurisdiction grounds. See 2013 WL 6148111 (W.D. Wis. Nov. 22, 2013)

State ex rel. Two Unnamed Petitioners v. Peterson, 2015 WI 85, cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 77 (2016)

Successfully defended one of the Unnamed Movants in the State’s John Doe II Investigation, which was halted and declared unconstitutional by the Wisconsin Supreme Court; the arguments advanced by Mr. Barton in his briefing to the court were subsequently adopted and codified into law by the Wisconsin Legislature. See Wis. Stat. § 968.26(5)(c) (codifying the Fourth Amendment’s neutral-and-detached magistrate requirement into the John Doe statute to prevent John Doe Judges from unilaterally issuing search warrants in the criminal inquests they oversee).

United States v. Cerna et al., 676 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2012)

Argued before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in connection with the pro bono representation of a criminal defendant to challenge the sentence he received for his role in an international fraud conspiracy.

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