The firm’s simple philosophy that clients are entitled to the services of skilled attorneys who work hard, advocate zealously and play fair, continually earns Axley’s attorneys distinctions and awards within the legal field and community.

Our lawyers are recognized by their peers, and both local and national publications, including:

Super Lawyers

Wisconsin Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists are compiled through peer reviews, independent research and a panel review by the national publication Law & Politics. Only five percent of the Wisconsin attorneys receive this honor. Rising Stars recognize the top 2.5 percent of the up-and-coming attorneys in the state. The survey is conducted in 48 states. Axley attorneys named to the Wisconsin Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists, along with their practice areas – as listed by Wisconsin Super Lawyers and Rising Stars magazine – include:

Wisconsin Super Lawyers:

Rising Stars:

*This is the fifth year that Attorney Paul Curtis has been selected to the Top 25: Madison Super Lawyers and the eighth year that he has been selected to Super Lawyers. Attorneys like Paul D. Curtis are recognized by their peers for their outstanding work and commitment to the spirit of the legal profession. Their knowledge of the law, professional work ethic, and advocacy on behalf of their clients allow them to stand out among other attorneys in the field.

Best Lawyers

Regarded as a top reference guide to the legal profession, The Best Lawyers in America© has been published biennially since 1983. The Best Lawyers® lists are compiled through an extensive peer-review survey in which thousands of lawyers in the U.S. confidentially evaluate their professional peers.

Best Lawyers® only recognizes one attorney as “Lawyer of the Year” per specialty and location. Attorney Michael J. Modl has the highest peer review rating and feedback in Madison for Litigation – First Amendment.

Additional Axley attorneys listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2024 list and the practice area they are recognized for include:

  • Adam Bazelon – Litigation – Real Estate
  • Timothy Fenner – Insurance Law, Land Use & Zoning Law, Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Michelle Martin – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships), Real Estate Law
  • Don Murn – Business Organizations, Real Estate Law, Trust and Estates
  • Ed Lawton – Real Estate Law


Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ evaluate lawyers in the United States and Canada. Opinions of Judiciary and bar members are collected though objective questionnaires and personal interviews, confirming a lawyer’s legal ability and adherence to professional standards of ethics. Thus, these ratings are based on two components: (The italicized info is taken from the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ website. For more information, click here.)

  • The General Ethical Standards Rating, indicating the attorney’s commitment to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities. An attorney must receive the General Ethical Standards Rating before his or her review can proceed to the Legal Ability Ratings.
  • The Legal Ability Rating, evaluating performance in legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, judgment, communication ability and legal experience.

The end results are as follows:

  • AV Preeminent®  – The highest peer rating standard. This rating signifies that the lawyer’s reviewed peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards.
  • Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM  – An excellent rating for a lawyer with some experience. This rating indicates the attorney is widely respected by their reviewed peers for high professional achievement and ethical standards.
  • Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM – This rating indicates that the lawyer has been recognized by a large number of their reviewed peers for strong ethical standards.

Due to the high percentage of Axley attorneys with (AV) ratings, Axley has been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as one of the top nationally ranked law firms in the United States. Axley attorneys who received Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings include:

Wisconsin Law Journal

Up and Coming Lawyers

Leaders in the Law

Women in the Law

In Business Magazine

Executive Choice Award – Winner (#1 Law Firm)

  • 2022
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014