Modl, Michael J.

Michael J. Modl

Lyndsey Niebuhr


Michael Modl is a partner at the firm, practicing with the Litigation and Labor and Employment Practice Groups.

Mr. Modl’s litigation practice focuses on federal court litigation, primarily in the areas of intellectual property, commercial disputes, employment, insurance defense, defense of municipalities and schools, and defense of civil rights and constitutional claims. He has appeared as local counsel for various regional, national and international companies in federal court litigation in Wisconsin. He has represented municipalities, including counties, cities and villages, as well as municipal officials and employees in state and federal court civil rights actions. Mr. Modl has successfully defended law enforcement officers and municipalities in claims arising out of police conduct, including claims of use of excessive force, claims arising out of high speed chases and claims alleging illegal searches, seizures and arrests. Mr. Modl is also experienced in class action litigation and electronic discovery matters.

Mr. Modl has successfully represented municipalities and municipal officials in employment related claims, including claims of employment discrimination, claims of workplace harassment, First Amendment speech and association claims, and claims alleging adverse employment actions without due process of law. Mr. Modl has also represented public and private sector employers in claims alleging employment discrimination, workplace harassment and retaliation before federal, state and local agencies, including the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division and the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission.

Mr. Modl’s litigation practice includes an active federal court practice. He has appeared in over 200 cases before federal court judges in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Mr. Modl has tried more than 30 cases to the federal court, including patent and trademark infringement cases, federal constitutional and civil rights cases, federal employment discrimination cases, including cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII, defense of prisoner litigation and defense of financial institutions in claims alleging discrimination in making loans.

Mr. Modl’s practice also focuses on advising employers on employment and personnel matters. He assists clients in reviewing and drafting personnel policies and employee handbooks. Mr. Modl provides training, seminars and legal updates to clients on developments in the law, including the areas of workplace harassment prevention and investigation of complaints. He also advises clients on the federal and state Family and Medical Leave Acts and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. He has appeared on behalf of employers before federal, state and local agencies.

Admitted to practice in the state courts of Wisconsin, Federal Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, for the Central District Court of Illinois, and for the Western District of Washington, United States Courts of Appeal for the Fifth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, and United States Supreme Court.


J.D., University of Texas
B.A., Ripon College

Involvement & Recognition


  • Former editor, Wisconsin Employment Law Letter
  • Member, past president, Western district of Wisconsin Bar Association
  • Member, Dane County Bar Association
  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Member, State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Member, American Bar Association


  • Named by Best Lawyers® as the 2018 Litigation-First Amendment “Lawyer of the Year” in Madison
  • Named the Best Lawyers® 2016 Patent Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Madison
  • Named the Best Lawyers® 2014 Litigation – First Amendment “Lawyer of the Year” in Madison
  • Named a top Litigation – First Amendment, Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Labor and Employment, and Litigation – Patent Lawyer in The Best Lawyers In America
  • Named to the 2005 – 2017 Wisconsin Super Lawyers Lists, including Super Lawyers  – Corporate Counsel Edition and Super Lawyers – Business Edition (Primary Area of Practice: Civil Litigation Defense Law)
  • Named to the 2012  and 2013 Top 25 Madison, Wisconsin Super Lawyers Lists
  • Named to the 2011 – 2013 Top 50 Wisconsin Super Lawyers Lists
  • Named to the Wisconsin Super Lawyers List in its Business Edition (Primary Area of Practice: Business Litigation)
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™


Other Presentations & Publications
Presentation: "Worker Misclassification," 2016 ABC of Wisconsin Winter Convention
Article: "Protecting Employers and Employees: A Q&A Guide on Disease Outbreaks." Wisconsin Employment Law Letter (12/2014)
Article: "Anatomy of an Employment Lawsuit: Best HR Practices to Help You Win." Wisconsin Employment Law Letter (10/2014)
Article: "Constitutional Pitfalls to Avoid When Discharging a Public Employee." Wisconsin Employment Law Letter (5/2014)
Article: "Employee Hits FMLA Jackpot in Las Vegas." Wisconsin Employment Law Letter (3/2014)
Article: "Accommodating Employees' Religious Practices During the Holidays." Wisconsin Employment Law Letter (12/2013)