Curtis, Paul D.

Paul D. Curtis

Denise Russart


Attorney Paul Curtis has structured his life around helping others, and derives great satisfaction from defending people who have been wrongly accused of causing damage to others. One of the best parts of his job is making the initial contact with a worried client to tell him or her that, “This problem is mine to worry about now. It’s not all on your shoulders anymore.”

A partner in Axley, Mr. Curtis focuses his law practice on insurance and personal injury defense, contract disputes, premises liability and commercial litigation. Mr. Curtis serves also as the chair of Axley’s Litigation Practice Group. He represents businesses and individuals in both state and federal court, and represents employers and insurers in employment disputes. Mr. Curtis is listed in the prestigious “Who’s Who in American Law”, is AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, the highest rating through this extensive, nationally-recognized peer rating system and has achieved a “10-Superb” rating from Avvo. Mr. Curtis has also been listed as a top insurance litigation and personal injury-defendants litigation lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America©, is a Wisconsin Super Lawyer, and was recognized by Best Lawyers® as the 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation – Insurance. Mr. Curtis was also recently selected to The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation is an invitation-only organization limited to 1% of lawyers admitted to practice in the United States and its territories. Mr. Curtis was selected to join the Fellows in recognition of his outstanding leadership and service to society. Mr. Curtis is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Mr. Curtis particularly enjoys working on agribusiness cases, and travels to farms, feed mills, and co-ops across Wisconsin and Minnesota. He meets with his clients on their own turf because it is more convenient for them, and because it is also helpful to see the environments in which accidents or problems occurred. Mr. Curtis grew up working on farms in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin, so he is just as comfortable in the field as he is in the courtroom. In fact, his office hours reflect his rural upbringing, as he arrives to the office before 6:00 a.m. each day to ensure he is available when his clients need to reach him.

Mr. Curtis began his career at Axley as a college student. After attending classes during the day, he washed coffee cups and performed filing duties for the firm after business hours. He eventually worked his way up to be the firm librarian, and a paralegal, before leaving for law school. While in law school, Mr. Curtis continued working at Axley as a law clerk. From the beginning, the firm’s team of attorneys and legal professionals impressed Mr. Curtis as fair, ethical, down-to-earth, and very hardworking. He fit right in, and joined the firm after earning his degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Mr. Curtis is a frequent speaker and contributor to legal journals, and also volunteers his time to help others. He served as vice chair on the State Bar of Wisconsin Professionalism Committee and served on the Verona Police and Fire Commission for several years. He also led the firm’s participation in a free-legal-advice hotline program offered through the State Bar of Wisconsin, and he leads the firm’s Toys for Tots toy collection drive during the holidays.

In his free time, Mr. Curtis spends time with his wife and children, and enjoys the outdoors. An avid outdoorsman, he loves camping, canoeing, hunting, and fishing with family and friends.

Admitted to practice in the State Courts of Wisconsin and Minnesota, Federal Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.


J.D., University of Minnesota
B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Involvement & Recognition


  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Former Vice President, City of Verona Police and Fire Commission
  • Member, Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin
  • Member, Dane County Bar Association
  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of Wisconsin
    • Litigation Section Board of Directors
  • Member, The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
  • Former Vice Chairperson, Wisconsin State Bar Professionalism Committee
  • Helps coordinate charitable program Toys for Tots during the holiday season
  • Provides free legal advice to individuals with legal problems through the State Bar of Wisconsin Lawyer Hotline program


  • Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
  • Named a Top Rated Civil Litigation Attorney on the Wisconsin Super Lawyers List
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2018-2024 Edition) – Litigation – Insurance
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2018-2024 Edition) – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Named Lawyer of the Year in The Best Lawyers in America© (2022 Edition) – Litigation – Insurance
  • Hotline Attorney of the Year Award, 2015 – State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Listed in “Who’s Who in American Law”
  • Avvo “Superb” Rating, with a 10 out of 10 Rating
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Named to the 2016-2022 Wisconsin Super Lawyers Lists
  • Named to the Top 25: 2019-2022 Madison Super Lawyers List


Client Successes

Successfully defended high profile winery at jury trial from multiple plaintiffs’ claims that they were exposed to histoplasmosis triggered by accumulations of bat guano.

Curtis, Paul D.
Insurance Defense
Curtis, Paul D.
Insurance Defense
Curtis, Paul D.

Mr. Curtis delivered an oral argument before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the case of Ronald J. Dakter v. Dale L. Cavallino, et al. The courtroom video may be viewed on Wisconsin Eye‘s website.

Curtis, Paul D.

Obtained defense verdict for client following lengthy jury trial arising from an alleged “bad feed” claim.

Curtis, Paul D.

Successfully defended local Co-op at jury trial from personal injury claim arising from roll-over accident due to alleged negligent loading of trailer

Curtis, Paul D.


Other Presentations & Publications
Article: "Closing Arguments” Wisconsin Law Journal (3/09/16)
Article: "Collateral Damage” Wisconsin Law Journal (2/10/16)
Presentation: "Ag-Related Liability Issues." Rural Mutual Insurance (2/2014)
Article: Be Aware: Know the Responsibilities of Serving Alcohol at Company-Sponsored Events
Article: "Good Samaritans Gone Bad: Derelict Designated Drivers Are Exempt From Liability." Wisconsin Lawyer (12/2005)
Article: "Leave a Legacy of Civility and Professionalism." Government Lawyers News, State Bar of Wisconsin (10/2010)