Christopher J. Jaekels


Christopher J. Jaekels

Location: Milwaukee

T: 414.225.1409

F: 414.278.3609

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Assistant: Dyer Salahadyn

T: 414.225.7519


  • Best Lawyers® in America - Milwaukee, Litigation – Municipal (2011-2023), Municipal Law (2011-2023), and Environmental Law (2013-2023)
  • Best Lawyers® in America - "Lawyer of the Year" - Environmental Law (2023)
  • Best Lawyers® in America - "Lawyer of the Year" - Municipal Law (2013, 2019, 2022)
  • Best Lawyers® in America - "Lawyer of the Year", Litigation - Municipal (2016)
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine - Environmental (2006-2021)
  • Listed as Top Rated Lawyer in Environmental, Construction Law and Energy, Commercial Litigation, and Natural Resources by American Lawyer Media
  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell®


  • J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School, 1986
  • B.A., University of St. Thomas, 1982


Chris chairs the firm’s Corporate and Business Law Team at Davis|Kuelthau. He is experienced in real estate, land use, zoning, construction, corporate regulatory, and environmental law. Chris understands how to approach the goals and challenges of businesses and institutions in ways that overcome those challenges and meet those goals in a cost effective manner.

Chris also assists public (both municipal and utility) and private (both commercial and nonprofit) clients in all aspects of land regulation, real estate and corporate transactions, finance, governance, contracting, and infrastructure.

His significant work includes the following:

  • Taking the lead in multi-million dollar remediation and redevelopment projects statewide.
  • Representing multiple municipal utilities including sewer utilities, storm water utilities, water utilities, and parking utilities in all matters of land use and environmental regulation
  • Negotiating construction contracts and development agreements worth several hundred million dollars for public and private developments
  • Representing municipalities on sewer issues, including a coalition of municipalities before the state Supreme Court and Public Service Commission in a $100 million dispute over rates
  • Representing the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and the Neenah Menasha Joint Sewerage Commission regarding environmental permitting and disputes

Representative Clients

  • Schneider National
  • Vulcan Materials Company
  • Village of Bayside
  • Village of Whitefish Bay
  • Village of Wales
  • David Hobbs Honda
  • Jimmy John’s local franchisees
  • Indian Community School of Milwaukee


Notable Representations

Real Estate - Zoning Chris represented the Indian Community School of Milwaukee on all aspects of its governmental approvals and real estate matters involving neighboring properties as well as on certain aspects of construction contracting for the development of a 200 plus acre campus with a total project value of nearly $40 million.

Refinancing and Debt Reconfiguration Chris completed a series of refinancing and debt reconfiguration totaling over $80 million transactions for Summit Place Office Park in West Allis, WI. This included a complex combination of New Markets Tax Credits, bank financing, and inter-creditor structures and agreements.

Civil Rights Chris negotiated the terms of a planned development district and federal court civil rights suit settlement on behalf of the Village of Whitefish Bay enabling the $42 million expansion of the Karl Jewish Community Center Campus in Whitefish Bay.

Franchising Chris has advised and represented the local franchisee for Jimmy John’s Restaurants in the successful implementation of its business plan from the opening of the first store to their current multiple locations.

Environmental - Land Use Chris negotiated the first sale of off site stormwater credits in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) Service Area. He also negotiated the terms of the MMSD's Department of Natural Resources permit for the operation of its $2 billion deep tunnel system on behalf of the tunnels' designer.

Municipal Law Chris has appeared before the Wisconsin Supreme Court regarding multijurisdictional $100 million plus sewer disputes, open meetings/records, law application to municipal attorney client privilege, and the financing of municipal prosecution from one jurisdiction to another. Chris is also a Umpire for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Environmental Remediation).

Condemnation Chris has represented government entities private landowners and businesses in condemnation ranging from the Bayshore Town Center, Zoo Interchange, and Marquette Interchange projects to local road and utility relocation.


Professional Activities

Member, Environmental Law Institute

Member, International Municipal Lawyers Association

Member, FaB Wisconsin

Member, Wisconsin Association of Assessing Officers

Former President and Board Member, State Bar of Wisconsin Environmental Law Section

Former Member, Wisconsin Legislative Council, Special Study Committee on Land Use

Community Involvement

Former President, Board Member, River Revitalization Foundation, Inc.

Former President and Member, Rotary Club Milwaukee

Former Board Member, Marble Arch Society

Village Attorney, Villages of Whitefish Bay and Bayside

Board Member, Wisconsin Policy Forum

Former President, Vice President, Heiliger Huegel Ski Club, Inc.

Former Member, Marquette University High School Alumni Board

Panelist, Milwaukee Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Sewers

Former Board Member, Milwaukee Shakespeare

Former Board Member, Wisconsin Green Building Alliance

Published Articles / Presentations

Ethical Issues for Environmental Lawyers (State Bar of Wisconsin, Pewaukee, and Madison, September 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)

Environmental Issues Under the New Administration (Association of Corporate Counsel, Elkhart Lake, WI, May 2017)

Ethics in the Negotiation of Environmental Issues in Real Estate Transactions (State Bar of Wisconsin, Pewaukee, WI, September 2015)

Municipal Strategies in Mining: Update (State Bar of Wisconsin, Wausau, WI, 2011)

"Mining Law Symposium," (State Bar of Wisconsin, Wausau, WI, August 2011, 2013)

“Hot Topics In Land use Law” (League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Green Lake, WI June 2008)

“Integrated Water Management and Infrastructure” (Commissioned by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Water Department, April 2007)