James E. Braza

Retired Attorney

James E. Braza

Location: Milwaukee

T: 414.225.1421

F: 414.278.3621


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Assistant: Paula Lee

T: 414.225.7521


  • Best Lawyers® in America - Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Litigation-Construction (2013-2023)
  • Best Lawyers® in America - Milwaukee, Litigation-Construction "Lawyer of the Year" (2015, 2017)
  • Best Lawyers® in America - Milwaukee, Construction Law "Lawyer of the Year" (2014)
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine - Construction Litigation (2005-2021)
  • M Magazine, Best Lawyers (2013)
  • Fellow, Wisconsin Law Foundation (2010)
  • Leader in the Law, Wisconsin Law Journal (2005)
  • Top 15 Construction Lawyers, The Daily Reporter (2006)
  • Volunteer of the Year, Schroeder YMCA and Aquatic Center
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated


  • J.D., Cornell University Law School (1981)
  • B.S., magna cum laude, Marquette University (1978)


Jim assists business and public entities in resolving, litigating and arbitrating complex commercial disputes. He routinely handles disputes involving construction projects, insurance coverage, lender liability, trade secret misappropriation, noncompetition agreements, commercial fraud and breach of contract or warranty. Jim also practices in alternative dispute resolution.

He works primarily for clients in the real estate development and construction industries, including owners, developers, contractors and design professionals. In addition, his clients include banks, manufacturers, distributors, private business of all kinds and public sector entities.


Representative Clients

  • Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District (Miller Park)
  • The Marcus Corporation
  • Grede Foundries, Inc.
  • Bemis Corporation
  • Securitas Security Services USA, Inc.
  • Barr Engineering Co.

Notable Representations

Trial experience, baseball stadium lawsuit Jim represented the public owner of a major league baseball stadium in a circuit court lawsuit involving over $100,000,000 of damages claimed by a retractable roof contractor. After obtaining partial summary judgment, dismissing substantial portions of the contractor’s claims, he negotiated a settlement resulting in payments of more than $30 million to owner.

Trial experience, baseball stadium lawsuit(2) He obtained complete dismissal of $8 million of claims brought by Miller Park’s plumbing subcontractor for scope changes and delay damages. He obtained award of attorneys’ fees against the subcontractor of over $600,000.

International arbitration, defense of construction defect and fraud claims When defending a company against $60 million of claims for defective construction and fraud, Jim obtained a no liability finding by an international arbitration panel.

Construction litigation, defective construction He obtained summary judgment against an insurance company in a defective construction case resulting in the removal of the policy limits as a defense and payment of many times the policy limits to the insured.

Jury verdict no liability, lender liability Obtained no liability jury verdict in favor of financial institution sued by real estate developer for lender liability.

Construction litigation, defect in design After an eight week jury trial he obtained a no liability jury verdict on behalf of a subcontractor who provided the prefabricated curtain wall panels for a twenty-two story residential condominium project, which involved claims for water infiltration arising from defective design and construction.

Construction litigation, claims of fraud Recently, he successfully defended the owner of a construction project against claims of fraud and misrepresentation brought by project lender.

AAA arbitration, defense against claims of delay damages In another AAA arbitration case, he represented the owner of a high-rise office tower defending the owner against claims by a general contractor and subcontractors for different site conditions, delay damages, scope changes, and interference. He obtained a favorable award after multi-month arbitration hearing.

AAA arbitration, defense of defective design of specialty structure Jim defended a structural engineering firm in an AAA arbitration proceeding, obtaining an award for minimal damages for an owner's claim for millions of dollars of construction costs and lost profits.

AAA arbitration, defective design While representing a hotel developer in AAA arbitration hearing, Jim obtained a $1.5 million award against an architect for defective design of a parking ramp.

AAA arbitration, defective design of hotels Jim represented and obtained favorable award for the owner of a hotel franchise chain in an AAA arbitration claim against an architect for defective design of fifteen hotels, which resulted in significant water infiltration.

Lender liability litigation, summary judgment Jim represented a bank and obtained complete dismissal of several million dollars of lender liability claims in a motion for summary judgment.


Professional Activities

Director and Former President, Davis|Kuelthau, s.c.

Director and Chairman, State Bar of Wisconsin Construction Law Section

Member, ABA Forum on Construction Law

Member and Chancellor, The Barristers Club

Community Involvement

Former President, Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Director and Chairman, Schroeder YMCA and Aquatic Center

Director, United Performing Arts Fund

Director and Chairman, Bel Canto Chorus

Director, Highlander Basketball Club

Published Articles / Presentations

Fires, Floods and Hurricanes - What to Do When Disaster Strikes: Methods to Plan Ahead, Maximize Insurance Coverage, and Manage Risk When the Unexpected Happens, November 16, 2017

Additional Changes to A201 | 2017 AIA Document Series - Revisions to the Core Contract Documents (Part 6), October 10, 2017

B101 Owner/Architect Agreement | 2017 AIA Document Series - Revisions to the Core Contract Documents (Part 5), October 9, 2017

Insurance and Bonding Provisions | 2017 AIA Document Series - Revisions to the Core Contract Documents (Part 4), October 8, 2017

Owner/Contractor Relationship Revisions to A201 | 2017 AIA Document Series | Revisions to the Core Contract Documents (Part 3), August 25, 2017

Notice Requirements Under the Revised A201 | 2017 AIA Document Series | Revisions to the Core Contract Documents (Part 2), August 15, 2017

Trending News: 2017 AIA Construction Contract Series, August 10, 2017

Risk Management: Contract Strategies to Help Corporate Counsel Avoid Litigation, October 26, 2016

Litigation Management: Implementable Strategies for Cost Control., November 17, 2015

Take the Mystery Out of the Recoverability of Attorneys’ Fees in Construction Disputes, May 28, 2015

Strategic Use of Limitation of Liability Provisions in Construction Contracts, May 28, 2015

Association of Corporate Counsel 2015 Conference, Critical Legal Developments Impacting Businesses in 2015 and Beyond, April 30, 2015

Take Control: Customize Construction Agreements to Limit the Time and Costs of Potential Arbitration, June 30, 2014

Association of Corporate Counsel 2014 Conference, Litigation is Often Unavoidable. Overspending and Poor Results Are Not. Control Your Fate, May 15, 2014