Joseph E. Tierney IV

President and Shareholder

Joseph E. Tierney IV

Location: Milwaukee

T: 414.225.1471

F: 414.278.3671

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Assistant: Mary Michalek

T: 414.225.7518



  • Best Lawyers® in America - Corporate Law (2015-2023), Real Estate Law (2016-2023), Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) (2021-2023)
  • Leader in the Law, Wisconsin Law Journal (2018)
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine (2013, 2018-2021)
  • Listed as American Lawyer Media and Martindale Hubbell's Top Rated Lawyer in Banking & Finance Law (2013)
  • Listed as M Magazine Best Lawyers (2013)
  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine, Rising Star (2007)


  • J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
  • B.S., with honors, Marquette University


Joe serves as President of Davis|Kuelthau, is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors, and formerly chaired the firm’s Corporate and Business Law Team and Real Estate Team. He advises clients on complex sales and acquisitions of companies, real estate transactions and financings, and sophisticated tax planning. He routinely works with clients in structuring their investment entities and offerings as well as developing or acquiring real estate and business assets. Joe has successfully assisted his clients in developing and financing numerous high profile retail, industrial and multi-family developments in Wisconsin and across the country including zoning and other entitlement issues.

He has extensive experience with tax increment financing, new market tax credits, bond financing, historic tax credits, tenancies in common, installment sales, and Section 1031 exchanges.

The primary client base he works with includes organizations in the real estate investment, food and beverage industry, education, construction, manufacturing, and other general business areas.

Notable Representations

Multifamily Development Joe works on a large number of complex multifamily and condominium developments featuring tax increment finance and new market tax credit components.

Tax Joe represents developers and investors on all aspects of tax-deferred exchanges, including Section 1031, installment sales, and related areas. Joe has worked with most major qualified intermediaries. Joe also spends extensive time on tax structure and pass through issues.

Shopping Center Developments Joe has assisted numerous developers in the development of shopping centers ranging from $3 million to $50 million in value. The engagements include the entire life-cycle of acquisition, entitlement, leasing construction, and subsequent sale of the shopping centers.

National Lender Financing Joe represents a variety of regional and national lenders in financings from $2 million - $80 million, including complex borrower structures such as a 30+ member tenancy in common.

Acquisition of Business Joe represents shareholders in the disposition of his partner's interest in the investment company as well as the subsequent sale of such interest to a new partner. Joe assisted the client in managing the tax aspects of the transaction as well as the operating agreements and buy-sell provisions.

Formation of Technology Company Joe worked with the principals of a technology company to form their business, draft their operating agreement, and create their licensing and consulting agreements.

Development of Industrial Property Joe assisted a local developer in obtaining tax increment financing for a 320,000 square foot industrial development property. The engagement included consulting with the third party developer and working with the municipality in the formation of the TIF District.

Sale of Business Joe represented the ownership group in the sale of a $32 million manufacturing company to an Investment Banking group. The sale included the transfer of subsidiaries in Europe and Asia.

Formation and Ongoing Representation of Food and Beverage Businesses Joe has served as counsel to a number of breweries and restaurants in the formation and day to day operations, including such matters as distribution agreements, operating agreements, employee matters, and lease issues.


Professional Activities

Member, State Bar of Wisconsin

Former Chair, Real Property Probate & Trust Section, State Bar of Wisconsin

Member, Commercial Association of REALTORS Wisconsin (CARW)

Member, International Council of Shopping Centers

Member, NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Wisconsin Chapter

Member, FaB Wisconsin

Community Involvement

Board of Directors, Milwaukee Urban Soccer Collaborative (2016 - present)

Board of Directors, Ducks Unlimited, Milwaukee Chapter (2017 - present)

Coach, Tosa Kickers (2005 – present)

Published Articles / Presentations

Frequent lecturer on a variety of issues including entity choice and real estate development

Speaker, 2011 and 2012 State Bar of Wisconsin Real Estate and Business Law Institute

Robbins & Lloyd CLE Presenter (2010 – Present)