Susan Lovern is a Shareholder and Chair of the firm’s Commercial and Business Litigation Section. Her practice focuses on complex business litigation and appeals in state and federal courts as well as arbitration and mediation proceedings. She regularly advocates for businesses, hospitals, health systems, banks, and manufacturers in the areas of breach of contract, lease and warranty disputes, business torts, shareholder and non-compete agreements, class action defense, unfair competition, trade secrets, and fair dealership law. Susan also represents clients in environmental and real estate litigation matters. Her appellate experience includes numerous published opinions and arguing cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Susan has been named a Wisconsin Super Lawyer® in the area of Business Litigation annually since 2010 and has been repeatedly selected as one of Wisconsin’s Top 25 Women Lawyers (2012, 2014-2018). She is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice areas of Commercial Litigation (2016-2019) and Litigation - Environmental (2013-2019) and was named the Best Lawyers' 2014 Milwaukee Litigation - Environmental "Lawyer of the Year". Susan is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honor society, and also is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. In 2010, she was recognized as a “Woman in the Law” by the Wisconsin Law Journal for her work on behalf of a paper manufacturer in a $1 billion environmental cleanup action. She is AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®.
An active member of the bar, Susan served two terms on the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association Board of Directors (2013-2019) and co-chaired the Civil Committee. She also served two terms on the Milwaukee Bar Association Board of Directors and is a member of the Courts Committee. She is a past president of the Association for Women Lawyers, a 400-member specialty bar, and served on the AWL Foundation Board. In 2008-09, she served on the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Strategic Planning Committee. Additional professional memberships include the American Bar Association (Litigation and Appellate Sections), the Thomas E. Fairchild American Inns of Court (Program Committee), and the American Health Lawyers Association.
In the greater community, Susan serves on the board of Trustees of Funds and Endowments, Inc. She has served as Senior Warden of her church vestry, chaired the Finance Committee and currently chairs the Endowment Board. She is a past president of a Milwaukee chapter of P.E.O., an international philanthropic organization aimed at increasing educational opportunities for women. She also is a past vice chair of Vital Voices for Mental Health.
- Obtained a seven-figure recovery for client in mediation of contract claim against environmental remediation company without litigation.
- Successfully mediated the resolution of a multi-million dollar breach of contract action for a hospital client prior to the first deposition.
- Negotiated the release of executives from their noncompete agreements with Fortune 500 retail companies before litigation.
- Successfully defended paper manufacturer client against summary judgment liability claim brought by the United States in billion-dollar CERCLA cleanup action.
- Obtained a cost award against plaintiffs on behalf of defendant manufacturing company in multi-party CERCLA contribution case.
- Represented a compressor and pump company in a federal jury trial, winning a declaration that the contract at issue constituted a dealership under the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law.
- Won summary judgment for a bank client dismissing TILA and contract challenges to a multi-million dollar mortgage, including defeating two appeals of the judgment.
- Successfully defended an environmental services company and its officers in a two-week jury trial against claims of unfair competition, conspiracy, and breaches of the duty of loyalty.
- Won a judgment for a hospital client in a breach of contract dispute that was upheld by the Court of Appeals and then the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a unanimous (7-0) decision (2009 WI 33, 317 Wis.2d 54, 765 N.W.2d 251).
- Successfully defended a municipality’s grant of a permit for a 49-turbine wind farm against circuit and appellate court challenges (2006 WI App 169, 295 Wis.2d 522, 721 NW.2d 499).
- Won a declaratory judgment at trial on behalf of a national association confirming authority of the board of directors and ownership of property against a group of six challengers.
- Assisted a national telecommunications company in obtaining permits to construct cell towers throughout Wisconsin, including defending against multiple challenges at the zoning board level through the trial court and appeals.
- “Ethics in Negotiation: What Lawyers Can and Can’t Say”, Ethics 2018 CLE Seminar, von Briesen & Roper, Nov. 2018
- “Attorney Client Privilege: Practical Tips for All Attorneys”, Ethics 2017 CLE Seminar, von Briesen & Roper, Dec. 2017
- “Can We Talk?! Understanding the Attorney-Client Privilege”, Ethics 2016 CLE Seminar, von Briesen & Roper, December 2016
- “Can We Talk?! Understanding the Attorney-Client Privilege”, Association of Corporate Counsel, Wisconsin Annual Chapter Conference, May 2016
- "Dispute Resolution in Complex Civil Cases, Binding Mediation, Does It Work/Can It Work?", Milwaukee Bar Association, Apr. 2013
- "Dispute Resolution in Complex Civil Cases", Speakers from Practice Series sponsored by the Dispute Resolution Society and Marquette Trial Lawyers, Oct. 2012
- "Being Prepared So Your Hospital Is Able to Comply with the New Electronic Discovery Law" Milwaukee Bar Association Health Law Section, Jan. 2007
- "Caseload Management: Managing Your Calendar, Managing Your Case, Managing Your Time," 2005 State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Convention