2015 Rotary Person of the Year: John Daniels

The Rotary Person of the Year (RPY) Award recognizes individuals, executives and entrepreneurs who have made the Milwaukee community a better place to live and work. The Award recognizes significant contributions and leadership in the advancement of ideas, products or services.


This year the Rotary Club of Milwaukee selected John Daniels as the Rotary Person of the Year for 2015. We will honor John, chairman emeritus of law firm Quarles and Brady, in a presentation ceremony at Rotary on June 2nd. 


John Daniels became chairman emeritus of Quarles & Brady LLP in October 2013, having completed an extraordinarily successful six-year term as the first African American chairman of the firm. As chairman, he led the firm through a fundamental transformation, shifting from the traditional operational model upon which most major law firms are built to a client-centric, business-minded organization. John drove that cultural shift in the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression, leading the firm to significant growth while much of the legal industry declined.


John is well recognized in the legal community as well as the business community. He has served as the national president for his professional organization, American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He was identified as one of the “100 Managing Partners You Need to Know” by Lawdragon in 2008, named 2009 “Lawyer of the Year” by the Milwaukee Bar Association, and named 2013 "Partner of the Year" by a group of managing partners affiliated with the National Bar Association, among other professional accolades too numerous to list. 


John has further led Quarles to a position of industry prominence as a firm that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The Firm ranks impressively in surveys conducted by women’s and minority groups, and both clients and independent organizations have recognized and honored Quarles for its achievements in this area. Again, his recognition for his work in promoting diversity could fill this newsletter - most recently, John received the 2012 Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession.


Rotarian Joan Prince, who nominated John for Rotary Person of the Year along with Quinn Martin, says, “John is the ultimate servant leader, selfless mentor, community builder, and global thinker,” and that he is one of the most ethical individuals she has ever known.   


Through his strong leadership during turbulent times and his dedication to diversity, John Daniels has made Southeastern Wisconsin a better place to live and work. Please join us at our June 2nd luncheon to honor John as the 2015 Rotary Person of the Year.