The Ground-breaking Life and Career of Big Law’s First Black Chair

In 1974, a Harvard Law School grad named John W. Daniels, Jr., returned to his hometown of Milwaukee to join one of the city’s largest law firms, Quarles & Brady. He was the firm’s first Black lawyer in its nearly 100-year history. Thirty-two years later, in 2006, Daniels became the firm’s leader and is widely-regarded by legal industry observers to be the first Black chair of an Am Law 200 firm.

In this video, John Daniels reflects on his ground-breaking life and career. From attending a segregated school as a child, to becoming one of the legal industry’s top real estate lawyers and the country’s first Black chair of a major law firm, to being a civic leader focused on providing education and opportunity for young Black men. He talks about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession and in society at large.