John Finerty Jr. was inspired to become an attorney by his father, who founded the firm Friebert, Finerty & St. John more than 40 years ago.
“Throughout my childhood I watched as clients, neighbors, friends and family brought him every imaginable legal problem,” Finerty said. “He solved every one of them.”
Although some days are hectic, Finerty, now a partner at Michael Best & Friedrich and industry group chairman of the firm’s banking and financial services division, said he appreciates the variety of his work. What he enjoys most, though, is clients who push him for answers and explanations.
“I think I have creative approaches to most legal problems, but I don’t mind being second-guessed to get to the best solution possible,” he said. “Clients that engage and collaborate in the legal process to win a case, get a deal done, or otherwise resolve a problem can be very gratifying to work with.”
Among his favorite cases was a recent one in which he and his team won approval for a $5 billion debt exchange that resolved the Ambac Assurance case. It involved state regulatory oversight of a primarily bond-insurance business following the housing-market crash in 2008. The case was heavily litigated. In the end, more than 100 attorneys got involved and it lasted eight years and generated more than 40 decisions from the Court of Appeals.
“John is an outstanding leader at the firm and is well-known and respected in the legal and business communities,” David Krutz, managing partner at the firm, and Susan Hollender, chief marketing and business development officer, said in Finerty’s nomination. “He proudly serves on multiple corporate and charitable boards. John is a creative and pragmatic litigator and he inspires others through his tenacious work ethic, client service and the excellent results he has received on behalf of his clients.”
Finerty, a father of four, said volunteering for local groups such as youth sports teams is a priority because it lets him build relationships with his kids and neighbors. Through his time on the Whitefish Bay Little League Board, he has got to know parents from many nearby places.
“As a football coach for the Marquette High Junior Hilltoppers I was able to reconnect with many former classmates who, like me, have sons planning to attend Marquette,” he said. “I have spent many fun and relaxing weekends watching Little League, youth football and my kids’ basketball games. It is satisfying to know I was able to contribute, in some small way, to the success of these programs.”