June 10, 2024Announcement

In Memoriam: José A. Olivieri

With great sorrow, we bid farewell to José A. Olivieri, a beacon of wisdom, guidance, and perseverance in the legal community. José, a Partner at Michael Best, was not only a distinguished lawyer but also a cherished mentor, colleague, and friend.

In the span of his 43 years with the firm, José forged his voice and impact. The firm’s longest serving chair, he led the firm’s Higher Education Industry Group with unmatched expertise, counseling colleges and universities through challenges decade after decade, with grace and acumen. His contributions to employment and immigration law were also immense, founding Michael Best’s immigration law practice and shaping it with his deep knowledge and experience. His leadership roles also extended to the Milwaukee Office Managing Partner and Labor & Employment Relations Chair roles.

Beyond legal, José was a man of the community. His held leadership positions in numerous organizations, including United Community Center— serving as Chair of the Board of Directors for over 20 years, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, Milwaukee Art Museum, United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Lutheran Social Services, and Froedtert Health System boards.

A pillar in the Hispanic community, José was a founding member and past president of the Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association and had served on several additional boards over the years, including the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, the Mount Mary University Board of Trustees, past Chair of Carroll University’s Board of Trustees, and National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

His accolades were many, reflecting his commitment to excellence and service. José was a recipient of the Notable Alumni Award by BizTimes Media, honored with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s President’s Leadership in Racial Equity and Social Justice Award, and named a Top Latino Lawyer by Latino Leaders magazine. He was consistently included on the prestigious Best Lawyers, including Lawyer of the Year twice, and Chambers lists—evidence of his impact by peers and clients.

José’s legacy is not just in the cases he won or the policies he shaped; it is in the lives he touched, the young professionals he inspired, and the community he helped build. But more than his career, José was a husband, father, grandfather, and son. His absence leaves a void that cannot be filled, but his spirit—and infectious laugh—will continue to guide us.

A once-in-a-generation man, José had the ability to effect change within our organization, industry, and community. We extend our deepest condolences to José’s family, friends, and all who were fortunate enough to know him. May his memory be a reminder of strength, inspiration, and happiness to us all.

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