José Olivieri Photo

José A. Olivieri

Managing Partner, Milwaukee Office
Industry Group Chair, Higher Education


José leads the firm’s Higher Education Industry Group and counsels both public and private colleges and universities on issues involving governance, financial challenges, Title IX, student discipline, and contract administration.

Employers also depend on José for sound advice and training on employment law issues such as:

  • Federal and state discrimination law
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC)
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Employee termination and discipline
  • Unemployment compensation

José is also the founder of Michael Best’s immigration law practice. Clients depend on his deep knowledge of and experience with U.S. immigration law and employment-based immigration matters, including:

  • Immigration status
  • Permanent labor certification
  • National interest waiver
  • Adjustment of status
  • Consular processing
  • Citizenship and naturalization
  • I-9 compliance

José has taught the Advanced Employment Law Seminar at Marquette University Law School and is a frequent speaker on an array of employment and immigration-related topics.


Higher Education Know-How

José’s extensive experience with higher education clients includes leading colleges through presidential succession planning and execution. José also helped a college develop a disciplinary process for employees after a major change in state law; represented a public college in processing employee termination appeals under a new system; and advised and litigated for a college regarding a claim by a student involving Title IX processing (the student dropped the lawsuit after an initial hearing). When an employee at another college fell out of immigration status, José advised the client on how to obtain new immigration status for the employee and continue employment after seeking a visa at a U.S. consulate. José has developed training programs in Title IX and Clery Act matters for several colleges, both private and public.

Securing Visas in Difficult Circumstances

José obtained an H-1B visa for an individual working in security analysis for a technology client using various industry expert reports in face of a difficult request for evidence from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Additionally, José developed a training program which allowed a Spain-based company to send employees to the U.S. to receive training under the J visa waiver program.

Handling Large-Scale Immigration Matters for Corporations

José handled the immigration portion of a multi-million dollar transaction involving the acquisition of a computer systems consulting firm by a financial services technology consulting firm. Working under tight pressure, José ensured that the purchaser had all appropriate immigration status for employees as of the date of the transaction’s closing. José also advised an international investor in the U.S. in corporate, tax, immigration, and all other issues to establish a multi-million dollar food manufacturing operation in the United States.

Employment Law Guidance

José guided a Board of Directors through an investigation and termination of a chief executive officer. Litigation of the matter included claims of discrimination, breach of contract, and constitutional due process. Both the trial court and court of appeals upheld the decision of the Board of Directors.

Honors & Recognitions

  • “Lawyer of the Year,” Employment Law – Management  (Milwaukee) – The Best Lawyers in America®, 2018
  • Milwaukee-area Power Broker, Milwaukee Business Journal, 2017-2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Administrative/Regulatory Law, Education Law, Employment Law – Management, Immigration Law, Labor Law - Management, 2003-present
  • Leading Immigration Lawyer, Chambers USA, 2008-present
  • Robert H. Friebert Social Justice Award, Jewish Community Relations Council, 2017
  • Top Latino Lawyers, Latino Leaders magazine, 2016-2019
  • Executive Leadership Award, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, 2016
  • One of Wisconsin’s 48 most powerful Latinos, Channel 3000, 2016
  • Leaders in the Law, Wisconsin Law Journal, 2015
  • "NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award," National Football League, 2013
  • “Lawyer of the Year,” Administrative/Regulatory Law (Milwaukee) – The Best Lawyers in America®, 2012
  •  Leading Lawyers, Milwaukee's M Magazine, 2012, 2015
  • "Wisconsin Super Lawyers" list, Super Lawyers magazine, 2006-2007, 2011-2013, 2016-2017

Professional Activities

  • Board Member, First Federal Bank of Wisconsin
  • Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Founding Member and Past President, Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association
  • Board Member, Equal Justice Campaign
  • Member, Senator Herbert Kohl’s (D-Wisconsin) Task Force established to provide the Senator with advice on the nominations to the United States Supreme Court
  • Judge, Central City Business Awards - Milwaukee
  • Past Chair, Michael Best's Labor & Employment Relations Practice Group
  • Past Chair, Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Past Board Member, Legal Action of Wisconsin



Community Involvement

  • Board Chair, Governance Committee, Lutheran Social Services
  • Past Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, Mount Mary University
  • Past Chair, Carroll University's Board of Trustees
  • Board President, United Community Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, President, 2002-2004, Member, 1998-2008
  • Past Board Member, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Past President, 1997-1999
  • Past Board Member, Milwaukee Art Museum
  • Past Board Member, United Way of Greater Milwaukee
  • Past Board Member, Milwaukee Community Service Corps
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