Matthew M. Fernholz


Practice Areas

Construction Litigation

Political and Election Law

Trust and Fiduciary Disputes


Attorney Matthew Fernholz focuses his practice on commercial litigation, trust and fiduciary disputes, business torts, trade secrets, non-compete agreements, defamation, and appellate work.  In addition, he has developed one of the preeminent political and election law practices in the State of Wisconsin, and has handled several high-profile matters, from representing candidates for statewide office, successfully challenging the Governor’s emergency powers, arguing before the Wisconsin Elections Commission, and representing the Speaker of the Assembly. 

Matthew frequently and successfully tries cases to verdict, and believes a lawyer unwilling to try a case should not take on a client in a litigation matter.  In addition to this trial work, he has handled dozens of appeals, and countless dispositive motions. 

His work has also been published in law review journals and newspapers alike.   

When not working, Matthew enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, volunteering at St. Dominic Catholic Parish in Brookfield, and reading about current events and history.



  • President of the Federalist Society – Milwaukee Lawyers Chapter
  • Selected to Super Lawyers, Rising Star list
  • Appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to the Office of Lawyer Regulation District 6 Committee
  • Appointed by Governor Scott Walker to the Architects Section of the Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Land Surveyors
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S District Court Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • J.D. – 2010
  • Lake Forest College
    • B.A. – 2007
    • Honors: cum laude
  • President of the Federalist Society – Milwaukee Lawyers Chapter (2020 – present)
  • Appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to the Office of Lawyer Regulation District 6 Committee, 2017 to present
  • Appointed by Governor Scott Walker to the Architects Section of the Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Land Surveyors, 2014 to 2016
  • Marquette University Law School Woolsack Society, Recent Graduate Planning Committee, and Reunion Committee
  • Brought successful original action petition before the Wisconsin Supreme Court to declare the Governor’s multiple successive state of emergency declarations relating to COVID-19 were unlawful and invalid. Fabick v. Evers, 2021 WI 28, 396 Wis. 2d 231, 956 N.W.2d 856.
  • Successfully represented leading gubernatorial candidate before the Wisconsin Elections Commission against challenge to his nomination papers.
  • Representation of Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly in response to Congressional subpoena.
  • Representation of a physician and an insurance broker in a contentious and ongoing “business divorce” against former business partners over ownership of profits from a genomic testing company. Parallel litigation has been ongoing in Wisconsin and Texas since 2016, with extensive disputes over venue of the case and personal jurisdiction.  Successfully briefed and argued the matter before the Supreme Court of Texas, achieving a 9-0 victory that the forum selection clause in the series agreement between the two companies could not be used to obtain personal jurisdiction over our Wisconsin clients in the State of Texas.  Rieder v. Woods, 603 S.W.3d 86 (Tex. 2020); Rieder v. Meeker, No. 02-17-00176-CV, 2021 WL 1570019 (Tex. Ct. App.—Fort Worth, Apr. 22, 2021); Rieder v. Meeker, 587 S.W.3d 32 (Tex. Ct. App.—Fort Worth, 2018); Cadbury Solutions, LLC v. Kenny Woods, et al., Waukesha County Case No. 2016CV2138.
  • Represented a concrete “ready-mix” company and its majority shareholders against claims by the minority shareholders of breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder oppression.  The plaintiffs alleged several millions of dollars in damages.  The derivative claims were dismissed at summary judgment following an investigation by a Special Litigation Committee under Wis. Stat. § 180.0744.  The sole remaining claim was a direct claim for excessive compensation.  After a two-day bench trial, the trial court dismissed the claim and found no liability for our clients.  Estate of Leon Luterbach, et al. v. Ace Redi-Mix, Inc., et al., Waukesha County Case No. 2019CV1552.
  • Co-chaired two-week federal court jury trial representing a trucking and excavating company whose $6.785 million subcontract on the Indianapolis Deep Rock Tunnel Connector project was terminated by the general contractor. Jury returned a $775,000 verdict for the client.  In motion practice prior to trial, successfully knocked out both of defendants’ expert witnesses with Daubert motions and obtained partial summary judgment ruling that the contract was for a lump sum rather than time-and-materials.  RMS of Wisconsin, Inc. S-K JV, No. 13-CV-1071 (E.D. Wis.).
  • Handled all postverdict and appellate briefing on behalf of the primary plaintiffs in the $39 million O’Donnell Park panel collapse case. Circuit court and court of appeals affirmed jury verdict in all respects in favor of our clients.  Wosinski et al. v. Adv. Cast Stone Co., et al., Milwaukee County Case No. 2011CV1003.
  • First-chair defense of a construction company in a three-day bench trial. Successfully defeated plaintiff’s claims of theft by contractor, conversion, and fraudulent conveyance, and limited the cost of repair breach of contract damages.  Carl Markestad, et al. F.C. Price Corp., et al., Rock County Case No. 2016CV489.
  • Law Clerk, Wisconsin Supreme Court, 2012 to 2013
  • Law Clerk, Wisconsin Court of Appeals, 2010 to 2012