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John Orton Candidate for Judicial Council Representative

John R. Orton

Curran, Hollenbeck & Orton SC, Mauston

Platform Statement

For the last three years, I have served on the Judicial Council as the appointee of the State Bar President-elect. I am asking for your vote to continue my service as one of the three elected State Bar representatives on this important public body.

The Judicial Council is fighting for its survival. In 2017, the Governor defunded the Council. Without funding, the Council has lost its staff, its office, and in large part, its ability to carry out its statutory duties.

No other body is charged with the important duties of the Council, which are to study and recommend to the Supreme Court, Legislature and Governor, changes in the organization, jurisdiction and operation of the courts, including the rules of pleading, practice, procedure and evidence. Since defunding, we have seen legislation affecting pleading and practice, some designed to dramatically change the rules of civil procedure to serve the interests of a select few. 

Rough days are ahead for the Council, which has served as a non-partisan filter through which changes to practice and procedure have passed for over 65 years. I am committed to the survival and important work of the Council, with or without staff. I currently serve on the Evidence and Civil Procedure Subcommittee. My 35 years of experience as a civil trial lawyer has trained me well for the matters addressed by the Council and this committee. 

I ask for your vote, and equally important, I ask that you support the Judicial Council.


Bar Admissions

Wisconsin, 1981
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1981
U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1981


J.D., Marquette University Law School, 1981

  • Law Review Member, 1980-1981
  • Published works: Review of Rush v Savchuk, 64 Marq. L. Rev. 374, 1981

B.A., St. Olaf College magna cum laude, 1978

  • Oxford University, Oxford, England, 1977

Positions Held

Curran, Hollenbeck & Orton, S.C., Mauston, WI., 1984-Present

Frisch, Dudek & Slattery, 1981-1984
City of Mauston, Wisconsin, City Attorney, 1986-2009
Village Attorney, Necedah, Wisconsin, 2002-Present
Village Attorney, Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, 1997-Present
Village Attorney, Hustler, Wisconsin, 1996-Present

Professional Associations and Memberships

State Bar of Wisconsin

  • Litigation Section
    • Member, 1981-Present
    • Board of Directors, 1989-1992
  • Admin & Local Gov. Section
    • Member, 1999-Present
    • Board of Directors, 2003-2010
    • Chairman, 2009-2010
  • Board of Governors
    • District 7 Representative, 2013-2017
    • Election Steering Committee, Chairman
    • Executive Committee, 2016-2017

Wisconsin Ass’n for Justice (f/k/a WATL), 1984-Present

Judicial Council, 2017-Present

Significant Cases Handled

Dakter v. Cavallino, 2015 WI 67, 363 Wis. 2d 738, 866 N.W.2d 656. (Civil jury instructions in trucking cases)

Heitman v. City of Mauston, 226 Wis. 2d 542, 595 N.W.2d 450 (Ct. App. 1999) (Municipal law)

Hagen v. Labor & Industry Review Commission, 201 Wis. 2d 51, (1996) (Workers' Compensation law)

Betthauser v. Medical Protective Company, 172 Wis. 2d 141 (1992) (Medical Malpractice law)

Winslow v. Brown, 125 Wis. 2d 327 (Ct.App. 1985) (Tort of civil conspiracy)

Community Involvement

  • Patrick School: Gala Fund Raising Committee, 1999-Present
  • Mauston High School: Athletic Booster Club Founder and Director, 2001-2003
  • Mauston Hockey Club: Founder and Director, 1992-94
  • Mauston High School: Music Concert Series Board, 2000-2005
  • Boys' Club Basketball Coach, 2002-2006
  • Patrick School Basketball Coach, 2004-2007


  • Married to Catherine Curran Orton (35 years)
  • Three adult children