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Attorney John K. Smerlinski, Esq.

I have over 30 years of experience practicing criminal, divorce, and personal injury law in the state of Wisconsin. I am certified to practice law in

  • all Wisconsin county Circuit Courts
  • all Wisconsin municipal courts
  • all Wisconsin Courts of Appeals
  • the Federal District Courts of Eastern and Western Wisconsin
  • the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

This allows me to serve clients in Madison, Southern Wisconsin, and beyond.


I was born and raised in Monona, Wisconsin and the Madison area has been my home for my entire life. I’m a graduate of University of Houston Texas with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Psychology. In 1992, I earned a Degree of Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and established my law firm in Madison, Wisconsin that same year. Over the years I have gained a reputation for being a rigorous, hardworking criminal defense attorney.

If at all possible I avoid going to trial. However, I am a seasoned trial lawyer who works on all of my cases anticipating they will go to trial in order to be prepared if trial cannot be avoided.

Mission Statement

  • Our belief is everyone is entitled to zealous representation in court by competent and effective counsel
  • Counsel should use all of their talent and resources to obtain not the result that they desire but rather the result that the client desires
  • We educate the client on the nature of the law and explain all possible outcomes in their case
  • We explain to the client that each case is unique and that there is not one universal answer or one single resolution to their case
  • Our firm’s policy is to inform, investigate and communicate with the client to achieve the results that the client wants
  • We are willing to make the commitment to see a case go all the way to trial
  • We use experienced investigators and expert witnesses to ensure that when we go to court we have all the facts and all the latest resources available to us

Criminal Law Experience

I started my firm concentrating on representing clients in the United States Federal Court system. I have litigated numerous cases in both the Western and Eastern District of Wisconsin. Additionally, I have experience in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Through these experiences, I have obtained knowledge of the Federal Court System.

During the entire length of my career, I have incorporated trial practice primarily in south central Wisconsin counties.  However, I am licensed to practice anywhere in the State of Wisconsin.  If you are in need of legal representation in any Wisconsin county, I can assist you.

 Divorce/Family Law Experience

I have been practicing divorce/family law in the State of Wisconsin for my entire career in Wisconsin. The types of cases that I handle are:

  • divorce
  • physical placement
  • change of custody motions
  • post-divorce judgment motions
  • paternity cases
  • maintenance and child support change motions

My philosophy in these cases is to target what issues are resolved or contested to determine the best way to proceed in divorce litigation. Normally, divorce cases do not involve one party winning or losing.  In Wisconsin, divorce means that the amount of marital assets and debts need to be distributed among the divorcing parties. Both assets and debts will be split equally by definition in most cases.  I will work to ensure that you receive a fair share of the marital estate and resolve all issues to your satisfaction.

If the marriage involves children, child placement issues involving the time the children spend with each of the parents need to be determined.  A case where child placement is contested always involves great personal and financial obligations. I will bring substantial knowledge to this very issue to enhance results in maximizing final child placement periods.

Personal Injury Law

I have also been practicing personal injury law for my entire career.  I have personally handled various types of claims while practicing law in Wisconsin.

This type of law requires assessment of the injury and the nature and extent of treatment needed to determine how a claim should be handled.  Normally, the severity of the injury will determine the course of action that will need to be taken to assure a just and fair recovery. In this type of law, it is very important that the client remain accessible to counsel and that all relevant treatment and injury information be given to counsel at all times during pending case investigation and litigation.

If you have been injured due to the negligence or intent of another, you should not hesitate to call me for legal advice.