William R. Soderstrom

Managing Shareholder

Professional Bio

William (Bill) Soderstrom, the Managing Shareholder of the firm, concentrates in counseling small and medium sized businesses in all aspects of their operations. This regularly involves contracts, negotiations, human resources issues, ownership transition, acquisitions, divestitures, and financing.

Representative Work

  • Represented a Wisconsin based distributor in its merger with two other multistate distributors of national-brand products to form a regional, Midwestern based business. Deal closed in June, 2016.
  • Represented a Milwaukee area manufacturing company in its execution of a multi-million dollar construction contract for its new national headquarters in June, 2016.
  • Represented a family agricultural organization in its sale of approximately 8,500 acres of farmland located in central Wisconsin.
  • Represented a Milwaukee area company with several hundred employees in its negotiation and execution of a 20 year lease for its headquarters in downtown Milwaukee in March, 2016.
  • Represented a multistate manufacturing and distribution company in negotiating and successfully consummating an approximately $85,000,000 credit facility with a national banking concern in February, 2016.
  • Represented a distributor of sports products in all aspects of its acquisition by a publicly traded distribution company, including negotiating the purchase agreement, coordinating the due diligence and providing tax advice. The multimillion dollar deal closed in January, 2016.
  • Represented a major Milwaukee non-profit in 2015 in its successful sale of five commercial properties located in Southeastern Wisconsin to multiple parties. The transactions involved negotiation of contracts, title work and working through a program for transition.
  • Represented a California based national distributor of electronic components in its acquisition of a premier electronic distribution company based in Toronto, Canada in 2015.
  • In 2015, represented a Chinese company in its successful negotiation of a multi-million dollar manufacturing contract with a publicly traded Wisconsin-based company.
  • Represented a client in its acquisition of the assets and accounts of a publicly traded company out of federal bankruptcy court in Miami, Florida.

He has represented companies in dozens of mergers and acquisitions throughout the United States, as counsel for both buyers and sellers. This has included acquisitions of publicly held companies in federal bankruptcy court, and as a result of foreclosure and secured lender sales. His emphasis is on getting the deal done quickly at sensible cost and minimal disruption. The value of mergers and acquisitions in which Bill has been involved in total several hundred millions of dollars.

He has developed a significant commercial real estate practice, representing companies in the acquisition of finished structures, including factories and apartment complexes, and vacant development land. This practice includes representing developers in implementing business and commercial parks, negotiating with private owners and public entities regarding financing and zoning issues, preparing and implementing condominium declarations, negotiating and enforcing construction contracts, and obtaining Industrial Revenue Bond financing for clients’ projects. Often these transactions have occurred simultaneously with business transactions.

As part of his business practice, Bill has represented companies in obtaining financing from all sources, including banks, insurance companies, and private investors. He has helped clients obtain the use of proceeds from bonds issued by governmental units and agencies throughout the United States. He has counseled companies and prepared documentation for private placements totaling tens of millions of dollars, and has represented underwriters in effecting both private placements directed primarily to accredited investors, and IPOs.

Bill has represented the presidents and other top level officers of publicly held companies and large privately held companies in employment disputes with their employers, arising from both written and oral contracts. He prides himself on negotiating significant recoveries without resorting to litigation unless absolutely necessary.

He represents clients throughout the United States, including in their operations in Canada, Europe and Asia. He also represents foreign manufacturers in U.S. and European transactions.

Bill’s legal career began as the law clerk for presiding Judge Robert Cannon on the newly created Wisconsin Court of Appeals. After a year clerkship, he accepted an associate position with Fox, O’Neill & Shannon, S.C., where he has practiced ever since. He became a shareholder in 1983 and Managing Shareholder in 2001.

Personal Bio

Bill was born in Streator, Illinois, the youngest of five children. His father was a lawyer and state representative. His mother was a German and world history high school teacher. In order to help pay for his college expenses at the University of Illinois, Bill worked at various service jobs, as well as two stints as a line worker at the Owens-Illinois glass factory in Streator. During law school, he worked at a number of legal jobs and interned at the Wisconsin Supreme Court with Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

He met his future wife, Lorna Granger, at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and they were married a few days after their law school graduation. They have three children, Nathan (1982), Annie (1984), and Lucas (1988).

Bill is active in the community. In addition to civic activities, he has been, at various times, a little league and soccer coach, a member of the little league board of directors, founded and served as president for the Shorewood Girls Softball League and was also instrumental in having girls softball added as a varsity sport at Shorewood High School.

In his spare time, he is an avid music enthusiast and plays several instruments, including guitar, trumpet and banjo. He is also a Wisconsin sports fan, and maintains a lifelong interest in history, literature, and travel.