Cathleen Dettmann

Top rated Business Litigation attorney in Middleton, Wisconsin

Palmersheim Dettmann, SC
Cathleen Dettmann
Palmersheim Dettmann, SC

Practice Areas: Business Litigation, Business & Corporate, Estate Planning & Probate; view more

Licensed in Wisconsin since: 2009

Education: University of Wisconsin Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2021 - 2024 Selected to Rising Stars: 2016 - 2019

Palmersheim Dettmann, SC

1424 N High Point Road
Suite 202
Middleton, WI 53562 Visit website


Cathleen Dettmann is a shareholder at the firm, and concentrates her practice on business litigation, including franchise disputes, copyright and trademark issues, business break-ups, non-compete and trade secret litigation as well as general contract disputes. Cathleen is an experienced trial attorney and is adept at advising clients through the court process, from filing a complaint to a jury trial. She has successfully tried several cases to juries and to judges in both state and federal courts. Cathleen has also successfully argued cases before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

In addition, Cathleen does a considerable amount of work on transactional matters. Cathleen serves as outside general counsel to a number of businesses including those with both a local and national presence. She regularly helps clients who need assistance with buying or selling businesses or in drafting a variety of contracts including service agreements, licensing agreements and operating agreements, among others.

Cathleen’s work as a business attorney also includes providing estate and succession planning for both businesses and individuals. Cathleen works regularly with individuals and families to help achieve their planning goals, including advanced tax and trust planning for families who need these services.

Prior to joining Palmersheim Dettmann, Cathleen worked for several years as a lobbyist and public policy analyst, representing a variety of clients’ interests before the Wisconsin State Legislature. As a lobbyist and attorney, Cathleen has gained a great deal of experience in analyzing complex issues, in resolving multifaceted disputes efficiently, and in advocating for the best interests of her clients and their businesses.

Cathleen is a talented business attorney whose experience in both business litigation and transactional matters gives her a deep understanding of the complex problems her clients face. The depth and variety of her business practice makes Cathleen adept at analyzing each client’s situation with a focus on problem-solving and strong business outcomes.

Cathleen graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School cum laude and achieved Order of the Coif. Since 2016 Cathleen has been recognized as a rising star by Super Lawyers, a selective recognition awarded to only 2.5% of Wisconsin lawyers each year. She was elected to serve as president of the Dane County Bar Association by attorneys, judges and justices in the county, serving in 2020-2021. In law school, she was active on the Moot Court Board and co-produced the school’s popular annual comedy sketch show, Stuart’s Law Revue. While in college, Cathleen studied abroad at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, studying Irish poetry and literature.

Practice areas

Business Litigation, Business/Corporate, Estate Planning & Probate

Focus areas

Business Formation and Planning, Business Organizations, Contracts, Estate Planning, Limited Liability Companies, Non-Compete Agreements, Partnership, Probate & Estate Administration, Sub-chapter S Corporations, Trade Secret, Trusts, Wills

  • 40% Business Litigation
  • 40% Business/Corporate
  • 20% Estate Planning & Probate

First Admitted: 2009, Wisconsin

Professional Webpage:

Firm News (Newsletters):
Educational Background:
  • University of Wisconsin Law School, Cum Laude, Order of the Coif, 2009
  • University of Wisconsin, B.A., Political Science, 2000
  • I was honored as one of Wisconsin Law Journal's Women in the Law, which recognizes the top women in the practice of law who not only serve their communities, but also work to pave the way for the future success of other women lawyers. , Women in the Law Award, Wisconsin Law Journal, 2019
  • Elected Order of the Coif, 2009 - present, Order of the Coif, Order of the Coif, 2009
  • Associate Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, Associate Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, 2018
  • Rising Star, Super Lawyers, Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2016
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Presented with colleagues for a half-day CLE seminar addressing substantive issues in intellectual property litigation and transactional work. , Author/Lecturer, Lessons Learned from Intellectual Property Practice, State Bar of Wisconsin CLE presentation, Intellectual Property Litigation, 2020
  • Presented with in-house counsel and ethics experts on how COVID-19 and modern media have contributed to change in the practice of law, and how lawyers can keep up with those changes while abiding by ethical obligations. , Author/Lecturer, Client Demands and Expectations: How Have They Changed & How Do You Manage Them?, Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company Year End Webinar, 2020
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Associate Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, 2020
  • President, Dane County Bar Association, 2020
  • President-Elect, Dane County Bar Association, 2019
  • Board Member, Public Interest Law Section, State Bar of Wisconsin, 2017
  • Board Member, officer, Solo/Small Firm General Practice Section, State Bar of Wisconsin, 2019
  • James E. Doyle Chapter, American Inns of Court, 2014 – Present
  • Member, State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Member, Dane County Bar Association
  • Member, Legal Association for Women Lawyers
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • McNally v. Capital Cartage, Inc. I successfully argued this case for the Defendant in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, resulting in the reversal of a jury verdict against her, as well as entry of judgment for my client as a matter of law. , 2017
  • Gina Helgeson Revocable Trust, et al. v. Cody Clark et al.  Represented Defendants in unfair competition and theft of corporate opportunity case. I served as supervising counsel (a team of two women) in multi-day jury trial in which we obtained a jury verdict in favor of our client, finding no liability. , 2019
  • Bensen, et. al. v. City of Madison Represented Plaintiffs in landmark Wisconsin Fair Dealership case, obtained a successful jury verdict in favor of terminated franchisees after seven days of trial. Prior to trial, my partner and I prevailed in the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a case of first impression holding that municipalities could be held liable under Wisconsin's Fair Dealership Law. , 2018
  • Fabick, Inc. v. JFTCO, Inc..  I conducted oral argument and successfully defended the jury verdict in front of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. , 2019
  • Fabick, Inc., v. JFTCO, Inc.  First Chair in federal jury trial, Western District of Wisconsin, Judge William Conley presiding. Representing plaintiff, Fabick, Inc. Jury verdict in my client's favor on claims of trademark infringement. , 2017

Office location for Cathleen Dettmann

1424 N High Point Road
Suite 202
Middleton, WI 53562

Phone: 608-836-6400


4 Years Super Lawyers
4 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2021 - 2024
  • Rising Stars: 2016 - 2019

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