As co-founder of Horn & Johnsen SC, John relies on 30+ years of experience in tailored estate planning. With a friendly attitude and a commitment to practical solutions, John has earned rave reviews for his strategic approach to trust and will planning.
In essence, John understands that people entrust their estate planning attorneys with the important task of resolving their specific goals and concerns, ensuring the well-being of their loved ones. He believes in effectiveness and practicality, avoiding convoluted legal structures while providing reasonable value for the services offered. The key, according to John, lies in the invaluable “know-how” acquired through education, teaching, and, most crucially, diverse experiences over significant periods.
Originally hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, John has deep roots in the community. He received his bachelor’s degree from the prestigious University of Wisconsin—Madison in 1986 and went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1991. Despite the allure of other opportunities, John chose to stay in Madison, drawn by his love for the community, its people, the businesses, and the welcoming Midwestern style.
Early in his career, John practiced generalized law, but he soon discovered a special aptitude and interest in trusts, wills, probate, and guardianship. His unique journey began as a judicial court commissioner, a role that provided him with a firsthand understanding of the legal system. Over two years, he delved into a wide range of legal areas, gaining insights into competency proceedings, emergency detentions, search and seizure warrants, civil litigation, collections, small claims, divorce, probate, and adult guardianship.
John’s personal and professional journey has been marked by various life lessons. Raised in a blue-collar family, he worked his way through law school, even enduring a forklift accident along the way. His diverse experiences include laboring on docks in Alaska, navigating the challenges of probate administration after his brother’s untimely death, and currently supporting his father through severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s.
While John acknowledges the challenges of life, he emphasizes the importance of having a plan in place to navigate these difficulties. Drawing from his experiences, he strives to impart essential estate planning knowledge to others, having taught seminars at the local university and technical colleges.
Academically and professionally, John’s achievements are noteworthy. He ranks in the top 1.5% of estate planning attorneys nationally, boasting a five-star rating on client internet rankings. Recognized with customer service and customer-favorite awards from AVVO, Martindale-Hubble, Ten Best-Rated, and Three-Best-Rated, he continues to teach and share his expertise. His law partner, Dera Johnsen-Tracy, and he have been selected to lecture at the national convention for AAII since 2015, and he contributes to national publications, including being quoted in Wall Street e-periodicals like “The Street.”
John believes that what truly empowers his clients is the practical “know-how” derived from decades of hands-on practice experience. His commitment to quality and keen insight into developing legal issues has been acknowledged by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. For John, “know-how is power,” a guiding principle that shapes his professional life, inspires his advice and counsel, and informs his nationally published journal articles on estat