Practice Overview

James M. Susag is a seasoned trial attorney with a focus on franchise and dealer disputes, real estate, and complex commercial matters. He has been the lead attorney in over 100 trials and arbitrations in state and federal courts across the country and in domestic and international arbitration forums. Jim has the unique perspective of a trial lawyer who has also managed complex litigation and developed strategic legal plans as in-house counsel. Clients appreciate his boardroom-to-courtroom experience in crafting resolutions for their business disputes.

Representative Experience

Franchise Litigation and Arbitration

Jim represents franchise and dealer clients across various industries including food and beverage, retail, leisure and fitness, health care, hospitality and commercial and consumer services. His experience spans disputes relating to claims of violation of state franchise or dealership laws, trademark infringement, breach of contract, system-standards enforcement, consumer class actions, post-termination rights, disclosure and registration issues, fraud claims, vicarious liability, independent contractor misclassification and joint employment issues.  

Real Estate Litigation

Land owners, developers, buyers, sellers, lenders, contractors and brokers rely on Jim to defend their property in all types of real estate disputes, including  purchase and sale agreements, commercial and residential leases, construction contracts, mechanic’s liens, commercial and residential construction and design defects, title claims, premises liability, boundaries and easements, valuation, zoning, land use and governmental approvals.

Business Litigation

Jim handles complex commercial disputes involving contract interpretation and enforcement, unlawful business practices, civil fraud and unfair competition. He also represents clients in disputes among owners of closely-held businesses.

Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Washington
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit


  • Real Property Specialist by the Minnesota Bar Association


  • William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN, 1995 J.D.,summa cum laude
    • Staff Member, William Mitchell Law Review, 1994 - 1995
  • University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, 1992 B.A., summa cum laude


  • Best Lawyers in America,® Franchise Law, 2013-present
  • Best Lawyer in Minnesota by Minnesota Monthly Magazine, 2014-present
  • Very Best U.S. Attorneys in Franchising by Franchise Times, 2014-present
  • Franchise Legal Eagle by Franchise Times, 2014-present
  • Super Lawyer,® Super Lawyers magazine, 2009-present
  • Top Lawyers in Minnesota,® Minnesota Monthly, 2022
  • Rising Star,® Super Lawyers magazine, 2002-2008

Other Professional Experience

  • General Counsel/Chief Legal Officer, WellHaven Pet Health, LLC (2018-2021)
  • Chief Litigation Counsel, U.S. Bancorp (2005-2007)
  • Attorney, Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A. (1995-1997)

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Ramsey County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising
  • International Franchise Association