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J. Gardner Govan

J. Gardner Govan

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J. Gardner Govan

Gardner Govan is the former chair of Godfrey & Kahn’s Estate Planning Group in the Milwaukee office, where his practice is concentrated in the areas of estate planning, business succession planning, taxation and probate administration.

Gardner has been a frequent speaker to many lay and professional groups, including the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bar Association, the Waukesha Estate Planning Council, the Estate Counselors Forum, Mid-Winter Estate Planning Clinic, the Milwaukee Estate Planning Council and the CLEW Tax Workshops.

Gardner received his preparatory school education at Phillips Academy and Swarthmore High School and received his undergraduate education at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School magna cum laude where he was selected to the Order of the Coif.

Gardner is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and is the chair of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Wisconsin State Bar. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bar Association and Mid-Winter Estate Planning Clinic.

Admitted To Practice

Wisconsin - 1988

Professional Associations

American Bar Association
Milwaukee Bar Association
State Bar of Wisconsin


American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) - Fellow

Mid-Winter Estate Planning Clinic - Member

State Bar of Wisconsin - Board of Directors Chair; Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section; Trust Code Committee

Wisconsin Humane Society - President of Presidents Council


Named a 2018 Leader in the Law by the Wisconsin Law Journal

Recognized as a Wisconsin Super Lawyer (2005 - 2017)

Listed in Best Lawyers in America (Trusts and Estates, 2006 - present)

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®

Recognized by Chambers USA (High Net Worth: Private Wealth Law, 2021)


Juris Doctor, University of Wisconsin Law School, 1988, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif

Bachelor of Arts, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

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Suite 1800
Milwaukee, WI
Janelle Smrecek

Chambers 2021

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