John S. Watson


"I see the risks for my clients, but I also see the opportunities – the potential for applying clients' ideas in ways that they may not have fully considered or appreciated. I see my job as going beyond principles of law to the provision of broad-based advice soundly rooted in years of practical experience."

John has seen a great deal in the course of his practice, or more accurately few things surprise him when it comes to optimistic and smart entrepreneurs. For 33 years at Siegel Brill, he has served as legal advisor, business partner and confidante to clients who have started and sold businesses multiple times. He's also provided solid counsel for family enterprises that have relied on Siegel Brill as far back as the 1930s.

The relationship may start with the creation of simple organizational documents, but it quickly leads to a role as counselor, sounding board and troubleshooter. John regularly advises closely held business owners in the evaluation and implementation of business strategies. As the business or family enterprise grows and matures, John's role often evolves to asset management, succession planning or business sale. He is frequently called upon to act as a trustee for clients and their extended families in estate and other contexts in which fidelity, honesty, care and business acumen are necessities.

John's industry experience ranges from real estate development, investment and management to environmental and renewable energy, manufacturing, high technology and professional services. But his real value is in understanding all of the elements that lead to a successful business, including navigating financial, contract, employee, customer and operational challenges.

Working with Siegel Brill's experienced attorneys in Closely Held Businesses, Real Estate, and Succession, Tax and Estate Planning, John is available for a consultation and to recommend the best resources.


University of Minnesota, J.D., 1979, cum laude
University of Minnesota, B.A., 1975


  • Chair, Minnesota Client Security Board, 2005-2006
  • Board Member, Minnesota Client Security Board, 2000-2005


History, travel, golf, water and snow skiing, wood working and Labrador Retrievers


Minnesota State Bar Association