The Wisconsin Bankers Association sincerely thanks John Knight for his many years of dedicated service to our state's banking industry.
When John Knight, a lawyer with the Boardman & Clark Law Firm, Madison, first began practicing law, banking was an easier business. "It's simply more difficult today," he said. Knight has spent his entire career as a lawyer in the banking field, giving him tremendous perspective on the industry and how it's changed, though he prefers to leave the final judgment to the bankers themselves. "They see it firsthand," he explained. "My observation is that laws sometimes get simplified and sometimes they don't, and in the end changes just aggregate." Those changes have made the hill banks need to climb to reach success a bit steeper than in the past. "Bankers have to put a lot of energy, resources, and people into their business," Knight continued. "It's not a sudden change. It's an ongoing circumstance."
Through all of that change, Knight has been a voice of expertise that bankers—and the association that represents them—can rely on. He concentrates his practice on community bank mergers and acquisitions, bank holding company formations, subchapter S conversions, shareholder transactions, and shareholder and director issues. He has been a frequent speaker and presenter at banker and bank director educational programs, including many sponsored by the WBA. In addition, he serves as counsel to several Wisconsin community banks and also the WBA. In that capacity, he has helped draft and review legislation of interest to the banking industry.
One of the most long-term ways Knight's work has impacted Wisconsin's banking industry is a project he called "tedious but important": creating and maintaining the WBA forms set. Knight began working with bankers and other attorneys on the WBA forms in 1972, and the result has been a reliable resource for the industry that's been tested, proven, and trusted for nearly 50 years. "It's been helpful for bankers," Knight says of the forms set. "They don't have to think about the forms or who produced them. It's been a reliable item."
However, Knight's proudest accomplishments from his career are the relationships he's built within and around the banking industry. "When I think about community bankers in particular, I hold them in very high regard," he said. "For me to be able to count them among my clients and friends is a very proud moment for me."
Looking to the future, Knight's familiar face won't be seen around Wisconsin's banking industry as frequently, but it will not disappear, either. "It's my intention to moderate my practice, not leave it," Knight clarified. "I enjoy my work immensely, but I want to moderate it to allow for more time in my schedule." Knight plans to spend some of that time fishing, kayaking, and motorboating with his family from their condo on beautiful Lake Waubesa near Madison.