John G. Schmidt Jr.

Partner Buffalo, New York City, Rochester
John Schmidt

A seasoned litigator, John has earned a reputation as a formidable advocate who realistically evaluates his client’s case, needs and goals.

John is the co-leader of Phillips Lytle’s Business Litigation Practice Team. He has extensive experience in complex business disputes and commercial litigation, including class actions, shareholder and partner disputes, breach of fiduciary duty claims, contract disputes, business torts and fraud matters.

John represents a variety of companies and individuals—from large corporations to closely-held businesses, professional firms, not-for-profits and individuals. He serves clients in a variety of industries and professions, including health care, energy, legal, technology, finance, education, manufacturing, municipalities, charities and religious groups. John also practices in technology litigation, computer forensics, white collar and government investigations defense, and antitrust. He has extensive litigation experience in state and federal courts, both trial and appellate. John has been appointed by several courts in complex corporate and personal disputes requiring receiverships and fraud investigations. He also serves on the boards of several civic and charitable organizations.


Honors & Awards

  • Listed Chambers USA: Americas Leading Lawyers for Business, 2019-2023
  • Selected for the Upstate New York Super Lawyers® list, 2009-2023
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
  • Listed in Legal Elite of WNY, Business First of Buffalo and Buffalo Law Journal, 2014, 2018-2020
  • Listed in Who’s Who In Law, Business First of Buffalo and Buffalo Law Journal
  • Jack Kemp Leadership Award, Erie County Republican Committee, 2018
  • Silver Beaver Award, Boy Scouts of America, 2016
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
Awards & Certifications

Education & Admissions

  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey School of Law, Newark, J.D., 1993
  • Fellow, Pacific Legal Foundation, 1993-94
  • New York University, B.F.A., 1985
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Judicial Clerkships
  • Hon. John T. Elfvin; U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 1994-96

Speaking Engagements

View All
  • Co-Presenter, “Navigating the Effects of a Business Dispute or Dissolution,” Phillips Lytle Breakfast Briefing Webinar, March 2023
  • Presenter, “Legal Ethics and Telecommuting,” 35th Annual Pharmaceutical/Chemical Patent Practice Update Webinar Series, New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association, October 2021
  • “The Anatomy of a Workplace Fraud Case – Detection, Investigation, Remediation,” Webinar, Phillips Lytle, Dopkins & Company and Peter M. Vito & Associates, June 2021
  • Panelist, “Investigating and Remediating Workplace Fraud and Similar Business Disputes,” National Association of Credit Management (NACM) Virtual Legal Symposium, March 2021
  • Panelist, “Injunction Junction, Stop That Function! A Practitioner’s Guide to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” Bar Association of Erie County, Federal Practice Committee, May 2019
  • Panelist, “Fraud Awareness: The First Step in Fraud Prevention – What’s Your Plan?” Dopkins & Company LLP, KeyBank and Phillips Lytle LLP Seminar, April 2015
  • Speaker, “The Litigator’s Considerations in Accessing ADR,” “Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the Commercial Division,” Erie Institute of Law Event, April 2015

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • 100 Club of Buffalo, Inc., Board of Directors
  • Donate Life New York State, Board of Directors
  • ConnectLife, Board of Directors, Vice-Chair
  • Kidney Foundation of Western New York, Board of Directors
  • Delaware District Republican Committee
  • Erie County Republican Party
    • Second Vice Chair
    • Republican Leadership Council, Chair
    • Republican Lawyers Club, Chair
    • Executive Committee, Member
  • Greater Buffalo Metropolitan Crime Stoppers, Inc., Legal Counsel
  • The Buffalo Club, Admissions Committee
  • Saint Mark’s R.C. Church, Finance Committee
  • Thomas More Guild, Member
  • Frequent Speaker on Employee Disloyalty, Business Fraud Litigation, and Legal Ethics

Past Activities

  • Boy Scouts of America, Greater Niagara Frontier Council, Board of Directors, Past President
    • Board Chair, 2016-2018
    • President 2014-2015
    • Nominating Committee Chair, 2011-2016
    • Risk Management Committee Chair, 2008-2010
    • Advisor, Law and Government Explorer Post
  • Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
    • Board of Trustees, 2009-2013
    • Executive Committee, 2010-2013
  • ECMC Center of Excellence for Renal Disease and Transplant Center, Campaign Cabinet
  • ECMC Foundation, Trauma Center Capital Campaign Committee
  • Greater Buffalo Metropolitan Crime Stoppers, Board Member, 2004-2006
  • Kidney Foundation of Western New York, Board Member, Treasurer, 2017-18
  • Law360 New York Editorial Advisory Board, 2022
  • Leadership Buffalo, Class of 2002, Board Member, 2003-2008
    • Treasurer, 2005-2006
    • Vice President, Program, 2007
    • Strategic Planning Committee, 2008-2009
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, Corporate Documents and Nominating Committees, 1999-2004
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of WNY, Board Chair, Wish Granter and Honorary Board Member, 1997-2004
  • The Charles S. Desmond Inn of Court, Director
  • Upstate New York Transplant Services (UNYTS), Board Member, 2013-2018, Treasurer, 2017-18

Professional Associations

  • ACA International, Attorney Member
  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section
  • American Gas Association
  • Bar Association of Erie County
    • Commercial Litigation and Bankruptcy Law Committee
    • Federal Practice Committee
  • Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, Founding Member, WNY Lawyers Chapter
  • Litigation Counsel of America
    • Trial Law Institute, Member
    • Diversity Law Institute, Member
    • Barrister, Order of Veritas
    • Advocate, Order of Certus
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Antitrust Law Section
    • Commercial & Federal Litigation Section
  • Republican National Lawyers Association
  • Thomas More Guild, Inc.
  • State Bar of California
  • Western New York Trial Lawyers Association

Articles & Publications


  • Co-Author, “The Business Divorce,” Buffalo Business First, May 2022
  • Co-Author, “New York State’s Amendments to Its Anti-SLAPP Law Could Impact Business Litigants,” Beyond Dispute, Phillips Lytle Commercial Litigation Newsletter, June 2021
  • Co-Author, “PREP Act Immunity and Its Application in Shareholder Derivative Litigation: A Modest Proposal,” National Law Review, May 2021
  • Co-Author, “Ethics Tips For Attorneys Telecommuting Across State Lines,” Law360, March 2021
  • Co-Author, “Keys To Protecting Clients During Law Firm Dissolution,” Law360, February 2021
  • Co-Author, “E-Discovery Update: Transition to Sophisticated but Reasonably Priced Platform,” Beyond Dispute, Phillips Lytle Commercial Litigation Newsletter, July 2020
  • Co-Author, “Protecting Against Workplace Fraud in the COVID-19 Era,” Rochester Business Journal, June 2020
  • Co-Author, “White Collar Corner: Can One Successfully Oppose a Federal Civil Forfeiture Action?,” The Daily Record, June 2020
  • Author, “The Right Way to Deal with Workplace Fraud,” Buffalo Business First, March 2019
  • Author, “The Proper Use of a Private Investigator in Commercial Litigation,” Beyond Dispute, Phillips Lytle Commercial Litigation Newsletter, February 2019
  • Co-Author, “A Valuable Tool For Consolidating NY State Court Actions,” Law360, March 2016
  • Author, “‘Debt Collection Dialogue’ Occurs in Buffalo, New York,” Beyond Dispute, Phillips Lytle Commercial Litigation Newsletter, August 2015
  • Author, “Regulatory Burdens Increase for Receivables-Management Companies in New York,” Beyond Dispute, Phillips Lytle Commercial Litigation Newsletter, August 2015