June 2023 - WPDN

WPDN Attorney Thomas Rumpke successfully defended his client in a $1.7 million personal injury case. 

In 2020, a plaintiff alleged Rumpke’s client did not provide adequate signage letting the public know that an area of sidewalk was unpaved and not open to public use. The plaintiff was injured while riding her bike, asking for  $1.7 million in damages. 

Rumpke, attorney for the defendant, argued that it was the plaintiff’s actions, not the lack of action by his client, that led to her injuries. Rumpke argued that the plaintiff was not riding carefully nor paying attention to the road upon which she was riding. Had she been paying attention, she would have noticed the large break in the path. Given the fact that Rumpke’s client did, in fact, provide all necessary signage, the jury determined that the defendant did not cause the injuries to the plaintiff. 

The case was dismissed.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and nobody knows that more than WPDN partner Frank Neville. Neville, in addition to his work as one of the most well-respected attorneys in Wyoming and beyond, is also a part-time photographer. His love and dedication to the craft has led the rest of WPDN to bestow upon him an incredible gift.

“The partners of my firm got together, unbeknownst to me, and arranged to sponsor the naming of the brand new photography suite at Casper College after me,” Neville said. “The Dick and Marialyce Tobin Visual Arts Center was donated by Dick and Marialyce Tobin, obviously. However, they have different labs and teaching areas within it and Casper College offers the naming rights to those areas. And my firm, knowing that I love photography, agreed to sponsor the naming of it.” 

For Frank Neville, this was an incredible honor. The law will always be his first passion, but photography is certainly a close second. 

“I got my first camera when I was probably about six or seven years old,” he shared. “It was an old Kodak Brownie. I don’t know why, but I’ve always just had an interest in photography. But I was never really able to pursue it until I started practicing [law]. And even then, I didn’t pursue it very much because, number one, I was always busy; and number two, that was before digital cameras came in, so we were dealing with film cameras.” 

Meaning, actually photographing and developing the photos were costly and time consuming. 

“It was a lot of work and it was very expensive,” Neville stated. “So every shot, you had to think about it. Because you know you’re gonna pay for it every time you take a shot.” 

But photography, like most things, evolved. 

“In the late nineties, the digital movement really came into being,” Neville remembered. “And that’s when I got my first digital camera and was able to really pursue photography with a passion.” 

That passion has endured for decades. And though the equipment has changed, the artist’s eye has not…even though Neville doesn’t actually think he has an artist’s eye [he does]. 

“I don’t think I’m good,” Neville laughed. “People tell me that I am but I’m never satisfied with the pictures that I take. I take pictures for my own enjoyment. I think most photographers do. It’s the pleasure of the process, first of all – finding a composition of something and then being able to frame it upright and dial in the exposure and the shutter speed and so forth. And then, to see the results of that; it just gives you pleasure if you’re lucky and you get a good shot.” 

Neville could not answer the question as to his most favorite photo that he has taken but he did offer to opine as to his best shot: “It’s the next one I take.”

Neville stated that that he prefers to shoot landscapes as opposed to people, but he has been known to make exceptions. 

“Just in the last year or two I’ve started trying to teach myself how to take pictures of people,” Neville stated. “So I’ve started to take pictures of my favorite people, and my favorite favorite person to take pictures of is my beautiful wife. She’s very photogenic and I love taking pictures of her.” 

Photography may not be defined as a love language, but actual photographers know that’s exactly what it is. To take a picture is to capture something he sees as beautiful and then share it with the world. That’s what Frank Neville loves doing almost as much as practicing law. His partners knew this, which is why they wanted to honor him the way that they did. 

“I was shocked,” Neville revealed. “Totally shocked. I get sort of choked up every time I think about it. They kept it a total secret and it’s just incredible. They worked with my daughter, Denise Bressler, who is the Executive Director of the Casper College Foundation, to arrange this.” 

Neville said the dedication took place a little while ago, and while he was blown away by the act of it being named after him, he was even more blown away by the photography suite itself. 

“The photography suite at Casper College is state-of-the-art,” Neville beamed. “They have the latest, most advanced computers and digital printers and they have an absolutely tremendous setup for actual film photography. Film is starting to make a comeback, so students can learn how to use film and develop it. They have darkrooms and they have enlargers. And it’s just amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the more advanced photography suites for students in the nation.” 

When the suite was dedicated to him, Neville said, it was one of the best days of his life. 

“It was mind blowing,” he laughed. “I was never so proud. A lot of my partners were able to attend, which made me feel great. But also having my daughter and family members there was just great. She ran the ceremony and I was just a very, very proud person. I was proud of my firm and I was proud of my daughter.” 

He should have been proud of himself, as well. Colleagues don’t do that kind of thing (and they certainly don’t spend that kind of money) for people who don’t deserve it. But Frank Neville more than deserves it. As one of the premiere attorneys in Wyoming and beyond, Neville has built his own reputation, and the reputation of WPDN, as one of the most trusted, well-respected establishments in the Rocky Mountain region.

But as good of an attorney as Frank Neville is, he’s an even better human being. And don’t tell him this…but he’s a pretty good photographer as well. 

Neville offered his immense gratitude to his colleagues at WPDN. He could wax poetic for days to his friends and his partners for the honor that they bestowed upon him. He could offer them a thousand words of thanks. 

But he’d rather just give them a picture. 

WPDN Carl Edelman Spotlight

 Putting the ‘Law’ in ‘Lost Soul’

“After graduating undergrad, I was a lost soul,” began Carl Edelman, the newest attorney at Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.

He said it in jest, but it’s quite possible that’s how he actually felt at the time. He was searching for his ‘thing.’ He was looking for his purpose. He would find it, eventually. But it took a little while. Upon graduating college, Edelman began a career in banking. It lasted about 8 months. Following that, he wasn’t quite sure what to do with his life.

So, he followed in his parents’ footsteps.

He became an attorney.

Edelman’s mom and dad were both attorneys; dad a prosecutor, mom a defender of ‘the little guy.’ Edelman himself, personality-wise, was somewhere in between.

“My parents didn’t really push me in the direction of being an attorney, but I was always told that I should be one because apparently I was stubborn and liked to argue,” Edelman stated. “But I now see that as not really being that beneficial of a skill; you have to be willing to compromise.”

That’s a lesson that Edelman learned very quickly in his career as an attorney; a career that began after graduating from the University of Wyoming College of Law. He graduated in 2021 and passed the bar exam later that year.

And then, he got to work.

Edelman moved to Gillette during his last year of law school and began working for a small law firm in the city, which he continued to work at after he graduated.

“It was awesome,” Edelman said of the experience. “It’s pure chaos in the sense that you really only have one mentor and one person to lean on. The beauty of WPDN is that you’ve got 20 people around who have been doing it way longer than I have, so I can always ask anybody a question. There, I had to go out and find clients, and it’s hard to sell a 25-year-old to somebody and prove to them that I can provide the legal services that they need.” 

Still, that’s exactly what he did, and he gained a lot of experience in doing so.

After about six months, Edelman moved back to Cheyenne with his then-fiance and began working for the Attorney General. 

“I did primarily just advising work there,” Edelman stated. “So I didn’t really practice law in the sense of getting in a courtroom or advising single clients. It was just dealing with different agencies around the state.” 

Still, the work that he did there, and the experience and lessons that he picked up, were vital to his career at that point in time. 

“The biggest thing I learned while working for the AG was the importance of good interpersonal skills with a broad majority of people,” he said. 

Eventually, Edelman garnered the attention of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville. 

“I ran into one of the partners down here in Cheyenne, Tom Rumpke,” Edelman remembered. “He was actually on the bench in Gillette when I was practicing up there. We chatted at the store for, like, five minutes, and then I think I gave him a call or sent him an email a week or so later and said, ‘Hey, if you guys are ever looking to hire, I’d love to have an opportunity to interview, or at least give you guys a resume.” 

They say that ‘In life, timing is everything,’ and the timing of Edelman’s career path synced up perfectly with the timing of WPDN opening an office in Cheyenne. 

“It was very lucky,” Edelman said. “Tom reached out to me and started setting up interviews with all the folks up in Casper. I also spoke with Sean Scoggin, who was heading up the opening of the WPDN office in Cheyenne. I met with him and Blaine Burgess, and a few other guys. I interviewed with everybody, and a few days later, they extended the offer.” 

Edelman does not lack confidence but, as a self-appointed ‘Lost Soul,’ it was at first hard to believe that a firm with the reputation that WPDN has would be interested in him. 

“I was shocked,” he stated. “I’ve always thought incredibly highly of WPDN. Everybody around the state, be it in the legal community or outside of it, knows of this firm. So it was really, really exciting.” 

After he got the news, Edelman went over to his parents’ house to give them the news. 

“I went over there to play cards,” he remembered. “That’s when I told them, and my dad said, ‘Well, I was hoping I would be the one to teach you how to be a trial attorney, but Pat Murphy is the best one in the state, so you’re lucky there.’” 

Indeed, he is. Attorneys like Pat Murphy, Craig Silva, Ryan Ford, Scott Ortiz, and so many more attorneys are at Edelman’s disposal and that is one of the most exciting things about taking the job with WPDN, Edelman said. 

“The reputation of WPDN has always been one of professionalism, with smart attorneys and great advocates,” Edelman said. “They’re smart people. They’re good people. And that’s been my experience to a tee with them. I prefer to now be the quietest person in the room, to try and soak up everything from everybody because they have all just seen so much, and they are so wise.”

Edelman now has the opportunity to learn from the attorneys of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville. But they won’t be his only resources. He will also have, as he’s always had, his parents. 

“More than anything, my parents have taught me temperance,” he stated. “They showed me how important it is to keep your cool and to remember that cooler heads will prevail.”

Edelman learned a lot about the law prior to joining WPDN. Some would say he was born into this line of work. Now, he’s primed to learn even more as he begins to stand alongside some of Wyoming’s most respected attorneys. 

And even though Carl Edelman, admittedly, put the ‘law’ in ‘Lost Soul,’ he has truly found himself at Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, and his future is incredibly bright. Edelman was searching for his purpose after he graduated college. He found it, eventually. He found his career. He found his ‘thing.’ He found his purpose. 

The irony, of course, is that it was there the whole time, just waiting for him to catch up.