Scott Ortiz of Williams, Porter, Day, & Neville in Casper, Wyoming became a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL) in 2022.
The International Academy of Trial Lawyers limits membership to 500 Fellows from the United States in addition to Fellows from nearly 40 countries across the globe. IATL seeks out, identifies, acknowledges, and honors those who have achieved a career of excellence through demonstrated skill and ability in jury trials, trials before the court, and appellate practice. Members are engaged in civil practice on both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s side of the courtroom, and the trial of criminal cases. The Academy invites only lawyers who have attained the highest level of advocacy. A comprehensive screening process identifies the most distinguished members of the trial bar by means of both peer and judicial review. Scott Ortiz has been evaluated by his colleagues and the judges in his jurisdiction and has been highly recommended as possessing these qualifications and characteristics.
Chartered in 1954, the Academy’s general purposes are to cultivate the science of jurisprudence, promote reforms in the law, facilitate the Administration of Justice, and elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and courtesy in the legal profession.
At Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, we do Wyoming Better. We are a Wyoming focused law firm, with deep roots in the state. For over 70 years, we have represented the pinnacle of representation in Wyoming.
Why do our attorneys, some of the best attorneys in the world, choose to stay in Wyoming? Is it the location? Is it the serenity? Is it the lakes and the mountains and the parks and the weather (it’s not the weather)? The truth is, it’s all of these things and more (except the weather). But it’s also because of the people. WPDN attorneys work tirelessly for the people of Wyoming, because they’re not just clients; they’re neighbors. WPDN is rooted in Wyoming and those roots matter to all of our attorneys.
“WPDN is a proud Wyoming firm,” said Kristi Fields, an associate at WPDN. “We are Wyoming’s firm. I take that to heart, and I try to represent WPDN, and Wyoming, as best I can. Every case is different. Every client is different and all of the challenges that come with a case are different. Some cases are headaches, some aren’t but we’re still learning something. And I think that’s actually really cool. I was telling my children that the other day- we’re all learning, and you don’t have to go to school to learn something.”
Scott Murray did go to school however; first in Wyoming, then New Hampshire, then back to Wyoming.
Murray grew up in Casper and attended the University of Wyoming before moving to New Hampshire to receive a Masters of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College. But Wyoming was never too far from his heart.
“When I finished up my Master’s degree, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in law and that I wanted to go to law school,” he said. “At the same time, having grown up in Casper and being a ‘Wyoming Guy,’ I knew that I wanted to make my way back. So [returning to UW] seemed like the perfect transition.”
So that’s what he did. Murray received his JD in 2011, worked for a few Casper-based law firms, and began working for WPDN in 2019.
He serves on multiple boards throughout the community as well, in addition to his work with WPDN. And he does that simply because he cares about his community.
“It’s important to me to be a part of the community and to help the area thrive,” Murray said. “Growing up in Casper and going to high school here, a lot of peoples’ goal is to get out; I think that’s common, really, regardless of where people grow up. A lot of people will leave their hometown and then come back and when I came back home after law school, I wanted to work to make it an attractive place for people to come.”
And if anyone knows how great of a place Casper, and Wyoming in general, is to live and grow up, it’s Patrick Murphy. Murphy has lived in Wyoming for the majority of his life. His family, much like the firm itself, has roots here that go back decades.
“I’m the oldest of 12 children,” Murphy revealed. “My dad was Dr. Joseph Murphy [who practiced] here in town, but I was born in Denver with two others, child number two and child number three. My parents thought Denver was too busy, that it was too crowded, so we came back to Casper. We settled here in Casper and my mom and dad had nine more kids. I went to the University of Notre Dame for my undergrad from ’72 to ‘76, but I came back to the University of Wyoming for law school and I’ve never left.”
Neither has Steve Emery. Emery’s grandfather moved to Casper in 1920 and actually helped build the building that WPDN currently occupies.
“There is a picture of my grandfather in the basement of this building,” Emery stated. My mother’s mother and stepdad built a house on 13th Street, between Center and Wolcott and, while it was being built, they pitched a tent where Casper College is now and spent the summer there. So, my family has been here over a hundred years.”
Once again, roots. But the men and women of WPDN don’t stay in Wyoming out of some sort of obligation.
They do it because they like living here.
“We are Wyoming lawyers,” Emery stated matter-of-factly. “Almost every attorney in this office is from Casper. Most of us went to NC [Natrona County High School] and all of us went to Laramie for law school. We’re very homegrown. We’re your friends and your neighbors, and your attorneys.”
And that is why our attorneys choose Wyoming. They’re not just choosing the state; they’re choosing you.
Hard work. It’s not a concept that is foreign to Steven Iberlin. Growing up on a ranch in Wyoming, Iberlin has always known hard work. In fact, he has always embraced it. And it’s that mentality and that work ethic that has led Iberlin to becoming one of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville’s finest young attorneys.
But it almost didn’t happen; and it might not have if it weren’t for his sister.
Iberlin’s sister, Amy, is a partner at WPDN- herself no stranger to hard work. The two are close; about as close as a brother and sister can be. They’re friends. They’re coworkers. They work cases together. And they continue to inspire each other.
It was Amy that actually inspired Steven to pursue a law degree.
“I was in college and Amy was in law school at the time,” Iberlin shared. “I was finishing up my undergraduate education and I just thought what she was doing was a lot more interesting than what I was doing. And that’s really what kind of got planted in my brain; that I would just go do the same thing.”
So, that’s what he did.
Iberlin earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in both Accounting and Finance, from the University of Wyoming. Following that, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wyoming College of Law.
Originally, Iberlin planned to get his degree at Montana State University in Bozeman, but he was a Wyoming kid, through and through. So, after his first semester, he transferred to UW and began the next chapter of the rest of his life.
“I think transferring to the University of Wyoming is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Iberlin said. “I received a great education at a reasonable price and, more importantly, I think there’s something special about Wyoming, in particular. It’s unique. It’s like the sign says; ‘Like no other place on earth.’”
And it was exactly where Iberlin wanted to begin his career in law.
Iberlin graduated law school in 2017, worked on the family ranch for a couple of months, and then completed the bar exam in 2018. Following that, he worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge Peasley.
“Law school is one thing, but clerking really helped me understand the law and what we were doing,” Iberlin stated. “It really slowed things down for me and helped me see what good lawyering was all about.”
Iberlin said the job taught him how to be a better writer, but it also taught him to look, to listen, and to study.
“That’s what you do all day,” he stated. “You go to court, you watch the good lawyers do their thing, you watch the bad lawyers do their thing. And when you’re done with that, you go write for the judge. It couldn’t have been a better thing for me; I think it was a great opportunity.”
It wasn’t just the job itself that Iberlin learned from; it was also Judge Peasley.
“More than an attorney, he taught me about being a good man, who is kind to himselF, and always there for his family” Iberlin revealed. “Judge is married man with three daughters and from the first day of my clerkship, he was always telling me that you have to keep a good work/life balance because this profession can really drain on you. So, the things he taught me; sure, he taught me how to be a better writer, and he taught me things about the law and stuff like that. But what he really preached and what I really took from him, is that I needed to do my best to maintain a good work-life balance, and to be happy.”
While Iberlin was busy clerking, his sister was climbing the ladder of success to WPDN. Eventually, she would become a partner at the firm. And she would constantly extoll the virtues of WPDN to her little brother.
“Amy had been here for a couple years and I had some hesitations about working with her and being here, but I wanted to be in Casper,” Iberlin shared. “Both my brother, Lee, and sister lived here at the time, and I wanted to be closer to them.”
The hesitation to work with his sister is an understandable one. Like any set of siblings, there were always cases of being competitive. In a family that strives to produce the best, that’s sure to happen because there can only be one ‘best.’ But the thing about Steven and Amy is this: they both want to be successful but, even more than that, they want to see the other succeed. They push each other, not to be the best of the family, but to simply be the best versions of themselves.
And that’s exactly what they have been doing.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s me competing against Amy,” Iberlin said. “I mean, she’s a partner. I’m an associate. Obviously, I feel like I have to meet my expectations, even if they’re not set by her or anyone else. They’re just internalized.”
So, Iberlin set his expectations and he got in touch with WPDN and interviewed with the partners.
“It was definitely intimidating,” he laughed. “There are a bunch of impressive attorneys and other professionals who work here, most of whom I had never met. WPDN is one of, if not the best, law firm in the state and I saw that, even when I was clerking for Judge Peasley. I saw that attorney’s from WPDN were high caliber, good writers and prepared for Court. The firm carried the reputation of providing exceptional representation. So, I knew I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
And now, he is.
Iberlin’s practice areas include insurance defense, general civil litigation, family law, and criminal defense. He can write like Hamilton (like he’s running out of time), but he prefers to be in front of a judge or jury.
“Writing well is a required skill for this profession, but at the end of the day, I really want to be a trial attorney,” Iberlin said. “I want to stand up in court and do my thing.”
And he does his thing well. Iberlin has won cases and lost cases but, like with most of us, it’s the losses that he focuses on more.
“Retired District Court Judge John Brooks asked me once, ‘What motivates you?’” Iberlin reflected. “’The desire to be great or the fear of failure?’ And, for me, it’s always the fear of failure. But when you do suffer something like that – you know, you fear that moment, you’ve been scared about having that moment and then you actually do have it, it’s not a lot of fun. But you just know that in the future, you’re going to do things differently. You’re going to do everything differently. You’re going to try harder, you’re going to work harder, you’re going to do better. It’s just part of the growth process, I feel like, growth as both an attorney and as a human being.”
Iberlin works hard to be the best, both as an attorney and as a man. He has to, now, because the stakes are high; higher than they’ve ever been. And they have nothing to do with his job.
“I started here in September (2020) and my son was born in October,” Iberlin revealed. “He’s 18 months old now. And being a dad is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. He’s the best thing in my life.”
And so, as his son grows from baby to boy, what are the lessons Iberlin wants to teach? What is the example that he wants to set?
“One of the things I’ve taken from my family, from my dad in particular, is that it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get where you want to be in life,” Iberlin said. “It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings. And I just hope that I can emulate the same kind of person that I saw growing up; someone that does whatever it takes, no matter what.”
Hard work. There’s that phrase again. It’s something that has been ingrained in the Iberlin children since birth. It’s something that, above all else, both Steven and Amy pride themselves on. And it’s the importance of it that Steven intends to pass on to his son.
“I don’t know if you call it grit or just call it working hard, but that’s the kind of role model I want to be for my son,” Iberlin said. “And I hope that I can be a positive influence in the way that my father, and my family has been for me. I want to be the same kind of positive influence.”
And, at the end of the day, one of Steven’s most positive influences has been his sister.
“She’s taught me that there are no excuses,” Iberlin said of his sister. “Just go get it done. ‘It’s time to go to work’ is the kind of vibe that I’ve always gotten from her. We do some cases together and I definitely want to keep working with her. She’s one of my best friends and one of the closest people to me in my life.”
Amy feels the same way. In fact, she had a few more words of advice for her little brother.
“Always be nice,” she said. “Be respectful and be reasonable to everyone you encounter in this profession. You are the best person I know. Always remember that. Know your worth and never settle for anything less than you deserve.
Shadows. Many of us walk in the shadows of our fathers. It starts when we’re kids, walking hand-in-hand with our dads through a park, while the sun is beginning to set. We don’t see it at first, but then we notice. “Wow!” we think to ourselves. “Look at our shadows. His is so much bigger than mine.” We continue walking, but that’s the first time we begin walking in our father’s shadow, noticing how much it towers over us.
For Stuart Day, walking in his father’s shadow was always something that he had to consider as an attorney for Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville. The ‘Day’ in Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville was for Dick Day, one of the founding partners of the firm. He also happened to be Stuart’s Dad.
For Stuart, though, that wasn’t a bad thing; his dad was the best attorney, and the best man, that he knew. In fact, it was watching his father day after day, year after year, that eventually led Stuart to becoming an attorney himself.
“My father, Dick Day, in the Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville world, was the first Day to be a part of the firm,” Stuart stated. “So, I kind of grew up with the law firm. From the time that I was 6 years old, my father was a part of the firm, so I would go down to the office with him and as I grew and worked on different school projects that had to do with the law, I would use the WPDN law library. I would hang out with the partners. It was always a very familiar place to me.”
Day said that he knew he wanted to be an attorney for as long as he can remember.
“When you’re a little kid, you laugh about being an athlete, like a pro football player, or being an astronaut,” he said. “But once I started to think about what it was that I wanted to do, even as far back as grade school, I just wanted to do what he did.”
So, he did.
Day was the third-generation of his family to graduate from Natrona County High School. After that, he graduated from Arizona State University in 1981, and then earned his J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1984. Four days after taking the bar exam, he began working for WPDN.
“It was a plan and it all kind of laid out the way I had hoped it would,” Day said. “And then I started at WPDN and have been here ever since.”
Day said that he was almost immediately accepted by everybody, because he literally grew up with many of the other attorneys, after meeting them at firm picnics and other events. But this was more than a case of being nice to him because his dad was the boss. Stuart Day earned his place at the right hand of his father.
In his time with WPDN, Day wore many hats and tried many different cases. He worked as a bank attorney, handling bank loans, repossessions, foreclosures, and more. Following that, he worked as a personal injury and oilfield attorney. For ten years, Day worked as the outside council for the Natrona County School District.
But he missed the excitement and the pressure that comes with litigation. He missed the thrill of a trial, so now he works primarily in personal injury litigation, as well as business litigation, and other forms of trial work.
“I like helping people to be able to express their various positions with regards to legal issues,” Day said. “I think it’s challenging to be able to talk to a jury and to witnesses. One of the things I like best about my job is that I get to learn something every day. A lot of the cases that I’m involved in, I don’t necessarily have a significant level of expertise in, but I get to learn about the case and learn about my witnesses so that I can effectively present their stories and positions to judges and juries.”
Throughout his career, Day was even able to try some cases with a very important partner.
“I was very fortunate to be able to try three cases with my father,” Day said. “We worked on others together but there were three of them that went to trial and those are some of my fondest memories of practice; not just seeing my father in trial and being able to be there with them, but also seeing the way he interacted with the other attorneys, with his client, with the other parties. It all taught me a lesson about what I think is the best way to approach the practice of law.”
So, what is that approach?
“I think with respect,” Day revealed. “With respect for all parties and with zeal to present your client’s position in a way that puts them in the most favorable light for a judge or jury.”
Another lesson Day learned from his father is that attorneys on opposite sides don’t have to extend the battleground to outside of the courthouse. What happens in court can stay in court.
“One of the things I liked most about traveling with my father, and it’s one of the things I like about being a Wyoming lawyer, is that we can have significant disputes during the day when we’re working on the case, but when we’re not working on the case, there’s an ability to treat our opponent with the respect they’re entitled to,” Day said. “We could even develop friendships. One of my father’s fiercest rivals was also the person who volunteered his property in Jackson to hold my sister’s wedding.”
People respected Dick Day, because Dick Day respected other people. That respect, that integrity is something that Dick passed down to his son, and it’s something that Stuart has passed down to his daughter, Erica, who is also an attorney with WPDN.
Both Father, son, and then daughter practice law with a respect for the profession, and a respect for others. They value human dignity. That’s something that the entirety of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville can claim.
“We’ve meshed a good practice with good lawyers who are good people and who understand what’s most important at the end of the day, and who always try and advance toward that goal,” Day said. “I think the idea of integrity is doing what you say you’re going to do. It doesn’t need to be written in a letter in order for it to be a promise.”
Stuart Day has made a lot of promises throughout his career, and throughout his life. He promised his dad that he would continue to be the best attorney he could be. He promised him that he would continue to build on the legacy of the Day name. More than anything, though, he promised that he would try to be as good of a father to his children, that his father was to him.
He made his daughter, Erica, that same very same promise. And it’s not a promise that he intends on breaking.
“It’s kind of funny, because one of the things that I think made my father happiest shortly before he passed away was being able to go to the swearing in ceremony of Erica,” Day said. “Having the three of us there together, all as attorneys, all in the same firm, three generations; that was really special for him.”
It was special for Erica, as well. And for Stuart. That was a moment none of them will ever forget.
His father and his daughter are two of the people that Stuart cares about most. His father passed away in 2014, but Dick Day’s essence, his legacy, still permeates through the halls of WPDN. So, what would father say to son if he were still here?
“I think he would tell me that he’s proud of me,” Day revealed. “That I’ve learned from him, not only the right way to approach the practice of law, but the right way to approach the practice of life in my interactions and interrelations with other people. And he would tell me to never, ever stop trying to achieve that goal.”
So far, Stuart has achieved that and every other goal that he has set for himself. He has built a career that people respect, and he has built a legacy that people admire. Stuart Day has achieved a lot of things in his life, but his greatest achievement will always be his daughter.
“If I could tell Erica one thing, it would be this,” he said. “You are well on your way to becoming a lawyer…no, you have already become a lawyer that your grandfather and I are proud of, and we look forward to seeing you blossom in your practice.”
When Stuart looks at his daughter, he does so with the same sense of pride that his father looked at him with.
At one point, as a child, maybe his dad’s shadow towered over him, but when Stuart Day became an attorney at WPDN, he wasn’t walking in his father’s shadow. He wasn’t standing behind Dick Day; he was standing side-by-side.
“When he passed away, I moved into his office,” Day said. “So, I get to think about him virtually every day. And I get to wonder, ‘How would he approach this situation? What value could he bring to this circumstance?’ He is always kind of a guiding light.”
READ MORE ABOUT STUART
Playing sports, and being part of a team, has played a big role in the life of Dave Shields. As a young man, he played a variety of sports throughout school. Whether it was baseball, basketball, football or more, Dave Shields strived to perform at an elite level and, even more importantly, he tried to be a good teammate.
As an NCHS Mustang football player from 1997-2000, Shields learned a number of different lessons on the gridiron but perhaps the most fundamental one was that, as the old saying goes, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.”
As a Mustang, teamwork was important to Shields, which is possibly the reason why becoming an attorney when he grew up was so enticing to the young man.
“I think a love for the law was probably something that I identified by the time I was in high school,” Shields stated. “I’ve had people in my life, along the way, that kind of pointed me in that direction. I was friends with [WPDN attorney] Pat Murphy’s son, I was friends with Judge Downs’ son, and I had some other friends in high school and college who had lawyers for parents and it was a path that I always wanted to pursue.”
And pursue it, he did. When Shields graduated from NCHS, he initially went to school at Washington State University to play baseball and then eventually to Gonzaga University. It was at Gonzaga University that Shields earned a B.A. in Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing in 2004. Following that, he worked at a software company in Las Vegas before returning to Wyoming to go to law school.
Shields received his J.D. from the University of Wyoming in 2010 and he would go on to work for a law firm in Cheyenne before finding his place at Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.
Previously, Shields had worked for the firm as an intern for two summers in between semesters of law school. That, combined with the fact that he knew some of the other attorneys’ children made for an easier-than-normal interview.
“It was a strange interview,” Shields laughed. “Interviews here are a different animal. Typically, you interview with all of the partners but, in my situation, I had been here for two summers which was the equivalent of six to eight months, so I already had a good feel for them and they already had a good feel for me. So, it was different in the sense that there was all sorts of side chatter and it really wasn’t an interview at all.”
Basically, Shields had the job before he even walked into the interview. But it wasn’t just due to his prior work history, nor his relationship with the other attorneys that landed him the gig. It was his talent, his enthusiasm, his work ethic, and his willingness to work as a team.
“I think the quality of representation that people get at WPDN is unparalleled,” Shields said. “Our people are willing to go to great lengths for their clients. There’s been too many occasions to count where you’ll show up on a Friday and a group of attorneys will need help, or there’s a big deadline and you might be here working together until two or three in the morning on a Saturday. We provide effort and dedication to our clients and, when it comes to litigation, we’ve got the biggest bench in the state. If you’re working with one or two of us, you’re gonna end up with all of us in many cases.”
WPDN has an all-for-one, one-for-all mentality and that presents itself in every case they take on. And it’s that teamwork approach that Shields really thrives under.
“I worked with two people specifically almost from the beginning, in Pat Murphy and Scott Ortiz,” Shields shared. “I would say that I jumped into the deep end pretty quickly and I was given a lot of freedom and responsibility. I learned by experience and by doing things.”
And he has learned, and done, a lot in his near eleven years with WPDN. He started with WPDN in April of 2011 and, during his time with the firm, he has expanded his areas of practice to include many different areas.
“Initially when I started here, I did almost exclusively personal injury cases in a variety of contexts,” Shields said. “Over the years, that’s probably been narrowed down to transportation, exclusively. And some representation of doctors and hospitals in the medical malpractice context.”
When it comes to transportation cases, Shields said his interest in that stemmed, surprisingly, from a certain sense of nostalgia.
“When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time traveling around with my dad, who sold filters for FRAM,” he reminisced. “And so, people in that industry remind me a lot of the folks that I always encountered as a kid; just genuine, down-to-earth, hardworking folks.”
Shields also said that he likes representing doctors and hospitals because of the “intellectual challenge” that it provides.
Shields loves a good challenge. He loves the learning opportunities that come with challenges and Shields said he has learned the most from the two attorneys that he most closely works with.
“I would probably have to tip my cap to Pat Murphy for those first few years of teaching me the nuts and bolts of the law,” he said. “And working next to and side-by-side with Scott Ortiz so closely has taught me how to appreciate people and treat people fairly and with dignity, because at times that certainly gets lost in this profession a little bit I think.”
Shields loves working alongside his colleagues on a case. Once again, it’s that sense of teamwork that inspires him. Working with others, collaborating, operating as a team is something Shields has always valued. They are fundamentals that he learned a long time ago, and they continue to serve him throughout his career.
“All of the life lessons that I learned as an athlete are very akin to the skillset that I use today,” he said. Some days, we might be here for eight hours; some days we might be here for 12. Some days, we might win. Some days we might lose. My athletic career in school taught me many things that I still use today; like hard work, perseverance, and being a good teammate.”
Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville is most assuredly a team. Every attorney who works there knows that they can rely on each other through thick and thin. That is one of the reasons why WPDN stands out amongst its peers. And it’s one of the biggest reasons why Dave Shields has called this firm home for more than a decade.
“I am just so thankful for my colleagues, for my teammates,” Shields said. “I know that this job is hard at times, and I know what it takes to show up every day. And I am so blessed to be here. I have the good fortune of coming to work every day and being with people that are not only my colleagues; they’re my family. In large part, they’re my best friends, people I spend time with socially. But more than anything, they’re my teammates. And I think we make a really good team.”
READ MORE ABOUT DAVID
When William Reese walked through the doors of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, he did so with his father right by his side. Both Will, and his father Tom, had been working together for years before joining WPDN. They were more than just father and son; they were partners. And with their partnership, they brought a whole new dynamic to the offices of WPDN. Their practice primarily focuses on oil & gas law which, especially these days, is a pivotal industry. WPDN has benefitted exponentially since bringing the Reese men on board.
Before William Reese was a man, he was a boy; a boy that watched his father quite thoughtfully, quite earnestly, for years.
“I saw my dad practicing law as I was growing up, and it was something I was interested in, kind of following in his footsteps. I was always into reading and writing and the idea of practicing law just seemed to fit my skillset; plus, it offered an interesting kind of intellectual challenge. And I liked the idea of going in and helping people every day.”
Being an attorney was always in the back of Reese’s mind, but he did pursue a few other avenues as well. He even graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Philosophy. But it wouldn’t be long before he enrolled at the University of Wyoming’s College of Law. He graduated with his law degree, and passed the bar exam in 2011. Following that, he began working for a Denver-based firm called Beatty and Wozniak.
“It was a very good learning experience,” Reese stated. “It was an awfully large firm with many people that had a sole focus on oil and gas, so there was a huge group of people to talk to and bounce things off of and to learn from.”
Learn, he did. But, perhaps the biggest education he received came from his father. And one of the biggest lessons he learned, one that he brought with him to WPDN, was how important it is to take care of your clients.
“I think anyone’s first law job teaches you about how important it is to take care of your clients, and how hard the work can be,” he said. “In Denver, I had a lot of face-to-face time with clients, and I learned a lot about communicating with them.”
Another lesson he learned early on was that, when it comes to practicing law, perception is sometimes very different than the reality.
“I don’t think anything can quite prepare you for what the actual practice of law is like,” Reese said. “The University prepares you to practice law and helps you learn the things that you need to learn, but the practice of law is where you really learn by doing.”
Those lessons served him well, especially when he began working for Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.
Reese said that he joined his father at the Casper office of Beatty, Wozniak, and (now) Reese, and he worked with his father there. But it wouldn’t be long before WPDN wanted to expand their practice to include oil and gas law, and both of the Reese men were the right attorneys for the job.
“The legal community in Casper is pretty tight-knit,” Reese said. “I knew a ton of attorneys at WPDN and we talked on a regular basis. I couldn’t even tell you who approached whom, but just in the course of the relationships I made with people and the conversations we had, it became clear that with my focus on Wyoming, in particular, that maybe one of the oldest and most well-respected Wyoming law firms would be a good spot for us.”
“At the end of the day, it’s the people and the attorneys and the relationships that we have here that makes WPDN really stand out as the premier firm in Wyoming,” Reese beamed. “The beauty of WPDN is that I feel like I have a certain level of expertise in oil and gas and mineral rights, but there’s a guy two offices down who’s an expert on trusts, and wills, and real estate and a couple doors down the other way, there’s one of the top civil lawyers in the state.”
Reese continued, saying that, “There’s criminal expertise here. There’s business expertise here. And that’s what I think sets WPDN apart; we don’t have a specialty, except for helping people and companies navigate the legal landscape.”
That’s an attitude that everybody at WPDN shares. Everybody kind of looks up to each other, and each attorney wants to help each other in whatever ways they can. The attorneys at WPDN teach each other, they learn from each other, and they grow together.
Of course, the attorney that Will Reese has learned the most from is his father. Reese said that he and his father never really dealt with the typical father/son dynamic that comes with working together. There were no talks of shadows or living up to legacies. Tom never pushed anything on his son, and Will never resented the lessons the elder Reese taught him. Their relationship, at least at work, wasn’t so much a father and son duo; it was a partnership. They taught each other and they worked together.
“For me, our relationship has changed from someone teaching me how to do what we do, to having a person that I can bounce an idea off of, or who can step in if things get overwhelming,” Reese said of his father. “It just felt like there was always someone there that could support me, and we could get good things done together. I’ve never really thought that he casts a long shadow, although he most certainly does. But that shadow wasn’t cast from above me; it was cast from right beside me.”
It’s a special kind of honor to be able to work alongside one’s father. To go from being a little boy, watching his father put on his suit jacket and go to work, to being a man working right next to him; those kinds of stories don’t happen every day. And the lessons he’s learned from his father are not ones that the younger Reese takes for granted.
“I think the most important thing that I’ve learned from my dad, the thing that he’s always stressed, is that you are providing a valuable, deeply important service to your clients,” he said. “And that’s what it’s about. It’s not about how many billable hours you can find, or anything like that. The thing he has always instilled in me is that these can be scary, difficult times, with a lot at stake. And you have to remember that you’re there to do the absolute best you can for your clients.”
That’s what every single attorney at WPDN believes, which is why WPDN has the reputation that it does. WPDN is lucky to have both Tom and Will on their team. And the Reese men are lucky to be a part of WPDN as well.
“I’m very proud to be associated with all of the attorneys here,” Reese said. “I trust them like a part of my family and I think and hope that anyone who walks through these doors and talks to anyone in this office can feel safe giving this team the same amount of trust in them that I have.”
WPDN is like a family, not just with its attorneys, but with the clients, too. Every attorney associated with WPDN wants to do their absolute best for their clients and wants them to know that they are in good hands.
That’s a lesson Reese learned early on from his father; and it’s a lesson the elder Reese has imparted on many people; not just his son.
“Not only has my dad been an example of hard work and advocacy for his clients for me; but I think he has set that example for the rest of the community as well,” Reese said. “It seems like a day doesn’t go by that someone says, ‘Say hi to your dad’ or, ‘I remember working with your dad.’ So, I think he’s well aware of the input that he’s had on my life and my career, but I think he may not know the impact that he’s had on the legal community in this state as a whole.”
Maybe, after reading this, Tom might realize the impact he’s had on the community. But if he ever has questions about legacy, or if he’s done a good job, or if he’s helped people, all he has to do is look at Will and he will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he has changed lives and given his best.
Because like father, like son.
READ MORE ABOUT WILLIAM
Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville isn’t just a law firm. They don’t just provide the best service, at a reasonable price, to a wide-variety of clients across Wyoming. They’re also a firm that is very involved in their community. Many WPDN attorneys serve on boards of various organizations. They know how important it is to give back to the community, offering not just financial support, but their time as well.
Keith Dodson is one of those attorneys.
Dodson began working for WPDN in September of 2009, but he knew that he wanted to be an attorney far before that. And the reason he wanted to be an attorney was because, in the simplest terms, he just wanted to help people.
“I guess it was one of those things that I always just kind of thought about doing,” Dodson stated. “In high school, I was part of the speech and debate team. I did mock trial competitions in high school and being a lawyer was just always in the back of my mind.”
Dodson chose his path and he followed it, completing college and getting his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology & Criminal Justice, before earning his JD in 2007 from the University of Wyoming College of Law. After graduating law school and passing the bar exam, Dodson began working as a court clerk for the First Judicial District Court in Cheyenne. For two years, he worked for three different district court judges.
“It was awesome,” Dodson said. “Usually, each judge has one law clerk per judge, but I covered all three judges. So I got to see the ins and outs of the decision-making judicial process from the perspective of three different judges.”
Dodson said that, while he worked there, one of the most important things he realized about his profession was just how much it encompassed.
“My biggest observation while I worked there was the breadth of the impact that the legal field has,” he said. “I was covering cases from juvenile cases to criminal and civil cases, and I realized just how much impact we have on society.”
Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, exists to impact society in positive ways, offering good work for fair prices, so it should come as no surprise that Dodson began working for WPDN soon after he left Cheyenne.
“I grew up in Casper, graduated from high school here,” Dodson said. “And my wife and I were looking to go somewhere where we could be closer to family. I knew about Williams Porter because I knew Pat Murphy. Additionally, his dad was a Casper accountant who knew WPDN well. That connection eventually led Dodson to walking through the doors of WPDN in 2009.
“After talking with my dad, I applied with them and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to come work for WPDN, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Dodson said that the interview process was more than just ‘So tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.’
“The interview process that is typical of this firm is that they tell you to show up and any attorney that’s here will come in and sit down with you,” he said. “So I think I had basically every attorney in the office come in and sit with me and ask questions of me and I had the opportunity to ask them questions as well.”
Dodson is not a prideful man. His humility, in fact, is one of the nicest things about him. But sometimes, we’re our own sharpest critics and, oftentimes, we’re the last to realize our own worth – to a company, to a partner, to the world at large.
“I don’t know what they saw in me and why they were willing to provide me that opportunity,” Dodson remarked. “Especially at the time, they had already hired another associate and were looking at another one as well. So I didn’t have much of an expectation that I would be getting an offer, but they chose to extend one to me, nonetheless.”
Dodson may not have realized what WPDN saw in him, but the other attorneys did. What they saw was an eager, hungry and, most importantly, kind young man that would be a welcome addition to their offices. So they made him the offer and they opened their arms and said “You are with us, now. You’re one of us.”
“I was excited,” Dodson continued. “It gave me and my wife the opportunity to come back to Casper, which is a great community to be a part of and a great community in which to raise your family. It allowed us to be close to our family, and to begin our own family as well.”
Dodson started working for WPDN in 2009. He has been an attorney for the firm for 12 years, and in those 12 years, he has helped a lot of clients. Dodson has an extensive civil litigation practice and frequently represents clients in various industries. He also works with transportation, construction, and retail injuries. Additionally, he advises and represents companies regarding employment issues, as well as issues stemming from transactions, litigation, premises liability, and work-related injuries.
Dodson has done a lot for Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville and he has learned a lot from Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.
“I’ve had the good fortune to be able to work with Scott Ortiz and Stuart Day and Pat Murphy a lot during my 12 years here,” he said. “I’ve been able to see how they practice and I’ve seen the scope of their practice and I’ve followed my path to not completely overlap them, but to emulate them as best I can.”
And that’s kind of the great thing about WPDN – everybody wants to help the other succeed in order to, ultimately, make sure their clients are satisfied. They work like a team, like a family. And there is always room to grow, to learn, and to become even better lawyers for the community of which they serve.
“One of the greatest things about working here is being able to have the wealth of knowledge that we have,” Dodson beamed. “You look at other, smaller firms and while they may have good attorneys, they don’t have the wealth of knowledge or the ability to gather that information so quickly. For me, I can literally walk out my door and the office next door is Scott Klosterman, who is one of the smartest attorney’s I’ve ever been around. The office on the other side of me is Scott Ortiz. And they’re more than willing to bounce off ideas and offer their experiences. So it has helped me to be able to work through issues for clients quicker and better because we have that ability to meet and talk with each other about those issues, instead of just facing them alone.”
At Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, no attorney works alone. Similarly, their attorneys work to ensure that the clients know that no matter the situation, no matter how scary or overwhelming or impossible their case seems, they are not alone either. That commitment to clients is what has kept Dodson around for 12 years, and it’s what will probably keep him around for many more.
“I’ve stayed at WPDN because of the attorneys that I work for and with, and for the clients that I get to represent,” he said. “The reputation that we have, providing that great service to clients, is why I stuck around. It’s provided opportunities to not only be a part of the legal community in Casper and in the entire region, but we’re also a part of organizations that allow us to have that national reach as well. We get to represent clients locally, regionally, and nationally.”
But for Dodson, local is the priority. In addition to his work as an attorney, Dodson is also heavily involved in the community. He’s on the Board of Directors for both the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and the Montessori School of Casper.
“I just enjoy helping people,” he shrugged. “Being in the legal field has helped me get more involved in the community. I’ve had the opportunity to be on several boards throughout my career so far and it’s really allowed me to get more involved and give back to the community.”
Community is important to Dodson. It’s also important to WPDN. That is an ideal that was held by the original founders of the firm, and it is one of the most important ideals still held today.
“I think a lot of the groundwork comes from the fact that the original partners, and then the partners that they have taken in over time, have spent so much time not just concentrating on their own practices, but giving back to Casper, as well,” Dodson said. “We’re not a business that just sits here and does business and earns money. We’re fully integrated into the community and we’re a part of it. And that all comes back to the foundation that was laid by the original partners here.”
The foundation that was laid by the original partners of WPDN has grown into a cornucopia of talent, of knowledge and, most importantly, of client-care. It is full of attorneys striving to provide excellent service at a fair price. Keith Dodson is one of those attorneys and, whether he realizes it or not, WPDN saw something in him when he first walked through their doors, and they see something in him, still. What they see is an attorney with a good heart, vast knowledge, and incredible skill. What they see is an attorney willing to go above-and-beyond for his clients. What they see, more than anything, is simply a good man.
READ MORE ABOUT KEITH
“I don’t think that there’s anything extremely different or special or unique about me,” she said.
And she didn’t realize how wrong she was.
Amy Iberlin is no stranger to hard work. She’s a Wyoming girl through and through and she spent the majority of her formative years growing up on a ranch between Casper and Gillette, Wyoming.
“It’s like the Wyoming fairytale story,” Iberlin reminisced. “I grew up on a ranch with my dad, my mom, and my two brothers and we always had to work really hard. We had daily chores and my parents worked really hard. They kind of started from the bottom and worked their way up from nothing. So, they have always encouraged me and my brothers to pursue our passions and our dreams; but we better do it in a way that makes it. So, we work extremely hard every day and do it the best we possibly can, always being honest and trying to create the life that we want to live.”
That’s exactly what Iberlin has done. It started in high school (possibly even before) and it has lasted throughout college, graduate school, law school, and her career.
“In high school I got straight A’s, but who didn’t?” she said (Editor’s Note: So, so many of us). “In college, I did pretty decently. I was, like, a 3.7 or 3.8 GPA. I had a 4.0 in my master’s program, but my God, I was not a straight A student in law school.”
Despite her lack of straight A’s in law school, Iberlin still boasts an impressive academic resume. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wyoming College of Law. She also graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Master’s degree in Public Administration, as well as Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Psychology and Criminal Justice.
She works hard, is the point. But, Iberlin said, it’s not just about working hard. It’s about trying hard.
“I try,” she said. “I have a lot of heart and I try super hard and I do it relentlessly, no matter what it takes. I wasn’t a straight A student in law school for sure, and I’ve never claimed to be the smartest kid, but I can generally outwork anybody in a room.”
And it’s that relentlessness that has shaped Iberlin into one of WPDN’s fastest rising attorneys. Much of her success is traced back to hard work and determination, but she said it is the people she surrounds herself with that inspires her to be the best possible version of herself.
“I just had really great mentors over the course of my career,” she said. “I worked for a lawyer named Mary Beth Galvan and one of my college professors told me that ‘If you can work for Mary Beth, you will love the practice of law.’ I love her dearly, to this day. She really mentored me. When I was in undergrad, I didn’t know anything about legal issues or anything about the legal process at all, but she’d take me to everything. She’d help me with everything. She was just amazing to me.”
Dallas Laird is another mentor in Iberlin’s life.
“So, my first summer [of law school], my grandparents lived in Casper at the time and I was extremely close with my grandma. She was the best person on planet earth, similar to Mother Teresa. But she was in poor health at the time. John Henley had an office right next to Dallas Laird and he offered me a job, so I took the job and lived at my grandma’s house that entire summer. And part of the job was that I would spend every morning, between 8am and 11am with Dallas Laird, essentially learning how to be a trial lawyer. He’s been a huge mentor and influencer in my life.”
Following that first summer, Iberlin worked in the domestic violence clinic at the University of Wyoming and learned a lot about actually practicing law. As she was getting ready to graduate, she sent her resume and cover letter to a variety of firms, as all soon-to-be attorneys do. As it happened, she actually sent her resume to Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville but they were not hiring attorneys at the time. It turned to be a blessing in disguise, however, because Iberlin began working for Judge Catherine Wilking as a law clerk. Wilking quickly became another mentor for Iberlin.
“I applied and interviewed with her and immediately, absolutely, fell in love with her,” Iberlin laughed. “She’s a fabulous person, just an amazing human being. She was a wonderful boss and I learned a ton from her. I very much respect her and she really fostered my love for the law.”
Iberlin worked for Wilking for a little more than a year, before eventually becoming a part of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.
“Craig Silva and Scott Klosterman were in a trial when I was a law clerk,” she said. “Any time there was a trial, as a law clerk, I got to go to the trial and watch the lawyers perform. That’s what you do; you’re basically a sponge. You’re learning what’s good law, what’s good lawyering, what’s bad lawyering. You learn how to be a good lawyer, essentially, and also how to not be a bad lawyer. After that, a friend of mine recommended me to them and they interviewed me. By the time I got back across the street after my interview, they made me an offer.”
Needless to say, she accepted the job.
“I’ve wanted to work there since I was an undergrad,” Iberlin stated. “As a law clerk, I got to watch court all the time and I always thought the WPDN lawyers were the best of the best; the cream of the crop. They always wrote the best, always had the best briefings. They had the best arguments and they were always super respectful in court. I thought their work was very interesting and I was just ultimately inspired to go there based on their reputation throughout the state.”
Iberlin began working for Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville in November of 2015. It took her 3 years to become a partner.
Again, a big reason for her success was the people who helped guide her along the way. Iberlin said that former WPDN attorney Jason Neville was a big influence on her career and provided multiple opportunities for her to learn and grow as an attorney in her own right.
“I think that’s how you become a great lawyer,” Iberlin stated. “I think that’s how all the guys that have been here for a long time became great lawyers; they’ve had a ton of experience but the vast amount of resources this firm has insane. You can walk down to the office of Pat Murphy (WPDN President) and ask him for a case and he can literally identify the title of the case, the reporter that the case is located in, and sometimes he can even get the page cites correct. That kind of institutional knowledge is just insane. It doesn’t exist in other places. [WPDN] is just a really unique and special place.“
It’s a place that Iberlin is ecstatic to be a part of.
“Every single person that I’ve worked with here has really fostered my development and growth as a lawyer,” she said. “I’ve had unmatched opportunities that I wouldn’t have had in any other firm. The reputation is by far the best in the state. And I think that’s how we recruit and maintain great lawyers. There’s a ton of autonomy. You get to be an adult and they essentially put you in the jet and let you fly it from day one.”
Speaking of flying, in her spare time, Iberlin is obtaining her pilot’s license. She said that she wakes up every morning at 5:15 A.M. to work out, five days a week. She enjoys traveling and playing golf, skiing and snowshoeing. Life, to Iberlin, is an adventure. She works hard but she plays hard as well, especially with her two dogs: Ivy and Ollie.
“They’re my children,” she laughed. “We do a lot of stuff together. We hike, we bike, we run. They go to doggy daycare and they even come to WPDN sometimes; they’re very dog-friendly here.”
But it’s not just the dog-friendliness of WPDN that makes it the absolute top of the line in terms of law firms in Wyoming and beyond.
“What makes WPDN different or, dare I say, the best, is that we get to do the very best work for the very best people,” Iberlin said. “We represent the best people in the state of Wyoming; a state I love dearly. I would never practice anywhere else. I love everything about this firm and this state and I love representing these people at WPDN. We’re a Wyoming-based law firm through and through. We bleed brown and gold in that firm and, ultimately, there isn’t another place in Wyoming like it.”
And there’s not another person like Amy Iberlin, either. She has achieved much thus far in her career and she is sure to reach even greater heights before the end of her story. But that story wouldn’t be possible without hard work, without grit, and without a slew of mentors who saw something in her that, maybe, she didn’t even see in herself.
“I’ve honestly just had really great mentors over the course of my career,” Iberlin said. “Like, what about me [created that]? I don’t know. I don’t think that there’s anything extremely different or special or something unique. I think that I have a good personality that jives with just about anybody. So, I think that my personality and my willingness to learn and my desire to do a good job is probably what got me here. Like I said, I grew up on a ranch and was instilled with the notion to do good, hard work. No matter the cost.”
And what Amy Iberlin doesn’t realize is that it’s exactly that attitude that makes her different. It’s what makes her unique. And it is absolutely what makes her special.
READ MORE ABOUT AMY
“I don’t have a great ‘Why did you want to be a lawyer?’ story,” Blaine Burgess said. Burgess didn’t grow up wanting to be an attorney. He didn’t know what he wanted to be when he was a kid. Or when he was a high school student. Or, even, a college student. “I was probably 23 years old, coming out of college,” Burgess stated. “I was a history major and just so happened to take a couple of legal history classes. Burgess was immediately intrigued by the law and decided to apply for law school.
So, he did.
He got his law degree and passed the Indiana Bar in 2014, before taking his first job with a boutique immigration law firm in Cincinnati. “I got a clerkship with this place and I just really fit in well with all the partners there,” Burgess said. “It was a small firm which, in Cincinnati, a small firm was eight people. Every other place, you’re a number; you’re not really an individual. You’re talking about a 500-person law firm where you might never meet one of the partners in 20 years.” Burgess said he learned a lot from his time at that firm. “I really liked that job,” he remembered. And some of the work we did was pretty interesting. I got to work on a lot of pretty cool immigration cases and that’s where I kind of started getting into criminal law and doing criminal defense.”
Following his time at the immigration firm, Burgess moved on to a prosecutor’s office in Wayne County, Indiana. He wasn’t there very long, however, because his mother took ill so he took a job in Dearborn County, Indiana to be closer to her. “For the first four years, I was the prosecutor in charge of handling most of the cases in Dearborn County Circuit Court; most of the major felonies in the county.” As a deputy prosecutor, Burgess often worked around the clock to protect the citizens of Dearborn County and was often on call for law enforcement requests and questions, and even responded to homicide scenes.
For Blaine Burgess, life is an adventure. And that adventure led him to Wyoming in 2020. First, he just vacationed in the Cowboy State. But it wouldn’t be long before it beckoned him for something a little more permanent. “I had only been out west once when I was a little kid; we went to the Grand Canyon,” Burgess stated. “So I didn’t really cross any mountains. I didn’t see mountains until my late twenties, but as soon as I saw them I fell in love with them and wanted to come out west. I’d been trying to get out here in some way, shape, or form for several years. And it just so happened that I had been an attorney long enough in Indiana that I could just waive into Wyoming. I didn’t have to take the bar exam or anything since I had been an attorney for the five years preceding that. My girlfriend and I came out here a couple of times last fall and I just really liked Wyoming. I liked the people we met here and I just wanted a change.”
So, he moved to Wyoming. After a brief time in Wyoming, Burgess began working for Williams, Porter, Day, & Neville. And, just like that, Burgess began the next chapter of his adventure. Burgess has only been working with Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville for about three months, but he can already see why the firm has the reputation that it does. “It’s been great,” he said. “Everybody is very supportive. It’s a great resource to have everybody in Casper. Being a small firm has its advantages and I kind of have the best of both worlds right now. I’m at a very small office because there’s only five of us who work here, but I also have all of the resources from the Casper office. Anytime I need them, I just Email them.”
Burgess has transitioned from criminal practice into civil, and he calls that transition both interesting and challenging but, he said that he has a great mentor in Sean Scoggin. “I probably go into Sean’s office five times a day, just asking random questions,” he laughed. “He’s a good resource and he’s never too busy. I’ve learned a lot from him, just in the month I’ve been here. He’s a good teacher and it doesn’t even seem like you’re working for him, either. It seems like you’re working with him. “
When asked about what advice he would give to younger lawyers, Burgess parroted advice he received from Frank Neville: ‘Be honest in all your dealings with opposing counsel and don’t let anyone compromise your integrity.’” This may have been advice for Burgess, but it’s also the mantra of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville as a whole. That’s why it has built such a reputation in Wyoming. And hiring young attorneys like Burgess continues to add to it. “WPDN is a firm with integrity,” Burgess said. “It’s a big firm, but it doesn’t have that big-firm feel. Everybody gives their clients individualized attention and nothing, and nobody, falls through the cracks. WPDN cares about its clients and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
So why does Blaine Burgess want to be an attorney? It’s because he likes helping people. And that is, quite possibly, the best reason to become a lawyer. And the moral of this not-so-great story is this: you don’t have to always have a plan. Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes, life just finds a way of working itself out. And sometimes, just sometimes, that was the plan all along.
READ MORE ABOUT BLAINE
She swore to herself she wouldn’t be an attorney. She swore to her father and her grandfather as well. Dick Day is one of the founders of Williams, Porter, Day and Neville and his son, Stuart, has been one of the firm’s stalwarts since the ‘80s. To say both men cast a pretty big shadow would be a vast understatement. So, for a long time, Erica Day did not want to become a lawyer. She didn’t want to follow in their footsteps because, quite frankly, she wasn’t sure that she would be able to.
But you can’t fight fate and when Day graduated high school and got her undergraduate degree from the University of Denver, she had a decision to make. She could build a career doing anything other than being an attorney, simply out of stubbornness. Or, she could do what she knew she would be good at. She could follow in her father and her grandfather’s footsteps, while still carving out her own path. She could be an attorney.
So, that’s what she did.
“I graduated from law school at the University of Denver, and then I actually moved out to Oregon and practiced more in a commercial banking, regulatory field for about a year before coming back to Casper,” Day stated.
She said that she moved to Oregon so her husband could pursue a degree of his own, but it wouldn’t be long before Wyoming called them back home. Still, she resisted the temptation to immediately join her father’s firm. In fact, it wasn’t until she got a call from an old friend that she even considered joining Williams, Porter, Day and Neville.
“Originally, I thought I would look for something in Fort Collins,” Day said. “But my father told the partners that I was coming back to Wyoming and Pat Murphy gave me a call. I had grown up with Pat; his youngest boy is my age. So, he called me and that’s what finally made my mind up.”
It’s not like Day was a stranger to the firm. As a kid, she spent many an afternoon there. She even interned there during law school. She knew the firm well and, even if her last name wasn’t in the lobby, she knew that WPDN was the premiere law firm in Wyoming and beyond. But before she could practice in the state, she had to be sworn into the federal court in Wyoming. This is something that’s required of all attorneys and it is something that holds a very special place in her heart.
“My grandfather was actually the attorney that sponsored me for my swearing in to the federal court in Wyoming,” Day remembered. “When you pass the bar, you’re admitted to practice in Wyoming but you need to go through another step with the federal court where, essentially, you say, ‘Here I am, I passed the bar, I passed my character evaluation, and there’s this other lawyer that is going to vouch for me. Please let me practice in front of you.’ And my grandfather, Dick, was the one who supported my application and he’s the one who came for my swearing in.”
This was such a meaningful moment to Day, not only because Dick was her grandfather, but also because he was such a widely-respected attorney in Wyoming.
“It ended up being even more meaningful because he passed away not that long afterwards,” Day revealed. “I think it was very special. Getting to share that with him, something that had been meaningful and very important in his life (practicing law in Wyoming), was now important to my life. I was glad that, before he passed, we were able to have that experience together.”
It was a great way to begin her career as a Wyoming attorney and it acted as sort of a symbolic ‘passing of the torch,’ from her grandfather.
And so, despite her initial reservations, in 2013 Erica Day became the newest addition to Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.
That was eight years ago and, in those eight years, Erica has only added to the legacy of the Day name. Her practice includes civil defense work right now, professional liability (specifically medical malpractice), real estate property, and civil rights work. Her work focuses on a wide spectrum of cases that exemplify her varied interests in law. It’s all fascinating to her and she enjoys helping her clients in a variety of ways.
Her desire to help people extends beyond the scope of her work with WPDN as well.
“I also volunteer with Equal Justice Wyoming,” Day revealed. “A lot of members in my firm do. Equal Justice recently had a modest fundraiser type event where they asked every Wyoming attorney to take one pro-bono case each year. My father is pretty involved with them and it’s just a really cool organization. Specifically, they do a lot of work to help folks that, maybe on the civil side, need an attorney. Some of my Equal Justice cases have been my most memorable cases, just because they really show how the law can have a positive impact very closely in your community.”
Many, if not all, of the attorneys at WPDN volunteer their time to a variety of organizations. They do this because they believe serving their community helps them grow as attorneys, and as human beings. It’s that community-focused mindset that impresses Day the most and it’s what has kept her here for more than eight years.
“There’s not another bunch of lawyers that I would prefer to work with,” Day said. “They’ve been great mentors for a young attorney who’s really learning the ropes. My senior partners have taken me to trial with them. They have really gone out of their way to be supportive. I think they especially work hard to encourage women in the field, and they try to make sure that we have a lot of women that are coming up and being mentored at WPDN.”
Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville are rooted, devoted, and determined to provide exceptional service at a fair price to Wyoming clients. This is what makes WPDN stand out amongst other Wyoming-based firms. It’s why the firm has developed such a stellar reputation throughout the state and beyond.
“Wyoming is a really small legal community, so it’s important to have those roots and for people to know that if you’re a part of this firm, with an established reputation, you’re going to be upright and honest when dealing with clients,” Day stated. “I think our firm, from my perspective, we’ve established that and I’m proud to be associated with it.”
She is also proud to continue to build on the legacy of the Day name. Once Day resigned herself to the idea of being an attorney, she was no longer afraid of working in her father or her grandfather’s shadow. She never felt pressured or compelled to do what they wanted or to follow in their footsteps. Neither man pressured her to become an attorney or to work specifically for WPDN. Erica Day just happens to be a good attorney and good attorneys want to work for Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.
“I think we’re called ‘Wyoming’s Law Firm’ because we are folks that were born and raised in Wyoming and we like doing business here,” Day said. “We like working here and we’re happy to represent everybody in Wyoming that we work with, giving them the best legal representation that we can, and making sure that they are honestly and fairly represented through the system.”
Those are things that Day learned early on, not just from her father, but from the rest of the WPDN attorneys as well.
“It’s definitely been interesting working with my dad, and getting to see him as not only my father, but as my partner,” Day said. “We don’t have a ton of cases together right now and I think he’s always been careful to encourage me to get mentorship from the other attorneys in the firm and make sure I can see how other folks are doing things. But I really enjoy working with him. There’s a reason why I ended up at WPDN.”
Legacy is a tough word to define. It’s an even tougher thing to live up to. But Erica Day has not only honored her father and grandfather’s legacy; she’s built one of her own.
“Every court reporter that I don’t know, the first question will always be ‘Am I Dick’s granddaughter or Stuart’s daughter?’” Day said. “But I don’t mind that. They’ve done a great job in their legal practice and I’m proud that I can say, ‘Yes, I’m Dick’s granddaughter and I’m Stuart’s daughter. I am proud to learn from them and proud to work with them.”
Though Erica didn’t get to work with her grandfather as much as she would have liked to, she can still feel his presence throughout the halls of WPDN. He has built a legacy that his son and his granddaughter have continued to build upon. And, if Dick was here today and could say one thing to his granddaughter?
“He’d probably say, ‘Let’s go get a scotch,’” Day laughed. “But I think that he would be very glad that I am at WPDN. He put a lot of himself into this firm and it mattered a lot to him. I am very happy to follow in his footsteps.”