Count on Me- A History of WPDN - WPDN

Count on Me- A History of WPDN

“Count on me.”

       – Lou Holtz, University of Notre Dame Head Coach

“Do great work at a fair price.”

        – Houston Williams, Founding Partner of WPDN


The law firm that would one day be known as Williams, Porter, Day and Neville started out as Wehrli  & Associates, a firm started by its namesake, Bill Wehrli, in 1936. Wehrli, a  Casper native, was an excellent trial lawyer, specializing in business law and insurance law. Wehrli & Associates operated under that name from 1936 until 1955. At that time Houston Williams became a partner and from 1955 to 1979 the firm was known as Wehrli and Williams. During that time, George Porter, Dick Day, and Frank Neville joined the firm and this became the foundation upon which WPDN was ultimately built. Part of that foundation, according to Houston

Williams was becoming a firm that delivered excellent legal work, at a fair price.” That was one of the very first mission statements of what would ultimately become WPDN, and it is a mantra that still holds true to this day.

When Bill Wehrli passed away in November of 1979, after a long and successful career, Houston Williams and his fellow partners decided to change the name of the firm to reflect the current leadership, while maintaining the integrity, professionalism, and work ethic that Werhli so firmly established in Casper. Four men, Houston Williams, George Porter, Dick Day, and Frank Neville became partners and WPDN was born.

The roots of WPDN were established more than 70 years ago, but it was in the winter of 1979 that WPDN really began to build its reputation as one of the most respected and admired law firms in Wyoming and beyond. Shortly after WPDN opened (or reopened) its doors, Patrick Murphy joined the firm as an associate and, in the 40 years he has been there, he has become as much of an institution as any of the name partners. The team that was first created back in ’79- Houston Williams, George Porter, Dick Day, Frank Neville, and Pat Murphy- set the precedent for what the firm would look like in the years to come.

WPDN is a full-service law firm, with various areas of expertise. WPDN specializes in oil & gas law, commercial law, construction law & design, employment & labor law, healthcare law, energy/environmental law, insurance & risk management, transportation & logistics, family law, estate planning, wealth security & elder law, and more. Throughout their 70 years of experience, the attorneys at WPDN have been a part of many landmark cases and decisions, including over 200 Wyoming  Supreme Court decisions and numerous 10th Circuit Court decisions. WPDN lawyers have practiced in every courthouse in the state of Wyoming and they have indelibly left their mark in every courtroom as well. Because of their unparalleled expertise and the reputation, they have built one of Wyomings top clientcentered law firms, WPDN has been honored by its inclusion in numerous prestigious organizations, such as the American College of Trial Lawyers, and USLAW.

Frank Neville and Scott Ortiz are the attorneys who represent WPDN in the American College of Trial Lawyers. This is a distinction given only to the very best-of-the-best attorneys; those who have tried and won numerous cases and shown exemplary professionalism in every aspect of being a trial lawyer. Likewise, USLAW is an invite-only networking provider. USLAW appoints one firm from every state to represent their state in this nation-wide network. Members of USLAW interact with each other, consult each other on cases, attend various conferences and symposiums, and network with each other as much as possible. Per their website, “USLAW is comprised of highlyrated law firms that are part of the NETWORK by invitation only. Member firms undergo a rigorous review process to ensure outstanding quality of lawyers throughout the USLAW NETWORK. USLAW firms are experienced in commercial and business law, employment and labor law, litigation, and other business-related areas of law. All firms have substantial trial experience. USLAW member firms provide legal representation to major corporations, insurance companies, and large and small businesses alike.”

WPDN’s inclusion in these organizations and many others are indicative of a commitment to excellence and dedication to their wide array of clients. When Scott Ortiz began working with WPDN in 1991, he brought with him a passion to serve the community both inside and outside of the courtroom. That passion is shared by all who work at WPDN, which has led to its inclusion in a variety of local and national organizations, such as the American Bar Association, the Wyoming State Bar, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the USTA Constitution & Rules Committee, and the Defense Research Institute. The staff of WPDN also gives their time and money to a variety of charitable organizations, including CASA of Natrona County, the Casper Rotary Club, Casper American Legion Baseball, the Mercer House Family Resource Center, and many more. Every associate and paralegal who joins WPDN does so with the passion and desire to better their community both in the jobs they perform and the examples they set.

Though the support staff, WPDN has grown from two to four to seven to, now, more than twentyfive people, it still remains a family type of environment. The staff of WPDN takes care of each other, whether its a paralegal working for multiple attorneys or the attorneys themselves taking on work for their peers. WPDN associates are more than just colleagues, and the people for whom they work are more than just clients. WPDN is a family, and thats exactly what Bill Wehrli envisioned when he started his firm 70 years ago.

“My favorite coach of all time is Coach Lou Holtz from the University of Notre Dame,” said Patrick Murphy, who has been with WPDN since 1979. “He would always tell his teammates to ‘Count on me. Count on me to do the right thing. Count on me to help you. Count on me to do the very best that I can.’ Our entire firm is summed up with that- count on me. I can go to anyone of my partners and I can tell them to count on me’ and they will count on me and they can come to me, even silently, and say, ‘Pat, count on me.’ Thats what we are to one another. And thats what we try to be to our clients. Count on me to do a good job, to be honest, to guide you, and treat you fairly.”

“In short, count on us to do excellent legal work at a fair price.”

For the past 70 years, that is exactly what WPDN has done.