Weld Riley, S.C. – Where we started

Weld Riley, S.C. is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and we thought it would be fun to take a look back to where it all started those many years ago. From a small firm built out of necessity to one of the largest law firms in western Wisconsin, it’s been a road with many forks, but one which has been fulfilling and created a wealth of friendships.

Steve Weld, one of the original partners in the firm vividly recounts how it all started back in 1991.

“The seven of us that started the firm were scared to death, and we were looking to generate cash flow so we could support our families. That’s all we were doing.”

Weld says the partners were originally working for a branch of a Milwaukee firm and that ended up suddenly ending. He says the original seven had a bold but frightening idea: start their own law firm.

“It was very scary. We’re lawyers, not business people. And we’ve learned, hopefully, to be both better lawyers and better business people.”

When asked what it’s like to counsel entrepreneurs getting ready to start their own businesses, Weld says the firm has a much better idea what that’s like and the risks involved.

“We’re a business just like our clients’ are businesses. I had a meeting with a credit union client recently, the CEO and myself and the president of the board. The CEO said we’re all business people around the table. We know what’s going on. That was very true,” Weld added.

While Weld Riley, S.C. started out as a boutique management and labor employment firm, 25 years later, Weld Riley now has almost 40 lawyers in three locations, representing clients in labor and employment, business law, estate planning, tax representation, municipal law, frac sand, mining and mineral rights, environmental law, banking and creditors’ rights, civil litigation, worker’s compensation defense, criminal defense, immigration, and family law.

“We’ve evolved over time from a boutique firm to basically a full-service law firm. We recently expanded in the criminal law area and in the family law area because frankly, our customers wanted those services,” Weld said.

And the future looks bright for the firm, as Weld and the other partners constantly look for ways to serve clients as both individuals as well as private and public organizations.

“Well it goes fast, I have to say it goes fast,” says Weld. “We’ve lost some good people through retirements and a couple of folks sadly passing away, but we’ve also had very talented attorneys join us so I enjoy coming to work every day. We try to bring in good people who are smart, hardworking, and who are willing to do a good job for our clients here in Northwestern Wisconsin.”

Weld Riley, S.C. was founded in 1991. The firm consists of lawyers across four offices (Eau Claire, Menomonie, Wausau and Black River Falls) and offers a full range of legal services, including labor and employment, business law, estate planning, tax representation, municipal law, mining and mineral rights, environmental law, banking and creditor rights, civil litigation, criminal defense, immigration, and family law.