FRESNO – The decision to rename the Walter and Wilhelm Law Group to Walter Wilhelm Bauer earlier this year both recognizes the contributions that shareholder Paul J. Bauer has made to the firm and highlights the fact Bauer brings years of experience in employment and labor law to the table.
Michael L. Wilhelm, another shareholder with the firm, said he and Riley C. Walter, the founder and third shareholder, first brought Bauer on board in 2010, and that Bauer became a shareholder a few years later. At the beginning of the year, the firm changed its name.
“Paul Bauer became a shareholder a few years ago and we decided to add him to the letterhead as of Jan. 1, 2016, to recognize what a valuable addition he has been to our firm,” Wilhelm recently told the Northern California Record.
The firm works exclusively with businesses, and its practice focuses on central California. Walter founded the firm in 2001 and brought on a few associates. He was previously a partner with McCormick Barstow LLP, a large firm with dozens of attorneys that has offices in Fresno, Modesto, Cincinnati, Denver and Las Vegas.
In 2008, Wilhelm, who practiced with McCormick Barstow for 27 years, joined Walter as a shareholder, and the firm’s name changed from the Riley C. Walter Law Firm to Walter and Wilhelm Law Group. Wilhelm focuses on bankruptcy, transactional law and real estate cases, while Walter focuses on insolvency, bankruptcy and agricultural law. Another reason for the name change, Wilhelm said, was that Bauer brings a different focus to the firm.
“Paul focuses on employment and labor law, and we thought it was important to make that more visible,” Wilhelm said.
Bauer has represented businesses in a wide range of cases including wrongful termination, sexual harassment and wage and hour violations. His profile on the firm’s site says he has a record of getting lawsuits dismissed before trial begins.
In addition to representing employers in lawsuits, he also advises companies on ways they can comply with labor laws and how they can prevent lawsuits. He also offers training for companies on preventing harassment and other violations of Equal Employment Opportunity law. He was named a rising star by Super Lawyer magazine four years in a row and was named a Northern California Super Lawyer in 2014 and 2015.
In total, Walter Wilhelm Bauer has seven attorneys in the practice, along with support staff. The attorneys practice in multiple areas, from advising business owners about trusts and estate planning to assisting entrepreneurs in starting businesses. The firm’s work has been expanding, and Wilhelm said he expects that to continue.
“We have more attorneys and more work than we had a number of years ago,” he said. “Even now we're looking to hire, if we can find the right people. We already do a little bit of litigation, but we're looking to expand that area.”