Historical Contributions of Bacon & Wilson
December 29, 2003
Bacon and Wilson is one of the oldest law firms in the Valley with one of the best reputations built on over one hundred years of outstanding practice and contribution within the community. The firm was first incorporated in 1979, a product of a merger between two separate firms: Bacon, Weltman, and Cohen with Wilson, Keady, and Ratner.
George A. Bacon, a well-respected lawyer and active republican, opened his practice on June 17, 1895. Peter Wilson started up his firm after inheriting it from previous owners in 1945. With the Bacon, Weltman, and Cohen firm covering more of the community and business law and the Wilson, Keady, and Ratner firm covering the real estate/probate side of the law, it made a perfect match for the two to join efforts after the two firms had found themselves constantly referring the other’s services. The inevitable merger seemed only natural and allowed the two firms to collaborate their specialized efforts in order to grow and provide a full spectrum of disciplines. Starting out with only nine lawyers, the firm currently employs 26 lawyers, 15 paralegals, and a total of over 80 employees.
When asked how they came about calling the firm Bacon and Wilson, Managing Partner, Stephen Krevalin and Senior Partner, Mike Ratner joked that it was actually their receptionist who created the shortened version which she preferred over the rather long-winded salutation of all six lawyers. Surprisingly, the newly combined firm of Bacon and Wilson saw little challenges along the way. The firm culture came about with a smooth blending of personalities and quickly became a cohesive group geared towards the same goals through growth, specialization, and in providing a high standard of quality in their services. Before combining efforts, the individual firms had already established a name for themselves within the community. However, their reputation and esteem grew more as they became united. Ratner and Krevalin not only attribute their reputation to their abilities as lawyers, but also to their extended role within the community. Krevalin remarks that, “it’s something that we pride ourselves in,” and he takes joy in their commitment to charitable and civic organizations where they live and work. Such organizations touched by Bacon and Wilson include the Jimmy Fund, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Cancer Society, The United Way, American Heart Associations, Alzheimer’s Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Springfield Chamber of
Commerce, Springfield Jewish Community Center, and Brightside. Many of the lawyers within the firm hold key leadership roles within these organizations and, according to Ratner, they are involved fully and “with the purpose of trying to guide it and move it forward.”
A Perfect Location
The first location chosen by the firm was at 95 State Street in Springfield. Due to growth, they later moved to their current location at 33 State Street. The historic building, built in 1910 and recognized by the Springfield Preservation Trust, was once the location of the Springfield Gas Electric Company. The firm has tried to preserve the history of the building and throughout the firm’s offices many pictures tell the tale of the years it has seen. Located directly across from the courthouse, the building is a great location for the lawyers and clients alike, serving as the main office or “hub of the wheel” as Krevalin would like to put it, to its additional locations in Westfield, Northampton, and Windsor
Currently, the firm is in the midst of putting the finishing touches on a new expansion at the “hub” that has afforded them over 6,000 feet of new office space by joining their building to the second floor of the neighboring 29 State Street building by means of an airwalk. This expansion, necessary due to the rapid growth experienced year after year, will house the estate planning/probate and litigation department as well as adding additional office and conference space.
A One-Stop Shop
Because the firms Bacon and Wilson brought together specialized backgrounds of so many qualified lawyers, the firm is able to cover almost all areas of the law including, but not limited to, estate planning, elder law & probate, domestic relationships & family law, bankruptcy & reorganization, real estate & zoning, personal injury, litigation, employment, immigration, business & corporate, banking & finance, healthcare, and municipal. The full array of services provided by Bacon and Wilson creates a “one-stop shop” for anyone seeking guidance within any realm of law. The multidisciplinary aspect and specialization allow the firm to represent big business, small business, and individuals across the valley.
Maintaining Strong Standards
Since its collaboration 24 years ago, not much has changed within the business. Their overall philosophies have maintained strong, and they have adhered to their mission by abiding to a professional standard as officers of court, maintaining an obligation to the
system and their clients, and providing continued services that keep clients satisfied and ensured that they are getting a good product at a reasonable price. They have kept customers happy by treating each like an individual, paying for customers’ parking, and creating a warm and comfortable atmosphere. “We’re not one of the firms in the ‘big boxes,'” says Ratner, which he claims helps them differentiate themselves from their competitors.
One of the things that Krevalin and Ratner feel best about is the ability to provide a working atmosphere that produces a high employee retention rate. “It’s like a family,” states Ratner, and Krevalin agrees, adding, “we consider everyone as brothers and
sisters practicing together.” Every employee has a hand in the way the firm functions, and Krevalin and Ratner feel that it is important for everyone to get involved. A number of different committees have been created to meet and discuss short- and long-range issues within the firm. They feel as though everyone has really come together and believe that having that core year in and year out will guide them into the future. “We’re here for the long haul,” says Ratner. In order to create that future, the firm continues to invest money into technology, each lawyer undergoes continued education, and they continue to expand into newer specialized areas of the law as the need arises.
by: Melissa Harris, Staff Writer
Valley Business Outlook