About Our Firm
Bell, Moore & Richter, S.C. is proud to be one of Wisconsin's oldest law firms, with a continuous history that goes back to 1851, just three years after Wisconsin became the 30th state admitted to the Union. The firm's members have included Madison mayors, U.S. senators, state legislators, law professors, Wisconsin Supreme Court justices, and a federal judge as well as many leading lawyers in their specialty areas.
Originally founded under the name of Vilas & Remington in 1851, we continue a long tradition of providing community services as well as professional excellence. The founding member of our firm, Levy Baker Vilas, set up his practice in Madison in 1851, and soon began a tradition of involvement and leadership in community affairs that continues today. Mr. Vilas served as Madison's mayor in 1861, was a state assemblyman for three terms and served as a regent of the University of Wisconsin.
The next attorney in the firm to serve as mayor of Madison was Silas U. Pinney. Mr. Pinney was known throughout the state as an expert in legal procedures and he had a remarkable career. While serving as mayor in 1874, Mr. Pinney was instrumental in establishing the second free public library in the state. He later served on the state legislature and was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1891. In the 100 volumes of the Wisconsin Reports printed by the time of his death in 1899, Mr. Pinney's name appeared as either counsel or justice in all but the first two volumes. In 1872, Pinney gathered the opinions of the territorial Supreme Court and the original state Supreme Court and published them in three volumes called Pinney's Wisconsin Reports.
In the early 1900's we started a specialized practice with railroads, public utilities and insurance companies, led by Chancey E. Blake and William J.P. Aberg. Mr. Blake specialized in railroad and public utility law, while Mr. Aberg specialized in railroad law and helped develop the firm's insurance work by reorganizing the Farmers Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, which is now American Family Insurance. Mr. Aberg, who had a strong interest in conservation, was instrumental in the restoration of the Horicon Marsh. We are proud to continue to represent many of the clients that those lawyers brought into the firm many years ago.
We continue to take great pride in the broad scope of clients we represent, from individuals and small business to large insurance companies and major health care organizations. We have a very experienced group of trial lawyers who handle a wide variety of civil litigation in virtually all of Wisconsin's circuit courts, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, federal district courts, federal court of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. In particular, we are recognized as a leading firm for the defense of medical malpractice and general liability claims. We also have a strong history of service to businesses and individuals, in the areas of regulation, healthcare law, taxation, corporate law, business organization, finance, public utility, taxation, real estate, employment law, estate planning and family law.
We are proud to have served the legal needs of Madison and Wisconsin for over 171 years, are honored by the presence of so many leading lawyers in the firm and look forward to an even brighter future. You can trust that we will be here for you, providing sound advice and vigorous trial representation.