On 1st Anniversary of Name Change, Mpls. Law Firm Celebrates Decades of Community Service by Highlighting Artists with Disabilities

Unconventional office redesign emphasizes firm's premier team approach to civil litigation

Minneapolis, Minnesota (December 18, 2013) – As 2014 approaches, the Minneapolis law firm of O'Meara, Leer, Wagner & Kohl is marking the first anniversary of its new name with an “out of the box” redesign for their office space and a renewed commitment to community service, advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families across Minnesota. Since its founding 40 years ago, the firm has established itself as one of Minnesota's premier civil litigation firms with an enviable track record in business, commercial, education, workers' compensation and insurance-related litigation.

“Our innovative office redesign represents our vision for our work today and in the future,” said outgoing Managing Partner Christopher E. Celichowski. “The floor plan embraces our team approach and it empowers our staff to work together efficiently and productively.” The remodel is a dramatic departure from the more traditional place of business, where attorneys work in exterior window offices with a view, while paralegals and others are isolated in dark inner offices. The new office space emphasizes open sight lines and clean, naturally-lit work areas. “Our employees like the ergonomic work stations with low glass panels—they can see each other so they can work in tandem and share resources as needed, yet privacy and confidentiality are preserved,” said shareholder Kristen Anderson Ryan.  “We're very excited about it. People feel really comfortable here. The attorneys and staff interact as a team, so there's a lot of really good collaboration going on.”

Clients are benefitting from the redesign, too. Visitors are greeted by a new lobby and conference center designed to provide comfortable, professional meeting areas for arbitration, mediation and other client services. The center is closed off from the internal office area, so the work of the firm can continue uninterrupted, and the privacy of clients and visitors respected.

And in those public spaces, the firm is showcasing its unwavering dedication to community service, with more than a dozen “cool paintings” of local artists with developmental disabilities. “It's the way many of these artists express themselves and embrace the world,” said incoming Managing Partner Shamus O'Meara. “We feel fortunate to highlight the abilities of those who, despite difficult circumstances, have done something wonderful with their lives that they would like to share with others. It is truly from the heart and we are thankful for the opportunity to be part of that.”

Partnership Resources of St. Louis Park, MN provides services to more than 200 adults with disabilities in Minnesota and has partnered with the firm for the past 7 years. The nonprofit's marketing and development director, Dan Reed, says the law firm is always promoting the causes of underserved populations. “Their world view is inclusive and extremely supportive–not just legally but personally–the partners get it,” said Reed. “So many employees have had their lives touched by disabilities. They are so proud to promote increasing awareness of all people's abilities.” O'Meara called the firm's efforts in the area, “meaningful, heartfelt work.” “From both a personal and professional standpoint, it simply makes sense to do this,” he said.

In 2011, the firm led efforts to reach a multi-million dollar class action suit on behalf of 300 former residents of a state-run institution in Cambridge, Minnesota, after reports that patients were subjected to “improper and inhumane use of seclusion and physical restraints.” The settlement also led to the closure of the facility and landmark changes by the State of Minnesota on how Minnesotans with developmental disabilities, and their families, are treated. “I think the really neat thing about that kind of advocacy is that it led to a tremendous amount of good,” said Timothy Leer, the firm's Senior Partner, “and that ultimately benefitted tens of thousands of Minnesotans with developmental disabilities and
their families.”

About O'Meara, Leer, Wagner & Kohl, P.A.
Since its founding in 1973, O'Meara, Leer, Wagner & Kohl, P.A. has achieved a strong national reputation for trial success and its handling of high profile legal matters. Based in Minneapolis, the firm of more than 70 employees serves a diverse group of clients from multinational corporations to emerging businesses and insurance companies. The firm is listed in Best's Recommended Insurance Attorneys, The Insurance Bar, and by Martindale-Hubbell, Inc. with the highest rating for professional legal ability and the highest rating for faithful adherence to ethical standards, professional reliability and diligence. The firm is also a member of the International Society of Primerus Law Firms, an alliance of firms committed to the excellence in the practice of law as embodied in the six pillars of Primerus: integrity, excellence of work product, reasonable fees, continuing legal education, civility, professionalism and community service. For more information call 952-806-0442 or go to: www.olwklaw.com To schedule interviews, contact media liaison Robb Leer 612.701.0608.