GALLIPOLIS — Many folks in Gallia County know attorneys Eric Mulford and Britt Wiseman as assistant prosecuting attorneys who excel at putting criminals behind bars.
But did you know they also handle a variety of civil law cases?
Now that the partners in the Mulford & Wiseman law firm have moved into their own offices, they’ll be better able to do that.
The pair, who formed their partnership three years ago, formerly occupied an office on the second floor above Scites Insurance Agency at the corner of Second Avenue and Locust Street. Their new digs are at 435 Second Ave., directly across the street from the Gallipolis Post Office.
“(The old office) was great, but having our own office was always preferable,” Wiseman said. “We worked our rear ends off so we could get a place like this, a place where we could meet with people in our own space.”
Having their own space was a major motivator, but Mulford and Wiseman said they were also compelled to become part of downtown Gallipolis’ revitalization effort.
“We were pretty excited when we started seeing the positive changes downtown, so we decided to be a part of that and get our own ‘storefront’ presence,” Mulford said.
“It’s exciting to feel like you’re a part of that revitalization,” Wiseman said. “Everyone has put so much time and effort into getting these buildings filled after they have been empty for so long. It’s nice to have some life being brought to them and seeing people walking into them. It is good for the community.”
Now, Mulford and Wiseman don’t have to share a conference room or a secretary with another business, as they did before. Their current facility has about 4,000-square feet of office space – they’re using about half of it at the moment – with two offices and two conference rooms.
“Everything is our own,” Wiseman said. “We can meet with multiple clients because of all the space.”
The law firm also has off-street parking, which they feel is an added benefit of their new location. With their logo placed prominently on their front window, Mulford and Wiseman both said clients will find their office much easier.
“Everything is on one floor and we’re handicap-accessible,” Mulford said.
Being close to the Gallia County Courthouse, where Mulford and Wiseman both said they spend a great deal of time trying criminal cases, is also a benefit.
“When we were looking for a space, there was only a two-block area where we could practically be,” Mulford said.
“With both of us being assistant prosecutors, we get called out a lot of times for things that are not necessarily on our schedule,” Wiseman said. “We get called out for various court-related duties. It’s nice to be within a two-block area of the courthouse.”
Most people are surprised when they learn Mulford and Wiseman also handle civil law cases.
“We get that a lot. People will say, ‘We didn’t know you could handle our mom’s estate’ or whatever. We’re assistant prosecutors, but we do other things, too,” Wiseman said. “People see us in the newspaper for the prosecution side of things and oftentimes not for the civil side.”
When he’s not in court with a criminal case, Mulford, who began practicing law in 2004, works on probate matters such as real estate and wills. Wiseman, who began practicing law in 2012, works on domestic relations issues such as dissolutions, divorces, custody cases, as well as evictions and some real estate work. Both also represent several area businesses as collectors.
“We both really like to focus on the estate portions. It’s one of those things that is conducive to our work schedule,” Wiseman said. “We do all of them, but the estate work has been a big one for us.”
“I like (real estate law) because you can help people get through a rough time and help them reach an outcome that they don’t know to get to themselves,” Mulford said. “It works out well because there are not many court appearances necessary for that kind of work.”
Mulford and Wiseman both agreed that working on estate and real estate issues is a “breath of fresh air” from the contested cases with which they are usually involved as assistant prosecutors.
“As assistant prosecutors, we’re always in contentious situations. It’s always back and forth. You’re always having to negotiate and things like that,” Wiseman said. “The estate and real estate work just gives us a little bit of a reprieve. In a small town like Gallipolis, we’re able to do both sides of the law (criminal and civil).”
Both enjoy working in a small-town atmosphere that Gallipolis provides.
“In a small town, you typically know your clients and have a relationship with them,” Mulford said. “Once they’re your client, they’ll always come back to you. You’re not typically representing a stranger like you would in a larger city.”
“Someone either knows you or knows a family member,” Wiseman said. “It’s great to be able to help someone you know.”
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.