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AWD Turns 40


WhitneyCunninghamSome things are built to last. Law firms are not frequently among them. Why not? Just consider the last situation when you spent time with your lawyer. You were probably in the midst of a transaction or dispute that you couldn’t handle on your own, and the outcome of which could make a big difference in your life or in your business. Now, consider how you came to have that lawyer as your own. No one seeks a referral by asking, “Is there a lawyer who handles …?” Most likely, the question is this, “Who is the best lawyer to handle …?” And once hired, tested and trusted, that person is ever after called “your” lawyer. That’s the nature of the lawyer-client relationship.

When Fritz Aspey, Harold Watkins and Lou Diesel opened the law firm in July 1975, they had no clients, but they did have a strong desire to be a part of, and make a positive impact on, the community. They locked into a steady client base and a wealth of court experience when they were awarded the public defender contract for Coconino County – $40,000 a year split among three lawyers to handle every public defender case. Criminal defense eventually branched out into personal injury, family law, business, and so on. Success followed. For example, AWD made its first $1,000,000 recovery for a client in the early 1980s, and its first $10,000,000 recovery in the early 1990s.

What’s in a name? Almost from its inception, Aspey, Watkins and Diesel was better known in the community simply as AWD. Fritz, Harold and Lou determined early on that the success they wanted for their clients and the firm would not happen without strong support. As the needs of its clients expanded, AWD expanded. Today AWD fields a team of 15 lawyers, and a legal support staff who boasts on average a dozen years with the firm. You’re likely to hear the firm refer to itself simply as AWD Law.

Many current AWD Law clients may not know Aspey, Watkins or Diesel. They have, instead, forged their relationships of trust with other partners in the firm. This is the secret to why AWD has lasted – continuing to secure the attorney-client bond one client at a time, with a high degree of personal attention. The “next” generation at AWD claims more than 150 years of legal experience, a county bar president, a state bar president, two lawyers peer-selected into Southwest Super Lawyers, one as a Super Lawyer Rising Star and three peer-selected into Arizona’s Finest Lawyers.

AWD Law is still Aspey, Watkins and Diesel, each of whom continues in active or of counsel roles. The firm has new leadership, but remains committed to the values from which it was built. AWD Law continues to offer a full slate of consumer services, such as criminal defense, estate planning, family law and personal injury. AWD Law also handles a robust business and real estate practice, including outside general counsel and entrepreneurial assistance, and ongoing litigation across Northern Arizona, in the Supreme Court of Arizona, the federal courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. FBN


By Whitney Cunningham

More information about Aspey, Watkins and Diesel is available online.

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