Our History

SPEAR WILDERMAN is composed of a dedicated group of lawyers, paralegals, administrators and support staff with a commitment to quality legal services, teamwork and professionalism.

The firm traces its history to the combined talents of the late Louis Wilderman, who began practicing labor law in 1937, when the National Labor Relations Act was in its infancy, and Leonard Spear, who had represented unions and working people for over 50 years.  This was a time of growth in the labor movement, spurred in part by the enactment of federal and state antidiscrimination laws, of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and the growth of health and welfare funds, pension, severance, scholarship and other benefit funds. Our firm was one of the pioneers in the establishment of prepaid legal service plans to union members.  With the gradual change in the composition of the local labor force from a manufacturing based economy to one which is more service oriented, the firm became involved in aiding in the growth of various service oriented employee organizations. Since the early 1970’s there has also been a dramatic increase in Unions representing professionals.

Since 1972, when Spear and Wilderman first formed their partnership, our law firm has devoted itself to representing both labor organizations and their members. We have represented building trades unions, public employee unions, office and professional workers, physicians, building service employees, theatrical unions, health care workers, food industry employees, electricians and paper industry employees, police officers, federal employees, and many others.

While our roots are in the labor movement, we have never restricted our practice to traditional labor law areas. Aware of the wide range of legal issues which occur in the typical family, we have always maintained a general practice department dedicated to the general legal needs of labor organization members and their families. This practice area also extends to helping nonunion workers, small business people, retirees and others, who encounter a wide variety of legal problems.

Our attorneys have a wide array of backgrounds and talents, both inside and outside of the law.  Chuck Joyce is an accomplished artist, who frequently shows his work at art shows and galleries throughout Pennsylvania.  One of his specialties is creating images of workers – you can see some of his paintings here.  Other staff members have backgrounds in union organizing, teaching, social work, history, photography, the humanities and other fields.  We are proud that two of our attorneys – Peggy Browning and Dennis Walsh – were nominated by the President and served as members of the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, the first union-side labor lawyers in history to serve in those important positions.  It has always been our philosophy that well-rounded individuals are best suited to providing the type of imaginative, sensitive, thinking-outside-the-box representation all our clients are entitled to expect to receive from Spear Wilderman.

In all areas of our practice, we are most proud of our ability to help clients devise creative tactical solutions to difficult problems caused by laws restricting the rights of unions and workers in general. Whether brainstorming organizing drives, or litigating to keep employers from abrogating their multiemployer bargaining agreements, we believe that we have creative ideas to keep the labor movement in the business of representing their members as best they can in these challenging times.

Our legal representation covers a wide range of practice areas.  Whatever your legal needs or problems, we are well-equipped to respond to them, and we look forward to the opportunity to provide these services to you and your family members.