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Up & Coming Honorees: William E. Peterson, 32

Partner, Wood, Cooper & Peterson, Neosho

william-e-petersonPractice Areas: Workers’ compensation, personal injury, civil litigation, Social Security disability

Law School: University of Missouri

How does Will Peterson do it all? At the southwest-Missouri practice where he works, according to a colleague, he maintains a caseload of about 125 workers’ compensation cases, 10-20 civil-litigation cases and 10-15 judicial appointments to represent indigent clients in juvenile proceedings.

He has tweaked the firm’s marketing approach and brought home results, such as a $750,000 personal-injury settlement this year. He has business clients, too, including a nationwide reinsurance company and a large, local real estate company.

He serves as the city attorney in the town of Seneca once a month. He volunteers as assistant municipal judge in Neosho. He volunteers for the state bar’s Courts Bulletin publication and volunteered last year as a middle school girls basketball coach. Oh, and he writes a movie-review blog, when he’s not hanging out with his three kids or doing crossword puzzles with his wife.

What inspired you to get involved in the legal profession?

I graduated from a one-hallway, K-12 school with 13 people. I was the only guy in my high school class to go to college and the first guy in my extended family to do so. After undergrad, I worked full-time, but I didn’t have any clear purpose. After a few years, I thought I should try law school. My aunt is an attorney, and her example helped me believe it was possible. We aren’t wealthy and law school costs money, but my parents and especially my older sister all believed in me and supported me all the way.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I am a huge Project Runway fan. I think the contestants are incredibly talented to be able to do what they do in such a short amount of time with limited resources. And Tim, Nina, Heidi, Zac, and Michael Kors are amazing.

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