The history of Wise & Reber, L.C. reflects the history of McPherson County. In fact, we have common ancestry with the City of McPherson through our founder, Frank O. Johnson, a charter member of the City of McPherson.
Mr. Johnson was admitted to the bar in 1886 and began a law partnership with D. K. Cunningham. In 1891, Mr. Johnson briefly joined Edward S. Carr to form Johnson and Carr. In 1893, he began a partnership with M. P. Simpson under the firm name of Johnson and Simpson. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Simpson practiced law together until 1897, when Mr. Simpson became a District Judge. Frank O. Johnson remained a sole practitioner until 1928. He also served as Mayor of McPherson from 1913-1918, and was elected State Senator in 1920. The firm was located on the second floor of 123 N. Main in downtown McPherson from 1886 to 1970.
With the addition of J. Rodney Rhoades in 1928, the firm became known as Johnson and Rhoades. Mr. Rhoades also served as McPherson City Attorney from 1934 to 1944. During World War II, he served with distinction in the Judge Advocate Corps, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1931, the firm became Johnson, Rhoades and Lehmberg with the addition of George R. Lehmberg. Mr. Lehmberg also served as McPherson County Attorney and as McPherson Finance Commissioner. He served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater.
Frank Johnson died in 1933, and the Rhoades and Lehmberg firm eventually became Rhoades, Lehmberg and Wise with the addition of Robert W. Wise in 1961. Mr. Wise served as County Attorney from 1962-67 and served as President of the Kansas Bar Association in 1990.
After World War II, John K. Bremyer came home to open a solo practice in McPherson starting in 1946. He served as County Attorney from 1950-53 and was joined by Dick Roland Jones in 1962 to form Bremyer &Jones.
The Rhoades, Lehmberg and Wise firm grew in the postwar boom economy, adding H. W. Hopp in 1964. They merged in 1970 with the Bremyer & Jones firm and became known as Lehmberg, Bremyer, Wise, Jones &Hopp, Chartered. The merged firm moved to the upper level of the new Pioneer Savings and Loan Building, directly east of the McPherson County Courthouse. In 1974, the firm added three partners – Jay K. Bremyer, Philip C. Lacey, and William H. Seiler, Jr. The firm took the name Bremyer & Wise, P.A. in 1979.
As Bremyer & Wise grew, it also outgrew its facilities. The firm expanded its building in 1986 with an upper-level addition that more than doubled its space.
J. Thomas Marten joined the firm in 1981 after clerking for retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark. Tom left the firm in 1996 to become a Federal District Court Judge for the State of Kansas. Jill Bremyer-Archer began her practice with the firm in 1984 and left in 2008 to found a solo adoption practice.
Brett Reber joined the firm in 1988 after completing a clerkship with U.S. District Judge Thomas Brett in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Casey Law joined shortly thereafter in early 1989, returning to his hometown after practicing in Great Bend, Kansas.
Randee Koger joined the firm in 1991 from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she practiced tax law for 5 years. In 1996, the firm added two partners, David Harger and Jeff Houston. Ann Elliott joined the firm in August 2012, and Lauren Hughes joined in August 2016.
The firm changed its name in 1999 to Bremyer & Wise, L.L.C. Our firm currently has eight lawyers and practices as Wise & Reber, L.C.