The Firm that is now known as Beard Legal Group was established 30 years ago on September 1, 1989 at the newly constructed Intowne Square offices in downtown Altoona. The firm was founded by partners David Andrews and Mike Wagner, and was first known as Andrews and Wagner, with two attorneys supported by three staff members to provide legal services to School Districts, municipalities, private sector companies, and insurance carriers in matters of labor negotiations, school law, workers' compensation, and civil litigation.
Carl Beard joined the firm a short time later in November of 1991. With his concentration in the areas of School/Education Law, Special Education, school-related Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining, the Firm greatly expanded its representative clientele of School Districts and insurance carriers. Also in 1991, just two years after its start, steady growth of both clientele, attorneys and staff, led the Firm to move to its current location on Lynnwood Drive in Altoona. A satellite office was later opened in Johnstown to better serve its numerous clients in Cambria County.
At its inception in 1989, the Firm represented approximately two School Districts as Solicitor and just a few more in Labor Relations matters. Today, the Firm serves as Solicitor to more than 44 School Districts and Career Centers across 16 counties in Pennsylvania (including all of the School Districts and the Career Center in Blair County), and more than 80 School Districts inclusive of services as Labor Counsel and/or Special Counsel. Beard Legal Group represents more public school entities than any other firm in Pennsylvania concentrating its practice in school law.
The name on the sign has changed over the years, from Andrews & Wagner, to Andrews, Wagner & Beard with Carl's rise to partner in 1997, to Andrews & Beard, and ultimately the Firm's incorporation as Beard Legal Group occurred in 2016. The Firm has continued to grow and maintain its consistently high level of expertise and client service throughout all of its 30 years, and has sustained its unique distinction as a specialized law firm. The firm is currently comprised of six dedicated attorneys including Carl Beard, the Firm's President, Partners Elizabeth Benjamin and Ronald Repak, and Associate Attorneys Jennifer Dambeck, Carl Deren Beard, and Krystal Edwards, all of whom are supported by six talented staff members. Several employees have been with the firm for more than 25 years, and most for at least 10 years.
Attorney Beard has been recognized in the state and nationally as an expert in the field of school law, and has received Awards for Outstanding Service to Public Education and Distinguished Achievement in Law, and served as President of the School Solicitors' Association comprised of over 300 attorneys. Both the Firm and its individual attorneys continue to be recognized as leaders in their field, and regularly present lectures and training on behalf of entities such as the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, local chapters of Human Resource Associations, the National Business Institute, and Lorman Educational Seminars.
In addition to school law, Beard Legal Group also provides extensive legal services focused in employment, human resource, business and municipal law to clients including local corporations and businesses, industrial companies, municipalities and municipal authorities, insurance companies, health and nursing care facilities, retailers, and a variety of non-profit entities.
In connection with these efforts, Beard Legal Group has also always maintained a drive to likewise give back to the communities and School Districts that it serves by donating resources to help various causes, particularly those that benefit students. These efforts include sponsoring scholarships available to local school students, and coaching local schools' Mock Trial teams, assisting students in learning about the legal field.
Today's schools and workplaces have significantly changed over the past 30 years. Many of the issues facing today's world were not evident 30 years ago when the Firm was established. The evolution of social media, legal obligations pertaining to harassment prevention and defense, disability accommodation, discrimination, sexual orientation rights, student rights, special education laws, union rights, and the general expansion of human resource-related legal obligations have created a demand for our attorneys to remain on the cutting edge of their increasingly complex practice areas. The Firm has always embraced the challenge of such changes because of its great pride taken in providing legal services of the highest quality to its client.
The Firm has been fortunate to have earned the trust and dedication of many long term and valued clients over the years, and it strives to provide a valuable service to local School Districts, municipalities and businesses while continuing to expand our impact throughout Central Pennsylvania. The Firm's success in doing so over the past 30 years is a cherished accomplishment that could not have occurred without the dedication and admirable work ethic of both past and present attorneys and staff.
Beard Legal Group's values are centered on its commitment to client satisfaction, maintaining a great workplace for its attorneys and staff, and being a good community neighbor. In this context, it is an absolute honor to be inducted into the Business Hall of Fame on the basis of the Firm's past achievements, and as we look forward to future endeavors and growth in the surrounding community.