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Reed W. Ripley Celebrates 3 Years with Stewart, Wald & Smith, LLC


Attorney Reed W. Ripley celebrates 3 years with Stewart, Wald & Smith, LLC (“SWS”) representing landowners across the nation in Rails-to-Trails cases. Before joining SWS, Reed spent time at First American Title Insurance, where he specialized in examining underlying title to land in large scale commercial real estate transactions. After that, he spent time at Morris Laing in Wichita, Kansas, one of the most respected firms in the state, analyzing complex title issues for corporate clients.




Get to Know Reed:

What is your favorite thing about being a Rails-to-Trails attorney?

“Getting to travel across the country to represent landowners. Our clients live wherever the next rail-trail is proposed, and thanks to the federal nature of our clients’ claims, our license to practice extends to all 50 states. I always hoped work would give me the opportunity to travel and see different parts of the country, and working as a rails-to-trails attorney does just that.”


What is your most fond memory of the last 3 years with SWS?

“It’s more the cumulative memories of spending time with both SWS colleagues and landowners throughout our travels rather than any one memory. Speaking with landowners, hearing their stories, and discussing what we can do to help them is one of the best parts of the job, and those conversations stick with me. Trips are also a great opportunity to spend time outside the office with my SWS colleagues, and we’ve shared many a memory around the dinner table together during our travels.”


What was the most surprising revelation when you started working on rail-trail cases?

“Really, the existence of these cases in the first place. Before I started working at SWS, I had no idea this practice existed. It’s incredibly niche, and I’m lucky enough to have stumbled upon it early on in my career (and even luckier they decided to let me join). Many landowners are similarly in the dark about their property rights and their entitlement to just compensation when those rights are affected, and it’s great to serve as an educator as well as an attorney.”


When you are not working, we can find you...

“I’m a movie critic in my spare time, so I take every opportunity to watch as many movies as possible, preferably in the theater. Now that my wife and I have our first child, trips are the best time to do that, but I still get to the theater from time to time at home. I also don’t mind playing a round of golf or two, at least when my putter decides to agree with me.”


Hear from Reed:

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