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Our Firm

What sets us apart from other law firms handling Rails-to-Trails cases? Our track record. 

Our attorneys have recovered over $390 Million for landowners in Rails-to-Trails litigation, which is more than any of our competitors and probably more than all of them combined.  We encourage you to review our listing of successful cases and compare it with other firms. Our specialized experience and skills have driven our unparalleled success, involving land in 29 states.

Client satisfaction is our primary goal. We are pleased to say that landowners are extremely satisfied with the results. See our clients' testimonials

We are Stewart, Wald & Smith.

Stewart, Wald & Smith is a law firm solely dedicated to representing landowners in Rails-to-Trails cases.  Often you might find our team referring to ourselves as “SWS,” pronounced “swiss” for short.

We are proud of what we do here at SWS.  We have represented more landowners across the United States in federal takings cases than any other law firm, by far. We have successfully represented landowners in over 100 lawsuits across the United States and we have collected more than $390 Million on their behalf.

Our guiding principles are very simple:

  1. The client always comes first.  We do what is in the best interests of our clients.
  2. We strive to make sure we do an A+ job on representing our clients.  As our track record and client testimonials show, we have and continue to represent our clients with the highest of standards.
  3. We communicate regularly with our clients.  We want our clients to be up to date and know what is going on during the life of their case. We are always available to answer questions from clients about their case, or from any landowner considering our representation. Our team prides themselves on being well versed on the cases and having the knowledge and experience to provide answers.

It is very satisfying for SWS to represent landowners and it is very important to us to protect all of the landowners’ property rights when it comes to rail-trail conversions. 

When landowners first receive a letter from us, often the question is, “Why am I getting this letter from an attorney in Missouri? I do not own land in the railroad corridor.” What we ask of the landowners is to give us a chance to educate them about why they have a claim. The bottom line is that we have done our investigation, we are contacting you because we are here to help, and no one else is telling you that your land may have been taken.  SWS has many educational materials to share with landowners about how and why their property rights are affected when a rail-trail conversion is taking place along their property. Feel free to download any of the materials directly below:

Stewart, Wald & Smith offers landowners a guide to the Trails Act.

Download our 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Rails-to-Trails Attorney resource.

Download The Litigation Process: Inside a Rails-to-Trails Lawsuit booklet.

Download Stewart, Wald & Smith's Rails-to-Trails: FAQ’s resource.

At the end of the litigation, it is very satisfying to hand our clients a check.  Almost always it is larger than what they are expecting, and sometimes very large. Although it is rewarding for the landowners to receive this monetary compensation, it is very satisfying for the team here at SWS to have helped them in this endeavor.

Here at SWS, we think the ultimate choice of an attorney is largely based on trust.  This is why we love meeting our clients.  We want our clients to get to know our firm and our team so they can start talking with their neighbors about their experiences with us. We want our clients to meet with us, whether it be in-person, over Zoom, or by interactions over the telephone.  We hope that by sharing these interactions with our clients it will build the trust and confidence that our team here at SWS cares about our clients and their cases.

We have more lawyers than anyone in the United States dedicated to this work, and we have been more successful than any other law firm in this United States in this line of work. Our unparalleled experience matches our unparalleled success.   


Did you receive our mailer, or have any questions for us? We’re here to help you take the next step for just compensation.

Notable Success Examples