About Us

From the Beginning, a Commitment to Build More Than a Legal Practice.

In the fall of 1857, John Winans, a 26-year-old lawyer from New Jersey, brought his family to Janesville, Wisconsin, and opened a law office. Winans would later become mayor of Janesville, a member of the Wisconsin Assembly, and a United States Congressman. In 1877, he took on a partner, Ogden Fethers, who had been a professor of English Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1883, Winans and Fethers hired a young Rock County native, Malcolm Jeffris, who, at age 21, had just been admitted to the bar.

These men were the original foundation of the law firm which is now known as Nowlan. Over the years, Nowlan has been the professional home for generations of lawyers who have been instrumental in the growth of Janesville and the Rock County community. These lawyers helped form Rock County's economic and cultural base. They were instrumental in the formation of the original Samson Tractor Company, which later became General Motors Assembly Division, and in the formation of Parker Pen Company. They also volunteered their time and advice to help make the Rock County community what it is today—a fine place to live and work.

Into the Future, Collective Expertise to Help the Community Thrive.

The early history of the firm that became Nowlan led to its reputation as a top-quality law firm, the first choice of businesses, individuals and local governments. We keep our heritage in mind as we broaden the scope of our legal services, cultivate a high-caliber team of lawyers and achieve optimal solutions to our client’s legal needs.

Since our firm's inception in 1883, the attorneys of Nowlan have followed a fundamental rule: an attorney must represent the solution, not the problem. When we undertake the representation of a client, our first priority is to understand and adopt the client's goals. We believe listening and learning exactly what the client wants is the only way to form a sound lawyer-client relationship.

view legacy

We invite you to explore our website or contact us to learn more about what we have to offer.

Sometimes the best skill an attorney can offer is knowing when not to speak or act. Toughness must be tempered with tact. Even when litigation is necessary, our experienced trial lawyers place primary emphasis on reaching the client's goals, and not on litigation for the sake of litigation. Victory is always defined on the client's terms.

Today, Nowlan remains deeply committed to our communities. Founding attorneys have left a legacy that we proudly uphold. We believe that the depth and breadth of our legal services help businesses and individuals to thrive, knowing that all of their legal needs can be managed by a law firm that is close to home. Lawyers who are exceptional on their own come together under one roof at Nowlan to provide the community with collective expertise that is unparalleled.

send us a message


The service you expect, the solutions you need.

The attorneys and staff at Nowlan are ready to answer your questions and offer timely assistance. No question is too small, no request too insignificant. We are here to help. We look forward to hearing from you and working together.