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Client Spotlight – Wesley Willows

Wesley Willows front entrance

Having a long-term partner like WilliamsMcCarthy LLP that knows your history and has a depth of expertise is a key to success according to one of the region’s leading senior living communities.

With its 55-year history in the Rockford community, Wesley Willows knows about longevity.

One of the keys to its success is longstanding partnerships which help the continuing care retirement community grow and thrive, says chief executive Bill Pratt. Few partnerships date further back than its relationship with WilliamsMcCarthy LLP.

It’s not just that firm founder Jack McCarthy, along with a multitude of board members, retired to Wesley Willows. Rather, the relationship with the firm developed during 41 years of working with firm partner Terry D. Anderson, now retired, and other WilliamsMcCarthy LLP attorneys.

“Terry was the most meticulous person in the world,” Pratt said.

Complicated Projects that Built the Relationship

He’s quick to recall the work Anderson did on Wesley Willow’s acquisition of the 34-acre Peterson Meadows in 2014. There, independent seniors live in single-family homes, duplex homes and apartments. Anderson helped the sale proceed smoothly, despite complicated bond issues and out-of-town attorneys.

“The job they did made Rockford proud,” Pratt said. “The team was all over it and did a fabulous job.”

Wesley Willows logo
A group of Wesley Willows residents and staff

Even before that, the firm represented Wesley Willows as they sold the Willows on Main Health Center in 2005. Their conscientious nature came into play as they kept the sale on track.

“WilliamsMcCarthy was all over the Chicago attorneys to do the sale correctly,” Pratt said.

A Longstanding Relationship

While Anderson’s relationship with Wesley Willows was a dominant thread over the years, Pratt says Wesley Willows never considered changing firms when Anderson retired in 2019.

“We’ve had such a longstanding relationship,” Pratt explained. “WilliamsMcCarthy is the longest, strongest partnership we’ve had since the beginning. We’ve always had a lot of confidence in the work they do.”

Wesley Willows now works directly with Partner Tim Rollins as their general counsel. Rollins focuses on employment and health care law in his corporate practice – a solid fit for Wesley Willow’s broad range of needs. Employment law expert Troy Haggestad weighs in on human resource issues for Wesley Willows, while real estate attorney Carl Ecklund has stepped up on multiple occasions to keep refinancing projects running quickly and smoothly.

Looking to the Future

Looking ahead, Pratt envisions plenty of projects facilitated by Williams McCarthy LLP in the years to come.

“Part of our strategic plan is looking at every possible avenue to continue and expand serving seniors,” he said.

As Baby Boomers continue looking for retirement locations, Wesley Willows knows demand for their services will expand. While the Covid-19 pandemic slowed interest in communal senior living, Pratt says Wesley Willows is experiencing a resurgence.

That increased demand is coming in part from this mind-blowing statistic: Not a single Wesley Willows resident living in assisted living or the health center contracted Covid-19 during the pandemic. Not only that, but Wesley Willows kept its dining rooms open – albeit with masks and distancing requirements – so that residents had the opportunity to continue to connect with others and enjoy ongoing relationships.

“Our residents fared much better because of the socialization,” Pratt said.

With strict guidelines in place for employees, Pratt proudly holds up his staff for their commitment to keeping residents safe. He dismissed the term “essential worker” early in the pandemic. Rather, he says, Wesley Willows employees are, quite simply, “INDISPENSABLE WARRIORS.”

Moving beyond the pandemic, Wesley Willows is situated for many more decades of business in Rockford. Its employee warriors, growth plans and reliable business partnerships with companies like WilliamsMcCarthy LLP undoubtedly remain the cornerstones of its future success.