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Peters & Moriarty Moves to Monroe

By Jann Wiswall

The law firm of Peters & Moriarty has moved to its new office space at 12 Monroe Street, and attorney Kathleen Moriarty couldn’t be happier.

“It’s all clean and fresh and bright,” she said.

Many Ellicottville residents remember the firm as Peters and Ploetz, which was formed in 1986 and was located on the first floor of the 1887 Building for many years. After Ross Peters died in May 2011, Ron Ploetz invited Moriarty to join the firm, which she did in September of that year. Then, in 2012, Ploetz was elected Cattaraugus County Judge. The name of the firm had to be changed because judges cannot practice law, so Moriarty renamed the firm using Peters’ name “both for recognition and for local sentimental reasons,” she said.

With all those changes in the works, the time seemed right to move, too, said Moriarty. She knew her aunt and uncle, Dennis and Elaine Edwards, were looking for investment properties, so she suggested they look in Ellicottville. The building, which formerly housed Bruce Candle Shop, seemed perfect and the Edwards jumped at the idea.

The exterior of the building was freshened up with new siding, trim, doors and windows in keeping with the overall look and feel of Ellicottville. The law office includes a conference room, Moriarty’s office, abundant storage and lots of light-filled open space for the two staff members who work with her. The building also includes a 500-600-square-foot retail space (which is available for lease), and an upstairs apartment. Because the Edwards live in Germany, Moriarty manages the building on a day-to-day basis.

Peters & Moriarty, like its predecessor firm, concentrates on real estate and municipal law, as well as wills and estates.

“I focus on areas that most people in small communities really need,” said Moriarty, who is a graduate of the University of Buffalo’s undergraduate and law schools. “I’ve never been a large firm ‘kinda girl’… you hardly ever even meet your clients. Here, I not only meet them, but I get to know them. It’s much more fulfilling.”

Moriarty also serves as attorney for the Towns of Ellicottville, Conewango, Franklinville, Great Valley, Leon, Otto and Salamanca, as well as the Village of Little Valley.

“I enjoy working with the local governments,” she said. “It enables me to work with other people who love their communities and want to keep them vibrant.”

Although she welcomes variety in her work, she is determined to stay true to her core practice areas.

“It’s easy to know a little bit about a lot of areas of the law, but I am of better service to my clients if I know a few areas really well,” she said.

Moriarty gladly refers clients to trusted colleagues who specialize in other legal areas, such as personal injury, matrimonial and criminal law. In fact, John C. Nelson, a criminal defense attorney who concentrates his practice on defending DWI related offenses, is sharing office space with Moriarty as he grows his practice in the Southern Tier.

“It’s an exciting time for the firm and the community,” said Moriarty, who points to the improving residential and commercial property markets in the area. “There’s a lot going on in Ellicottville, and I’m very happy to be here to serve the needs of the community in any way I can.”

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