Monthly Feature: Get to Know... Peter Wiltenburg

April 1, 2024

Our sense of home defines us, whether it is our urban, suburban or exurban community, our identification with a region of the country, or our desire to pursue the expatriate life. For some people, home is the place where they were born and raised; others seek a new place particular to their sensibilities to make their home.

Peter Wiltenburg and his wife, Claire, an artist and former art teacher, fall into the latter category. Originally from the East Coast, they made their first home together in Brooklyn, but eventually decided to find a smaller city with a community feel to raise their daughter. Ultimately, their search led them to Buffalo. 

They quickly settled into their new hometown, finding the civic spirit of Buffalo to be reflective of its moniker, “The City of Good Neighbors.” Peter has felt a similar sense of connection and community at Bond, having joined the firm’s labor and employment practice four years ago after spending the early part of his career as a general litigator. He has relished the diverse nature of this work while finding a great office culture both within the group and throughout the firm.  

From an early age, Peter’s interests and strengths centered on reading about and studying history, as he was drawn to that “gray area” between the points of black and white certainty. These interests and skills inexorably led to the consideration of a career in the law. 

“Labor and employment law is often about helping sort out the messy situations that can happen when people work together,” explains Peter. “It’s a very human story every time. One interesting challenge of my work is being a sort of investigator — trying to dig deep into what really happened. There is always so much more to it than what appears at first.

“I also enjoy analyzing the law, to find out how the law was really designed to address a particular problem and how courts have grappled with it over time. This helps place the unique situation and personalities into that framework, and enables us to present our client’s story most effectively. There are often multiple ways to view a situation, and tying together the law and facts into a specific, compelling narrative is what I enjoy most about litigation.” 

Peter’s practice at Bond also encompasses the relationship between his employer clients and labor unions, a particularly compelling area of the law in light of economic and political trends, and fast-emerging technology. Buffalo has long had a strong labor history, one which continues to be reflected in the current day with a renewed interest in union representation. “That momentum has not stopped,” observes Peter, “And Buffalo is an interesting place to see this playing out.”

Advising clients on how to comply with the law and avoid litigation is another important aspect of Peter’s practice. “Compliance is always the first step. Keeping up with fast-changing laws and regulations, especially in New York, is always a challenge for employers.” 

As Buffalo has embraced Peter and his family, they have tried get to give back to their neighbors.

“My interest in board service is related to why my family first came to Buffalo. Along with its strong sense of civic spirit, its size makes the organizations doing really important work to help the community accessible and welcoming. There’s a Western New York vibe of family, neighbors and kindness that permeates the Buffalo community. I’ve seen that culture reflected here at Bond as well. We are collegial and dedicated to our practice and our community. We are proud of the work we do on and off the job.”