Who We Are

We are lawyers and an experienced staff entirely dedicated to leveling the playing field for our clients. We have decades of experience in civil litigation at the state and federal level.

W

e believe in the legal system. At the same time it can be  unfair by favoring those who have the time, energy and money to litigate, and those are three things most normal people don’t have a lot of. That is where we come in.

Big companies aren’t afraid of a lawsuit—it’s just the cost of doing business. But they would be, if lawyers like us were sitting on the other side of the courtroom. So, we have built our practice around fighting harder for the little guy than the corporate lawyers do for their deep-pocketed, faceless clients.

We look forward to meeting you.

Ryan Shaffer

Ryan’s practice focuses on oil rig accidents, catastrophic burn injuries, and sexual assault / sexual harassment cases. Ryan has tried cases to judges and juries and he has substantial experience representing clients in state courts, federal courts, and before administrative agencies. 

Ryan is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota, as well as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. His clients reside all over the United States. Ryan is a member of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association, the American Association of Justice, and the Western Montana Bar Association.

Ryan contributes a substantial amount of time providing pro bono legal services to those who cannot afford an attorney and he has served on the board of directors for several nonprofits in Missoula, where he resides with his wife and daughters. 

Rob Stepans

Rob loves to try cases to juries and has been a trial attorney for his entire legal career. In his previous position as a trial lawyer for the State of Wyoming Office of the Public Defender, Rob tried many difficult cases and was named Outstanding Trial Attorney in 2008. His current practice focuses on protecting the rights of individuals through civil litigation, and he has significant experience representing clients in civil rights and discrimination, products liability, catastrophic injury, oil field, and commercial trucking cases.

Rob is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, and in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a member of the Montana, Wyoming and Colorado state bar associations, the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, and the Teton County Bar Association.

Prior to being a lawyer, Rob was a firefighter with a BLM Hotshot crew and a Forest Service District crew and spent his younger summers working on a cattle ranch. As a result of these life experiences, Rob appreciates the value of working long hours in difficult manual labor jobs, and takes particular pride in representing people who know what it means to work hard for a living.

James Murnion

James is passionate about representing people who are injured, wronged, and silenced by those in power. After graduating from the University of Montana School of Law in 2016—where he served as Intake Editor for the Montana Law Review—James was a law clerk for United States District Court Judge Sam E. Haddon in Helena, Montana. He worked on a wide variety of civil lawsuits, several of which culminated in lengthy jury trials. James then worked as a public defender for the State of Montana trying cases before judges and juries in state and city courts.

While he serves all the firm’s clients, he has a special interest in cases involving discrimination, civil rights violations, and corporate indifference to the value of human life. James also provides a considerable amount of pro bono service to criminal defendants who cannot otherwise afford an attorney. James is licensed to practice in the State of Montana and is a member of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association.

A 4th generation Montanan, James deeply believes in the values of hard work, integrity, and service to others. After spending the majority of his adult life in Missoula, James is happy to again call it home.

Staff

Patti Gruwell

Administrator

Patti Gruwell has over 30 years of experience in the legal field, including work with large, international law firms. Patti brings her wealth of experience to Meyer, Shaffer & Stepans to assist in all facets of our work. Patti enjoys establishing long-lasting relationships with our clients and assisting them through their cases.

Patti grew up in California and her father was a rigger in the oil fields for the Atlantic Richfield Company. Through that experience Patti acquired great respect for the hard working men and women in the oil industry.

Katy Gannon

Legal Assistant

Katy Gannon has been with the firm as a legal assistant for six years. She is the firm’s primary trial assistant and is skilled at organizing and presenting large amounts of information so that judges and juries can understand it. Katy is also is the firm's primary support for our sexual abuse and sexual harassment victims. She is a compassionate listener who helps our clients get through some of the most difficult problems in their lives.

Sandra Hutchings

Executive Assistant

Sandra has worked as an executive assistant and office manager for most of her business career. She spent 13 years with a local tax and accounting office in Jackson, until her employer retired and closed the business. She prepared taxes and worked as a liaison between the clients and the IRS. She then came to work for our legal office as an administrative assistant in our Wilson office.

Jessica Yuhas

Paralegal

Jessica Yuhas has spent the last twelve years working at both maritime and workers’ compensation firms, in addition to using her legal experience to underwrite court and probate surety bonds. Jessica received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in 2005 and her Paralegal Certificate from the University of Washington in 2007.

Claire Rappold

Legal Assistant

Claire has been with Meyer, Shaffer & Stepans in its Missoula office since 2019. Claire graduated from the University of Montana Western with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She then went on to earn her Masters Degree in Physical Education – Athletic Administration from Idaho State University. After a stint teaching at Idaho State, Claire returned to Missoula and has become an important part of the MSS team where she specializes in distilling large quantities of complex information and summarizing our client’s medical records.