William R. Pearce joined the firm in 1944 as a namesake partner after a period of time as an assistant attorney general. Pearce did not attend law school, but rather read the law under A.P. Paulson of Valley City, ND. He was one of the first lawyers to argue before the North Dakota Supreme Court with no formal law education.
Pearce gave the Lincoln Day speech to the joint session of the Legislature for years and did so entirely from memory. He was a very talented orator and scholar, participating in debate when he studied briefly at the University of Kentucky.
Pearce was instrumental in the expansion of the Firm, identifying many candidates to join the Firm as well as adding the oil and gas practice during North Dakota’s first oil boom.
His sons all came to work for the Firm at a point during their career as well. Harry and William as attorneys and Murray as business manager of the Firm.