Returning to their roots

Husband-and-wife legal team starts career in Auburn
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Date nights were in the law-school library for Erin and Tim Riswold.

All through their dual quests for law degrees at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento they were each other’s study buddies.

And when it came time to graduate, they walked together as a couple with diplomas in hand — a rare occasion for the school and a magic moment for the two.

Now they’ve embarked on law careers in familiar territory, starting out together with the law firm of Edward C. Koons. They currently live in Applegate and are planning a move to Newcastle.

Tim grew up in Newcastle and attended Del Oro High School. Erin was a little farther up the hill during her growing-up years, living in Meadow Vista and Weimar. She’s a Colfax High School graduate.

The two met on a group backpacking trip in Montana with their church’s youth group. Tim would go on to earn a degree from UCLA while Erin would stay closer to home and graduate from UC Davis.

The two married after graduation and Tim started studying for a degree in law. But in the back of his mind, he could see Erin — who was working selling wedding dresses — also becoming an attorney.

“He was pestering me to see if I liked it,” Erin said with a smile. “I would be helping him study and eventually I took the test.”

Admitted to law school, Erin would spend the long hours of studying with her husband on the same subjects they had just gotten out of classes from.

And while they were cognizant of the track record of failed relationships and marriages of dual-track legal scholars, they turned a challenge into an advantage. They took all the same classes together at the same time.

“It was a huge advantage,” Erin said. “So many people have to balance their school workload with relationships.”

With both halves of their partnership working toward the same goal, the Riswolds thrived without sacrificing their relationship.

Tim graduated with “great distinction” and in the top 10 percent of his class. Erin graduated as valedictorian.

Working with Koons, who has been an attorney in Auburn since 1978, their focus is real estate, business law and estate planning.

They’re happy to return to a place they call home.

“We definitely like the pace,” Erin said. “When you’re growing up, you’re always eager to get out, to live in cities. But there’s too many people, too much traffic and no one waves at one another when they’re running.”

Koons said he appreciates the ability of the Riswolds to look at situations in different ways than he would.

“I’m learning from them,” he said. “I don’t know who first said it but I think of the saying ‘Try to hire people who are smarter than you are.’ Tim and Erin are really bright and I’m enjoying having two wonderful people in my office.”