Attorney & Paralegal Profiles

Tom C. Toner – Of Counsel

Tom Toner grew up in Sundance, Wyoming.  He graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law with honors in 1973.  He has practiced law in Sheridan, Wyoming his entire career.  He is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.  His practice areas are: litigation (except personal injury and criminal defense); natural resources; estate planning; and commercial and real estate transactions.

John F. Araas – Partner

John F. Araas is a native of Sheridan, Wyoming.  He graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1983.  Mr. Araas served as Managing Editor of the Wyoming Land and Water Law Review from 1982-1983.  After graduation from law school, he clerked for Judge James E. Barrett on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cheyenne, Wyoming from 1983-1984.  Mr. Araas joined the law firm in August, 1984.  He is licensed to practice before the Wyoming Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming and the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Araas practices primarily in the areas of trust and estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate and business planning.

Jay A. Gilbertz – Partner

Jay Gilbertz is a Wyoming native who grew up on a cattle ranch and remains active in his family’s ranching businesses.  He graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1996 and joined Yonkee & Toner later that same year.  Jay is an invited Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an invited Fellow of the International Society of Barristers and an AV® rated attorney by Martindale Hubbel.  He is licensed to practice in Wyoming State and Federal Courts, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.  Jay is primarily a trial lawyer and represents both plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury, wrongful death, and other complex litigation cases.  Jay’s trial work includes soil contamination cases, fire and explosion cases, property damage cases, business and contract disputes and representing doctors and hospitals in technical malpractice matters.

Kendal R. Hoopes – Partner

Kendal Hoopes is a native of Star Valley, Wyoming.  He graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law with honors in 2000, and was inducted as a member of the Order of Coif and the Order of Barristers.  He was a Case Note Editor for the Wyoming Law Review in 1999-2000.  Kendal served as a member of the Wyoming Board of Law Examiners from 2007 through 2011.  He is licensed to practice in both the Wyoming State and Federal Courts, and in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Kendal practices in the transactional and litigation areas affecting landowners in Wyoming.  His practice focuses on oil and gas law, real property, contracts, land use and planning, and agricultural lending.  Kendal also practices in the area of education law and advises school districts with respect to a variety of legal issues.

Kevin K. Kessner – Partner

Kevin Kessner grew up in Rock Springs, Wyoming.  He graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 2007 and joined Yonkee & Toner that year.  Kevin is licensed to practice in both Wyoming State and Federal Courts.  Kevin is a trial attorney and represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of litigation matters throughout the State of Wyoming, including, but not limited to, personal injury, business, construction, commercial, trusts and estates, and divorces.  Kevin also handles real estate transactions, probate administration, and small business and estate planning matters.  Outside of work, Kevin spends most of his time with his wife and two daughters in Wyoming’s outdoors.

Christopher M. Sherwood – Partner

Christopher Sherwood grew up in Long Island, NY, and has lived in several eastern states, but always had his eye on the mountain west.  He attended law school at the University of Wyoming and graduated with honors in 2013, and was inducted into the Order of the Coif.  During law school, he published a comment for the Wyoming Law Review and served on the editorial board the following year.  Before joining Yonkee & Toner, Christopher clerked for the Honorable Judge Thomas T.C. Campbell.  Prior to law school, Christopher worked in a bank trust department for nine years.  His practice is concentrated in the areas of estate planning, real estate, family small business planning, and probate and trust administration.  Christopher currently serves as a director on two Sheridan not-for-profit boards and as a director of a family-owned United States based manufacturing firm.  Christopher and his wife Alice are delighted to call Sheridan, Wyoming their home and enjoy getting out to embrace Wyoming’s many wonderful outdoor opportunities.

Mary Brezik-Fisher – Certified Paralegal

Mary Brezik-Fisher graduated from Indiana University in 1977 and worked as a probation officer with the Indiana Department of Correction until relocating to Wyoming.  In 1986, she received her paralegal certification from the Denver Paralegal Institute, an on-site program approved by the American Bar Association.  She has worked as a litigation paralegal since that time with an emphasis on medical malpractice and personal injury cases and trials.  Mary is currently working on a part-time basis as she eases into retirement.

Tasha J. Cleland – Certified Paralegal

Tasha Cleland grew up in Laramie, Wyoming and graduated with honors from the University of Wyoming with degrees in Business Administration and Health Education.  Prior to joining Yonkee & Toner in 2010, she worked in the insurance industry as a claims adjuster.  She received her paralegal certification from The National Association of Legal Assistants in 2017.

Kathryn “Brooke” Brown – Certified Paralegal

Brooke Brown is a Colorado native and graduated with honors from Fort Lewis College in 2018 with degrees in Criminology and Psychology.  While at Fort Lewis, she completed an internship with Honorable Martha Minot at the La Plata County Court in Durango, Colorado.  In 2019, she attended Casper College’s Post-Baccalaureate Paralegal Certificate Program, a program approved by the American Bar Association, and graduated with honors.  Brooke received her paralegal certification in early 2020.  She has worked as a litigation paralegal at Yonkee & Toner since her graduation.  Brooke currently serves as a board member of the Legal Assistants of Wyoming (“LAW”).