Having navigated depressions, recessions, technical revolutions and the COVID-19 pandemic, Tucker Arensberg has evolved with the times, proudly standing at the forefront of change.
Thomas W. Patterson started practicing law in Pittsburgh, PA. He was born in Carroll Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania on November 14, 1856. He was the son of a printer and had been apprenticed to a printer before becoming a lawyer. He attended Columbia University.
Thomas Patterson founded the Firm, which was then called Patterson, Sterrett & Acheson in Pittsburgh, PA. The Firm was composed of Thomas W. Patterson, Ross Sterrett and Mark Acheson. All of them were of old Western Pennsylvania families. The Firm was located on the 12th floor of the Frick Building which was brand new at the time. Henry Clay Frick had his office upstairs.
Charles F.C. Arensberg started with the Firm while he was a student at Harvard Law School. At this time, not all lawyers came from law schools; some elected to study law in law firms. In 1909 or 1910 the Firm formally offered him a job, which he held for the balance of his career.
The Firm was counsel for the Pennsylvania Railroad, Bell Telephone Company, for the receivers of the Wabash Pittsburgh Railway Company, First National Bank, Peoples Savings and Trust Company, as well as a number of other railroads and banks. The Firm was engaged in litigation almost constantly and tried a number of cases in other counties of the state. Mr. Patterson’s reputation as a leader of the bar was state-wide. He had been president of the Allegheny County Bar Association (1902) and also of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (1907). Mr. Patterson also helped to organize the predecessor to Pitt Law School.
The Firm of Patterson, Sterrett & Acheson dissolved; the new Firm was called Patterson, Crawford and Miller and then became Patterson, Crawford, Miller and Arensberg.
The Firm was called Patterson, Crawford, Arensberg & Dunn. Ella Graubhart, who started with the Firm in 1935, graduated from law school and was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She is believed to be the first female ever admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar Association. At this time the offices were at 1404 First National Bank Building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street where PNC Plaza (formerly known as the Pittsburgh National Building) now stands.
Richard B. Tucker, Jr. started with the Firm, which was named Patterson, Crawford, Arensberg & Dunn. He attended the University of Virginia and served in World War II.
Charles Covert Arensberg (“Charlie Arensberg” and the son of Charles F.C. Arensberg) came to the Firm and Richard B. Tucker and he happily practiced law together for more than 50 years. At this time, the Firm represented the Colonial Trust Company and the Etna Bank which eventually merged into Peoples First National Bank & Trust Company, predecessor to PNC Bank.
Ella Graubhart becomes the first female Senior Partner of a Pennsylvania law firm. The Firm also helped to create the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh during this decade and represented this client until 1969. During the years of World War II (1939-1945), the Firm was reduced to six lawyers at one point as several lawyers went into service. When the war was over, most of the attorneys that left to go into the service came back.
Charles F.C. Arensberg was elected President of the Allegheny County Bar Association. Until this time, African American lawyers had been excluded from membership. During his term as President, he saw to it that these restrictions were abolished and for the first time elected to the association.
Charles F.C. Arensberg was elected President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and served the customary year. During the 1940’s and 1950’s the Firm had bread-and-butter clients like Peoples-Pittsburgh Trust Company, The Bell Telephone Company of PA (now Verizon), Erie Railroad, United Engineering Company, Lawyers Title Insurance Company and others.
Charlie Arensberg read a Father Drinan’s story of black churches being burnt in the South and at least one African American pastor being accused of arson. He volunteered for the Lawyer’s Constitutional Defense Committee and took a bus to Jackson, Mississippi where he spent to weeks living in African American quarters, defending African American activists and generally being depressed, fearful and mindful of racial differences at the core.
The Firm moved out of the First National Bank Building to the 6th and 11th floors of One Oliver Plaza.
The Firm started to represent multiemployer funds for compliance and litigation/collections. This represents a big part of our business today.
Patterson, Crawford, Arensberg & Dunn merged with Campbell Thomas & Burke to form Tucker, Burke, Campbell & Arensberg which dissolved February 28, 1971, and on March 1, 1971, Tucker, Arensberg & Ferguson was formed.Patterson, Crawford, Arensberg & Dunn merged with Campbell Thomas & Burke to form Tucker, Burke, Campbell & Arensberg which dissolved February 28, 1971, and on March 1, 1971, Tucker, Arensberg & Ferguson was formed.
The Firm moved into the new Pittsburgh National Bank (PNB) Building. Due to the close relationship with PNB, the Firm was the first non-Bank tenant in the building. The Firm occupied part of the 12th floor and eventually took over all of the space on the 12th floor and then took space on 11 in 1985 or 1986. During the 1970s the Firm did much legal work for the University of Pittsburgh and also represented Point Park College since it was incorporated. Mr. Tucker saved the college from financial ruin in the 1970s when he tried its case for exemption of its real estate from local taxation. Mr. Tucker thereafter served on the Board of Trustees for many years and Point Park remains a client to this day.
Tucker Arensberg, PC was formed as a corporation and the permanent name of the Firm is established.
The Firm merged with Brooks & Ewalt which added five lawyers and new practice specialties. Our client, Pittsburgh National announced a merger with Hershey Bank and the Firm had other clients in the Harrisburg region. The Firm started an office sharing arrangement on State Street in Harrisburg.
The shared office in Harrisburg merged into Tucker Arensberg.
The Tucker Arensberg Harrisburg office moved to more spacious quarters on Pine Street. During the 1980s the Firm adopted a new managing committee format with Mr. Tucker’s full support. In 1986 he wrote, “The present system works much better; it provides leadership.” The Firm’s philosophy progressed from the belief that management and business planning were beneath the dignity of a lawyer to the belief that management and planning are essential to the furnishing of effective professional services to our clients. In the early 1980s the Firm organized itself into Commercial and Litigation practice groups and by the mid-1980s, the departmentalization improved the Firm’s profitability. The Board also hired an office manager to focus on the fact that this was a business.
The Firm merged with Finkel, Lefkowitz, Ostrow & Woolridge to add corporate, tax, securities and ERISA expertise.
The Pittsburgh office moved to One PPG Place.
The Firm formally vested day-to-day management authority to Charles Vater when they named him Managing Shareholder of the Firm.
The Firm of Hepford, Swartz and Morgan merged with the Tucker Arensberg Harrisburg office located on Front Street.
Gary Hunt succeeded Chuck Vater as Managing Shareholder.
With about 65 lawyers, the Firm celebrated its centennial with a big party at Dowe’s on 9th. This is a photo from the event of then Managing Shareholder Gary Hunt with then Pittsburgh Mayor, Tom Murphy
Thomas Peterson succeeded Gary Hunt as Managing Shareholder.
Gary Hunt is elected President of the Allegheny County Bar Association and served the customary year.
Irving Firman succeeded Thomas Peterson as Managing Shareholder.
Tucker Arensberg, PC expands to provide legal services through Tucker Arensberg, L.L.P. with an office in the San Francisco Bay area. Tucker Arensberg Harrisburg law office moved to a new state-of-the-art office space to accommodate growth.
The same attributes that have anchored over a century of success are still our guiding principles today.
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