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Why Us

For nearly 200 years, Hodgson Russ has worked alongside innovators and leaders of businesses large and small whose ideas and fortitude have changed the world. As our clients have succeeded, our firm has flourished, and today Hodgson Russ is among the largest law firms in the country. Then and now, our mindset and our day-to-day professional philosophy have remained simple and steadfast: working respectfully and collaboratively with our clients is the key to our mutual success. As business people ourselves, we realize that our future vitality and longevity depend on it.

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Hodgson Russ’s attorneys assist clients with virtually every legal issue a business or an individual may face. Every engagement receives our attorneys’ full focus and the benefit of decades of collective wisdom and experience. We look beyond the books to craft sophisticated solutions to our clients’ legal and business problems with creativity and flexibility that anticipate the marketplace, always mindful that efficiency and diligence are critical to the bottom line. Of paramount importance to us is to deliver workable, practical plans and strategies that make sense from all legal and business aspects.

Hodgson Russ is frequently recognized for excellence in the practice of law and outstanding commitment to the community. The firm, our practices, and our attorneys are honored by clients, other lawyers from around the country, national legal publications, and ranking organizations. A small selection of these honors includes 27 Metropolitan Tier 1 practice rankings from Best Lawyers' "Best Law Firms" and a National Tier 1 ranking, inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and 63 attorneys listed in Thomson Reuters’s Super Lawyers, with a partner ranked among the top ten Upstate New York Super Lawyers.

We value your interest in Hodgson Russ and hope you will learn more about our clients, experience, and attorneys and other professionals by browsing this site. If your interest lies in our storied past, which is tied closely to the history of Buffalo, New York, where we have our headquarters, and to the nation as a whole, we invite you to peruse the following timeline, covering our inception in 1817 through the ensuing decades as we approach our bicentennial.

1810

1817

Law firm established, one of first in nation

1820

1825

Firm helps complete historic Erie Canal

1830

1832

Firm drafts Buffalo's city charter

1834

Millard Fillmore part of newly renamed Fillmore, Hall & Haven

1838

Firm establishes Buffalo's public schools

1840

1844

Firm helps form Wells Fargo

1846

Firm obtains charter for University at Buffalo

1850

1850

Millard Fillmore first firm alumnus to become U.S. president

1851

Solomon Haven elected to U.S. Congress

1852

Nathan Hall appointed U.S. district court judge

1855

Grover Cleveland joins firm

1856

Firm begins long partnership with M&T Bank

1859

Future U.S. president admitted to practice with the firm

1860

1868

Firm becomes Bowen, Rogers & Locke

1870

1879

Firm begins decades-long major railroad litigation

Mid-19th century

Numerous railroad companies seek firm's representation

Mid-19th century

Firm helps major national companies form and expand

Mid-19th century

Manufacturers thrive with firm's representation

1880

1885

Grover Cleveland elected U.S. president

1886

Firm represents newspaper editor in historic libel suit

1890

1893

Grover Cleveland re-elected U.S. president

1895-96

Louis Sullivan designs future firm headquarters

1900

1901

Pan-Am Exposition ends in president's assassination

1903

Firm helps found General Mills predecessor

1910

1911

Firm represents John Rockefeller at U.S. Supreme Court

1916

Charles Sears appointed to prestigious NYS judgeships

1916

Wesley Dudley becomes NYS Supreme Court justice

1917

Firm becomes Locke, Babcock, Spratt & Hollister

1930

1937

Raymond Vaughan becomes NYS Supreme Court justice

1940

1945

Firm renamed Hodgson, Russ, Andrews, Woods & Goodyear

1945

Charles Sears presides over Nuremberg war-crimes trial

1949

Paul Graves becomes NYS senator and justice

1950

1959

Firm helps form Western New York Public Broadcasting

1960

1962

Firm helps University at Buffalo join SUNY system

1964-68

Firm defends insurance companies in major suits against power authority

1970

1974

Firm opens first Florida office

1978

President appoints Donald Lubick to U.S. Treasury

1980

1986

Barber Conable appointed World Bank president

1989

Firm gains greater depth in intellectual property

1989

Firm opens first office in Canada

1990

1990

Firm opens Albany office

1998

Dianne Bennett elected first woman to chair major law firm

1998

Donald Lubick becomes U.S. Treasury assistant secretary

1999

Canada office moves to Toronto

2000

2001

Firm renamed Hodgson Russ LLP

2002

Guaranty Building purchased for firm headquarters

2005

New York City office adds 21 attorneys

2006

Firm renovates Guaranty Building headquarters

2007

Firm opens Palm Beach office

2010

2010

Firm honored with NYS Excellence in Preservation Award

2013

Firm opens Saratoga Springs office

2017

Firm to celebrate 200 years of service to our valued clients

1817

Hodgson Russ's earliest predecessor firm is established in Buffalo, New York, by Asa Rice

1825

In effort led by firm founder Asa Rice, western terminus of Erie Canal completed in Buffalo

1832

Buffalo incorporated as a city; firm partners Joseph Clary and Millard G. Fillmore draft first city charter

1834

Millard G. Fillmore joins with Nathan K. Hall and Solomon G. Haven to form Hodgson Russ predecessor firm Fillmore, Hall & Haven

1838

Partner Nathan K. Hall leads creation of Buffalo's public school system, the first tuition-free, tax-supported public school system in New York State

1844

Wells Fargo, the country's first express transportation company, is formed in Buffalo with legal assistance from partner John G. Milburn

1846

Partners Millard G. Fillmore and Nathan K. Hall obtain a charter for the University at Buffalo, then a private educational institution; Fillmore names the university's first chancellor

1850

After the assassination of U.S. President Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 13th president of the United States

1851

Former partner Solomon G. Haven elected to the U.S. House of Representatives 

1852

Former partner Nathan K. Hall is appointed judge of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of New York

1855

Grover Cleveland accepts a clerkship at the firm

1856

Partner Dennis Bowen serves as general counsel to the predecessor of M&T Bank

1859

Grover Cleveland, still at the firm, is admitted to the bar

1868

Partner Franklin D. Locke joins the firm, and its name is changed to Bowen, Rogers & Locke

1879

Partners Franklin D. Locke and Louis L. Babcock begin firm's successful representation of Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in 37-year litigation against the federal government concerning rights to Buffalo Harbor's North Pier

Mid-19th century

The firm represents many of the railroads that made Buffalo a national transportation center, including the Lackawanna, Western New York Central, Pennsylvania, and Canadian Pacific Railroads

Mid-19th century

William Fargo, a national pioneer in the transportation business, is represented by the firm to establish and expand enterprises that included Wells Fargo and American Express Company

Mid-19th century

The firm represents major manufacturers, including Washburn Crosby Company (which later became part of General Mills), Birge Wallpaper Company, Lang Brewery, and James Dold Meatpackers

1885

Former partner Grover Cleveland is elected the 22nd president of the United States

1886

John G. Milburn and Franklin D. Locke represent the editor of the New York Evening Post in five-year libel case brought by the Reverend George Harvey Ball following election campaign of President Grover Cleveland

1893

Former partner Grover Cleveland elected 24th president of the United States

1895-96

Louis Sullivan designs and builds the Guaranty Building, which goes on to become a National Historic Landmark and the current home of Hodgson Russ's Buffalo office and headquarters

Learn more about the Guaranty Building

1901

Partner John G. Milburn's efforts bring the Pan-American Exposition (World's Fair) to Buffalo; President William McKinley is assassinated during the fair and dies at Milburn's house

1903

Flour company Washburn Crosby, whose later merger formed General Mills, opens new flour mill in Buffalo; transaction handled by partner Louis L. Babcock

1911

Representing John D. Rockefeller, partner John G. Milburn argues before the U.S. Supreme Court in seminal anti-trust case, United States v. Standard Oil Company

1916

Partner Charles B. Sears appointed to bench, serving successively as justice of the New York State Supreme Court, presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and later judge of the Court of Appeals

1916

Partner Wesley C. Dudley becomes a justice of the New York Supreme Court

1917

Hoyt & Spratt merges with Rogers, Locke & Babcock; firm name changes to Locke, Babcock, Spratt & Hollister

1937

Partner Raymond C. Vaughan becomes a New York Supreme Court justice

1945

Hodgson, Russ, Andrews, Woods & Goodyear is formed

1945

Former partner Charles B. Sears serves as presiding judge during one of the Nuremberg trials of German war criminals following the end of World War II

1949

Partner Paul D. Graves is elected New York State senator, then goes on to become a justice of the New York State Supreme Court

1959

Hodgson Russ helps form Western New York Public Broadcasting, one of the first public television stations in New York State

1962

Hodgson Russ represents the University at Buffalo as it becomes part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system; firm also helps the University at Buffalo Foundation receive its charter

1964-68

Partners Hugh M. Russ II and H. Kenneth Schroeder successfully defend major insurance companies against suits by homeowners seeking to recover damages they claimed resulted from blasting by New York Power Authority resulting from development of hydroelectric power at Niagara Falls

1974

The firm opens its first Florida office in Fort Lauderdale 

1978

President Carter appoints partner Donald C. Lubick deputy assistant secretary for tax policy, U.S. Treasury

1986

Former partner Barber Conable appointed 7th president of the World Bank

1989

Firm merges with Crystal, Bean, and Lenihan, an intellectual property boutique

1989

Firm opens its first Canadian office in Mississauga, Ontario

1990

Albany, New York, office opens

1998

Partner Dianne Bennett becomes first woman to chair an AmLaw250 firm

1998

Former partner Donald C. Lubick confirmed as assistant secretary for tax policy, U.S. Treasury

1999

Firm's Canada office moves to its current location at 150 King Street West, Toronto

2001

Firm's name is shortened to Hodgson Russ LLP

2002

Hodgson Russ purchases the Guaranty Building, a National Historic Landmark designed by Louis Sullivan, saving this architectural treasure from an uncertain future

Learn more about the Guaranty Building

2005

Twenty-one attorneys from the Manhattan-based firm Bondy & Schloss join Hodgson Russ's New York City office, adding depth in the areas of corporate and securities, litigation, real estate, trusts and estates, and immigration

2006

Firm begins extensive renovations to its National Historic Landmark Guaranty Building headquarters with a goal of fully occupying the building by 2007

2007

Palm Beach, Florida, office opens

2010

Hodgson Russ receives Excellence in Preservation Award from the Preservation League of New York State for renovation of the Guaranty Building

Learn more about the Guaranty Building

2013

Saratoga Springs, New York, office opens

2017

Firm to celebrate 200 years of successful, productive relationships with our honored clients of the past, present, and future

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