Weston Hurd LLP traces its roots to its founding in 1925 by three young attorneys who were recent graduates of Case Western Reserve University School of Law – Clark Tod McConnell, a trial lawyer who became a business lawyer; William C. Blackmore, a general practice lawyer who focused on corporate and divorce work; and J. Virgil Cory, a probate, estate and corporate lawyer. The firm, then known as McConnell, Blackmore & Cory, began as a full-service law firm. Though the name has since changed to Weston Hurd LLP, the focus as a full-service law firm continues today.
The early years were challenging ones for these attorneys as the firm navigated and survived the stock market crash of 1929, the depression of the 1930s and the decline of business during the war years. They did this by building a healthy general practice law firm and a fine reputation for litigation. They also began a long term relationship with the insurance industry with some of the firm’s first insurance clients continuing their association with the firm today. Some of the firm’s early work also involved the transportation business – intrastate bus passenger service and truck hauling.
The Later Years 1940s-1960s
During the 1940s- 1960s, the firm expanded its insurance and litigation representation and it also began its representation of clients in products liability matters. Growth of corporate work and the expansion of its established estate, trust and probate practice followed. Of significant importance during this time was the addition of several influential attorneys who continued to shape Weston Hurd’s future:
- Burns Weston joined the firm in 1945 and began a major expansion in the representation of insurance companies and of the firm’s litigation department.
- Frank Hurd further expanded the firm’s presence in the insurance business.
- Harold Fallon joined the firm in 1961 and expanded the firm’s presence in nonlitigation matters.
- Louis Paisley joined the firm upon graduating from law school in 1949 and remained with the firm until his retirement 50 years later. Mr. Paisley, a trial attorney, served on the firm’s Management Committee for two decades.
- Lee Howley joined the firm in 1975 after serving as the Vice President and General Counsel of CEI. He expanded the firm’s general practice business.
Expansion In Ohio
In July 2006, the firm expanded beyond Cleveland when it opened an office in Columbus, Ohio. The founding partners of Curley Patterson & Bush practiced law together for many years at a larger Columbus firm before joining Weston Hurd and expanding the firm’s presence in the Columbus area in litigation matters involving insurance defense, municipal liability and workers’ compensation.
In December 2007, the Cleveland office added significant depth in business matters, business reorganizations, estate planning and probate, litigation, real estate and tax when attorneys from the Beachwood law firm of Persky Shapiro & Arnoff Co., L.P.A. joined the firm.
January 2022 brought more expansion to Weston Hurd’s Columbus with the addition of 12 attorneys. According to Weston Hurd’s firmwide Managing Partner Dan Richards, “The expansion of the Columbus office caps a year of change and smart growth for the firm that included moving Weston Hurd’s offices in Cleveland and Columbus to new, more efficient space. The addition of these deeply experienced attorneys to our Columbus office enhances its already well-established presence in civil litigation and insurance defense matters, and adds further depth in medical malpractice, corporate, business, real estate, estate planning, and probate law. This complements and creates a lot of synergies with our various practice groups in Cleveland.”
In January 2023, the firm announced the addition of 13 attorneys from the Labor and Employment and Education Law practice groups at Walter Haverfield led by Christine Cossler, Eric Johnson, Christina Henagen Peer and Kathy Perrico. According to Weston Hurd’s Managing Partner Dan Richards, “We are thrilled to make these extremely talented attorneys part of the Weston Hurd family. This move adds significant depth to our existing Labor and Employment group and will give us one of the largest and strongest Education Law sections in Ohio.”
Since the 1990s, Weston Hurd has been a member of MSI Global Alliance, one of the world’s leading international associations of independent legal and accounting firms. MSI’s worldwide network includes over 250 independent legal and accounting firms in more than 100 countries throughout the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. Membership in MSI enables Weston Hurd to quickly source local counsel wherever in the world clients are involved in doing business. For further information about MSI Global Alliance, please visit www.msiglobal.org.
Of Significant Note
In 2007, Carolyn M. Cappel was elected as the firm’s first female Managing Partner – one of the first female managing partners of any law firm in Cleveland.
Five Weston Hurd lawyers have served as President of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association including:
- J. Virgil Cory – 1951-52
- S. Burns Weston – 1968-69
- David Arnold – 1979-80 (President of the Cuyahoga County Bar Association)
- Lou Paisley – 1981-82
- Mark O’Neill – 1990-91
Two attorneys have served as President of the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys, including the first president of that organization.
Five partners have been elevated to Fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Recently Deceased Partners
Of particular note is the recent loss of long time partners and friends. We will remember their significant contributions to the firm as well as the friendship and guidance that they provided to their clients and colleagues.
Herbert Buckman (2012)
Jeffrey D. Fincun (2016)
John W. Jeffers (2014)
William R. Joseph (2012)
Andrew J. McLandrich (2016)
Mark O’Neill (2014)
Paul Y. Shapiro (2012)
Hilary S. Taylor (2020)