R. C. Fulbright was a railway regulation expert at a Houston legal practice when the partners in the world's largest cotton trader, Anderson Clayton Company, recognized his talent and potential. M. D. Anderson persuaded Fulbright to start an independent practice representing shippers, with Anderson Clayton as his sole client.
To expand his promising, but specialized, practice, Fulbright turned to J. H. Crooker, a litigator and former district attorney. In 1919, they founded what is today one of the largest legal practices in the United States.
An important step: the Washington, D.C. office
As a noted transportation industry expert, Fulbright spent much of his time in Washington, D.C. in dealings before the Interstate Commerce Commission. In 1927, he established an office there.
Over the years, the Washington, D.C. office has attracted many respected practitioners with government and industry experience in areas such as transportation, aviation law, antitrust, international commerce, maritime and health law. Today this office serves the wide-ranging needs of clients with operations in the United States and around the world.
Also during the 1920s, John H. Freeman and William B. Bates joined Fulbright, guiding the expansion of corporate and business law practice and representation of large financial institutions.
The Jaworski era
So impressed were Freeman and Bates with a young lawyer who had beaten them in a Texas appellate courtroom that they asked him to join their firm. He was Leon Jaworski. Together with Bates, Jaworski built the firm's oil and gas practice into what is today one of the world's major energy law practices serving all sectors of the industry in more than 75 nations.
During World War II, Jaworski served as Chief of the Trial Section of the War Crimes Branch of the Judge Advocate General's Department, which conducted some 500 trials in Europe alone.
After the war, Jaworski returned to the firm, and in the 1950s, his name was added to the firm's in recognition of his many contributions. Leon Jaworski served as president of the State Bar of Texas, American Bar Association, American College of Trial Lawyers and as special prosecutor in Washington, D.C. during the Watergate investigations.
A major role in health care
In 1941, as trustees of the M. D. Anderson Foundation, partners Freeman and Bates were instrumental in the establishment of the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical system in the world. The firm still serves as counsel to the M. D. Anderson Foundation and many other institutions in the Texas Medical Center. The firm's health law practice is one of the largest and oldest in the United States and serves clients throughout the industry and the country.
The 1970s and 1980s: an era of rapid expansion
The firm expanded at an unprecedented pace in response to clients' needs, adding locations in San Antonio, Dallas and Austin, as well as the first location abroad, in London, England. This is a strategic base from which the firm can serve clients with needs in Europe, the Middle East and the United States, as well as Britain.
On January 1, 1989, the firm merged with Reavis & McGrath, a highly respected, full-service firm noted for its corporate, securities, venture capital and high technology practices. At that time, it was the largest U.S. legal practice merger to date.
Reavis & McGrath had offices in New York and Los Angeles and a proud history of its own. C. Frank Reavis and Guido Pantaleoni had established the firm in 1935. Pantaleoni served with distinction in World War II as a member of the Office of Strategic Services and died behind enemy lines in Sicily.
Like our firm, Reavis & McGrath grew rapidly after the war, adding partners, such as John P. McGrath. Many of its clients were and still are familiar names in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to insurance, airlines, paper, media and entertainment.
The merger with Reavis & McGrath not only extended our national reach and strength in key practice areas, it also provided gateways to further international expansion.
Locations in Asia and Europe
In 1990, the firm established a location in Hong Kong, which serves clients throughout Asia. Since the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, this location has become increasingly active in China's development, working in industries ranging from real estate to manufacturing to energy.
The late 1990s marked a period of sudden acceleration in the firm's intellectual property practice. In 1997, the firm merged with the Los Angeles-based firm of Robbins, Berliner & Carson, L.L.P. In 1998, the firm merged with lawyers from the former firm of Pravel, Hewitt, Kimball & Krieger and with the New York-based IP specialty firm of Felfe & Lynch.
In February 2000, most of the lawyers from the Austin and Minneapolis offices of Arnold White & Durkee joined the firm. This move further strengthened the intellectual property practice and added strength in areas such as technology and franchise and distribution.
In early 2002, the opening of the Munich office gave the firm its eleventh location and a key location for serving clients with operations in Europe. It is an important strategic addition with the establishment of the European Union patent office in Munich and the EU's growing regulatory role in international commerce.
Building on its energy and international transactional experience, in December 2005 we opened offices in Dubai and Riyadh, further enhancing its ability to counsel its clients globally.
Rounding out our domestic presence
In 2006, the firm added the St. Louis office to enhance our health care practice, Beijing to enhance our energy practice and Denver to enhance our western lands and energy practice. And most recently, the addition of the Pittsburgh - Southpointe office in 2011 strategically locates our energy practice in the Marcellus Shale natural gas-producing region.
Looking to the future
Since its inception in 1919, the firm has grown by committing the skills and ambition of its lawyers and staff to serving clients efficiently and effectively whenever and wherever needed.
As globalization continues, the firm will provide the strategic legal services that international and U.S. clients need to compete anywhere.