Arter & Hadden
|Major practice areas||General Practice|
|Founder||George Willey, John Cary|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
|Dissolved||July 15, 2003|
Arter & Hadden LLP was a Cleveland, Ohio-based law firm that traced its founding to 1843 and ceased operations on July 15, 2003. When the firm closed, it was one of the oldest continuing operating law firms in the country. The firm had engaged in an ambitious expansion throughout the 1990s, peaking in 1999 with a total of 425 attorneys employed by the firm. Additionally, Arter and Hadden had opened offices in Columbus, Ohio, Dayton, Ohio, Washington, DC, Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles, California, Irvine, California and through acquisitions and mergers opened offices in San Francisco and San Diego, California.
By the year 2000, the firm had begun to lose senior partners. In Arter & Hadden's DC office, for instance, the number of attorneys on staff had steadily declined from 87 in 1998 down to only 15 attorneys in 2003. And with the sharp declines in staff, Arter and Hadden was still locked into leasing enough office space to accommodate the 425 attorneys the firm once had in 1999. Overhead costs began to soak up the firm's liquidity, and by the beginning of July 2003, it was revealed to the press that Arter and Hadden only had enough capital left to continue operations until July 15, 2003.
In a statement to all employees of Arter & Hadden just weeks before its ultimate demise, the firm announced all employment would be terminated July 15, 2003 and the firm would cease all operations. Senior partners and the firm's executive committee attempted to find ways to keep the firm afloat but all ideas eventually failed.
After the firm closed its doors in July 2003, the estate of the firm appointed Marc Gertz as its trustee. Gertz conducted an independent investigation into the closing of the firm. Gertz found in the final years of Arter and Hadden, partners had acted inappropriately by conspiring together to form a new legal partnership while still being employed by Arter & Hadden, and deciding to give themselves year-end bonuses (despite knowing the firm's uncertain financial standing). The firm's estate reached a settlement with more than 80 former partners of Arter and Hadden, who agreed to pay the estate nearly $11 million. The firm's estate also reached settlements with many of Arter and Hadden's creditors—including JP Morgan, Huntington Bank, and Compass Bank.
Successor law firms
Many of the former Arter & Hadden partners went on to form their own law firms after Arter & Hadden's closure. The Cleveland-based Tucker Ellis LLP was formed by many former partners in Arter and Hadden's Cleveland office. Also, the Columbus-based Bailey Cavalieri LLC was formed by former Arter & Hadden partners.
- Ann Womer Benjamin, former director of the Ohio Insurance Department, former member of the Ohio House of Representatives, and 2002 congressional candidate
- Mark McCormack, former attorney at Arter & Hadden's Cleveland office, founder and chairman of International Management Group
- Kingsley A. Taft, former Arter & Hadden partner, U.S. senator and chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
- Encyclopedia of Cleveland History:ARTER & HADDEN
- Law.com - Arter & Hadden Staff Told Closure Is Imminent
- Bankruptcy judge approves Arter & Hadden settlement - Cleveland Business News – The Latest Breaking News, Earnings Reports and Stories from The Plain Dealer
- Mazzucca, Tim (January 13, 2003). "Arter & Hadden suffers another blow to head count".
- Arter & Hadden LLP Law Firm Bankruptcy Settlement
- Arter & Hadden settlement up to $10.5 million - The Cleveland Plain Dealer Early Edition - Read tomorrow's stories today