On April 24, 1862, Byron Decreny Verrill was admitted to the Maine Bar.
In 2012, the firm celebrates 150 years of client service. While the practice of law has certainly changed since 1862, the traditions upon which the firm was built- personal and professional camaraderie, commitment to public service, the community and the legal profession, still drive the firm today.
The slideshow below provides a contextual timeline of the firm's history, from B.D. himself to the sesquicentennial celebration. Be sure to check back in another 150 years to see where we'll go from here...
Byron Decreny (B.D.) Verrill (b. 1835), a teacher from Oxford County, is admitted to the Bar on April 24, 1862.
Abraham Lincoln is President of the United States.
In 1860, the Civil War had begun; The Battle of Portland Harbor
takes place in 1863.
The Great Fire of Portland
(1866) is the largest fire yet seen in an American city.
10,000 people are left homeless and 1,800 buildings are destroyed. Incredibly, there are only two fatalities.
In 1867, B.D. Verrill moves his law practice to 49 ½ Exchange Street in Portland and partners with Henry P. Deane. They represent clients in civil cases, in reorganizations, and banking law.
In 1876, B.D. Verrill begins a partnership with Thomas Brackett Reed
(above). The partnership lasts only a year, as B.D. suspects that Reed is better suited for politics. With B.D.’s support, Reed goes on to serve in Congress, ultimately becoming Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
In 1889, B.D. is joined by his son Harry Mighels Verrill and the practice moves to 191 Middle Street in Portland.
The firm hires its first woman, a stenographer named Miss Moore, in 1891.
In 1897, Boston opens the Tremont Street Subway
, the first subway tunnel in the United States.
B.D. Verrill dies unexpectedly in 1898, after a fall during a hunting trip.
In 1908, Ford Motor Company begins production of the Model T
John Fessenden Dana (above), a trusts and estates attorney, joins the firm in 1917.
In 1920, there are 735 lawyers in Maine.
The 18th Amendment
begins Prohibition in the U.S.
The 19th Amendment
is ratified, giving women the right to vote.
In 1923, Verrill Dana alumni Robert S. Hale (serving in the Maine House of Representatives) and his cousin Frederick Hale (a U.S. Senator) are instrumental in defeating the Barwise Bill
, which would outlaw state aid to parochial schools. The bill was backed by the anti-Catholic Maine chapter of the Ku Klux Klan
and was highly divisive for the Maine Republican Party, resulting in three years of political turmoil.
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh crosses the Atlantic in a solo flight.
World War II sweeps the globe from 1939-1945.
Edward T. Gignoux joins Verrill, Dana, Walker, Philbrick & Whitehouse in 1946. He later becomes Judge Gignoux of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine.
In 1952, Frank M. Coffin joins the firm. He becomes Judge Coffin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Landmark case Brown vs. the Board of Education
takes place in 1954.
In 1955, Ray Kroc opens the first franchised McDonald’s restaurant in IL.
Roger A. Putnam
(above) joins the firm in 1958. Today, he still serves as Senior Counsel to the firm (and brings in doughnuts every Saturday morning).
John F. Kennedy is elected President in 1960.
Verrill Dana Walker Philbrick & Whitehouse celebrates 100 years of service with a dinner at the Cumberland Club. There are 13 partners at that time.
In 1976, the United States celebrates its bicentennial. The firm is 114 years old.
Also in 1976, Judith M. Coburn (above) joins the firm. She goes on to become the first female partner in 1980, the same year John R. McKernan
becomes a partner in the firm. McKernan goes on to become Governor of Maine in 1986 and Coburn goes on to become Maine's first female Managing Partner in 1992.
The 1970s mark a dramatic expansion of the firm’s lobbying/legislative practice. The practice is led by Roger Putnam, Loyall F. Sewall, Michael T. Healy and Charles L. Cragin
, who are recognized as among the “most influential lobbyists in Augusta” by 1975.
The firm's Augusta office is opened in 1977.
The firm changes its name to Verrill & Dana in perpetual dedication to two of its distinguished founding families.
goes on the air in 1981.
In 1987, in a speech given at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, President Ronald Reagan challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall
To commemorate its 125th anniversary in 1987, the firm moves to new offices at One Portland Square. At the time, there are 51 attorneys; six are women.
In 2004, Facebook is launched.
Also in 2004, Verrill Dana opens its Boston office to expand its ability to serve clients throughout and beyond New England. The Boston office grows dramatically and in 2011 and 2012, is listed among Boston Business Journal's "Area's 100 Largest Law Firms."
Verrill Dana celebrates its sesquicentennial. 105 attorneys (including 23 in Boston) and more than 85 staff members, in five offices, serve clients throughout Maine, New England, the United States and around the globe.
The firm launches "The 150 Project
," a firm-wide initiative to honor the firm's history of public service, philanthropy, service to the legal profession and the communities it serves.
The firm prepares for the next 150 years of service to clients and community.
Our anniversary announcement (above) has appeared in Maine
and the Boston Business Journal
. The photo features the firm's partnership in 1960.Back Row (L to R): Robert B. Williamson, John A. Mitchell, Roger A. Putnam, Donald L. Philbrick, Louis A. Wood, Edward F. Dana, Robinson Verrill
Front Row (L to R): Brooks Whitehouse, Leon V. Walker, Donald W. Philbrick, John F. Dana, Harry (H.M.) Verrill