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Calfee was founded in Cleveland in 1903 by George Washington University Law School graduate, Robert M. Calfee. In 1929, Edwin G. Halter graduated from the Western Reserve School of Law and became a partner, with his name being added to the firm's name in 1946. R.M. Calfee’s son, Jack, joined the firm in 1938. In 1950, U.S. Supreme Court clerk Bruce Griswold joined the firm, and his name was added to the firm's in 1966.

Calfee opened the Columbus office in 1988, and in 1989, became a founding member of Lex Mundi – the world’s leading network of independent law firms with in-depth experience in 100+ countries worldwide. In 2011, Calfee opened the Cincinnati office, followed by Washington, D.C. in 2017 and Indianapolis and New York in 2019.

Firm Milestones


Virginian Robert M. Calfee, a graduate of the George Washington University Law School, comes to Cleveland and forms Bemis, Zizelman & Calfee with two partners. The firm is located in the Old Arcade.


R.M. Calfee becomes a sole practitioner with offices in the nearby Williamson Building.


Joseph G. Fogg, a University of Wisconsin football star who coached briefly at Case Tech, joins Calfee. The firm is renamed Calfee & Fogg.


R.M. Calfee turns over firm management to Fogg. He returns temporarily to Washington D.C. to counsel the inventor of the Lewis Machine Gun, which is manufactured in Europe and used by the allies in World War I. Afterward, he helps to write a new constitution for Czechoslovakia.


The firm moves to the new Central National Bank Building located on Public Square.


Twenty-three-year-old Edwin G. Halter graduates magna cum laude from the Western Reserve School of Law and becomes a partner.


R.M. Calfee’s son, Jack, joins the firm.


The firm moves to the Union Commerce Building on East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue, later renamed the Huntington Building, home to many other prestigious law firms. Joseph Fogg dies. The firm is renamed Calfee, Fogg, McChord & Halter.


Bruce Griswold, a U.S. Supreme Court clerk, joins the firm.


Securities lawyer Al Sommer joins the firm.


Calfee celebrates its 50th anniversary. The firm has 10 partners and two associates.


The firm changes its name to Calfee, Halter, Griswold & Sommer.


Jack Calfee, son of the founder, becomes Chairman of the Executive Committee.


Robert Calfee dies at 92.


Al Sommer succeeds Jack Calfee as Chairman of the Executive Committee. Calfee now has 25 lawyers. The firm moves to the new Central National Bank building at East Ninth Street and Superior Avenue.


Al Sommer is appointed an SEC Commissioner. The firm changes its name to Calfee, Halter & Griswold.


Ed Halter dies at 69.


Rush McKnight succeeds Dan Ekelman as Chairman of the Executive Committee and, together with future Executive Committee Chairmen John Wheeler and Dale LaPorte, leads the firm to significant growth.


Calfee opens a Columbus office to service Government Relations clients.


Calfee becomes a founding member of Lex Mundi. The firm grows to 131 lawyers.


Bruce Griswold dies at 77.


Dale LaPorte named Chairman. 


Jack Calfee dies at 90. The firm celebrates its Centennial with nearly 200 lawyers.


Brent Ballard is elected Managing Partner. Tom McKee and Tom Wagner are named Co-Chairmen.


Tom Wagner retires and Tom McKee becomes Chairman.


Calfee begins looking for space to practice 21st century law and finds the former East Ohio Gas Co. building. The firm signs a long-term lease to have the building restored as Calfee’s new headquarters. The restoration of this historic building begins.


Calfee opens an office in Cincinnati with former Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken and former Ohio Senate President Richard Finan. On December 27, the Cleveland office moves into the new Calfee building.


The Cleveland Restoration Society honors the firm's commitment with a Distinguished Restoration and Rehabilitation Award. 


The Columbus office relocates to the Huntington Center.


Washington, D.C. office opens as an extension of the firm’s Government Relations practice. Mitch Blair and Doug Neary are named as Vice Chairmen.


Calfee becomes a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD).


Tom McKee is named Senior Chairman, and Doug Neary is named Chairman of Calfee.

Indianapolis office opens to support the firm’s Energy and Utilities practice.

New York office opens in the city's Financial District to serve the firm's growing list of national and international clients.

Calfee becomes the "Cleveland City Lead," helping to launch the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity's 1L law student mentoring program to Cleveland-area law schools; the program pairs diverse law students with experienced attorneys from local law firms and corporations. 


Art Hall, Partner-in-Charge of the Cleveland office is named Firm Administrative Partner.

Calfee hosts inaugural "Northeast Ohio Summit on Diversity in the Legal Profession."


John Cipolla is named Firm Vice Chair.

Calfee participates in the Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certification process, with the shared goal of increasing the representation of historically underrepresented lawyers in law firms.


Calfee achieves Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certification.


Tom Welsh is elected Managing Partner.

Brent Ballard becomes the firm's first Chief Strategy Officer.

Jenn Vergilii and Terry Doyle are named Firm Vice Chair.

Calfee achieves Mansfield Certification (2022-2023).

From a one-attorney office to a firm with attorneys in 100+ practice groups and industries/sectors across six cities, Calfee's steadfast mission has been to provide meaningful legal and business counsel in matters that are critical to the success of our clients. These strong roots are what have enabled us to focus and grow with our clients' changing needs.

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