The February 2014 issue of the ABA Journal includes a feature story on Rawle & Henderson, recognizing it as the oldest law firm in the United States.
In “The Old One: Philly firm’s history dates back to Ben Franklin,” reporter Charles DeLaFuente chronicles Rawle & Henderson’s history, which dates back to 1783. “The Philadelphia firm’s founder, William Rawle, knew [Ben] Franklin, who as the U.S. ambassador to France helped Rawle return to America after law school abroad,” the article states. “Rawle also rubbed shoulders with George Washington, who appointed him the U.S. attorney for Pennsylvania.”
Today Rawle & Henderson has 120 attorneys. “The firm has three offices in Pennsylvania (the Philadelphia home office, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg), along with offices in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia,” DeLaFuente writes. The firm engages in defense litigation and trial practice throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and services clients from nearly every industry, service and profession and handles everything from small cases to complex litigation. Rawle & Henderson partner and Executive Committee member Thomas Kuzmick is quoted in the article: “You need to be thought of first by your clients or potential clients as being in a niche. Our niche has been being trial lawyers on the defense side.”
Among the many historical holdings of the firm is a letter from Alexander Hamilton to William Rawle. “It was sent in 1793, while Hamilton was U.S. Secretary of the Treasury,” the ABA Journal notes.