Over the years, the Firm has collected documents, photographs and memorabilia about its history, some of which are included in the 50th and 75th anniversary booklets and Tom Kiernan’s Reflections. The preparation of this history of the Firm presented the opportunity for us to comb through the Firm’s records more thoroughly and systematically than ever before, and this search produced some interesting results. Most surprisingly, we discovered the original minutes of Firm meetings from October 5, 1914 to January 10, 1922. These were recorded in the small book pictured below. George Case himself initialed the minutes through July 1915, all of which were typewritten. Leonard Smith wrote in longhand the rest of the minutes beginning with the first Firm meeting in August of that year. Smith became the sixth partner on July 1, 1915, and it appears Case assigned the task of writing the minutes to the most recently admitted partner. It is most likely that the five partners in October 1914 did not feel it necessary before that time to adopt formalities such as taking minutes of their meetings, especially when it is remembered that the Firm’s partners did not prepare and sign a partnership agreement until 1915. We also uncovered the minutes of Firm meetings from June 11, 1935 through 1981 that we believe were not reviewed in preparing prior histories of the Firm. These minutes were typewritten and signed by a secretary of the meeting. The partners who most often signed as secretary were Henry Mannix (1935–1945), Paul Pennoyer (1946–1964), Ezra Cornell (1965–1973), Dave Swanson (1974–1979) and Don Madden (1980–1981). Other partners acted as secretary of a meeting from time to time, but these five partners appeared to take very seriously their responsibility of recording Firm meetings. A memorandum attached to the June 11, 1935 minutes contains the outline of a new organizational structure for the Firm and cites the need for minutes of Firm meetings to be taken in the future, suggesting to us that no minutes of Firm meetings were taken between January 10, 1922 and June 11, 1935. Other documents we unearthed included audited annual financial statements dating back to 1927 and many of the Firm directories, dating back to May 1929. These documents helped us prepare the headcount and revenues. Leaving no stone unturned in our search of the Firm files, we found many other documents containing useful historical information, including the minutes of meetings of the management and executive committees from 1953 to the mid-1980s and files of administrative partners between 1980 and 2000. All of the documents, photographs and memorabilia we discovered while working on this book, and all those included in prior histories of the Firm, will be readily accessible in the future. The Firm retained an archivist in 2013 to advise on how best to catalogue, preserve and store this historical information for use by future generations in writing the history of the Firm as it continues to evolve.
Historical Archives