The Ruckelshaus law firm originated in 1895. John C. Ruckelshaus, grandfather of former senior partner, John C. ("Jack") Ruckelshaus, first started practicing law individually. Later he formed an association with Russell Ryan, giving the firm its first name, "Ruckelshaus & Ryan." The firm name and associations continued until the elder Ruckelshaus' son John K. Ruckelshaus, joined the firm and it was renamed Ruckelshaus & Ruckelshaus.
The firm later expanded to include two attorneys from Washington, D.C. - Gerald Reilly, the primary author of the Taft-Hartley Act, and Charles Rhetts, both of whom specialized in labor law. When John C. O'Connor joined the firm, the name was changed to Ruckelshaus, Reilly, Rhetts, and O'Connor. This association continued until 1957, when George Craig joined the partnership upon completion of his term as Governor of the State of Indiana. When Gerald Reilly retired, the practice was renamed Craig, Ruckelshaus, Rhetts & O'Connor. After the departure of Gov. Craig and Charles Rhetts years later, the firm's name was changed to Ruckelshaus, O'Connor & Ruckelshaus. Shortly thereafter, former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Arch Bobbitt joined the partnership, and the name was again changed to Ruckelshaus, Bobbitt & O'Connor.
Upon his graduation from law school, Jack Ruckelshaus joined the firm. During the 1960's, both Jack and his brother, Bill Ruckelshaus, were members of the firm. In 1968, Bill moved to Washington, D.C. to accept an appointment with the U.S. Department of Justice. Bill would eventually serve as Acting Attorney General, Acting FBI Director and first Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Paul G. Roland joined the firm in 1968 and William A. Hasbrook joined the firm in 1974. The name changed to Ruckelshaus, Roland, Hasbrook & O'Connor. Mr. O'Connor retired in 1985. Also in 1985 John F. Kautzman joined the firm, with Leo T. Blackwell joining in 1991, and M. Elizabeth Bemis joining in 1992. In 2000, the firm name was changed to Ruckelshaus, Roland, Kautzman, Blackwell & Hasbrook. Mr. Roland retired from the firm in 2005. Andrew R. Duncan and Edward J. Merchant associated with the firm in October, 2006 and August, 2009 respectively, and Mr. Duncan was named a partner in 2011.After over one hundred years of legal service to the Indianapolis community, the current firm of Ruckelshaus Kautzman Blackwell & Bemis, LLP looks forward to its next century of service.
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